No travel bucket list is complete without iconic landmarks including India’s Taj Mahal, Barcelona’s Sagarada Familia and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Whether you’re planning a travel adventure for 2019 or further ahead, these are the destinations everyone should aim to visit once in their lifetime…
Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia
One of the top landmarks everyone should visit is the masterpiece of Angkor Wat. The majestic structure is Cambodia’s most beloved and best-preserved temple. The 500-acre site is one of the largest religious monuments in the world and represents the architectural pinnacle of the Khmer Empire. It has remained a place of worship since its founding in the 12th century.
Machu Picchu – Machu Picchi, Peru
Located 8,000 ft high in the Andes, Peru’s famous lost city is one of the most famous and spectacular ruins in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most familiar symbols of the Incan Empire, and is guaranteed to thrill even the most well-travelled backpackers. Its sheer scale and audacity will require careful route planning.
Taj Mahal – Angra, India
Standing majestically on the banks of the River Yamuna, India’s national treasure is a symbol of love and romance. The Taj Mahal’s pure white marble, exquisite ornamentation and precious gemstones make it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. However, once you find out the love story behind its construction its beauty is given a new light. Its name was inspired by Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan’s beloved wife who died during childbirth of their 14th child, and the monument is a tomb that contains her body today.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
As well as the stunning courtyard, which features the largest marble mosaic in the world at 180,000 square feet, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque boasts four 350-ft tall minarets, which can be seen across the Abu Dhabi skyline and from each of the bridges joining Abu Dhabi to the mainland. The impressive mosque is one of a few that is open to tourists in the region.
Basilica of the Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain
Despite being approximately 11 years away from completion, the magnificent Sagrada Familia is one of the most visited sites in the world, considered to be the most visited monument in all of Spain and Barcelona’s most iconic landmark. Famous modernist architect Antoni Gaudi began construction of the basilica in 1882 and devoted much of his life to it until his death in 1926. Its completion is expected in 2026, 100 years after the architect’s death.
St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
Italy’s most spectacular cathedral is located within the Vatican and boasts many masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s Pietà, his soaring dome, and Bernini’s 29m-high baldachin over the papal altar. It remains one of the two largest churches in the world, and is admired for its Renaissance sculpture as well as its fusion of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The design, construction and decoration of St Peter’s involved more than five of the greatest architects in Italy.
Milan Cathedral (Duomo) – Milan, Italy
An exceptionally large and elaborate Gothic cathedral found in the main square of Milan, the Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world and its dazzling white facade is definitely worth a photograph – it took nearly six centuries to complete.
Alcatraz – San Francisco, California
Often referred to as The Rock, Alcatraz Island was home to a federal and military prison until 1963. During the 29 years it was in use, the prison – which is located offshore in the San Francisco Bay and 1.5 miles from San Francisco, California – was home to some of America’s most notorious prisoners. Today, the island and its lighthouse are open to visitors and are so popular that there can be a several day wait for tickets.
Corcovado – Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
At 98 ft tall, the giant statue of Jesus Christ towers above the vibrant Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro and earned itself a place in the top ten landmarks of 2015. Boasting spectacular views of the entire city, many tourists would argue that a round the world trip is not complete without a visit to the mountain.
Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, California
Once called “the bridge that couldn’t be built”, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is the city’s second entry in the top 10 and attracts between nine and ten million visitors every year. Known for its orange colour, the suspension bridge crosses from the city to the Marin headlands for nearly two miles – and has been linking the two since 1937.
Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain
Plaza de Espana is one of the most impressive buildings in Seville, and a must-see when visiting the city. Known as the “Venice of Seville”, tourists visit in their droves to see the grand Renaissance-style building, which has a 500-metre canal running along the perimeter that you can travel along by boat for a romantic experience.
Parliament, Budapest, Hungary
Previously named one of the top world landmarks by TripAdvisor, the Parliament building in Budapest wowed visitors due to its neo-Gothic architecture and imposing presence on the banks of the Danube River. Tourists can even book guided tours to explore within the beautiful building.