There are some sights that you just have to see with your own eyes. In the last week, TripAdvisor announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice Awards for landmarks in 2015, revealing the top 25 attractions in the world as voted by travelers. So, lets reveal the best “WOW” landmarks that will leave you in awe:
25. Panama Canal
This 77km long ship canal connecting the Atlantic ocean with the Pacific ocean is often hailed as one of the most impressive engineering marvels in the world and one which forever transformed global trade and transportation. Panama itself is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world, so be sure to book a cruise that traverses the Panama Canal if you visit. (Image via Wiki Commons)
24. Petronas Twin Towers
A highlight of any trip to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, has got to be a visit to the towering Petronas Twin Towers that reach 452 m into the air. Only 1,700 people are permitted to visit daily and if you’d like to visit, be sure to score one of the tourist passes that will allow you into this astonishing monument. (Image via Wikicommons)
23. Sydney Opera House
Australia’s most recognisable structure, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera house is a cultural centre that simply cannot be missed on a visit to Australia. Perched on the edge of the harbour and framed by the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, this famous site is a masterpiece of architecture and design.
Read up on ‘How to do 48 hours in Sydney’ here.
22. Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is a sacred, ancient Mayan city that thrived for approximately 600 years from around 600 CE when power shifted in the region. Today, Chichen Itza is Mexico’s most visited archeological site, receiving over 1.2 million visitors per year. Considered one of the classic wonders of the world, Chichen Itza is the most impressive and intact Mayan ruin in the world. (Image via Wiki Commons)
21. Wat Pho
Most travellers know Wat Pho in Bangkok as being the home to the enormous, reclining Buddha, the largest in all of Thailand (46 m long and 15 m high). Covered in gold leaf with eyes and feet inlaid with mother of pearl, it truly is a spectacular sight to behold. Wat Pho also contains the largest collection of Buddhist images out of anywhere else in the country. (Image via Wiki Commons)
20. The National September 11 Memorial
The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honour to the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives in the infamous terror attacks on September 11, 2001. Ten years after the attacks, the National September 11 Memorial was opened to the public in the very spot that the twin towers once stood. Paying your respects at this site is truly a moving experience.
19. Burj Khalifa
The tallest man-made structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa soars an incredible 828 m into the heavens. The stepped design of the building narrows in width as it rises, giving it a unique look. Ride the elevator to the 124th-floor observation deck for jaw-dropping views over Dubai and the Arabian Gulf.
If it’s your first time travelling to Dubai, read up on ‘Your first time in Dubai — what you need to know before you go to Dubai’.
18. Lincoln Memorial
Commemorating the life of President Abraham Lincoln, the Lincoln Memorial is located in Washington D.C and is regarded as one of America’s most important national monuments. Abraham Lincoln is perhaps most remembered by his condemnation of slavery, which paved the way for its abolition. On the steps of this very monument is also the place where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. (Image via Wiki Commons)
17. Great Wall at Mutianyu
This section of the Great Wall of China, located 56 km northeast of Beijing, is a masterpiece of restoration and is the longest fully-restored section of the wall open to tourists. This section of the wall is more spectacular and less crowded compared to the sections closer to Beijing. The site at Mutianyu offers unforgettable views of 22 watchtowers winding their way through the forested hilltops. (Image via Wiki Commons)
16. Charles Bridge
There’s no denying that Prague is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. The 14th century, gothic Charles Bridge connects the Old Town with the Castle district and is one of the most impressive and beautiful medieval structures in the city. From the Charles Bridge, visitors can enjoy fairytale views of Prague, while the 30 baroque statues of saints watch over from above. Dawn and dusk are the most magical times to visit the bridge, as the skyline lights up in a brilliant range colours.
If you’re planning a trip to Prague, here are some tips on how to spend ‘3 days in Prague’.
15. Hagia Sophia
One of the most famous religious monuments in the world, it is no surprise that the Hagia Sophia made it onto this list. Constructed as a church in the 6th century, the Hagia Sophia became the greatest church in all of the Eastern Roman Empire. After the Ottoman conquest, it was transformed into a mosque and remained so until it was converted into a museum in the 1930s. It’s impossible to visit Istanbul without spending some time at a structure with such a colourful history.
To help with your trip planning, here’s a list of ‘5 must see sites in Istanbul’.
14. The Alhambra
The Alhambra in Granada is Spain’s most celebrated architectural treasure. Moorish poets described it as a ‘pearl set in emeralds’, referring to the natural beauty of both the site and its surrounds. This sprawling citadel was built by the Moors in the 13th century against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The majesty of Alhambra has long enchanted visitors to Spain, who flock to it in droves especially in the summer months to explore the complex and its magnificent gardens. (Image via Wiki Commons)
13. Notre Dame Cathedral
One of the most famous cathedrals in the world, the Notre Dame is a gothic masterpiece, located on the Île de la Cité island in the heart of Paris. The cathedral’s expansive interior can accommodate over 6,000 people and is dominated by an extraordinary 7,800-pipe organ. Be sure to climb to the top of the tower for spectacular views over Paris as well as close-ups of the famous gargoyles.
To discover the true beauty of Paris, be sure to read up on ‘Hidden Paris: the best secret spots in Paris’ before you go!
12. Church of the Savior on Blood
One of the most iconic sights in St. Petersburg, the multicoloured façade of the Church of the Savior on Blood is well-known throughout the world. Constructed on the very spot where Tsar Alexander II was killed in 1881, the church’s name commemorates this notorious event. The beautiful interior features more than 7,500 square metres of mosaic tiling and was designed by some of Russia’s most eminent artists of the era (Image via Saint-Petersburg.com).
11. Eiffel Tower
Unquestionably the defining monument of Paris, the elegant Eiffel Tower is the world’s most visited paid attraction. Designed and constructed for the 1889 World Fair, the tower was almost universally hated by the French when it was first built. Since then, it has transformed into the national symbol of France and it’s hard to imagine the country without it. Pre-book tickets online to avoid lengthy queues.
To help you plan your perfect trip to Paris, read: ‘You can’t go to Paris and not see these 20 must see Paris attractions’.
10. Golden Gate Bridge
Once described as ‘the bridge that couldn’t be built’, this incredible bridge has become the undisputed icon of San Francisco and one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Crossing the strait of the Golden Gate and spanning over 2.7 kilometres, a walk, ride or drive across one of the world’s most famous bridges is an unforgettable experience.
Here are some tips on how to spend ’48 hours in San Francisco’.
9. Christo Redentor
The all-seeing Christo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) in Rio de Janeiro casts a watchful gaze over Brazil’s second largest city. This statue of Jesus is the largest art-deco statue in the world and is 39 m tall, with an outreached arm span of 30 m. Standing atop Corcovado, 700 m above the city, the views from Christo Redentor across the seaside settlement are astounding. (Image via Wiki Commons)
Once an intimidating maximum-security prison, ‘the rock’ has famously housed the likes of crime-boss Al Capone and kidnapper George Kelly. Located in the San Francisco bay, 2.4 km offshore, Alcatraz is no longer a penitentiary but is open to visitors for tours.
7. Milan Cathedral
The elaborate, gothic Milan Cathedral is one of the most famous buildings in all of Europe and is the largest gothic cathedral and second largest Catholic cathedral in the world. Few churches in Italy took as long to construct as this one did. An incredible 3,400 statues decorate the duomo. Climb the stairs or take the elevator to fully appreciate the stunning architecture and for breathtaking views of Milan.
Discover ‘What not to miss in Milan’ before you go yourself.
6. St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica, is the centre of Christianity and the world’s largest church. The structure is imposing and the enormous dome is recognisable all the way across Rome. Taking over a hundred years to build by Italy’s greatest architects of the time, a walk through the awe-inspiring interior to view the magnificent artwork and opulent decorations is essential during any trip to Rome.
To help prepare for your trip, read this post on ‘You can’t go to Rome and not see these 20 must see Rome attractions’.
5. La Sagrada Familia
This giant, unfinished church, a vision of Antoni Gaudí, has been a unique fixture in Barcelona since construction began in 1882. Although it is still a work in progress, the design of the structure is exceptionally intricate. Not surprisingly, tourists flock to Barcelona’s number one tourist attraction year round. Be sure to take the time to visit the interior of the church as well — it is like nothing you have ever seen before! (Image via Wiki Commons)
4. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This colossal, gleaming white structure, located in Abu Dhabi, is an architectural marvel and is one of the world’s largest mosques, with the ability to accommodate an astounding 40,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over 1,000 columns and some of the world’s largest chandeliers. No visit to the United Arab Emirates would be complete without a visit to this grand structure.
To help you plan your visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, read these tips on ‘A quick guide to visiting the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi’.
3. Taj Mahal
One of the world’s most iconic landmarks and one of the new seven wonders of the world, there is perhaps no structure of greater beauty than the Taj Mahal. This immense mausoleum was built in the 17th century by the emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his favourite wife. The perfect symmetry, the white crystalline marble and the intricate carvings make this one of the most photographed landmarks in the world and definitely one that should be on your bucket list to see for yourself.
Here are ’10 reasons why you need to travel to India this year’ to help inspire your trip!
2. Machu Picchu
The lost city of Machu Picchu is UNESCO World Heritage-listed and the world’s best known archeological site, with many travellers being drawn to Peru in order to behold it in all its glory. Machu Picchu has never revealed all of its mysteries, which makes it even more enthralling to visitors as they are transported back to the times of the Incas. Trek the legendary Inca Trail to reach it or take a train from Cusco for easier access.
Read some important WOW tips before visiting this site here: ‘Before you go to Machu Picchu, here’s 10 things you need to know’.
1. Angkor Wat
Topping the list of the best landmarks to visit in 2015 is Angkor Wat, the mysterious lost city of the Khmer empire. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest religious complex in the world and is a true wonder. The complex stretches for over 400 km in total just outside of Siem Reap in Cambodia and experts are still unsure exactly as to why this capital was mysteriously abandoned in the 15th century. You can purchase a “Temple Pass” for either one, three or seven days, which allows you to explore as much of the complex as you wish.
WOW recently visited this incredible site. Read more about ‘Visiting the Angkor Wat Temples’ here.