The world’s 50 most amazing wonders



Slide 1 of 51: Only one of the original seven wonders of the world remains, but there are many more awe-inspiring places that astound and delight us. From captivating ancient cities, medieval cathedrals and modern architectural gems, to biodiverse volcanic craters, thundering waterfalls and otherworldly ice forms, we pick 50 of the world’s incredible wonders.
Slide 2 of 51: Startlingly beautiful, this patchwork of lakes shimmers in varying shades of green, blue and turquoise. Connected by waterfalls and cascades, and surrounded by thick woodland and scenic trails, the 16 dazzling terraced lakes are a sight to behold. Halfway between Zagreb and Zadar, the national park has become one of Croatia’s top tourist destinations. See more stunning pictures of Europe's best national parks here.
Slide 3 of 51: Known as Greenland’s iceberg capital, the town of Ilulissat lies on the edge of the remarkable Ilulissat Icefjord and is fed by Sermeq Kujalleq (also known as the Jakobshavn Glacier or Ilulissat Glacier). Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the fjord is known for its astonishing icebergs, extraordinary ice sculptures, peaceful waters and being home to one of the world's most active glaciers. Its spectacular natural scenery typically draws adventurers from across the globe. 
Slide 4 of 51: Jutting out of the plains and forests of northeast Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is one of the country’s most spellbinding sights. It’s hard to imagine the imposing 656-foot (200m) rock fortress lay forgotten by the outside world until British historians rediscovered it in the 19th century. Built by the king Kashyapa I in the 5th century AD, its name means lion’s rock and the entrance is guarded by a pair of giant lion paws. With a mighty 1,200 steps to the top, the views across the pleasure gardens, jungle and beyond are entrancing. Discover the world's most beautiful ancient cities here.

Slide 5 of 51: For five centuries under the Ming and Qing dynasties, ordinary Chinese people were banned from even approaching the walls of the Imperial Palace, hence its better-known name. After becoming a museum in 1925, the UNESCO-listed site has welcomed visitors ever since. Spread over an impressive 250 acres, it’s a grand complex featuring well-preserved buildings. Inside, there are nearly 9,000 rooms containing objects and artifacts from thousands of years of Chinese history. 
Slide 6 of 51: The world's most famous wrought iron structure and symbol of Paris soars confidently above the elegant city. It's hard to believe that what's now one of the most photographed landmarks in the world was only meant to be a temporary structure when it opened for the World Exhibition in 1889. Many locals loathed the Eiffel Tower to begin with, but it's now one the most-visited monuments in the world, typically welcoming around seven million visitors each year. 
Slide 7 of 51: A true wonder of the modern age, the world's tallest building towers above the desert metropolis of Dubai. At a groundbreaking 2,717-feet high (828m), it has dwarfed the surrounding skyscrapers since it opened in 2010. The Burj lays claim to many other records too: being the tallest free-standing structure and having the most number of stories (160) in the world, among them. Its striking design was inspired by minarets and a desert flower while the inside is adorned with over 1,000 art pieces from both Middle Eastern and international artists.
Slide 8 of 51: Austria is awash with lavish gilded palaces that hint at a bygone era and none more so than the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. Designed by architect Fischer von Erlach, the Baroque masterpiece was the summer residence of the Habsburg emperors from the 18th century to 1918. With its intricately painted ceilings, priceless royal treasures and glittering crystal chandeliers, UNESCO added the palace and its grand gardens to its World Heritage List in 1996 and it's now Austria's most-visited attraction.
Slide 9 of 51: With soaring snow-capped mountains, dazzling waters and lush rainforest, the majesty of New Zealand's Fiordland National Park gives Norway some stiff competition. The jewel in this magical region in the island's southwest corner is Milford Sound, one of the 14 fiords that fringe the park, measuring up to 1,321 feet (400m) deep. Home to craggy peaks, tumbling cascades and forest-clad cliffs, Rudyard Kipling was onto something when he called Milford the "eighth wonder of the world”. Explore more of the last unspoiled places on Earth here.

Slide 10 of 51: One of America's most iconic structures, the Golden Gate Bridge is the world's most photogenic bridge. Construction on the ambitious project began in 1933 and took four years to complete, with significant loss of life among the workforce. Its 4,200-foot long (1,280m) suspension span made it the longest bridge in the world until 1964. Its characteristic International Orange color was chosen to ensure visibility in the notoriously foggy Bay Area. Various vista points across the bay provide magnificent views of the bridge. Explore the most impressive bridge in every state and DC here.
Slide 11 of 51: Reaching heights of up to 702 feet (214m), these towering cliffs on the west coast of Ireland are some of the tallest in Europe and definitely the most majestic. Stretching along nearly five miles (8km) of County Clare’s coastline against dramatic Irish skies and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the surreal sea stacks showcase some of the country’s most awe-inspiring scenery. 
Slide 12 of 51: This geological wonder that marks the border between New York in the US and Ontario in Canada is the world's most famous waterfall. While it's not the tallest or widest, Niagara Falls is a mightily impressive sight. It stands 167-foot-high (51m) with a water flow of 2,832 tons of water per second (during high season). In fact, it consists of three waterfalls on the Niagara River: Horseshoe Falls (or Canadian Falls), American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Its brilliant blue-green color is caused by salt and rock flour dissolving in the water. See more of America's most beautiful waterfalls here.
Slide 13 of 51: When it comes to natural beauty, Norway has been blessed with more than its fair share of spectacular landscapes including its myriad beguiling fjords. With its deep blue waters, tumbling waterfalls and vertiginous green slopes, the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord in western Norway is the most famously photogenic of them all. Framed by soaring mountains and dotted with craggy cliffs, Geirangerfjord measures up to 853 feet (260m) deep and is considered one of the most beautiful fjords in the world.
Slide 14 of 51: The Golden Temple is one of India's most holy and humbling sites, and among the world's most beautiful places of worship. The 16th-century gilded temple appears to float above the Amrit Sarovar (reflective pool), shimmering majestically in the holy water. Known as one of the most revered sacred sites for Sikhs, the temple’s inner sanctum houses the original copy of the holy book Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Typically, thousands of people make the pilgrimage to this extraordinary and surprisingly serene place of worship in Punjab each year. 

Slide 15 of 51: Ethereal Lake Titicaca is South America's largest lake and the highest navigable one in the world at 12,506 feet (3,812m) above sea level. Sat on the border between Peru and Bolivia, its startlingly blue waters are a truly spectacular sight against the bright sky and snow-capped Andes. The lake is incredibly sacred too: the ancient Incas believed it was the birthplace of the sun. Protected as part of the Titicaca Nature Reserve, the lake’s resident wildlife includes wild guinea pigs, Chilean pink flamingos and the Titicaca water frog. 
Slide 16 of 51: An absolute masterpiece of Russian Baroque architecture, Winter Palace is St Petersburg's most iconic building. The lavish former residence of the Tsars is now home to the Hermitage Museum, filled with incredible treasures and an impressive art collection. Sitting on the banks of the Neva River, several different palaces were built in the 18th century, but the gleaming building that sits here today was built by Baroque architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli from 1754–62. With over 1,000 intricately decorated rooms and halls, the palace is a magnificent sight.
Slide 17 of 51: Framed by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the Alhambra Palace is a Moorish masterpiece and one of Europe's most stunning monuments. Looming above the gorgeous Andalucian town of Granada, the Nasrid sultans ruled what was the last Spanish Muslim kingdom from this lavish royal palace for 250 years. They finally fell to Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile and it became a Christian Court in 1492. The sprawling complex is made up of three parts: the Casa Real (the royal palace), the Alcazaba (old fortress) and the dreamy summer palace Generalife. 
Slide 18 of 51: Lofty fells, lakes, tarns, forests and waterfalls, this spellbinding landscape in the northwest of England is arguably the country's most stunning and dramatic natural attraction. Its extraordinary beauty has captivated and inspired many renowned artists and literary greats including Romantic poet William Wordsworth and children's author Beatrix Potter. The UNESCO-listed Lake District National Park covers around 912-square-miles (2,362sq km) and is also home to Windermere, England’s longest lake. Discover more of the UK’s most stunning national parks here.
Slide 19 of 51: Known as Mosi-oa-Tunya ("the smoke that thunders") in the local language, this thundering curtain of water on the Zambia and Zimbabwe border is classed as the largest waterfall in the world, based on its width. At a whopping 5,604-foot-wide (1,708m) and 354-foot-long (108m), it's a striking reminder of the power of nature. There’s also Devil's Pool, a little pocket of water on the edge of the abyss and a popular swimming spot for thrill-seekers. See more incredible images of the beautiful and terrifying power of Mother Nature here.
Slide 20 of 51: It's hardly surprising that this surreal hexagonal rock formation on the coast of Antrim in Northern Ireland is steeped in magical legends. According to local legend, the causeway was built by Irish giant Finn McCool so he could cross over to Scotland to confront his rival Benandonner. However, scientists would argue that the 40,000 near-perfect basalt "steps" were caused by intense volcanic activity some 50 to 60 million years ago. Either way, there's no denying the unique beauty of Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover more of the most magical places on Earth here.
Slide 21 of 51: One of the largest churches in the word and the cradle of Catholicism, this impressive Renaissance church is an awe-inspiring sight whatever your religious persuasion. The centerpiece of the papal enclave of Vatican City, it's said to have been built upon the burial site of Saint Peter, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ and the first Pope. The Vatican's dazzling church is most famous for its riches including the world’s tallest dome, an Italian Renaissance masterpiece designed by Michelangelo. Take a look at the world's most beautiful ceilings here.
Slide 22 of 51: A symbol of freedom and a beacon of hope, the colossal torch-bearing figure that looms over New York Harbor is one of the world's most recognized statues. The copper structure was designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel as a gift to the United States from the people of France in 1886. Representing the Roman goddess Libertas, she holds a torch and a tablet inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence. At over 305-feet tall (93m), the Statue of Liberty is a striking feature of Manhattan's skyline. Discover more of America's most important landmarks here.
Slide 23 of 51: Japan's ancient capital, Kyoto, is a seriously stunning place to discover. A city of ornate temples, sacred shrines, well-preserved historic neighborhoods and classical gardens, it's home to some of the country's best cultural gems. It's especially alluring during the cherry blossom season in spring and when the fall leaves blaze. Some of the city's best attractions include the 11th-century Byodo-in Temple, the golden Kinkakuji Temple and the 1,300-year-old shrine Fushimi Inari Taisha. 
Slide 24 of 51: Located in Myanmar’s Mandalay region, the ancient city of Bagan is a former royal kingdom steeped in otherworldly beauty and history. An incredible number of temples, palaces, pagodas and monasteries lie cheek-by-jowl along the Irrawaddy River. In fact, Bagan has the most concentrated area of Buddhist religious structures in the world and each one has its own unique charm and history. Drifting over the fertile plains of the Irrawaddy Delta on a hot air balloon at sunrise is the most magical way to appreciate the scale of the site.
Slide 25 of 51: At 3,212-foot-high (979m), these plunging waters in the east of Venezuela make up the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. The astonishing sight is one of many within the equally arresting Canaima National Park, a vast expanse of untamed jungle that's characterized by distinctive table-top mountains and crashing waterfalls. The remote location of Angel Falls, hidden in the heart of a lush jungle, only adds to its wonder. See more of the world's most impressive waterfalls here.
Slide 26 of 51: The enigmatic army of 2,200-year-old terracotta figures are China's greatest archaeological treasures and one of the country's most astounding sights. The 8,000 life-size soldiers and horses were discovered in 1974, lying buried in vast underground chambers near the tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. They were built in 210 BC to guard the emperor's sprawling mausoleum, which is the biggest burial site on Earth. Made out of fired-clay, it's thought that each of the strikingly lifelike figures resemble the worker who created him.
Slide 27 of 51: There's a good reason that a staggering 6.38 million people visited this cavernous multicolored canyon in Arizona in 2018. The gaping chasm is one of nature's truly epic sights. Carved out by the Colorado River over millions of years, the Grand Canyon measures 277 miles (446km) in length and reaches widths of up to 18 miles (29km) wide. With its cavernous size, the rust-colored canyon boasts spectacular views across the desert landscape. The South Rim is best known for its scenic lookouts. Check out these stunning images of the world's most incredible canyons.
Slide 28 of 51: One of the world's most beautiful buildings and India's most famous monument, this white marble mausoleum has become symbolic of enduring love. It was built in the 1630s by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. An exquisite example of Islamic architecture, it took about 22 years to complete with a workforce of around 20,000 people. With its breathtaking fine detail and gleaming façade, we can see why the Taj Mahal earned its UNESCO status in 1983 and is often considered one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Slide 29 of 51: Far-flung Easter Island – one of the remotest inhabited islands on Earth – is a remarkable place, made even more so by its mysterious moai. These giant stone-carved heads and torsos stand stoically on sites around the volcanic island. It's widely thought, but not known for certain, that they were carved by the Rapa Nui people in deference to important ancestors. Nearly 900 moai were carved and erected across the island between the 11th and 14th centuries, with many of the rocks sourced from the Rano Raraku quarry, a spectacular volcanic crater that still remains on the island. 
Slide 30 of 51: Painstakingly chipped into a mountainside, this imposing temple was completed in 1265 BC to commemorate the victory of Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari in the Battle of Kadesh. Set in the deep south of Egypt, it is most famous for its 65-foot-high (20m) depictions of the powerful pharaoh. The mighty rock-hewn temple lay forgotten until it was rediscovered by Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig in 1813. When the Aswan Dam was built during the 1960s, the temple was carefully dismantled and moved to higher ground to save it from flooding. Today, the mighty monument looms safely in its remote location.
Slide 31 of 51: The imposing beauty and spiritual significance of this mammoth monolith, which thrusts out of the red dirt in the desolate center of Australia, is unnerving. Surrounded by the Red Centre's untamed wilderness as far as the eye can see, there's something truly primeval about the ancient sandstone boulder. With its sacred significance to the Anangu Aboriginals – the custodians of the land – climbing the rock is now forbidden yet it is still one of the top natural attractions in the world. Explore more of Australia's most stunning natural wonders here.
Slide 32 of 51: This vast and ancient volcanic caldera in Tanzania's stunning Crater Highlands region is a spectacular sight. It's the world's largest inactive, intact and unfilled caldera. Surrounded by steep escarpment walls, the vast grasslands below are home to an extraordinary range of fauna and flora. Set within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for having one of Africa's richest and diverse concentration of mammals, including all of the Big Five and the critically endangered black rhino. 
Slide 33 of 51: South Africa's flat-topped mountain is one of the most famous and admired peaks in the world. It's also one of the most ancient at over 260 million years old. Now part of a national park, it is also home to an incredible array of flora and fauna including endemic species such as the Table Mountain ghost frog and a whopping 1,470 flower species. Towering over Cape Town and sitting at the top of Africa, the impressive landmark is considered one of the seven wonders of the natural world. 
Slide 34 of 51: This towering Gothic basilica in Barcelona has become a symbol of the avant-garde city and usually attracts tourists far and wide. The Sagrada Familia is one of many architectural gems in the city but it's the most mesmerizing and intriguing. Antoni Gaudí began work on his masterpiece in 1882 and it is only due for completion in 2026, the centenary of his death in 1926. The famed Catalan architect oversaw the cathedral’s construction and was later buried in a chapel in the Sagrada Familia's crypt. Discover more of the world's most amazing unfinished landmarks here.
Slide 35 of 51: Whether you're religious or not, the sight of a 98-foot (30m) Christ rising above Rio de Janeiro's magical mountainous landscape with outstretched arms is a remarkable sight. The largest Art Deco statue in the world, the iconic monument was the brainchild of a priest in the 1850s but wasn't built until the 1920s. Dedicated in 1931, the concrete Christ has surveyed the city from the top of the forest-clad Corcovado mountain ever since and is one of Brazil’s most visited sights. Check out the world's most jaw-dropping sculptures and statues here.
Slide 36 of 51: The mysterious Mayan site of Chichén Itzá was central to the ancient civilization between AD 750 and 1200. The rich and intricate complex of stepped pyramids, temples, columned arcades and other stone structures is the most popular tourist destination on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. The most famous structure is the magnificent 78-foot-high (24m) Temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo. Created as a physical calendar with 365 steps – one for each day of the year – during the spring and summer equinox, a shadow cast by the setting sun creates the illusion of a serpent slithering down the steps.
Slide 37 of 51: The deepest lake in the world and one of the clearest too, Lake Baikal in the depths of Siberia is a place that compels superlatives. Known as the pearl of Siberia, its icy waters plunge down an astonishing 5,387 foot (1,642m) into the earth. It's bigger by volume than all the Great Lakes of America combined. You could stack three Empire State Buildings on top of the other and still not reach the surface. Home to many creatures that can't be found anywhere else on the planet, legend has it that taking a dip in its mysterious waters will lengthen your life.
Slide 38 of 51: Cambodia's famous ancient lost jungle city is among the most incredible and largest archaeological sites on Earth. The majestic temples and monuments of Angkor were built between the 9th and 15th centuries, when the Khmer civilization was at the height of its power. The largest and most famous temple in the sprawling complex is the breathtaking Angkor Wat (pictured). The temple is especially magical at sunrise, beautifully mirrored in the still waters of the reflection pools. Discover the new secrets of the world's ancient wonders here.
Slide 39 of 51: A rugged landscape of jagged peaks, shimmering lakes, ancient forests and vast glaciers, Patagonia is a region that captures the imagination and has an irresistible appeal for adventurers. The three sharp granite towers that rise bewitchingly 6,000 feet (1,829m) are one of the vast national park's most striking landmarks. Known as Torres del Paine, they formed over 12 million years ago. The park's Lake Pehoé is another huge draw (pictured), a sparkling stretch of water set against the rugged mountains.
Slide 40 of 51: Desolate and arid yet beguilingly beautiful, the Namib Desert is one of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet. It's also the oldest desert in the world, developed over millions of years from sand blown in from the Atlantic Ocean. Namibia's desert is far more than its sandy landscape however, with an astonishing amount of colors and inhabitants (including, ostrich, zebra, giraffe and antelope). Sossusvlei, set within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, is famed for its vivid red and orange sand dunes and white sand pans. The 278 foot (85m) Dune 45 is one of its prettiest sights, with breathtaking views at its sandy peak.
Slide 41 of 51: This world wonder was lost for almost 1,700 years after Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 and its deathly debris engulfed the Roman city and its ill-fated inhabitants. Pompeii, near the modern-day city of Naples, is arguably the most significant Roman ruin in the world and a truly remarkable place to explore. An array of incredibly preserved villas, workshops, brothels and even an amphitheater can be found littered throughout the city's excavated streets, recalling what life may have been like in the 1st century AD. Discover Pompeii's secrets that are only just being uncovered here.
Slide 42 of 51: With some of the world's most revered monuments of faith and significant archaeological treasures, Jerusalem astonishes at every turn. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited metropolises in the world and hugely sacred to three of the world's great religions. Among its most important sights are the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The oldest part of the city, known as the City of David is another highlight, an incredible archaeological complex home to an ancient water channel known as Hezekiah's Tunnel. Check out these incredible ancient ruins rebuilt before your eyes.
Slide 43 of 51: One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the stature and hostile beauty of the planet's most iconic mountain is bewitching. Straddling the border between Nepal and Tibet, Everest has become a pinnacle of human endurance, alluring people to attempt to conquer its treacherous slopes every year. The highest mountain in the world, it is over 60 million years old and it grows about a half-inch taller annually. Discover the secrets of the world's most beautiful mountains here.
Slide 44 of 51: A magnificent feat of construction, the Great Wall winds for thousands of miles in sections from Shanhaiguan on China's east coast to Jiayuguan in the west. While it's nonsense that it can be seen from space, its scale is extraordinary. Most of the wall that still exists today was built during the Ming dynasty, when watchtowers and fortresses were added to strengthen its defense. Some of its best-preserved sections can be found snaking across hilltops north of Beijing, whilst the watchtowers of Mutianyu provide spectacular outlooks. 
Slide 45 of 51: The startling beauty of the ancient hand-hewn sandstone city of Petra cannot be overestimated. Established in 213 BC, it was once the capital city of the Arab Nabateans who were famed for their skill at carving buildings into rocks. Carved into the facing sandstone rock wall is Petra’s most famous and exquisite building, known as Al-Khazneh (or the Treasury), a breathtaking red-hued temple. Despite now being firmly on the tourist trail, this age-old wonder remains astonishing. Check out 60 photos of the worldwide wonders we've only recently discovered here. 
Slide 46 of 51: The prehistoric monument is Britain's most incredible wonder and arguably the most mystical rock formation in the world. Set just outside of Salisbury, Wiltshire, one of the UK's most historic towns, it was built in several stages. An early henge monument was built about 5,000 years ago, with the stone circle erected around 2500 BC. The as-yet-unsolved mystery of how the giant stones came to be transported to the Salisbury Plains only adds to its intrigue. Alongside the nearby prehistoric remains of Avebury, Stonehenge earned its UNESCO World Heritage status in 1986.
Slide 47 of 51: Egypt is arguably the world's richest treasure trove of ancient monuments. The constructions that awe and intrigue us the most are the mighty pyramids of Giza. These monumental tombs are the only wonder of the ancient world that have survived the test of time. Built between 2580-2560 BC under the orders of Pharaoh Khufu, the Great Pyramid is 481-foot-high (147m) and was the world’s tallest manmade structure until St Paul's was built more than 35 centuries later. Rising out of the desert, the pyramid's sheer scale and feat of engineering is overwhelming. Discover the bent pyramid and other Egyptian mysteries here.
Slide 48 of 51: Located off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet. It is composed of over 2,900 individual reef and covers roughly 135,000 square miles (350,000sq km), making it bigger than the UK, Holland and Switzerland combined. It's so enormous, in fact, that it can be seen from outer space. Despite environmental threats, it's teeming with marine creatures – around 10% of the world's total fish species can be found within the ancient reef alongside whales, dolphins, porpoises and dugongs. See which of the world's landmarks are under threat from climate change here.
Slide 49 of 51: Most people who normally ascend to the ancient Inca city on a remote mountain ridge in the Sacred Valley are in awe of the spectacular sight. The most significant archaeological site in South America, it's thought the emperor Pachacutec built the soaring citadel in the clouds in the 15th century, although its mysteries abound. Despite its huge popularity with tourists, Machu Picchu continues to be one of the world's most mesmerizing places.
Slide 50 of 51: It's almost impossible for people to take their eyes off the rocky outcrop that looms above the sprawl of Athens and has dominated the city for millennia. The arresting ancient mound has several incredible classical ruins, but the Parthenon on its highest reaches is its most iconic structure. A symbol of the origins of democracy, the classic temple was built in the 5th century BC and dedicated to the goddess Athena. Now check out the world's most beautiful natural wonders here.
Slide 51 of 51: There's nowhere in the world quite like Venice. This dreamy historic city – built on over 100 islands across a lagoon – has captivated travelers for centuries. With its picturesque waterways, ornate architecture, cobbled alleys, elegant piazzas and elaborate bridges, the city is an enchanting paradise. Venice is stuffed with architectural wonders including the Doge's Palace, St Mark's Square, and countless exquisite churches and palaces. Each one is bursting with priceless artistic gems and helps the city retain its Venetian culture and strong traditions.

Wonderful sights

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Startlingly beautiful, this patchwork of lakes shimmers in varying shades of green, blue and turquoise. Connected by waterfalls and cascades, and surrounded by thick woodland and scenic trails, the 16 dazzling terraced lakes are a sight to behold. Halfway between Zagreb and Zadar, the national park has become one of Croatia’s top tourist destinations. See more stunning pictures of Europe’s best national parks here.

Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland

Known as Greenland’s iceberg capital, the town of Ilulissat lies on the edge of the remarkable Ilulissat Icefjord and is fed by Sermeq Kujalleq (also known as the Jakobshavn Glacier or Ilulissat Glacier). Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the fjord is known for its astonishing icebergs, extraordinary ice sculptures, peaceful waters and being home to one of the world’s most active glaciers. Its spectacular natural scenery typically draws adventurers from across the globe. 

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Jutting out of the plains and forests of northeast Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is one of the country’s most spellbinding sights. It’s hard to imagine the imposing 656-foot (200m) rock fortress lay forgotten by the outside world until British historians rediscovered it in the 19th century. Built by the king Kashyapa I in the 5th century AD, its name means lion’s rock and the entrance is guarded by a pair of giant lion paws. With a mighty 1,200 steps to the top, the views across the pleasure gardens, jungle and beyond are entrancing. Discover the world’s most beautiful ancient cities here.

Forbidden City (Palace Museum), Beijing, China

For five centuries under the Ming and Qing dynasties, ordinary Chinese people were banned from even approaching the walls of the Imperial Palace, hence its better-known name. After becoming a museum in 1925, the UNESCO-listed site has welcomed visitors ever since. Spread over an impressive 250 acres, it’s a grand complex featuring well-preserved buildings. Inside, there are nearly 9,000 rooms containing objects and artifacts from thousands of years of Chinese history. 

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

The world’s most famous wrought iron structure and symbol of Paris soars confidently above the elegant city. It’s hard to believe that what’s now one of the most photographed landmarks in the world was only meant to be a temporary structure when it opened for the World Exhibition in 1889. Many locals loathed the Eiffel Tower to begin with, but it’s now one the most-visited monuments in the world, typically welcoming around seven million visitors each year. 

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

A true wonder of the modern age, the world’s tallest building towers above the desert metropolis of Dubai. At a groundbreaking 2,717-feet high (828m), it has dwarfed the surrounding skyscrapers since it opened in 2010. The Burj lays claim to many other records too: being the tallest free-standing structure and having the most number of stories (160) in the world, among them. Its striking design was inspired by minarets and a desert flower while the inside is adorned with over 1,000 art pieces from both Middle Eastern and international artists.

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Austria is awash with lavish gilded palaces that hint at a bygone era and none more so than the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. Designed by architect Fischer von Erlach, the Baroque masterpiece was the summer residence of the Habsburg emperors from the 18th century to 1918. With its intricately painted ceilings, priceless royal treasures and glittering crystal chandeliers, UNESCO added the palace and its grand gardens to its World Heritage List in 1996 and it’s now Austria’s most-visited attraction.

Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand

With soaring snow-capped mountains, dazzling waters and lush rainforest, the majesty of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park gives Norway some stiff competition. The jewel in this magical region in the island’s southwest corner is Milford Sound, one of the 14 fiords that fringe the park, measuring up to 1,321 feet (400m) deep. Home to craggy peaks, tumbling cascades and forest-clad cliffs, Rudyard Kipling was onto something when he called Milford the “eighth wonder of the world”. Explore more of the last unspoiled places on Earth here.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA

One of America’s most iconic structures, the Golden Gate Bridge is the world’s most photogenic bridge. Construction on the ambitious project began in 1933 and took four years to complete, with significant loss of life among the workforce. Its 4,200-foot long (1,280m) suspension span made it the longest bridge in the world until 1964. Its characteristic International Orange color was chosen to ensure visibility in the notoriously foggy Bay Area. Various vista points across the bay provide magnificent views of the bridge. Explore the most impressive bridge in every state and DC here.

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

Reaching heights of up to 702 feet (214m), these towering cliffs on the west coast of Ireland are some of the tallest in Europe and definitely the most majestic. Stretching along nearly five miles (8km) of County Clare’s coastline against dramatic Irish skies and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the surreal sea stacks showcase some of the country’s most awe-inspiring scenery. 

Niagara Falls, Canada and USA

This geological wonder that marks the border between New York in the US and Ontario in Canada is the world’s most famous waterfall. While it’s not the tallest or widest, Niagara Falls is a mightily impressive sight. It stands 167-foot-high (51m) with a water flow of 2,832 tons of water per second (during high season). In fact, it consists of three waterfalls on the Niagara River: Horseshoe Falls (or Canadian Falls), American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Its brilliant blue-green color is caused by salt and rock flour dissolving in the water. See more of America’s most beautiful waterfalls here.

Geirangerfjord, Norway

When it comes to natural beauty, Norway has been blessed with more than its fair share of spectacular landscapes including its myriad beguiling fjords. With its deep blue waters, tumbling waterfalls and vertiginous green slopes, the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord in western Norway is the most famously photogenic of them all. Framed by soaring mountains and dotted with craggy cliffs, Geirangerfjord measures up to 853 feet (260m) deep and is considered one of the most beautiful fjords in the world.

The Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

The Golden Temple is one of India’s most holy and humbling sites, and among the world’s most beautiful places of worship. The 16th-century gilded temple appears to float above the Amrit Sarovar (reflective pool), shimmering majestically in the holy water. Known as one of the most revered sacred sites for Sikhs, the temple’s inner sanctum houses the original copy of the holy book Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Typically, thousands of people make the pilgrimage to this extraordinary and surprisingly serene place of worship in Punjab each year. 

Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Peru

Ethereal Lake Titicaca is South America’s largest lake and the highest navigable one in the world at 12,506 feet (3,812m) above sea level. Sat on the border between Peru and Bolivia, its startlingly blue waters are a truly spectacular sight against the bright sky and snow-capped Andes. The lake is incredibly sacred too: the ancient Incas believed it was the birthplace of the sun. Protected as part of the Titicaca Nature Reserve, the lake’s resident wildlife includes wild guinea pigs, Chilean pink flamingos and the Titicaca water frog. 

Winter Palace, St Petersburg, Russia

An absolute masterpiece of Russian Baroque architecture, Winter Palace is St Petersburg’s most iconic building. The lavish former residence of the Tsars is now home to the Hermitage Museum, filled with incredible treasures and an impressive art collection. Sitting on the banks of the Neva River, several different palaces were built in the 18th century, but the gleaming building that sits here today was built by Baroque architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli from 1754–62. With over 1,000 intricately decorated rooms and halls, the palace is a magnificent sight.

Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain

Framed by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the Alhambra Palace is a Moorish masterpiece and one of Europe’s most stunning monuments. Looming above the gorgeous Andalucian town of Granada, the Nasrid sultans ruled what was the last Spanish Muslim kingdom from this lavish royal palace for 250 years. They finally fell to Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile and it became a Christian Court in 1492. The sprawling complex is made up of three parts: the Casa Real (the royal palace), the Alcazaba (old fortress) and the dreamy summer palace Generalife. 

The Lake District, Cumbria, UK

Lofty fells, lakes, tarns, forests and waterfalls, this spellbinding landscape in the northwest of England is arguably the country’s most stunning and dramatic natural attraction. Its extraordinary beauty has captivated and inspired many renowned artists and literary greats including Romantic poet William Wordsworth and children’s author Beatrix Potter. The UNESCO-listed Lake District National Park covers around 912-square-miles (2,362sq km) and is also home to Windermere, England’s longest lake. Discover more of the UK’s most stunning national parks here.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”) in the local language, this thundering curtain of water on the Zambia and Zimbabwe border is classed as the largest waterfall in the world, based on its width. At a whopping 5,604-foot-wide (1,708m) and 354-foot-long (108m), it’s a striking reminder of the power of nature. There’s also Devil’s Pool, a little pocket of water on the edge of the abyss and a popular swimming spot for thrill-seekers. See more incredible images of the beautiful and terrifying power of Mother Nature here.

Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

It’s hardly surprising that this surreal hexagonal rock formation on the coast of Antrim in Northern Ireland is steeped in magical legends. According to local legend, the causeway was built by Irish giant Finn McCool so he could cross over to Scotland to confront his rival Benandonner. However, scientists would argue that the 40,000 near-perfect basalt “steps” were caused by intense volcanic activity some 50 to 60 million years ago. Either way, there’s no denying the unique beauty of Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover more of the most magical places on Earth here.

St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

One of the largest churches in the word and the cradle of Catholicism, this impressive Renaissance church is an awe-inspiring sight whatever your religious persuasion. The centerpiece of the papal enclave of Vatican City, it’s said to have been built upon the burial site of Saint Peter, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ and the first Pope. The Vatican’s dazzling church is most famous for its riches including the world’s tallest dome, an Italian Renaissance masterpiece designed by Michelangelo. Take a look at the world’s most beautiful ceilings here.

Statue of Liberty, New York, USA

A symbol of freedom and a beacon of hope, the colossal torch-bearing figure that looms over New York Harbor is one of the world’s most recognized statues. The copper structure was designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel as a gift to the United States from the people of France in 1886. Representing the Roman goddess Libertas, she holds a torch and a tablet inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence. At over 305-feet tall (93m), the Statue of Liberty is a striking feature of Manhattan’s skyline. Discover more of America’s most important landmarks here.

Kyoto, Japan

Japan’s ancient capital, Kyoto, is a seriously stunning place to discover. A city of ornate temples, sacred shrines, well-preserved historic neighborhoods and classical gardens, it’s home to some of the country’s best cultural gems. It’s especially alluring during the cherry blossom season in spring and when the fall leaves blaze. Some of the city’s best attractions include the 11th-century Byodo-in Temple, the golden Kinkakuji Temple and the 1,300-year-old shrine Fushimi Inari Taisha. 

Bagan, Myanmar

Located in Myanmar’s Mandalay region, the ancient city of Bagan is a former royal kingdom steeped in otherworldly beauty and history. An incredible number of temples, palaces, pagodas and monasteries lie cheek-by-jowl along the Irrawaddy River. In fact, Bagan has the most concentrated area of Buddhist religious structures in the world and each one has its own unique charm and history. Drifting over the fertile plains of the Irrawaddy Delta on a hot air balloon at sunrise is the most magical way to appreciate the scale of the site.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

At 3,212-foot-high (979m), these plunging waters in the east of Venezuela make up the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. The astonishing sight is one of many within the equally arresting Canaima National Park, a vast expanse of untamed jungle that’s characterized by distinctive table-top mountains and crashing waterfalls. The remote location of Angel Falls, hidden in the heart of a lush jungle, only adds to its wonder. See more of the world’s most impressive waterfalls here.

Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an, China

The enigmatic army of 2,200-year-old terracotta figures are China’s greatest archaeological treasures and one of the country’s most astounding sights. The 8,000 life-size soldiers and horses were discovered in 1974, lying buried in vast underground chambers near the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. They were built in 210 BC to guard the emperor’s sprawling mausoleum, which is the biggest burial site on Earth. Made out of fired-clay, it’s thought that each of the strikingly lifelike figures resemble the worker who created him.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

There’s a good reason that a staggering 6.38 million people visited this cavernous multicolored canyon in Arizona in 2018. The gaping chasm is one of nature’s truly epic sights. Carved out by the Colorado River over millions of years, the Grand Canyon measures 277 miles (446km) in length and reaches widths of up to 18 miles (29km) wide. With its cavernous size, the rust-colored canyon boasts spectacular views across the desert landscape. The South Rim is best known for its scenic lookouts. Check out these stunning images of the world’s most incredible canyons.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

One of the world’s most beautiful buildings and India’s most famous monument, this white marble mausoleum has become symbolic of enduring love. It was built in the 1630s by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. An exquisite example of Islamic architecture, it took about 22 years to complete with a workforce of around 20,000 people. With its breathtaking fine detail and gleaming façade, we can see why the Taj Mahal earned its UNESCO status in 1983 and is often considered one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Moai, Easter Island, Chile

Far-flung Easter Island – one of the remotest inhabited islands on Earth – is a remarkable place, made even more so by its mysterious moai. These giant stone-carved heads and torsos stand stoically on sites around the volcanic island. It’s widely thought, but not known for certain, that they were carved by the Rapa Nui people in deference to important ancestors. Nearly 900 moai were carved and erected across the island between the 11th and 14th centuries, with many of the rocks sourced from the Rano Raraku quarry, a spectacular volcanic crater that still remains on the island. 

The Great Temple at Abu Simbel, Nubia, Egypt

Painstakingly chipped into a mountainside, this imposing temple was completed in 1265 BC to commemorate the victory of Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari in the Battle of Kadesh. Set in the deep south of Egypt, it is most famous for its 65-foot-high (20m) depictions of the powerful pharaoh. The mighty rock-hewn temple lay forgotten until it was rediscovered by Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig in 1813. When the Aswan Dam was built during the 1960s, the temple was carefully dismantled and moved to higher ground to save it from flooding. Today, the mighty monument looms safely in its remote location.

Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia

The imposing beauty and spiritual significance of this mammoth monolith, which thrusts out of the red dirt in the desolate center of Australia, is unnerving. Surrounded by the Red Centre’s untamed wilderness as far as the eye can see, there’s something truly primeval about the ancient sandstone boulder. With its sacred significance to the Anangu Aboriginals – the custodians of the land – climbing the rock is now forbidden yet it is still one of the top natural attractions in the world. Explore more of Australia’s most stunning natural wonders here.

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

This vast and ancient volcanic caldera in Tanzania’s stunning Crater Highlands region is a spectacular sight. It’s the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled caldera. Surrounded by steep escarpment walls, the vast grasslands below are home to an extraordinary range of fauna and flora. Set within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for having one of Africa’s richest and diverse concentration of mammals, including all of the Big Five and the critically endangered black rhino. 

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa’s flat-topped mountain is one of the most famous and admired peaks in the world. It’s also one of the most ancient at over 260 million years old. Now part of a national park, it is also home to an incredible array of flora and fauna including endemic species such as the Table Mountain ghost frog and a whopping 1,470 flower species. Towering over Cape Town and sitting at the top of Africa, the impressive landmark is considered one of the seven wonders of the natural world. 

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

This towering Gothic basilica in Barcelona has become a symbol of the avant-garde city and usually attracts tourists far and wide. The Sagrada Familia is one of many architectural gems in the city but it’s the most mesmerizing and intriguing. Antoni Gaudí began work on his masterpiece in 1882 and it is only due for completion in 2026, the centenary of his death in 1926. The famed Catalan architect oversaw the cathedral’s construction and was later buried in a chapel in the Sagrada Familia’s crypt. Discover more of the world’s most amazing unfinished landmarks here.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Whether you’re religious or not, the sight of a 98-foot (30m) Christ rising above Rio de Janeiro’s magical mountainous landscape with outstretched arms is a remarkable sight. The largest Art Deco statue in the world, the iconic monument was the brainchild of a priest in the 1850s but wasn’t built until the 1920s. Dedicated in 1931, the concrete Christ has surveyed the city from the top of the forest-clad Corcovado mountain ever since and is one of Brazil’s most visited sights. Check out the world’s most jaw-dropping sculptures and statues here.

Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico

The mysterious Mayan site of Chichén Itzá was central to the ancient civilization between AD 750 and 1200. The rich and intricate complex of stepped pyramids, temples, columned arcades and other stone structures is the most popular tourist destination on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The most famous structure is the magnificent 78-foot-high (24m) Temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo. Created as a physical calendar with 365 steps – one for each day of the year – during the spring and summer equinox, a shadow cast by the setting sun creates the illusion of a serpent slithering down the steps.

Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia

The deepest lake in the world and one of the clearest too, Lake Baikal in the depths of Siberia is a place that compels superlatives. Known as the pearl of Siberia, its icy waters plunge down an astonishing 5,387 foot (1,642m) into the earth. It’s bigger by volume than all the Great Lakes of America combined. You could stack three Empire State Buildings on top of the other and still not reach the surface. Home to many creatures that can’t be found anywhere else on the planet, legend has it that taking a dip in its mysterious waters will lengthen your life.

Angkor Archaeological Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia’s famous ancient lost jungle city is among the most incredible and largest archaeological sites on Earth. The majestic temples and monuments of Angkor were built between the 9th and 15th centuries, when the Khmer civilization was at the height of its power. The largest and most famous temple in the sprawling complex is the breathtaking Angkor Wat (pictured). The temple is especially magical at sunrise, beautifully mirrored in the still waters of the reflection pools. Discover the new secrets of the world’s ancient wonders here.

Patagonia, Argentina and Chile

A rugged landscape of jagged peaks, shimmering lakes, ancient forests and vast glaciers, Patagonia is a region that captures the imagination and has an irresistible appeal for adventurers. The three sharp granite towers that rise bewitchingly 6,000 feet (1,829m) are one of the vast national park’s most striking landmarks. Known as Torres del Paine, they formed over 12 million years ago. The park’s Lake Pehoé is another huge draw (pictured), a sparkling stretch of water set against the rugged mountains.

Namib Desert, Namibia

Desolate and arid yet beguilingly beautiful, the Namib Desert is one of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet. It’s also the oldest desert in the world, developed over millions of years from sand blown in from the Atlantic Ocean. Namibia’s desert is far more than its sandy landscape however, with an astonishing amount of colors and inhabitants (including, ostrich, zebra, giraffe and antelope). Sossusvlei, set within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, is famed for its vivid red and orange sand dunes and white sand pans. The 278 foot (85m) Dune 45 is one of its prettiest sights, with breathtaking views at its sandy peak.

Pompeii, Campania, Italy

This world wonder was lost for almost 1,700 years after Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 and its deathly debris engulfed the Roman city and its ill-fated inhabitants. Pompeii, near the modern-day city of Naples, is arguably the most significant Roman ruin in the world and a truly remarkable place to explore. An array of incredibly preserved villas, workshops, brothels and even an amphitheater can be found littered throughout the city’s excavated streets, recalling what life may have been like in the 1st century AD. Discover Pompeii’s secrets that are only just being uncovered here.

Old Jerusalem

With some of the world’s most revered monuments of faith and significant archaeological treasures, Jerusalem astonishes at every turn. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited metropolises in the world and hugely sacred to three of the world’s great religions. Among its most important sights are the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The oldest part of the city, known as the City of David is another highlight, an incredible archaeological complex home to an ancient water channel known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Check out these incredible ancient ruins rebuilt before your eyes.

Mount Everest, the Himalayas, Nepal

One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the stature and hostile beauty of the planet’s most iconic mountain is bewitching. Straddling the border between Nepal and Tibet, Everest has become a pinnacle of human endurance, alluring people to attempt to conquer its treacherous slopes every year. The highest mountain in the world, it is over 60 million years old and it grows about a half-inch taller annually. Discover the secrets of the world’s most beautiful mountains here.

Great Wall of China, China

A magnificent feat of construction, the Great Wall winds for thousands of miles in sections from Shanhaiguan on China’s east coast to Jiayuguan in the west. While it’s nonsense that it can be seen from space, its scale is extraordinary. Most of the wall that still exists today was built during the Ming dynasty, when watchtowers and fortresses were added to strengthen its defense. Some of its best-preserved sections can be found snaking across hilltops north of Beijing, whilst the watchtowers of Mutianyu provide spectacular outlooks. 

Petra, Jordan

The startling beauty of the ancient hand-hewn sandstone city of Petra cannot be overestimated. Established in 213 BC, it was once the capital city of the Arab Nabateans who were famed for their skill at carving buildings into rocks. Carved into the facing sandstone rock wall is Petra’s most famous and exquisite building, known as Al-Khazneh (or the Treasury), a breathtaking red-hued temple. Despite now being firmly on the tourist trail, this age-old wonder remains astonishing. Check out 60 photos of the worldwide wonders we’ve only recently discovered here. 

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

The prehistoric monument is Britain’s most incredible wonder and arguably the most mystical rock formation in the world. Set just outside of Salisbury, Wiltshire, one of the UK’s most historic towns, it was built in several stages. An early henge monument was built about 5,000 years ago, with the stone circle erected around 2500 BC. The as-yet-unsolved mystery of how the giant stones came to be transported to the Salisbury Plains only adds to its intrigue. Alongside the nearby prehistoric remains of Avebury, Stonehenge earned its UNESCO World Heritage status in 1986.

The Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

Egypt is arguably the world’s richest treasure trove of ancient monuments. The constructions that awe and intrigue us the most are the mighty pyramids of Giza. These monumental tombs are the only wonder of the ancient world that have survived the test of time. Built between 2580-2560 BC under the orders of Pharaoh Khufu, the Great Pyramid is 481-foot-high (147m) and was the world’s tallest manmade structure until St Paul’s was built more than 35 centuries later. Rising out of the desert, the pyramid’s sheer scale and feat of engineering is overwhelming. Discover the bent pyramid and other Egyptian mysteries here.

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Located off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet. It is composed of over 2,900 individual reef and covers roughly 135,000 square miles (350,000sq km), making it bigger than the UK, Holland and Switzerland combined. It’s so enormous, in fact, that it can be seen from outer space. Despite environmental threats, it’s teeming with marine creatures – around 10% of the world’s total fish species can be found within the ancient reef alongside whales, dolphins, porpoises and dugongs. See which of the world’s landmarks are under threat from climate change here.

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru

Most people who normally ascend to the ancient Inca city on a remote mountain ridge in the Sacred Valley are in awe of the spectacular sight. The most significant archaeological site in South America, it’s thought the emperor Pachacutec built the soaring citadel in the clouds in the 15th century, although its mysteries abound. Despite its huge popularity with tourists, Machu Picchu continues to be one of the world’s most mesmerizing places.

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

It’s almost impossible for people to take their eyes off the rocky outcrop that looms above the sprawl of Athens and has dominated the city for millennia. The arresting ancient mound has several incredible classical ruins, but the Parthenon on its highest reaches is its most iconic structure. A symbol of the origins of democracy, the classic temple was built in the 5th century BC and dedicated to the goddess Athena. Now check out the world’s most beautiful natural wonders here.

Venice, Italy

There’s nowhere in the world quite like Venice. This dreamy historic city – built on over 100 islands across a lagoon – has captivated travelers for centuries. With its picturesque waterways, ornate architecture, cobbled alleys, elegant piazzas and elaborate bridges, the city is an enchanting paradise. Venice is stuffed with architectural wonders including the Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Square, and countless exquisite churches and palaces. Each one is bursting with priceless artistic gems and helps the city retain its Venetian culture and strong traditions.

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