Updated: Apr 3
EIFFEL TOWER – France
Right, so raise your hand if you have never heard of the Eiffel Tower. No hands? The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located in Paris, France. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticized by some for its design, but has since become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Standing at 324 meters (1,063 ft) it is the most-visited paid monument in the world, and held the title of world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years.
STATUE of LIBERTY – USA
I was somewhat on the fence about this one, but I get it. Truly iconic, and a must see for just about anyone travelling to the US…it was the first thing many saw immigrated to the US by ship as symbol of the country that was to be their new home. Located in New York City harbor, given as a gift from the people of France, it was completed in 1886. Made entirely of copper, the statue stands 151 feet tall, or 305 feet if measured from ground level to the top of the torch, Lady Liberty represents freedom, with the date of American Independence inscribed on her tablet.
BURJ KHALIFA – United Arab Emirates
Standing high above Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, the Burj Khalifa holds several impressive records, including the following:
• Tallest building in the world
• Tallest free-standing structure in the world
• Highest occupied floor in the world
• Most stories in the world
• Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
• Longest elevator in the world by travel distance
Construction on this massive building began in 2004 and was completed in 2009, and not only holds these rather impressive records…for now…but is an engineering marvel and worth taking in from the ground as well.
CHRIST the REDEEMER – Brazil
The statue of Christ the Redeemer stands atop the mountain of Corcovado overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue itself is 100 ft (30 meters) high, on a 26 ft (8 meter) pedestal, which has a small chapel within…with the 2,300 ft (700 meter) high mountain beneath. As one of the most iconic symbols of modern Christianity in the world, it receives millions of visitors each year, which can cause somewhat of a bottleneck at its base. However, once there, the views of Rio below are outstanding.
NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE – Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle…often referred to as the “Cinderella Castle” for apparent reasons…sits above a rough hill in the far southwest corner of Bavaria, Germany. Construction of the castle began in 1869 under the reign of “Mad” King Ludwig, and although was never fully completed, it is rather hard to have any indication of this when visiting the castle. Outside of all the castle has to offer as you walk through, as it is set in the foothills of the Alps, the views of the mountains to the south are extraordinary, as is the view looking north across the valleys and hills of Bavaria. The 1 ½ hr drive from Munich is certainly worth it.
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE – Australia
With all Sydney has to offer, the Opera House will always be its most renown landmark. The Opera House juts out into Sydney Harbor, just east of the iconic Sydney Harbor. Noted for its unique white sail-shaped shells, it is probably one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, a few years late due to several cost and project overruns, the Opera House seats 2,679 in its main concert hall and was named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2007. Not to be missed, with great views to be had from any angle...and even better from the ferry to Manly.
BIG BEN – England
Although Big Ben is actually the massive 13 ton bell sitting within the clock tower, most tend to view Big Ben as the complete tower itself. The Big Ben tower sits along the Thames River in London, at the north end of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The tower (Elizabeth Tower) stands at more than 315 ft (96 m) and takes 334 steps to climb to the belfry and another 399 steps to Ayrton Light at the very top of the Tower. Big Ben first rang across London in 1859, and has been an iconic and picturesque part of the city ever since.
PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS – Malaysia
At the time these twin towers were completed in 1998, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were deemed the tallest buildings on the face of the Earth, standing at 452 meters (nearly 1500 ft). A somewhat unique structure and design within itself with its steel and glass frame, what differentiates these towers is the somewhat iconic walking bridge that connects them on the 41st and 42nd floors, and for those who want an even better view, take in the observation deck on the 86th floor. Well worth a stroll around the adjacent grounds as well or a walk through the KLCC mall at its base.
SAGRADA FAMILIA – Spain
Yes, I know this Wonder is (still) not yet complete…but it is awesome, and easily makes this top ten list. Originally designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, the Sagrada Família is now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is truly no other church built like this one, it is truly an extraordinary interpretation of modern Gothic architecture. While the exterior is a work of art within itself, the interior tends to leave one speechless. A trip to the basement can also show a visitor the construction still underway.
HOOVER DAM – USA
Hoover Dam, named after a former president of the United States sits, the Hoover Dams is located in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, at the Arizona-Nevada border. Constructed between 1930 and 1936, it is the highest concrete arch dam in the United States. It backs to Lake Mead, which extends for 115 miles (and shrinking) upstream making it one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. At the time it was built, the dam was truly an engineering marvel. Standing at over 60 stories high it was the highest dam in the world when it was created. Even today, truly an awesome site to behold, and well worth the short drive from Las Vegas.