Europe is home to some of the oldest cemeteries but that doesn't mean that the most famous of graves are just as old. In fact, you can find the grave of Winston Churchill that dates back only to 1965 in the same country in which you can find the grave of Shakespeare, dating back much farther, to 1616.
If you plan on visiting any part of Europe, you may want to see what famous graves are nearby, not only to pay your respects but also just to say you were there. In fact, some travelers backpack across Europe just to see these famous sites.
10 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister that saw England through the tough days of World War II. He's often looked back on with admiration for the bravery he showed not only in the face of evil but also to the Allied powers he helped represent through a long and arduous war.
While you may think you'd find Churchill's grave at St. Paul's Cathedral where many of England's best have been laid to rest, you'd be wrong. He enjoyed the quiet peace of visiting his own father's grave at St. Martin's near Blenheim and that's where he also wanted to be laid to rest. He was born and raised not far from Blenheim in a town called Bladon.
9 William Shakespeare
Shakespeare is the world's most famous playwright and his name will not be forgotten anytime soon. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 1564 and it was there he retired to in 1613. Just three years later, he would be buried at the Holy Trinity Church that overlooks the town.
Even in death, Shakespeare is known for his rhyming couplets as he leaves a warning for any who might think to rob his grave: "Bleste be the man that spares these stones, and curst be he who moves my bones."
8 Karl Marx
Karl Marx, the Father of Communism, was laid to rest in the UK as well, in the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Highgate. He had authored Das Kapital, also known as the Communist Manifesto. His grave is the most-visited within this cemetery and there was quite a clash when the cemetery tried to charge an entry fee for those wanting to see it.
The capitalist move was not appreciated by the Communist Party of Great Brittain that had arranged for a granite tomb and bronze bust to be erected just 100 feet from his original grave, having his remains moved to the more appropriately significant monument.
7 Oscar Wilde
The Pere-Lachaise cemetery is one of the top places to visit when in Paris. With so many well-known historical figures buried here, you can scratch a few off your bucket list, if you have one. One of the most popular graves here is that of Oscar Wilde. The monument was originally designed by sculptor Jacob Epstein. However, a fig leaf was added to cover the exposed genitals of that design.
You can usually see plenty of lip marks in red lipstick left for Wilde on the monument. Today, there is a steep fine if you're caught doing this because the process to wash away the lipstick actually causes damage to it. Oscar Wilde's headstone has become a popular rallying place for those fighting for LGBTQ rights.
6 Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison passed away in Paris at the young age of 27 due to an overdose. The world lost not only the lead singer of The Doors that day but also a very influential songwriter who was himself shaped by many poets and philosophers. The charismatic musical artist hid, in some ways, in his music. In other ways, he expressed his deep-rooted troubles.
He is also buried at the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris but you'll probably have a much harder time finding his resting place. While you'll see many tokens of remembrance at the location, it's small and unassuming. You may want to ask an expert where to find it so you don't end up exploring the cemetery for days as some other fans have.
5 Napoleon Bonaparte
The famous Napoleon Bonaparte is also buried in Paris but not at Pere-Lachaise. Louis XIV built the Hotel des Invalides as accommodations for soldiers who returned from war and needed medical attention.
Napoleon often visited his soldiers who were there recovering from their war injuries. In 1840, the military leader's remains were moved to the Hotel des Invalides, to a beautifully carved wooden chest. The mosaic all around this chest tells of his life's story ad is a beautiful tribute to both the man and the history of France.
4 Leonardo Da Vinci
You may expect the great Italian philosopher and inventor, Leonardo da Vinci, to be buried somewhere in Italy. However, his final resting place is in Amboise, France.
He had been hired by the French Kind, Francis I, to serve as the Premier Painter, Engineer, and Architect and he did so until his death in May of 1519. The Church of St. Florentin was destroyed during the French Revolution so Da Vinci's remains were moved to a small chapel located in the gardens at Chateau d'Amboise.
3 John Keats
The gravestone of John Keats, located in Rome, does not bear his name. Instead, the poet had it engraved with the phrase, "Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water." This phrase best describes how he felt about the lack of popularity he had seen during his own, short lifetime as a poet.
Little did he know that he would become one of the world's most famous poets, albeit posthumously. He had moved to Rome hoping that the change in weather would help him overcome tuberculosis, but it didn't and he passed away at the young age of 25.
2 Franz Kafka
Kafka has his name written in stone when it comes to dark, classic literature. However, in Prague, he also has his name written in stone on his gravestone. The "new" Jewish cemetery that was created in 1890 behind the existing one offers Franz Kafka and his visitors a quiet and secluded place to rest. That is, on most days.
On June 3rd, the anniversary of the author's death, there may be a crowd. You should know that all male visitors to the cemetery will need to wear a kippah. If you didn't bring yours or you don't usually wear one, they are available at the gate.
1 Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms & Schubert
In Vienna, Austria you can pay your respects to four very well-known musical composers that have certainly left their mark on history. At the Zentralfriedhof Cemetery, four commemorative headstone monuments stand as a testament to their greatness.
Monuments like these are not for just anyone in Austria so it goes to show how proud the Austrian people are of their musical heritage. Mozart's commemorative monument, however, is not a marker for his actual resting place. His burial site is located in what is now a park.