Behold the most unique and fascinating landmarks, buildings, structures, and places in the world.
This is not the full list, obviously, but it’s a good starting point to plan your next trip. This list has no particular order, so read, view the pictures, and enjoy the ride!
Statue of Liberty
The most iconic American monument, The Statue of Liberty, is a must-visit destination for every traveler in the world.
Fully completed in 1886, The Statue of Liberty became a welcoming landmark, and the sign of hope for immigrants arriving in the U.S.
Statue of Liberty is almost always full of tourists, so buy tickets in advance. You have to hop on a ferry from Battery Park or New Jersey to land on Liberty Island. Plan to spend about 3 hours (6 hours if you also want to stop at Ellis Island).
If you wish to see The Statue of Liberty from the outside, you can book any New York City sightseeing cruise or a helicopter ride ($199 + $35 heliport fee per person, as of 2020).
The most romantic landmark in the world makes you think about Paris in bloom, crisp French croissants, and tender days and nights with your loved one.
Enjoy the incredible panoramic views of Paris during the day from the tower, or see the tower golden lights sparkling for 5 minutes every hour till 1 am.
Champ-de-Mars garden at the foot of the monument is an ideal place for a picnic with a beautiful complimentary view of the tower.
A lot of people think Big Ben is the name of the tower with a clock, but Big Ben is the name of the Great Bell you hear.
They called the tower Clock Tower till 2012 but renamed it to Elizabeth Tower.
To get a better feel for this imposing structure, stay near the fence under the tower with your head up. The sound and view are incredible.
Kremlin is enormous.
Most tourists think about Red Square, but Kremlin is much more than that. The thing is a freaking bunch of museums, cathedrals, squares, fascinating objects like Tsar Bell, and over 800 cannons (including an enormous Tsar Cannon).
In Armory Chamber, you will find a collection of Russian state regalia (expensive things from 12th and 13th centuries) and about 8,000 arms and armor items.
If you like museums, Kremlin is a real gem.
Notre-Dame de Paris
You can’t visit Notre-Dame today (as of 2020), unfortunately.
If you haven’t been living under a rock the last few years, you know it was severely damaged by fire. Another brutal reminder of why you should follow your dreams/plans on time.
A swarm of local street guides will hammer you with offers to see Gaudi creations the moment you hit the central streets of Barcelona. You can accept an offer, but, frankly, if the weather is good, visit the most famous on foot. They are not that much far away from each other.
When you stand in front of any Gaudi building, your imagination runs wild. You expect that some fantastic creature shows up and peek at you from the open window. These… erm… structures are really unique and look like they are from an old fairy tale.
Kuala Lumpur Skyscrapers
Kuala Lumpur skyline is impressive. If you’re visiting for the first time, go to Petronas Towers (one and two). They look especially magical at night.
Other skyscrapers are decent too.
Golden Gate Bridge
Show me a person who doesn’t know a look of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
This most photographed suspension bridge in the world was opened in 1937 (it was the largest such bridge back then).
You see a fantastic view of the bridge from Alcatraz island (which is an amusing landmark by itself, tours are widely available multiple times a day). Other options include looking at the bridge from Marin Headlands, where the views make you breathless and excited.
Sydney Opera House
This highly distinctive structure is the main symbol of Sydney.
The easiest way to explore the building to buy a guided tour. For some mysterious reasons, you can’t take pictures and shoot videos inside.
The venue has a status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It additionally houses a dozen cafes, restaurants, retail outlets, and a recording studio. To view the building from a harbor, you can book a sightseeing cruise.
If you’re into museums, you’ll appreciate Windsor Castle. They host a fascinating exhibition, rich with old artifacts, weapons, clothing, and significant historical objects (like a bullet that killed Lord Nelson, for example).
The Queen is visiting the castle sometimes, and if you see a Royal Standard flag flies above when The Queen is in Windsor.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Seeing people in strange poses making selfies nearby the Tower of Pisa is what you can expect these days.
Pisa Cathedral and Pisa Baptistery standing nearby are not less impressive structures, also.
The tower is stable for now (at least for 200 years, as the engineers claim), but it still keeps its charming tilt.
Climb up the tower and see what the fuss is all about (you can buy tickets on-site, you can’t bring children under 8, unfortunately).
Great Sphinx of Giza
This guy with a damaged face is one of the oldest statues in the world. He looks towards the East for the last 4600 years or so.
Yes, he’s that old.
Made from limestone, the Spinx is regularly beaten by wind, sand, and rain, so he accumulated some damage during his long life.
Visit by booking a tour (includes the Giza pyramid complex) from Cairo or any tourist destination like Dahab, Hurghada, or Sharm El-Sheikh.
Giza Pyramid Complex
The great pyramids have occupied the minds of people for a long, long time. Countless movies and books are dedicated to this wonder of the world.
The previous monument we discussed (Sphinx) stands nearby the pyramids.
Yes, they allow you to get inside a few pyramids. Expect hot and humid trip (they didn’t have air conditioning in ancient Egypt, unfortunately) with tiny inner passages that don’t play well with claustrophobic persons.
Climbing is not allowed, but if you’re in an adventurous mood and don’t mind damaging historical structures, you can try to bribe guards near the remote pyramids (they usually comply).
Great Wall of China
Spanning whopping 13,000 miles, The Great Wall of China is an astonishing structure and a significant reminder of long-gone Chinese dynasties (especially the Ming dynasty).
This defense structure now acts as a major tourist destination. It’s a must-see if you’re visiting China.
Summertime and winter are not the best seasons to visit if you don’t want to suffer from the scorching heat or freezing cold. Blooming spring and golden fall are perfect seasons for your tour.
Don’t book a regular tour. It’s a mess. Book a private tour that is pretty civilized.
The nearest sections from Beijing were renovated and have many restaurants and even a bunch of hotels if you want to experience The Great Wall at night, or exhausted from a hike.
One of the symbols of India’s history, the Taj Mahal complex, is an enormous and beautiful place to visit.
If you don’t want to fry while devouring the views, consider the colder months of October, November, and February to plan your trip. Although, in the winter months too much fog obscuring the views and you may want to choose the time from March to June, during the morning hours. The garden is much more impressive in spring, obviously.
Don’t bring large bags and prepare to leave your chargers, tripods, cigarettes, and food in a locker room. You only allowed carrying your phone, camera, and a bottle of water (included with your ticket purchase).
Now, the guided tour is the way to go if you can pay extra (choose government-approved tour guides).
Christ the Redeemer
This 124ft-high statue (with the pedestal) is a cultural icon of Brazil overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro.
To enjoy the panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas, go there in the morning when it’s clear.
You can get to the statue using a taxi.
But the better options are: taking a train from a base of Corcovado mountain to a car park, and then by van to the top of the mountain (combined tickets are available), or go from Parque Lage in Jardim Botanico by foot. The hike is not easy, but rewarding with beautiful waterfalls and nature around while you hike.
Bring in your own food. The cafes around the statue have ridiculous prices and not that good.
Every Muslim knows what Mecca is.
It is the holiest city in Islam.
Unfortunately, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the city.
The most known landmark in Mecca is Al-Haram Mosque. It hosts Kaaba – a cuboid structure made from granite with The Black Stone (a meteorite).
This interesting abbey in Normandy, France, sits right in the ocean (0.6 miles into water).
In the past, you weren’t able to get on the island during high tide, so they used it as a prison. Now it has a new bridge and accessible 24/7. You can use a free shuttle to get across the bridge.
However, the best option is to book a hotel on the island and spend a day to explore the area (you need a paper from your hotel to cross the bridge in your own car).
The illumination of the abbey after dark is stunning and is better seen from the mainland.
This monument in Berlin is one of the most known landmarks of Germany.
Now it serves as a symbol of reunification and peace (the gate was closed until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989).
To visit it – basically, visit Berlin, nothing fancy is required.
Acropolis of Athens
This ancient citadel rising above the city of Athens is a trendy tourist destination.
Parthenon is the most famous building there instantly recognized by many people.
Tip: use a side-entrance to buy your tickets and enter the site to avoid long lines at the main entrance.
Consider comfy shoes and clothing (and it can be hot outside – protect your head) since you’ll be climbing ladders and walking through messy areas with a lot of stones.
Uluru (Ayers Rock)
This famous Australian structure, also known as Ayers Rock, takes space in the middle of nowhere.
The best time to catch awesome red glowing colors of the rock is at sunset and dawn.
They have the parking lot for the best viewing experience if you’re visiting by car.
The government banned rock climbing as of October 2019.
There are plenty of tours available, including aboriginal tours, camel tours, and private tours.
Fujiyama is the highest volcano in Japan and the place of pilgrimage for centuries.
With a dozen shrines and other interesting sites, Fuji attracts tons of tourists from the West and East.
Local infrastructure boasts an airport (within 50 miles), buses, mountain huts (aka mini-hotels), paragliding, summit guides, regular hotels with breathtaking views, and even a capsule hotel (Capsule inn Fujisan).
Climbing is open from July 1 to September 10.
People buried their dead for more than 5000 years on the site where Stonehenge is located.
This prehistoric monument is a British cultural icon.
To get spooky vibes, visit the place at night (book a tour online). You can get there from Salisbury by tour bus, car, or even bicycle.
Buy tickets online a few months in advance, the site is usually booked solid, and it’s no easy feat to get those tickets.
Famous for its thousand statues (moai), Easter Island is one of the remotest islands in the world. However, it has its own airport and easily accessible by jet from Chile.
The other option is a cruise (but it’s more expensive, apparently).
The island is a pretty civilized place with hotels, car rental services, restaurants, and other usual things you’d expect.
If you like beaches and stuff the fun begins in December. Expect high humidity and hot weather.
Most people picture the United States Capitol building when they hear about Capitol Hill. Actually, Capitol Hill is a district in Washington, D.C.
Capitol Visitor Center offers tourists a food court, restrooms, guided tours, and additional exhibits (like a model of the Capitol dome).
If you have a day, it’s well worth to visit a surrounding area that includes the Library of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Botanic Garden.
This Hindu temple complex in Cambodia looks like aliens from another planet built it somehow.
If you plan to get your dose of fantastic views, prepare to: Have a photo identification document with you. Pay with cash (U.S. dollars). Have a plastic bag to keep your documents and ticket safe (rain and moisture damage paper fast).
And bring water with you, of course.
St. Peter’s Basilica
When you think about the Pope, you think about this church.
Hey, they choose the next Pope here!
The basilica’s dome is one of the largest in the world and dominates Rome’s skyline.
The home of many famous artworks and spectacular interior the basilica won’t leave you indifferent.
St. Peter’s Square (Piazza) in front of the basilica is a beautiful place, too.
You can visit the church for free (expect uber-long lines), but audio guides and admission to other areas cost extra money (like climbing the dome).
Don’t forget about the strict dress code (no shorts, covered shoulders, and skirts covering the knees for women).
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
On the outskirts of South Dakota stands Mount Rushmore with the nation’s most respected early presidents carved into the granite face of the mountain.
Created to promote tourism in the area, the mountain hit the target, attracting almost two million visitors per year.
It all starts with Avenue of Flags, where 56 flags of U.S. states and territories welcome you on the path to the mountain. After the walk, you can see the mountain in full glory from the Grand View Terrace.
Under the terrace, you will find the Visitor Center (free) that offers you interactive exhibits.
The next step is to hike on the Presidential Trail starting from the terrace. It’s an easy hike, even children and seniors can complete it.
Now, to get to Mount Rushmore, the best option is renting a car at Rapid City Regional Airport (or use your own car, if it’s your cup of coffee). You also can join a guided day tour right at the airport.
As for other activities, the area swarms with national parks with stunning nature and views. At least visit some while you are there.
The vast red open spaces of Grand Canyon make you stop in awe and hungrily look around, appreciating the view.
Colorado River did its work cutting through the mountains and leaving us such a beautiful place.
The South Rim of the canyon allows year-round visits, the North Rim is accessible from mid-May to mid-October.
As for activities, you can hike, ride on a mule, raft, skydive, or book a Grand Canyon helicopter tour (highly recommended). Camping is possible in the area with a permit from the Backcountry Office.
The view of the Al Khazneh structure implanted in the mountain leaves a surreal feeling that you are a part of some mysterious fantasy.
But it all starts earlier when you walk through a narrow passage (known as Siq) to reach the city.
As the flow of tourists grew, they build a bunch of hotels around (from simple ones to 5-star top-notch resorts).
You can get there from Amman’s airport (where guided tours also available) or booking a tour from many other tourist locations like Egypt and Israel.
Located within the central Beijing, Forbidden City (a palace complex) was the home of emperors for a long time. Now it’s a big fat museum that you can’t afford not to visit.
And it’s huge. It pays to spend a few days exploring the area and gardens around.
Take a passport with you to buy tickets (new rules), and get yourself something to drink and eat (it’s extremely expensive inside).
Get in through the Southern Gate via Tiananmen Square or Zhongshan Park (less crowded route).
You will have a feeling that the smell of blood is still in the air when you get into the Colosseum.
Some strange fear is slowly rising inside you when you tour the structure.
As of 2010, all the passageways under the structure are opened to the public.
Buy your tickets online, because it’s hard to get tickets on-site. Also, if you can, book a guided tour to get into the dungeons and upper tiers that you can’t visit with a regular ticket.
This unique bridge is free to access for cars and pedestrians but to walk on the upper deck (Tower Bridge Exhibition), you have to pay.
Today, the bridge is especially beautiful at night, with stunning LED lighting. If you’re visiting London – this is the must-see.
The Blue Mosque
No visit to Istanbul is complete without seeing the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque).
Don’t forget about a strict dress code. However, the mosque provides the right clothes for free if you forgot to dress appropriately.
Be quiet and leave your shoes in a plastic bag (free). You can take pictures of the interior, but turn off the flash.
Friday is a short day (the mosque opened from 2:30 pm).
Generally speaking, you have no problem where to stay in Istanbul. And try as much food as possible. It’s incredible!
Empire State Building
With its observation decks, the Empire State Building is a long-time popular place to visit in Big Apple. The panoramic views of New York will take your breath away.
To avoid crowds, you can buy Express Pass online to skip the lines.
The building is opened till 2 am, so you have a chance to see the city lights in full glory.
You can eat and drink in a lobby. No food is available at observation decks.
The spirit of entertainment and luxury fills you when you look at Hollywood Sign (especially when it’s sunny). Warm California weather whispers to take a walk to Sunset Blvd hopping from bar to bar and enjoying life.
You can hike to the sign from the Bronson Canyon entrance to Griffith Park or from Griffith Observatory.
Please note that the place doesn’t have any infrastructure around. And the nearest residential areas prohibited parking because they became annoyed by thousands of tourists visiting the sign every day. Consider Griffith Park’s observation points as an alternative.
This fine attraction is a perfect way to enjoy the panoramic views of London.
If you don’t like to stay in the long regular line, they have a premium “fast-track” access (but obviously it’s more expensive).
Inside a passenger capsule, you will find monitors with audio and video guides. But the capsule carries up to 25 people, so the use of the guides is problematic when everyone is talking around.
The wheel moves very slow, so you have all the time to make some great pictures of London.
Arc de Triomphe
This monument in Paris, France, is dedicated to fallen who fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
The Arc has a lift that takes you to a small museum, and you also can climb farther to the top (the terrasse) to see Paris from the Arc.
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
This sail-like building on an island in Dubai, U.A.E., is one of the tallest hotels in the world.
It features two luxury restaurants. The first (Al Muntaha) is high in the sky, providing excellent views of Dubai. The second (Al Mahara) disguised as a submarine and features a large seawater aquarium.
The hotel’s interior and exterior screams luxury and wealth. It has the most expensive hotel suites in the world (up to $22,000 a night).
White House seeds respect and reverence in the souls of Americans and foreigners alike.
The official residence and workplace of the president of the United States, it offers tours, but you have to submit your request at least 21 days in advance. For U.S. citizens – contact your member of Congress, for international visitors – contact your country’s embassy in Washington, D.C.