Here’s a look at ten monuments you must see (at least!) once in a lifetime.
From ancient ruins to medieval villages to soaring new skyscrapers and everything in between, it seems like our travel bucket lists just keep getting longer. It seems like each time we manage to cross off one place, we add at least three more, and keeping this in order can be a challenge!
In case you need some help deciding your next adventure, we have compiled this list of ten iconic landmarks everyone should see once in a lifetime.
One of the world’s most famous monuments, the Colosseum needs no introduction. Located in the heart of the Eternal City – a veritable open-air museum – adjacent to the Roman Forum, the ruins of this ancient amphitheater is a testament to the power of Imperial Rome. In 72 AD, Emperor Vespasian comissioned the construction of the colosseum, which could accommodate 55,000 spectators, and it took 10 years to complete. A symbol of modern Rome, the Colosseum is one of the world’s most visited attractions and will undoubtedly leave you in awe.
2. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Located on the Mediterranean, Barcelona’s dynamic atmosphere juxtaposes tradition and folklore with modernity. When you’re in town, discover (or rediscover!) La Sagrada Familia, iconic architect Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished cathedral designed in the Catalan modernism style. A true emblem of Barcelona, the cathedral is a living synthesis of Gaudi’s architectural knowledge, and can be interpreted as a mystical poem about the mysteries of faith. La Sagrada Familia receives more than three million visitors a year, so to avoid the long lines, get your tickets in advance.
La Sagrada Familia
3. Eiffel Tower, Paris
There’s no way we could have compiled a list of must-see monuments mentioning the Iron Lady?! Built by Gustave Eiffel for the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was originally inteded as a temporary installation on the Champs de Mars. A true symbol of France, thousands of tourists rush to this steel giant’s feet everyday in hopes of visiting the top for a breathtaking view of Paris. In addition to being one of the world’s most visited monuments, it is also one of the most photographed. In fact, you can see check out some pics here shared by our Instagram community.
The Eiffel Tower
4. The Empire State Building, New York
From the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observatory, enjoy an unforgettable 360° view of the Big Apple. This art deco-style skyscraper has102 floors and is nearly 400 meters high, and is a must for anyone visiting New York…especially first-timers! The Empire State Building is open from 8.00am to 2.00am which gives you the opportunity to admire New York passing from day into night, watching it slowly but surely become illuminated lights up a thousands of lights.
The Empire State Building
5. The Berlin TV Tower, Berlin
Germany’s tallest building and the fourth tallest in Europe, the Berlin TV Tower is the world’s second most visited tower! Located in Berlin’s historic center in Alexanderplatz, the city’s emblematic square was East Germany’s first “beloved child” before becoming a symbol of the reunited German capital. The Berliner Fernsehturm measures 368 meters (1207 feet) at its summit, and features a panoramic restaurant where you can enjoy a romantic dinner with a sweeping city view. The restaurant rotates, letting patrons admire the city from all angles.
The Berlin TV Tower
6. The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica
The Vatican’s treasures are some of the world’s most popular and impressive. In the Apostolic Palace, contemplate the chambers of Raphael, famous for frescoes painted by the the iconic Renaissance artist and his workshop pupils. In the Sistine Chapel, you can admire Michelangelo’s famous frescoes including the Last Judgment and end your day in Saint Peter’s Basilica. There’s plenty more where these came from, and you can read more about what to see at the Vatican here.
Saint Peter’s Basilica
7. The Tower of London, London
A key player in England’s history, the Tower of London is a true emblem of the city. Built in 1066 on the river Thames, the tower’s many uses included a royal residence, prison, armory and menagerie. The Tower has been besieged several times, and continues to symbolize the power of the monarchy today as it’s been home to the Crown Jewels since the thirteenth-century reign of Henri III. During your visit to this must-see monument, you could continue exploring the many buildings and exhibitions of this former castle and fortress.
The Tower of London
8. The Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Yes, we mentioned some buildings and towers that offer stunning views of their cities, however Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is the tallest structure in the world! It reaches the 829 meters (2720 ft) of altitude and comprises 160 floors. Ride the world’s fastest elevators to experience the feeling of being 450 meters (1476 ft) above ground and climb the open-air terrace for a 360-degree city, ocean and desert panorama. The tower’s gigantic spire is nod to Dubai‘s reputation for ‘excess’.
The Burj Khalifa
9. The Alhambra, Granada
A testament to the Moorish presence in Spain, the Alhambra alone is worth a trip to Granada. Discover the history and art of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the world’s most prestigious monuments, and let its enchanting charm conquer you. Located on top of a hill, the Alhambra houses a fortress, castle, palace and gardens, and represents a dream made a reality by the successive kings of the Nasrid dynasty. Immerse yourself in a gentle romantic atmosphere, and explore the many treasures, myths and legends of Spain’s most visited monument.
10. The Castle of Neuschwanstein, Munich
Situated on the outskirts of Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale, standing on a hill nestled into a verdant wooded countryside. Tucked into the mountains, the castle reveals itself as you approach, it’s splendor and majesty rising above the picturesque German countryside. This seemingly enchanted Bavarian castle has even inspired Walt Disney.
The Castle of Neuschwanstein