One the distinguishing characteristics of Europe is, of course, the cathedrals. No city worth its salt is without one. Bear in mind that these are only my favorite five from the dozens we've visited over the last year... among them, Salisbury, St. Paul's, Notre-Dame (Paris), Stephansdom (Vienna), Basilica di San Marco (Venice), Köln, and St. Peter's (Vatican City).
5. St. Vitus's Cathedral, Prague
Sure, the audioguide is a shocking ripoff, but for sheer opulence, St. Vitus's provides constant eye candy. And situated at the top of Prague Castle, it's the dominant feature of the skyline no matter where you are in the city.
4. Strasbourg Cathedral
I wasn't prepared for how massive or intricate this cathedral is. For centuries it was the tallest building in the world, and inside, there's a beautiful organ, an astronomical clock, and a sculpture that consists of not just a person or two, but an entire landscape.
3. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Though construction began in 1883, it's still not finished. Any blurb I could write about it here would be madly insufficient. Read about it here or there are pictures here. It is hands-down the most unique cathedral — or for that matter, construction site — anywhere in the world.
2. Duomo, Florence
Aside from being one of the oldest of the world's massive churches (its dome precedes St. Peter's by almost a century), its pink, green, and white facade looks like a real-life version of the Small World ride.
1. Westminster Abbey
No, it's not the biggest; some may even argue that it's not the most opulent. And — what the heck — it's not even technically a cathedral. But it is my favorite. Because of its history, its atmosphere, and its Thanksgiving dinners, it will always be my favorite.