Landmarks: Springs Eternal

Stunning fountains from across Europe.

By Heidi Mitchell

These fountains from Spain to Russia have been luring travelers for centuries. And no wonder: They are overflowing with beauty.

Trevi Fountain

Rome, Italy

Legend has it if you toss a coin into this fountain, you’ll return to the Eternal City one day. (About 3,000 euros are collected from the basin daily.) What began as an aqueduct that provided drinking water to citizens during the Roman Empire is now so beloved it features in classic films such as Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita.

Peterhof Fountains

St. Petersburg, Russia

Peter the Great envisioned a masterpiece when he ordered the creation of the fountains at his 18th-century summer residence. The most impressive? The Grand Cascade, with 64 spouts and 200 bronze statues that adorn the Peterhof Grand Palace steps, creating a waterfall effect.

Big Onofrio’s Fountain

Dubrovnik, Croatia

This 1400s fountain grew from a cistern into a massive basin with a cupola and 16 sides. Water flows from masked faces carved into each edge. Several were damaged in a 1667 earthquake (and in the 1990s Yugoslav Wars), but it’s still a popular attraction.

Gefion Fountain

Copenhagen, Denmark

The harborside Gefion Fountain tells the Norse myth of the creation of Zealand, the island on which the city sits. The water pours from a statue of the Norse goddess Gefjun, who transformed her four sons into oxen. Sköl!

Fountains at Versailles

Versailles, France

The pièce de résistance here is an array of jets designed by André Le Nôtre for Louis XIV that stretch across 15 small groves. The Sun King’s favorite: the Grove of Three Fountains. Today those three, plus two waterfalls, cascade into an octagonal pool.

Wrocław Multimedialna Fountain

Warsaw, Poland

Laser lights. Film projections in 3-D. In summer, families cool off during the day beside this Szczytnicki Park spring, but come 9:30 p.m., it’s the scene of a block party with music and 300 rainbow water jets.

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Barcelona, Spain

It took 3,000 workers to build these illuminated fountains, which debuted at the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, on Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina. Now you can catch the arcs of water swinging to Freddie Mercury songs or next to a Spanish zarzuela show.

Hellbrunn Palace Fountains

Salzburg, Austria

Spouts are hidden about the grounds so don’t be surprised if a few people get splashed while having a sit-down on a bench. Fun fact: This villa is also home to the pavilion where Liesl and Franz meet in The Sound of Music.

  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: Spring 2018