Visiting famous landmarks around the world is an exciting and enriching adventure, providing the opportunity to witness some of the most iconic and breathtaking destinations on the planet. From ancient ruins to modern architectural wonders, these landmarks offer a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of different countries and civilizations.
Whether you’re an avid traveler or simply looking for a new experience, visiting famous landmarks is an opportunity to expand your knowledge and appreciation of the world around you.
1. Wat Xieng Thong
By Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
One of the best things to do in Luang Prabang is visit the beautiful Wat Xieng Thong, located in the same complex as the Royal Palace Museum in Laos.
It is one of the largest temples in the country, and is also known as the ‘Golden Tree Monastery’ or the “Monastery of the Golden City”. Built in the 16th century by King Setthathirath, to commemorate the legendary King Chanthaphanith, it acts as a gateway to Luang Prabang with its strategic position close to where the Mekong River joins the Nam Khan River.
The site is famous as the location for the coronation of Lao kings, and the architecture references Luang Prabang, with elaborate mosaic patterns, wall carvings, rare Buddhist deities, a 12 metre funeral carriage and a pointed Vihan.
Nowadays tourists are able to visit Wat Xieng Thong, however they must be dressed appropriately (shoulders and knees covered) and act respectfully. The temple is only open a few hours a day so check before you visit but if you can then 6pm is a great time as you can witness the monks and novices taking part in their daily prayers and chants.
2. Chichen Itza
By Soumya of Stories by Soumya
One of the most famous landmarks worldwide that is also a wonder is the ancient city of Chichen Itza. Located in the Yucatan region of Mexico, Chichen Itza dates to the 9th century CE and is one of the most important Mayan ruins in the region. Visiting Chichen Itza is a great day trip from Cancun or the Riviera Maya region of the coast.
Mayans used astronomical principles to create the entire city of Chichen Itza. They built several monuments, including a round observatory, to track the positions of planets and stars and predict weather and rain.
The most impressive monument in the complex is a tall, stepped pyramid called El Castillo or the Temple of Kukulkan that features a total of 365 steps – the number of days in a year. An interesting fact is that every year, during spring and autumn equinoxes, the Mayan God Kukulkan is believed to descend on the pyramid. People gather in huge numbers to watch this exciting phenomenon.
The Temple of the Warriors, the Great Ball Court, and the Skull Rack are other intriguing attractions in Chichen Itza. Several smaller temples and podiums built in the Mayan or Toltec style also dot the complex. There are so many of them that it is easy to get lost. Travelers who want to get the most out of their visit should opt for a guided tour of Chichen Itza.
3. Duomo di Milano
By Or of My Path in the World
Situated in the heart of Milan’s city center in northern Italy, the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral or Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Nativity of Saint Mary) is one of the largest churches in the world and certainly one of the most impressive.
Comissioned by the Duke of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti in the 14th century, the Duomo took more than half a millennium to complete. It is not only an important religious site but also the last resting place of several members of the Visconti dynasty.
Built mostly in Gothic style with countless intricate details on the inside and out, it challenged dozens of Italian architects and engineers throughout the centuries. Even Leonardo da Vinci competed for a chance to design a small portion of the cathedral.
Different types of tickets will give you access to different parts of the Duomo, from the stunning rooftop overlooking the piazza to the intriguing underground archaeological area to the cathedral itself, making its indoor sights a fantastic place to visit in Milan on a rainy day.
By Louisa Smith of The Turkey Traveler
Located just 55km outside of Izmir in Turkey, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ephesus. This ancient city is one of the oldest cities in Turkey, dating back to the time of the Ancient Greeks.
Though the exact date it was built is unknown, legend has it that the Ionian Greeks built it in the 11th century as a trading port. Due to its location, it was one of the most important trading centers in the Mediterranean Region and the city had tremendous wealth.
Although the city lies in ruins today, you can still evidence of that wealth in the beauty and intricacy of the architecture found in the ruins.
One of the most important landmarks in Ephesus is the Temple of Artemis, which has been dubbed one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In its prime, it was estimated to be four times bigger than the Parthenon in Athens. Today it is little but a column.
A beautiful landmark in Ephesus worth checking out is the Library of Celsus, whereby the outer facade is still well-preserved, with intricate Greco-Roman reliefs, arches, columns, and statues nestled in alcoves.
Ephesus was always an important city. It was even said that the Virgin Mary and St. John had visited Ephesus, which features in the New Testament.
However, the city declined after the River Kaystros dried out which meant that Ephesus could no longer operate as a trading port. Then it was hit by a devastating earthquake in the 6th and 7th centuries, destroying much of the city.
The final straw came when the Byzantine Arabs invaded, and the people of the city abandoned it to seek safety elsewhere. And it has been left to ruin ever since.
Today, visitors can still see the remains of the Greek theater, which could once hold 24,000 people, as well as the wealth of columns, roads, and broken walls where buildings once stood over a 415-hectare site, offering a hint at what used to exist here thousands of years ago.
5. Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre
By Martha of May Cause Wanderlust
After the Eiffel Tower, one of the most prominent landmarks in Paris is the Sacré-Cœur, or, to use its full name, The Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre. This Roman Catholic church sits on the hill of Montmartre and can be seen from all over Paris, its elongated white domes reaching heavenwards.
The elegant Neo-Byzantine-Romanesque basilica was completed in 1914, but was not universally popular at first. You see, Montmartre was the site of the Paris Commune, a revolutionary government that briefly seized power in 1871 and resulted in thousands of Communards being executed. Left-leaning commentators complained that the building of the church was intended to obscure the memory of the Commune.
Visiting Sacré-Cœur is one of the best things to do in Paris, the kind of thing you should do on your first-time visit to Paris. You can admire it from the gardens on the hillside below, enjoy the view from the terrace directly outside it, and you can also explore the interior. If you don’t mind a little exertion, you can also climb the 300 steps to the domes, where there’s a really unique view of Paris all the way to the Eiffel Tower.
And afterwards, have a wander around the cobbled streets of Montmartre, including the buzzing square, Place du Tertre.
6. El Jem Amphitheater
By Kami of My Wanderlust
Located in the city of El Jem in central Tunisia, the marvelous amphitheater is one of the biggest attractions of the country and one of the best-preserved Roman remnants you will ever see. This impressive structure, built around 238 AD, was in fact the third-largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire after the Colosseum of Rome and the Roman Amphitheater of Capua.
Since 1979 the site was listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Back in its glory times, the ellipse-shaped amphitheater could fit up to 35.000 spectators, making it one of the largest buildings of that kind in the world. Today you can visit the spectacular El Jem amphitheater and explore all its corners (including the underground parts).
The site is in really good condition (it’s better preserved than Rome Colosseum) and there are usually hardly any people around so visiting the place is very pleasant. The amphitheater is located only a 5 minutes walk from the El Jem train station, making it a very easy and accessible point in every Tunisia itinerary.
7. Marina Bay Sands
By Grace Roberts of Pixie Dust and Passports
If you want a break from visiting tourist attractions like Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa, and Lau Pa Sat, you’ll want to check out the towering Marina Bay Sands!
This fascinating building is a luxury hotel in the charming Lion City of Singapore and is home to the world’s largest infinity pool. It is a 5-star spot and boasts award-winning restaurants and a rooftop club that is ideal for dancing the night away.
Although it was only finished in 2010, it’s come to represent Singapore’s eternal move toward progression and success. It’s a 55-story building designed by architect Moshe Sadie and said to be inspired by card decks.
The three towers and the boat-like structure on the roof are recognized across the world, and the casino component of the resort is vast for national and international betting enthusiasts. Seriously, the world’s most expensive standalone casino property brings in ridiculous revenue for the country!
And if you’re lucky to visit the country at the right time, you might even be able to catch the Singapore Grand Prix, which is held here every single year.
8. Great Pyramid of Giza
Maggie McKneely of Pink Caddy Travelogue
It’s no question that the Great Pyramid of Giza is of the most famous landmarks in the world. The colossal structure of stone that rises from the Egyptian desert outside of Cairo is the last of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing.
While the pyramid complex consists of three separate pyramids, the Sphinx, and a handful of smaller tombs, the Great Pyramid is the largest and oldest of the structures. It was built to be the tomb of the Pharaoh Khufu around 2500 BC. It was the tallest manmade structure in the world for over 3800 years!
The Great Pyramid consists of 2.3 million blocks, weighing about 2.5 tons. Most blocks are limestone. Originally, all three pyramids were also covered in alabaster, but over time, the alabaster was removed by either thieves or for use in other construction projects, and the only alabaster that remains is at the very top.
A common myth about the pyramids is that enslaved people built them, but recent discoveries have shown that hired workers did most labor. Archaeologists discovered tombs around the pyramids explicitly constructed for these workers, indicating that they were well-respected for their dedication to the pharaoh.
While a little touristy and overrun by vendors, getting to marvel in person at the feat of human engineering that is the Great Pyramid is a once-in-a-lifetime must-do and should be part of any Egypt itinerary!
9. Tegallaland Rice Terrace
By Elena of Passion for Hospitality
Bali is famous for its lush rice terraces, and each of them holds a unique importance in the everyday life of the Balinese. The most popular rice fields to visit when in Bali are the Tegallalang Rice Terrace; not only are they the most iconic agricultural highlights of Bali they have also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Just a short 20-minute drive from Ubud, the traditional Balinese irrigation system has maintained these well-preserved layers of rice paddies, which has served this land for millennia. Visitors can explore the area freely, wandering around the lush picture-perfect landscape. The immense greenery is a beautiful sight to behold.
The rice paddles almost look unreal as they are neatly piled one on top of the other, and you are guaranteed to capture some breathtaking, Instagram-worthy photos. The best time to visit would be early morning when the site just opens to avoid the crowds.
By Victoria of Guide Your Travel
Borobudur is one of Indonesia’s most important landmarks and is considered the largest Buddhist site in the world. Located around 1 hour from the city Yogyakarta in Central Jawa, this is a must-see for all types of tourists.
Tickets cost around $25 per person and there are great student discounts available. It’s highly recommended to visit the temple for sunrise, which means having to arrive before 5 am. You can access the grounds early through the Manohara Resort and enjoy incredible views of the surrounding volcanoes and the temple itself.
Once the sun has risen, visitors are free to explore Borobudur and its grounds. Just make sure to dress appropriately and cover knees and shoulders since this is a religious site and all visitors need to be respectful.
You don’t really need to join a guided tour to see Borobudur but there are plenty available if you’re looking for a more immersive experience. Don’t forget to explore Yogyakarta after you’ve seen Borobudur, the city is really worth it.
11. Leaning Tower of Pisa
One of the most special landmarks in the world is definitely the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, a true must-see at least once in your life! This spectacular sight is located in Pisa – Tuscany, which also has an international airport if you want to travel by plane.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, built between 1173 and 1372, had already become skewed at that time. Many years later, between 1990 and 2001, this freestanding bell tower was forced to close due to its unsafe slope, which required an extensive maintenance. Finally, the tower has been straightened by 4 degrees; yet, the tower remains obviously bent, as seen in all classic photos about the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the Cathedral, Baptistery, and Cemetery, all of which are located on Piazza dei Miracoli. Admission to Piazza dei Miracoli is free, as is photographing the Leaning Tower. Climbing to the top of the tower, on the other hand, is a one-of-a-kind experience since the view from the top is stunning.
Because the Leaning Tower is one of central Italy’s most famous attractions, there is usually a large line to climb it. As a result, it is strongly advised to get your tickets a few days before!
12. Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavík, Iceland
By Suzanne of Meandering Wild
This stunning church is dominant on the Reykjavík skyline forming a recognisable silhouette. It stands 74 metres tall on Skólavörðuhæð hill and can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. It is located at the top of Skólavörðustígur and views from the bottom of the hill over the rainbow painted road is one of the best-known views in Reykjavík.
Inspired by a blend of Scandinavian modernism and the Icelandic landscape the architect took inspiration from the basalt columns at Svartifoss waterfall on the south coast of Iceland. The basalt column shapes can be seen in the external pillars of the church and rise to a peak at the centre of the spire.
The interior is calm and simple, true to the Lutheran style apart from the spectacular pipe organ with its 5275 pipes. It is a working church and you will often find services and recitals which fill the church with beautiful sound.
A lift gives access to the open spire where views across the city and Faxaflói towards Snæfellsjökull volcano are stunning. Each of the four sides of the spire has a different view giving a 360 view across the city and beyond.
13. Hungarian Parliament Building
By Brianna West of Travel Munchers
Budapest’s most recognizable building, sits majestically along the east bank of the Danube. The Hungarian Parliament building is unmissable during a trip to Budapest. Its buttresses, towers and mighty dome are dazzling from near and far. It is especially impressive at night. If you want a unique experience take a night river cruise and you will see it beautifully illuminated in a golden glow.
Its official name is Orszaghaz which translates to “House of the Country” or “House of the Nation”. Orszaghaz is situated on Kossuth Square in the Pest side of the city, on the eastern bank of the Danube.
A competition to design the Hungarian Parliament Building was held in 1883. There were only 19 plans submitted and the winning design was proposed by Hungarian architect Imre Steindl. His plans included a neo-Gothic style and construction began in 1885. It took 1,000 workers and 17 years to build the Parliament. It was scheduled to be finished by 1896 to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of Hungary’s foundation, but was not completed in time, instead it opened in 1902.
It has been the largest building in Hungary since its completion and houses 691 rooms.
Crazy fact: The Parliament building was so expensive, the money used to build it would have been enough to construct a small city! The inside contains intricate ceiling designs accented with a large amount of gold- 40 kilograms!
14. Mont Saint Michel
By Faith of XYUandBEYOND
Mont Saint Michel is located on a small island just off the coast of Normandy and is a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site. Mont Saint Michel is a medieval Abbey and village constructed over 1300 years ago.
To get to the island you take a free shuttle or you can walk or bike it. Technically it is free to visit the Mont, but parking will cost you €14.90 and there are charges to visit the small museums on the Mont itself along with a €10 fee to enter the Abbey.
Mont St. Michel contains a small village in which live around 50 people and a medieval monastery. It is only 17 acres and sits around a kilometre from the shore.
The Village of Mont Saint Michel starts right at the entrance and from there it’s all uphill. At the top of the main street, starts the “Grand Degre” 350 steps which lead up to the Abbey.
When you see the Mont close up you will spot ramparts that circle the island and a 3 tiered assembly of buildings from the 13th century known as La Merveille (The Wonder) that rise up to the abbey’s pointed spire. On the second terrace of La Merveille is Mont-St-Michel’s largest and most beautiful space, a 13th-century hall known as the Salle des Chevaliers. Crowning the mount’s summit is the spellbinding Eglise Abbatiale church. Only 350 or so steps to reach the Abbey and when you get there the entry ticket will cost €10 euros.
15. Callanish Stones
By Kristin of Scotland Less Explored
The Callanish Stones are located on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. The site is often called the “Stonehenge of the North” but it was erected over 5,000 years ago and is actually older than Stonehenge.
Although it is an important Scottish landmark, probably due to its location, it is much less visited than Stonehenge. This means that you might have the site to yourself and you can walk freely amongst the 13 stones that stand in a circle. The monolithic stone in the middle is nearly 5 metres tall!
There is a car park and visitor centre close to the stones where you can learn more about the history of the site. However, it is quite fascinating that nobody knows what the site was used for. One theory is that it was an astronomical observatory; another is that it was used for rituals over 2,000 years. According to local folklore the stones are petrified giants who would not convert to Christianity.
A short walk away is another stone circle. It is smaller than the main one but its presence indicates how important this site must once have been.
After visiting this amazing landmark don’t miss the fantastic landscape and beaches on Isle of Lewis.
16. Sydney Opera House
By Catrina of 24 Hours Layover
The Sydney Opera House – one of the greatest buildings of the 20th Century, is the most iconic photo spot in Sydney. Not only that, it is one of the most famous and instantly recognised landmarks around the world and one of the world’s most photographed buildings due to its unique shape!
Sitting in a prime location in Sydney Harbour, from every angle the Opera House looks different yet uniquely spectacular – whether you’re on the stairs leading up to the Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Royal Botanic Gardens or Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.
The World-Heritage listed Sydney Opera House is a significant landmark for Australians as it is the symbol of a modern Australia. It was designed by a Danish architect for a competition to design an Opera House for Sydney.
Two hundred and twenty three designs were submitted and this one was selected as the winning building! The building displays innovative engineering and architectural styles and was expected to take 4 years to build but ended up taking 14 years as many problems arose during the building process!
The original estimate of the build was $7 million but it ended up costing over $100 million to build – talk about going over budget! Over a million roof tiles cover the Sydney Opera House, which was opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II.
Often the Opera House is lit up at night in unique designs to commemorate special occasions such as Australia Day and Vivid Festival, which is really incredible to see!
17. Angkor Wat
By Jolene of Wanderlust Storytellers
Visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia is truly one of the most magnificent experiences any traveler will have.
The extraordinary temples of Angkor Wat are within the Angkor complex. Here you will get to explore the monasteries, different capitals from the once-thriving Khmer Empire, and the many spectacular 9th to 15th-century structures.
Angkor Wat is a short 10-minute drive from the city of Siem Reap in the heart of Cambodia. The Angkor Archaeological Park stretches over 400 square kilometers.
The best way to explore the Angkor complex and temples is by driving as the distances between the ruins are better covered sitting down on the comfy chairs of your Tuk-Tuk. It is hot and you will have enough walking whilst discovering the temples (of which there are many!).
Angkor Wat is the largest and the most spectacular of the Angkorian monuments and is listed as one of the Wonders of the World. The sheer size, luxury, symmetry, balance, and sculpture make this monument one of the finest structures ever built and an architectural masterpiece.
Angkor Wat is the tallest building in the Angkor Wat area and, out of respect to their ancestors, no other buildings are allowed to exceed its height.
By Claire of Go South West England
Stonehenge is without a doubt one of the world’s best landmarks, and among the greatest places to visit in Wiltshire and all of England.
This ancient stone circle is thought to be created by early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers around 5000 years ago for ceremonial purposes, although it could have also been used as an astronomical clock.
The biggest mystery surrounding the monument is how the stones got there. They actually come from South Wales, some 160 miles from their current site on Salisbury Plain. They were dragged here, at a time when wheels didn’t exist, and nobody is too sure why!
Stonehenge is closest to Salisbury; you can get there by taking the train to Salisbury and connecting to a bus service. Alternatively, there is a large car park on-site. If you are an English Heritage or National Trust member, you can get free entry (it’s on National Trust ground but the stones themselves are English Heritage!).
19. Tayrona National Park
By Marjolein of Radical FIRE
Tayrona National Park is located in Colombia, between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Caribbean coast. Tayrona is renowned for its rich biodiversity and archaeological importance and has been nominated as a globally significant park by UNESCO. Nature enthusiasts and hiking fans must visit Tayrona National Park for a unique and unforgettable adventure.
Tayrona National Park also has some of the most stunning beaches in Colombia, with white sand, crystal-clear waters, and tall palm trees framing the lush forests. Explore these breathtaking beaches by following one of the many hiking trails, such as Playa Brava, Cabo San Juan, Playa Cristal, La Piscina, or La Piscinita. Please check the signs before swimming since not all beaches are safe to swim in.
Besides, Tayrona National Park is a haven for unique wildlife, including various species of monkeys, woodpeckers, insects, reptiles, and birds. This diversity of wildlife is one of the main draws for visitors to the park. You’ll have enough to do for days at this incredible national park! Just don’t forget to bring cash, as most things in the park need to be paid in cash, and there’s no ATM.
20. Space Needle
By Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones
The Space Needle is located in Seattle, Washington, in the United States. It’s not only one of the most famous attractions in Seattle, it’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the world!
The Space Needle is a 605’ high observation tower and was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. The Space Needle’s iconic architecture is based on the World’s Fair theme. ‘Age of Space’. The chief architect wanted the top to look like a flying saucer, which enhances the futuristic concept.
Guests take an elevator up to the top of the Space Needle. The two passenger elevators are high-speed elevators, able to travel at speeds of up to 10mph. There is one yearly opportunity to climb the 832 stairs of the Space Needle, during the annual charity event, the Base2Space stair climb.
Intrepid visitors can take in the stunning panoramic views of downtown Seattle, the Puget Sound, and the Olympic mountains from the Needle’s open-air observation deck, which is 520 feet above ground.
There is also an indoor observation level with a rotating glass floor (the Loupe), which is 500 feet above the ground. It takes 30 minutes for a full revolution, so why not enjoy a drink or a snack in the Loupe Lounge while you enjoy the full 360-degree views of Seattle?
21. Tower Bridge
By Claire of Go South West England
One of London’s most famous and prestigious landmarks, Tower Bridge has been delighting travellers for over 100 years.
Dating back to the late 19th century, Tower Bridge was built to give better access to the East End of London. When it was built, it was one of the most sophisticated in the world, with neo-Gothic architecture and hydraulic-operated bascules. It was opened on 30th June 1984 by the then Prince and Princess of Wales.
It’s been restored over the years and has periodically been painted different colours on jubilees and other national celebrations. The bridge rarely closes, so even if you’re visiting London in winter, you should still be able to enjoy it!
Contrary to popular belief, Tower Bridge and London Bridge are two different things. London Bridge sits a 15 minute walk away; this bridge was built in the 70s, but it replaced a 19th century bridge which replaced a 600 year old medieval bridge. London Bridge is a lot more nondescript, but you can get an immense view of Tower Bridge from it!
22. Tower of Hercules
By Melodie Rush of Travel Must Do’s
The Tower of Hercules is located in La Coruña, Spain near the entrance of the harbor. It stands at a height of 185 feet. The building was first constructed by the Romans during the late 1st century A.D., although there may have been an earlier tower constructed in the same place. The tower was restored in the 18th century by architect Eustaquio Giannini and its Roman foundations were revealed during excavations in the 1990s.
The Tower of Hercules has been a symbol of La Coruña and is an important piece of maritime history. It serves as a lighthouse for ships navigating the nearby waters today and its impressive light can be seen from up to 32 miles away!
It has also been featured in a number of movies and television shows throughout the years, including Game of Thrones. One fun fact is that the local legend claims that the Tower was built by Hercules himself as an act of penitence after killing his own sons.
It also serves as a reminder of the Roman Empire’s past influence in the region. This landmark has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009 due to its cultural significance.
The site also features a sculpture park, the Monte dos Bicos rock carvings from the Iron Age, and a Muslim cemetery.
23. Grand Canyon National Park
By Steve Morrow of Paddle About
The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most popular tourist destinations, with roughly 5 million visitors annually. This natural wonder is located in northwest Arizona, snuggled up next to Utah and Nevada. The mile-deep canyon was carved by the Colorado River over millions of years to leave the beauty we see today.
The canyon is 277 miles long, separating the North and South Rims. One of the most interesting tidbits about the Grand Canyon is that it averages about 10 miles across. Still, it takes about 5 hours to drive around from rim to rim.
Most people visit the South Rim since it is much easier to access than the remote North Rim. In addition, there is a distinct elevation difference between the two rims, with the South Rim sitting at 7,000 feet and the North Rim at 8,000 feet. As such, the North Rim has cooler temperatures with noticeably different vegetation and scenery than its southern counterpart.
Hiking is a popular activity at the Grand Canyon. You will hear folks talking about the vaunted “rim to rim,” or even more elusive, “rim to rim to rim,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Hikers make their way from one rim to the other and back again, some even accomplishing the feat in a single day while others camp for the night at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon.
Other popular points of interest at the Grand Canyon include the Grand Canyon Skywalk, the South Rim Village, and North Rim Village. If you can visit the Grand Canyon, take the opportunity. You will not be disappointed.
24. Torres del Paine
By Alex Caspero of Delish Knowledge
If you’re planning a trip to Patagonia, you are most certainly putting Torres del Paine on your must-see list. Known for the towering, stalagmite granite mountains, glacier lakes, and plenty of wildlife– don’t be surprised to find a herd of guanacos on your path.
Torres del Paine is a hiker’s paradise, with the crown jewel being the Patagonia trek to the base of the famous towers, for which the National Park is named. This trail is on many hiking bucket lists for a reason– at the top, you are rewarded with an incredible view of the 3 towers in front of a bright blue lake.
Even on cloudy and snowy days, seeing this famous landmark up close is worth the all-day trek.
25. Empire State Building
By Martha of May Cause Wanderlust
Although it is no longer the tallest building in the world, the Empire State Building in New York City, USA, remains one of the most recognisable landmarks around the world.
Occupying a full city block in midtown Manhattan, and standing proud at 102 stories, the Art Deco style Empire State Building is an impressive sight. When it was built in 1931, it eclipsed the Chrysler building as the world’s tallest building and held that title until 1970.
There are observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors, offering panoramic views of New York City and, on a clear day, six states. The top floor observation deck is an iconic place and has played memorable roles in movies like An Affair To Remember (1957) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993) – making it one of the most romantic things to do in NYC.
However, for a great view that has the Empire State Building in it, head to Top Of The Rock in the Rockefeller Center a few blocks north.
By John Dealbreuin of Financial Freedom Countdown
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is an iconic landmark located in the heart of Australia. It is sacred to the Aboriginal people and is the largest monolith in the world.
The giant sandstone rock formation stands 348 meters tall and spans 9.4 km in circumference. It is surrounded by the vast red sand desert that shines bright with various shades of red, orange, and purple during sunsets. Uluru has been a source of spiritual power for Aboriginal people for centuries, providing them with a spiritual connection to their homeland and culture. Archaeological findings showcase that Aboriginal people have resided in this area for over 30,000 years!
There are many activities at Uluru, such as exploring the various hiking trails and learning about the Aboriginal culture. Visitors can also learn more about the local flora and fauna by visiting the national park that surrounds Uluru. Home to 21 unique mammals, 73 reptiles, 178 birds, and four desert-dwelling frogs – the park is alive with a remarkable variety of wildlife.
“We were lucky to observe the local tribes of Anangu enacting traditional music and dance and narrating Tjukurpa stories. At nightfall, we witnessed the breathtaking view of Uluru illuminated by the stars above,” says John Dealbreuin of Financial Freedom Countdown.
Uluru is an extraordinary experience not to be missed when traveling through Australia. From its spiritual significance to the physical grandeur of its sandstone formation, Uluru is sure to take your breath away.
27. Washington Monument
By Scott McConkey of Miles With McConkey
Washington, DC, abounds with memorials and monuments, but the Washington Monument towers above all others at 555 feet. The Egyptian-style obelisk honors George Washington and symbolizes America’s capital. It sits in the middle of the National Mall, where a long, rectangular reflecting pool connects the monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
Construction began in 1848 but was interrupted for over two decades due to the Civil War and a lack of funds. Upon its completion in 1884, the tower was the world’s tallest building.
You may notice color variances when gazing at the marble structure. The stone had to be obtained from a different quarry when construction resumed after the lengthy delay. All told, three quarries contributed stone throughout the project.
Washington, DC, offers many things to see on and around the National Mall. Visit the Washington Monument along with the city’s other memorials and monuments. It is an immersive and fulfilling history lesson.
28. Catacombs of Paris
By Taylor of Traverse With Taylor
One of the creepiest famous landmarks to visit around the world is the Catacombs of Paris in Paris, France.
It won’t surprise you to know that, like many old European cities, Paris has a network of tunnels running beneath it. Some of these tunnels hold the gruesome remains of Parisians from years past in what are now dubbed the Catacombs of Paris.
Back in the 18th-century, overcrowding was causing Paris (and Parisian graveyards) to be hotbeds for plague and disease. In the midst of this, in order to find more space, quarries and labyrinths underneath the city that were once used for mining were transitioned into a place of rest for the dead.
Initially called the Paris Municipal Ossuary, the Catacombs of Paris were first used as a bone graveyard in 1785. Cemeteries all over Paris were evacuated, and their bones brought beneath the city.
Today, visitors can descend the 131 steps into the catacombs and take an audio guide tour through the stacked bones and skulls. At times, the maze through the bones is extremely small, so backpacks and other items are not recommended!
You will be eerily close to the dead during a visit to the Catacombs of Paris, but it is unlike any other experience in Europe and something you must do during any visit to Paris!
29. Hot Springs National Park
By Ashlee Fechino of The Happiness Function
When most people think of the oldest national parks in the U.S., they think of Yellowstone and Yosemite. However, Congress designated four sections of land in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a federal reservation in 1832 to preserve its sacred natural thermal springs resources. Today, we know this land as Hot Springs National Park.
Hot Springs National Park became a designated national park under the National Park Service in 1916. But technically, it has been a protected national park since the 1830s, making it the oldest national park in the U.S.
Notable landmarks include Bathhouse Row, initially constructed in the 1880s and replaced with stucco buildings in the early 1910s and 1920s to ease fears of fire danger. During the 1920s, Bathhouse Row, in all its marble and elegance, created an incredible luxury spa scene in America.
The Grand Promenade is another historic landmark of the area. Located behind Bathhouse Row, the historic brick pathway goes by thermal springs bubbling out of the mountainside and has excellent views of Central Avenue and Bathhouse Row.
The Grand Pomenade and Bathhouse Row are part of a National Historic Landmark District. Today, visitors can soak in two historic bathhouses, one of the best things to do in Hot Springs, Arkansas!
30. Philadelphia Museum of Art
By Lisa Lightner of A Day in Our Shoes
When the media talks about Philadelphia, they love to show you images of the famous “Rocky steps.” And sure, it’s an iconic scene from an iconic movie that perfectly describes the city’s vibe.
But very few encourage you to go inside the art museum, which is just as breathtaking.
An art museum might feel tedious if you aren’t into art appreciation. But in recent years, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has beefed up its programming to include family-friendly events and activities. They do an “Art Reach” program for children every summer.
And a must-see within the museum is the Arms and Armor room. My boys love it at any age. Seeing ancient helmets and weapons made learning fun for them. The museum’s collection of artifacts spans 4000 years!
Philadelphians love our Rocky steps. Greek architecture-style buildings like it just aren’t constructed today and are beautiful.
But, take time to actually step inside the museum buildings, which total almost 1 million square feet. With over 500,000 items in the collection, there indeed is something for everyone to enjoy and learn.
31. Sagrada Familia
By Krisitin of Global Travel Escapades
Easily one of the most famous landmarks in the world is La Sagrada Familia. Located in the Eixample district of Barcelona, this awe-inspiring structure is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world and has been under construction for over 140 years!
The church originally began construction under the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, but he quit. As such, renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí took over as head architect and aimed to have the church reveal a combination of Gothic, Art Nouveau, and Modernista architecture.
And even though, Gaudí passed away before much of the church was completed, he is recognized for his work and buried in the church’s crypt. Today, this structure has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stands as a symbol of Barcelona and the Catalan culture that extends to even the tiny country of Andorra.
Thus, if you ever find yourself in Barcelona, be sure to check out this architectural marvel.
Famous Landmarks Around The World
Visiting famous landmarks around the world is an opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures and historical periods. Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate breathtaking beauty, these destinations offer something new and unqiue to everyone.
From grand palaces to towering cathedrals, each landmark tells its own story and provides a window into the past. So be sure to add a few of these iconic locations to your travel bucket list and experience their magnificence for yourself!
This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Image Credit: [@Xantana/DepositPhotos]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.