The Most Spectacular Landmarks in the World

Easily seen and always recognized, landmarks give us a sense of place and orientation in a big city. Wherever you go in Rome you can see the dome of St. Peter's; in Paris. the Eiffel Tower, or in Athens, the Acropolis rising above the city skyline.

These landmarks are so iconic, they are symbols of their locations, but they are also architectural masterpieces, windows into the past, and monuments of human achievement.

To find the top 25 Traveler's Choice landmarks in the world, travel booking site TripAdvisor considers the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for landmarks worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period. This year's awards recognized 759 landmarks across 68 countries and eight regions across the globe.

Here are 25 of the most spectacular landmarks in the world.

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Siem Reap, Cambodia

For several centuries Angkor was the center of the Khmer Kingdom and now is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, and the largest in the world. The a complex of temples on over 400 acres includes the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.

Photo: sharptoyou / Shutterstock

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

Last year, 2.2 million tourists visited Angkor Wat. Above, a monk meditates in the temple.

Photo: Geet Theerawat / Shutterstock

Plaza de Espana
Plaza de Espana

Plaza de Espana

Seville, Spain

The Plaza de Espana in Seville, known for its Renaissance/neo-Moorish style was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. It is known for its colorful ceramic work. 

Photo: Shutterstock

Plaza de Espana
Plaza de Espana

Along the wall by the canal are 48 alcoves with benches, one for each province of Spain, each with a relevant tableau and map, all designed on colourful azulejos (painted ceramic tiles).

Photo: Shutterstock

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

One the world's largest mosques, with a capacity for 40,000 worshippers, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world's largest hand-knotted carpet.

Photo: Shutterstock

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

The mosque is surrounded by reflective pools, and is transformed at night by a unique lightning system which reflects the phases of the moon.

Photo: Shutterstock

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

Vatican City

St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world, as well as one of the holiest sites of the Roman Catholic Church. Construction began in 1506 and was completed 120 years later in 1626.

Photo: Shutterstock

St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's has over 100 tombs and a collection of famous artwork, including Michelangelo's Pietà.

Photo: Shutterstock

Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba
Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba

Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba

Cordoba, Spain

One of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture, this Roman Catholic church was converted to a mosque in the 8th century A.D. Today, it is the Catholic cathedral of the Diocese of Córdoba dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Photo: Shutterstock

Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba
Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba

Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba is remarkable for its mix of diverse styles and artistic forms. From Hellenism to the Baroque, this cathedral offers a unique view into the history of art and culture.

Photo: joserpizarro / Shutterstock

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Agra, India

This immense mausoleum of white marble was built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife. 

Photo: Shutterstock

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

According to UNESCO, the Taj Mahal is a "masterpiece of architectural style in conception, treatment and execution and has unique aesthetic qualities in balance, symmetry and harmonious blending of various elements."

Photo: Shutterstock

Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano

Duomo di Milano

Milan, Italy

Milan's cathedral, one of the largest churches in Europe, took nearly 600 years to complete.

Photo: Shutterstock

Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano

Above, the bronze sculpture of Jesus on the intricately decorated central door of the Duomo Cathedral.

Photo: Krikkiat / Shutterstock

Alcatraz
Alcatraz

Alcatraz

San Francisco

This forbidding island of rock in the San Francisco bay held an infamous federal penitentiary and is now a national park. "The Rock" operated as a prison from 1934-1963, incarcerating inmates such as Al Capone and Whitey Bulger and it inspired numerous novels and films.

Photo: Shutterstock

Alcatraz
Alcatraz

In 1969, American Indians -- many whose tribes were being terminated by federal policy -- occupied Alcatraz for 18 months in protest, leading to change in federal policy towards American Indians that would save the tribes.

Today, travelers can take tours offering historical insights including a first-hand look at the prison cells and grounds.

Photo: Shutterstock

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco

The famous red suspension bridge connects the city of San Francisco with Marin county to the north. Nearly two miles long, construction took place during the Depression, from 1933 to 1937, and nearly anyone who could stand the cold and rigors of the job lined up for steady employment.

Photo: Shutterstock

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Tourists love to walk or bike across its windy span, and take in the breathtaking views.

Photo: spoonphol / Shutterstock

Parliament
Parliament

Parliament

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest's architectural jewel, a splendid neo-Gothic building on the banks of the Danube, is topped by a dome 226 feet high.

Photo: Shutterstock

Parliament
Parliament

The Parliament is home to the Holy Crown of Hungary.

Photo: T photography / Shutterstock

Old Town Square
Old Town Square

Old Town Square

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague's historic square features a range of architectural styles and is famous for its medieval astronomical clock, which was installed in 1410, and still works.

Photo: Shutterstock

Old Town Square
Old Town Square

When the clock strikes the hour, the procession of the Twelve Apostles is set in motion. The clock is currently being restored and is supposed to be back up and running in August 2018.

Photo: Shutterstock

Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

Paris

One of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world designed with flying buttresses.

The cathedral houses some of Catholicism's most important relics, including the purported Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails.

Photo: Shutterstock

Christ the Redeemer, Mount Corcovado
Christ the Redeemer, Mount Corcovado

Christ the Redeemer, Mount Corcovado 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The 125-foot Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro was built in 1922 on the summit of Mount Corcovado. The statue is the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the world and is one of Rio de Janeiro's most recognizable landmarks.

Photo: marchello74 / Shutterstock

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Paris

The iconic wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris was built in 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World's Fair. Named after the engineer, Gustave Eiffel, it was initially hated by many Parisians. Today, it is one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

At night, every hour on the hour, the tower sparkles with golden lights for five minutes while the Eiffel Tower's beam lights up the city.

Photo: Shutterstock

Tower of London
Tower of London

Tower of London

London

London's castle -- a secure fortress, royal palace and infamous prison-- is home to the Crown Jewels, a famous collection of 23,578 gemstones.

Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, spent her final days at the famous fortress before she was executed.

Photo: Shutterstock

Acropolis
Acropolis

Acropolis

Athens, Greece

An ancient citadel rising from a flat-toped rock above the city of Athens, the Acropolis contains the remains of several ancient buildings of  architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon, which is over 2,400 years old.

In the 5th century B.C. the Athenians built the Parthenon as a celebration of Hellenic victory over Persian invaders and as a thanks to the gods for the victory. It transformed the rocky hill into a unique monument of thought and the arts.

Photo: Shutterstock

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)

Bangkok, Thailand

One of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok features the famous Reclining Buddha, which is the largest in Thailand. It is more than 150 feet long.

Photo: Shutterstock

Mutianyu Great Wall
Mutianyu Great Wall

Mutianyu Great Wall

Beijing, China

Mutianyu is a section of the Great Wall of China about 70 km northeast of central Beijing.

Photo: Shutterstock

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This skyscraper, the tallest structure in the world, is 2,722 feet high. The building has 57 elevators and eight escalators.

Photo: Shutterstock

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney, Australia

An architectural masterpiece and vibrant performance space, the Syndey Opera House offers over 40 shows a week.

The sculptural elegance of the building has made it one of the most recognizable buildings of our time.

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: GagliardiImages / Shutterstock

Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu
Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu

Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu stands 2,430 meters above sea level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, it was the creation of the Inca Empire at its height. Its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally from the continuous rock escarpments.

Photo: Shutterstock

El Ateneo Grand Splendid
El Ateneo Grand Splendid

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The famous El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a bookshop set in a 100-year-old theater and is one of the most popular bookstores in Buenos Aires.

Photo: R.M. Nunes / Shutterstock

Notre-Dame Basilica
Notre-Dame Basilica

Notre-Dame Basilica

Montreal, Quebec

Montreal's oldest Catholic church, built in 1656, is known for its intricately designed interior, which includes stained glass chronicling the history of the city.

Photo:  A G Baxter / Shutterstock

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine
Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Kyoto, Japan

An important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari-taisha is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari. Many visitors explore the mountain trails.

Photo: Shutterstock

Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda

Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar

The city's biggest tourist attraction is this immense Buddhist shrine built about 2,500 years ago.

Photo: Shutterstock

Advertisement

More from Personal Finance

How Much Does the President Make?

How Much Does the President Make?

What Is an FHA Loan and What Are Their Requirements?

What Is an FHA Loan and What Are Their Requirements?

What Is Tiger Woods' Net Worth?

What Is Tiger Woods' Net Worth?

How to Fill Out a Money Order: 5 Simple Steps

How to Fill Out a Money Order: 5 Simple Steps

Who Owns Netflix? CEO Reed Hastings' Career

Who Owns Netflix? CEO Reed Hastings' Career