This one’s for my wanderlust friends who love history. Or if you’re simply looking for some captivating travel inspiration, you’ll have to get a pen and add another one to your list. These are the world’s most iconic landmarks: your ticket to experiencing the past firsthand. Even for the most seasoned adventurers, these places are sure to give off a sense of pure connection with history.
1. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Smack in the middle of Paris, we have the Eiffel Tower—a stunning monument featuring a gift shop, lookout, and cafe. The tower sits on the Champ de Mars greenspace across the River Seine. At night, the tower twinkles and sparkles, enhancing the mystical, magical quality of the gigantic landmark.
2. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Despite its unstable foundation, the Tower of Pisa in Italy stands (leans) strong, inviting visitors to relish the captivating design. As construction on the bell tower began, workers noticed the tower tilting, thanks to how the soil settled after building the initial base. Today, the tower maintains its center of gravity within the building, allowing it to remain standing.
3. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
When Mumtaz Mahal passed away in 1631, her husband declared a memorial would be built in her honor. Between 1631 and 1653, architects and engineers constructed the 42-acre mausoleum on the Yamuna River in India. Today, one of the pristine wonders of the world sits on the Yamuna River attracting visitors worldwide.
4. Statue of Liberty, New York City, New York
ady Liberty holds her own in New York City. The country of France donated the Statue of Liberty to the United States in 1885 as a symbol of peace and freedom. Today the copper statue represents the same ideals and is a beautiful backdrop to the New York City skyline.
5. Pyramids, Giza, Egypt
Giza proudly boasts the first wonder of the world. The Egyptians built the pyramids as final resting places for pharaohs and buried gold, pottery, and statues inside the enclosures. But how did these people transport millions of pounds of stone, limestone, and granite to the desert? That’s part of the wonder!
6. The Great Wall of China, Huairou District, China
The Great Wall of China holds the world record for the longest artificial structure in the world. The wall spans 13,171 miles and is built from granite, marble, and brick. The Great Wall served as a military measure to protect China from invasion and battles.
7. The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Where is the largest ancient amphitheater? How about the biggest current amphitheater? That’s right—Rome. The Colosseum was home to public gladiator fighting about 2,000 years ago. Thankfully, we’ve shifted to concerts and safer sporting events in amphitheaters today, but the Roman theater remains open for historical tours.
8. Stonehenge, Wilshire, England
About two hours outside of London stands Stonehenge, a monumental collection of rocks paying homage to Neolithic and Bronze Age burial practices. The sacred grounds celebrate numerous festivals each year, such as summer solstice, winter solstice, and Pagan festivities.
9. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
If you’ve perused the internet or let your computer choose your background, you’ve seen pictures of the Sydney Opera House. White Peaks jut out into the sky atop a floating platform centered on the Sydney Harbor, where operatic sing to showcase their most impressive talents.
10. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Ever watched Full House? In the theme song sequence, the family drives across the infamous red-orange Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The mile-long bridge connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean and delights wanderers with a spectacular view.
11. The Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, California
When visiting L.A., be sure to look for the Hollywood sign. Just do it. Even if you aren’t starstruck by the experience, it feels great to say you’ve witnessed the white sign in real-time. You can hike to the Hollywood sign for pictures and an instant shot at stardom, or you can sit back and observe the glory from Griffith Observatory.
12. Mount Fuji, Honshu, Japan
This Japanese volcano is the tallest point in Japan. It opens up space for spiritual people to practice various spiritual ceremonies, as the monumental natural feature is considered a sacred mountain. The volcano is active, but the last eruption took place in the 1700s.
13. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Are there any Art Deco fans out there? The visual arts design, not the Lana Del Rey song. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has the tallest Art Deco statue in the world, Christ the Redeemer. This soapstone and granite monolith stands with open arms atop Tijuca National Park.
14. Iguazú Falls, Misiones Province, Argentina
Forget Niagara Falls because Argentina tops the waterfall competition with Iguazu Falls. This epic waterfall is twice the height of Niagara Falls, three times as wide, and the breathtaking natural wonder comprises 275 cascades. The mesmerizing world record will entrance even the most critical tourists.
15. Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
This one is for hikers. The visually striking Antelope Canyon comes straight from a science fiction novel. The Arizona sandstone slot canyon features red and orange wavy rock walls and bright red sand contributing to the otherworldly lighting penetrating the ravine.
16. Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona
Here’s another ethereal landmark. This small section of the Grand Canyon stretches into Page, Arizona. Due to thousands of years of erosion, the layout of the river formed a natural horseshoe shape, encircling the rock. Luckily for tourists, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are 12 minutes away from each other.
17. Mount Rushmore, Black Hills, South Dakota
Whether or not you are a fan of American Presidents, witnessing their faces carved into the side of a mountain can be awe-inspiring. This South Dakota sight features Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt’s granite heads 60 feet above the ground.
18. Niagara Falls, New York
Here we have the North American version of Iguazu Falls. Although Niagara Falls is smaller than the Argentinian Falls, Niagara Falls fascinates visitors with its charm. The waterfall extends between Canada and the U.S. (many believe the Canadian side is better). The best attraction besides seeing the majestical waterfall is to see the streams up close. Embark on the Maid of the Mist tour boat for a chance to get as close as possible to the falls.
19. The Northern Lights, Iceland, Norway, Canada
Auroras Borealis (The Northern Lights) form when electrons and protons merge, exploding into dancing green lights. The Northern Lights appear in locations with little noise and even less light. Places such as Alaska, Iceland, Norway, Canada, Finland, and Maine all have reports of spotting the Northern Lights.
20. Notre-Dame de Paris, Paris, France
Although the medieval Parisian Catholic Cathedral continues to shutter its doors after a destructive fire destroyed some of the architecture in 2019, you can still visit the outside of the French Gothic space for pictures. The moment to the Virgin Mary displays French Gothic architecture.
21. The Catacombs, Paris, France
Many believe the Catacombs of Paris are the best part of visiting the French capital. The underground burial tunnels expand over 180 miles, but only one mile is available for public tours. Around six million people are laid to rest in the sacred catacombs. Fun fact: the only movie ever filmed in The Catacombs is the 2014 horror flick, As Above, So Below.
22. Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy
The oldest bridge in Venice, the Rialto Bridge, has been rebuilt several times before being transformed into a popular tourist destination. The stone arch crosses over the Venice Canal, perfect for a romantic outing or a casual stroll, and the best place for a photo shoot.
23. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Italy
Michelangelo famously painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on his back, sustaining injuries after a fall from his perch. The gorgeous rectangular, Renaissance-styled place of worship doubles as the Pope’s official home in Vatican City. The beauteous design features arched windows and a barrel-vaulted ceiling appealing to architecture appreciators.
24. Times Square, New York City, New York
Although locals tend to avoid this tourist trap, visiting Times Square inspires your inner child. Watching thousands of blaring advertisements funnel into the main walkway creates a sense of awe. Plus, seeing the most well-known stores in New York City concentrated in one area will surely delight the shopaholics.
25. Machu Picchu, Peru
To get to Machu Picchu, I took a bus from my hotel to a train station, then boarded a bus to the top of the mountain. Although it took about six hours to get to the starting point and receive my passport stamp, the journey paralleled nothing else I’d experienced. Goats roam freely through the ancient stone structures, green encircles you in every direction, and the fog rolls through without care, further enhancing the mysticism of this Peruvian delight.
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