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The world is full of stunning places to visit. Every continent has so many amazing and famous landmarks. Here are some of my bucket list famous landmarks from around the globe.
9+ Famous Landmarks in AFRICA
When people think about traveling to Africa, they often think only of animals. And while those are cool (and there are a couple of animal-inspired landmarks on this list), Africa has a lot more to offer!
Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
The Danakil Depression is in northern Ethiopia. It’s about 125m (410ft) below sea level with average temperatures of 34.5°C (94°F).
The Danakil Depression contains sulfur springs, volcanoes, geysers, acidic pools, salt plains, and colorful lakes.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime type trip that you won’t regret making.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramid of Giza is part of a complex of buildings. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest (and most intact) of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is an honorary member of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed between 2580 and 2560 BC and was the tallest man-made building in the world for over 3800 years.
Tourists can enter the Great Pyramid via the Robbers’ Tunnel which was created around 820AD.
Masai Mara, Kenya
Masai Mara (aka Maasai Mara and the Mara) is a popular large game reserve in south-west Kenya. It has large populations of lions, leopards, cheetahs, and elephants. You can see the annual migrations of wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes.
Masai Mara is a very popular tourist destination for seeing big game. The area is home to numerous tents and lodges. Much of the area is regularly patrolled by rangers which limits poaching.
The populations of humans surrounding the Masai Mara are increasing and human-wildlife conflict is seen as one of the top threats to the area.
The Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The Ngorongoro Crater is located in Tanzania, Africa. It formed after a large volcano exploded then collapsed on itself. The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unflooded and unbroken volcanic crater in the world.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (which includes the Crater) was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. In 2013, the Crater become one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
The Ngorongoro Crater is visited by tourists for the opportunity to see stunning scenery and large animals. Approximately 25,000 large animals live in the crater such as black rhinoceros, African buffalo, hippopotamus, blue wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, lions, and more. There is plenty of other wildlife to see such as hyenas, flamingos, and more!
Sahara Desert, Morocco
The Sahara Desert, located across a number of African countries, is the largest hot desert in the world. The Sahara Desert has about the same land size as China or the USA.
The Sahara Desert spreads across Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara*.
The easiest entry point to visiting the Sahara Desert is from Morocco. Guided tours are available from the cities of Marrakech, Fez, and Merzouga.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
The Skeleton Coast of Namibia is located along the northern part of the Atlantic coast. It’s a roughly 50km long stretch of inhospitable land.
The Skeleton Coast used to be a coastline of whale and seal bones (which is how it got its name) but is now home to disintegrating shipwrecks.
The area is home to baboons, giraffes, lions, black rhinoceros, and other animals. There are 11 shark species in the waters.
The water is dangerous. Not just because it’s home to 11 species of sharks, but because the current is extremely strong. That doesn’t stop surfers from hopping in for some excellent waves.
Table Mountain, South Africa
Table Mountain overlooks the city of Cape Town, South Africa. It’s a flat-topped mountain that’s part of Table Mountain National Park.
Visitors can hike Table Mountain – it takes 1-3 hours each way – or if that’s not your thing there’s the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (a gondola) that will take you to the top.
Tsingy de Bamaraha National Park, Madagascar
Tsingy de Bamaraha National Park is located in northwest Madagascar. It includes the Great Tsingy formation, the Little Tsingy formation, and Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve.
The Park contains canyons, gorges, swamps, forests, lakes, mangroves, and more. It also has lemurs (11 species!), mongoose, bats, over 100 bird species, plus numerous reptiles and amphibians.
Tsingy de Bamaraha National Park was made a. UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia
Victoria Falls is a waterfall at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. It’s considered the largest waterfall in the world due to it’s combined width, height, and large sheets of falling water.
Victoria Falls was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989.
When it comes to visiting the falls, both countries (Zimbabwe & Zambia) allow tourists to make day trips across the border so they can view the falls from both viewpoints.
Virunga National Park, Congo
Virunga National Park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Virunga National Park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It was created in 1925 and was one of the first protected areas in Africa.
There is a lot of wildlife to be found in Virunga National Park including 196 mammals, 706 birds, 109 reptiles, and 65 amphibians (as of 2012). The Virunga National Park is one of only 4 places in the world home to Mountain Gorillas.
9+ Famous Landmarks in ASIA
Asia is often considered the spot for temples. There are some amazing temples to see in Asia, but there are also a lot of other awesome landmarks.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is located in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor Wat is usually used to refer to the entire Angkor Temple Complex but it actually refers to a specific temple (pictured).
There are numerous temples in the complex including Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm (used as a filming location in Tomb Raider).
Angkor Wat was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992.
Ba Na Hills, Vietnam
Ba Na Hills is a resort complex located in Da Nang, Vietnam. It was built in 1919 by French colonists as a sort of home away from home.
There is a lot to see and do at Ba Na Hills including Ba Na Cable Car (the longest non-stop single-track cable car in the world), the Golden Bridge (pictured), rides, games, and so much more.
The Big Lagoon, the Philippines
The Big Lagoon is located in El Nido, Philippines. It is a popular spot for snorkeling (although there isn’t much marine life) and kayaking.
Tour boats operate specific tours from El Nido (A, B, C, and D). The Big Lagoon is included as part of Tour A.
The Burj Khalifa, UAE
The Burj Khalifa is a tower in Dubai, UAE. It holds several records including the tallest building in the world (828+ meters / 2716.5 feet), the highest number of stories (163), the worlds highest nightclub (144th floor), world’s highest restaurant (122nd floor), and more.
The Burj Khalifa is a mix of hotel, residential, attractions, and corporate suites.
Dome of the Rock, Israel
The Dome of the Rock is located in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. It is an Islamic shrine built over the Foundation Stone (aka the Pierced Stone) which is said to be the place where God created the world and the first human.
Since 1967, non-Muslims have been permitted restricted access to the Dome.
The Great Wall of China, China
The Great Wall of China isn’t just one wall. It’s a system of numerous walls built across northern China and southern Mongolia stretching over 6,000km.
In 1987, the Great Wall of China was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Outside of tourist areas, much of the wall system has fallen into disrepair with parts disappearing completely.
There are a number of places where you can see the Great Wall including areas that have been well-restored (or rebuilt) and areas that are wilder. The two most popular sections of the wall are Badaling (close to Beijing and crowded with Chinese tourists) and Mutianyu (close to Beijing and crowded with foreign tourists).
Petra is an archaeological city located in southern Jordan. It is the most popular tourist attraction in the country reaching over 1,000,000 visitors per year in 2019.
Petra was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. In 2007, it was added as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Shibuya Crossing, Japan
Shibuya Crossing, located in Tokyo, Japan, is a scramble crosswalk. That means that every light cycle all vehicular traffic is halted so pedestrians can cross in any direction.
Shibuya is famous for being the world’s busiest crosswalk. During peak hours (such as during rush hours in the morning and evening) up to 2,500 people cross at one time.
Taipei 101, Taiwan
Taipei 101 is a skyscraper in Taipei, Taiwan. Upon building completion in 2004 it was the tallest building in the world (at 509m) but lost the title in 2010 to the Burj Khalifa.
Taipei 101 is the tallest and largest green building in the world with a Platinum LEED rating. Taipei 101 is significantly taller than any of the other buildings in the skyline making it a truly standout building.
Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal a mausoleum located in Agra, India.
In 1983, the Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2007, it was declared one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. 7 to 8 million people a year visit the Taj Mahal.
Wat Arun Ratchavararam | Temple of Dawn, Thailand
Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple located in Bangkok, Thailand. It is one of the most iconic temples in Thailand.
During Kathina (a Buddhist festival after the rainy season), the Thai King travels to Wat Arun to give new robes to the Monks at Wat Arun.
9+ Famous Landmarks in EUROPE
Europe has some rich history including beautiful architecture.
Anne Frank House, Netherlands
Anne Frank House is located in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, the Franks and another family lived in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. This is that building.
If you haven’t read DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank, do it before your trip to Amsterdam. Then be sure to visit the Anne Frank house.
Atomium is located in Brussels, Belgium. It was originally constructed as part of Expo 58 (and not intended to remain after). Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brussels.
Atomium is a funky building that’s open 365 days per year.
During the Holocaust, Auschwitz was a complex of concentration and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. A terrible number of atrocities occurred at Auschwitz.
In 1947, the Polish government opened the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in several camp blocks at the site. Over the years, it has expanded into a vast, chilling, educational memorial.
Belvedere Palace, Austria
Belvedere Palace is a palace complex (Lower Belvedere, Belvedere Gardens, and Upper Belvedere) located in Vienna, Austria.
Belvedere Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains an impressive collection of Austrian art and artifacts. Much of the Palace(s) are original from construction.
Bran Castle, Romania
Bran Castle is a historic castle located in Bran, Romania. Outside Romania, it’s commonly referred to as Dracula’s Castle (due to its association with the Dracula legend, not the book).
Bran Castle is a museum dedicated to the art and furniture collect by Queen Marie.
The Colosseum, Italy
The Colosseum is an ancient amphitheater located in Rome, Italy. It was used for gladiator contests, executions, dramas, and more and it could hold up to 80,000 spectators.
The Colosseum is an iconic landmark in Italy. In 2007 it was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Eiffel Tower, France
The Eiffel Tower is a world-known landmark located in Paris, France. It was originally constructed as the. entrance to the 1989 World’s Fair.
The Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris at 324m tall (which would be about 81-stories).
It’s one of the most popular paid tourist spots in the world. Over 250 million people have visited since its completion.
There are several replica towers around the world including Blackpool Tower in England, Tokyo Tower in Japan, and Paris Las Vegas in the USA.
Fisherman’s Bastion, Hungary
Fisherman’s Bastion is a 19th-Century fortress located in Budapest, Hungary. It has 7 lookout towers that offer panoramic views of Budapest.
The Kremlin, Russia
The Moscow Kremlin (typically just called the Kremlin) is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow, Russia. The word Kremlin means fortress inside a city.
The Kremlin includes 5 palaces, 4 cathedrals, the wall, and towers.
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Prague Castle is an iconic landmark located in Prague, Czech Republic. It’s not just one castle, it’s a compound that’s more like a small town. Prague Castle was founded around 880 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England. It’s a ring of standing stones, each one weight around 25 tons. Archaeologists estimate it was constructed from 3000 to 2000 BC.
Stonehenge was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK.
9+ Famous Landmarks in NORTH AMERICA
North America is more than just Canada, the USA, and Mexico. However, because those three countries are so large (in land size) they typically dominate lists of famous landmarks in North America.
Aurora Borealis | Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) is a light display generally found around the poles. Auroras are the result of disturbances in the atmosphere.
The Northern Lights are one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Winter tends to be the best time to see the lights (likely due to longer, clear nights). Some years have a lot more Auroras than others.
You can see the Northern Lights in several locations: northern Canada (Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon), Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and northern Siberia.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Chichen Itza was a city built by the Maya People located in Yucatan, Mexico. It was one of the largest Maya cities. Now, Chichen Itza is a popular archaeological site for tourists to visit.
Chichen Itza was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. In 2007, El Castillo (the largest temple in the center) was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica
Dunn’s River Falls is a terraced waterfall near Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Climbing the falls is popular (although there are stairs next to it if you’d prefer). It takes about an hour or more to get to the top. Along the way, there are several small lagoons to take a break in.
El Salto del Limon, Dominican Republic
El Salto del Limon is a spectacular waterfall located in El Limon, Dominican Republic. It’s 52 meters high with cool water.
The walk to the falls isn’t too difficult (but best done in proper shoes) but the walk back has some steep steps. You can hire a horse to carry you most of the way up.
Be aware of seasonal changes in the water level. After dry season there could be much less water.
The Golden Gate Bridge, USA
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension toll bridge located in San Francisco, California. It’s one mile (1.6km) long.
The Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937 and was (at the time) the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world.
There are 6 lines for traffic on the bridge – two fixed in either direction, and the 2 middle lanes are changed to accommodate traffic. There are walkways on either side of the bridge and are open to pedestrians and cyclists (occasionally together, often one on each).
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, USA
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an American national park located in Hawaii, USA. The park has two of the world’s most impressive volcanoes (Kilauea and Mauna Loa). Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and Mauna Loa is one of the world’s largest shield volcanoes.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
In 2018, Kilauea erupted. For 4 months, large lava flows covered much of the land southeast of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Over 700 homes were damaged, as was much of the national parks infastructure.
Most of the park has reopened to visitors with several areas currently under repair. More areas are being evaluated and only a few parts of the park are likely to remain permanently closed.
Moraine Lake, Canada
Moraine Lake is a 50 hectare (120 acres) lake in Banff National Park, Canada. Banff National Park (located in the Rocky Mountains of southern Alberta) is Canada’s oldest national park.
Moraine Lake is a glacially-fed lake with a reduced water level until mid to late June every year. When the water is full, it has a very distinctive azure blue color (pictured). It’s a stunning lake that’s popular with tourists year-round.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Niagara Falls is a. group of 3 waterfalls on the border of Canada and the USA. On the Canadian side is the town of Niagara Falls, Ontario and on the American side is the town of Niagara Falls, New York.
The Canadian side is better – and I’m not just saying that because I’m Canadian. The Canadian side of the falls will give you panoramic views that aren’t seen from the American side, including an up-close experience with the Horseshoe Falls (pictured).
Niagara Falls is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. The Falls has the highest flow rate of any North American waterfall with more than 168,000m3 (six million cubic feet) of water falling every minute (during peak hours).
San Pedro de la Roca, Cuba
San Pedro de la Roca is a fortress located in the coastal city of Santiago de Cuba. The fortress offers some great sunset views.
San Pedro de la Roca was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The Statue of Liberty, USA
The Statue of Liberty is a large copper statue located in New York, USA. The statue was a gift to the USA from France.
The Statue of Liberty has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Visitors can take a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. If you want to enter the base and pedestal, you’ll have to get a ticket (free) when you purchase your ferry ticket. 240 people per day are allowed to climb the stairs to the crown and tickets can be purchased up to a year in advance.
Tikal National Park, Guatemala
The Tikal National Park is the ruins of an ancient Mayan city located in Guatemala. There’s a lot to see as it was one of the largest ancient cities in the Americas.
Tikal National Park was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Much of the ruins has not yet been cleared, only about 16 square kilometers (6.2 square miles) has been intensively cleared and mapped.
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7+ Famous Landmarks in OCEANIA
Oceania (like North America) is often heavily focused on only a small number of countries (in this case Australia and New Zealand). The same principle applies though, they represent the land mass of Oceania.
Bora Bora Lagoon, French Polynesia
The Bora Bora Lagoon is a lagoon surrounding the main island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. It’s a popular spot for diving and snorkeling. The lagoon is buffered by a reef system.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. It’s located off the coast of Queensland, Australia. There is a huge diversity of life in the reef including whales, dolphins, 1500+ fish species, sea snakes, turtles, sharks, stingrays and more. The reef also supports a large number of birds that visit or nest there.
Hobbiton, New Zealand
Hobbiton is a movie set in New Zealand. It was a major filming location for the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films.
Guided tours of the property are a popular tourist attraction in New Zealand.
Mount Eden Crater, New Zealand
Mount Eden (aka Maungawhau) is a type of dormant volcanic cone located in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Mount Eden Crater is a 50 meter (160 feet) deep bowl-like crater at the top of Mount Eden. This is the highest natural point in Auckland and provides beautiful views of the city.
Nan Madol, Micronesia
Nan Madol is an archaeological site near Pohnpei, Micronesia. It’s an interesting ancient city because it was built upon coral reefs. It’s over 90 artificial islands with the ability to navigate them dependent on tide levels.
In 2016, Nan Madol was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city of ruins is often called the Venice of the Pacific.
The Sydney Opera House, Australia
The Sydney Opera House is a performing arts center located in Sydney, Australia. Over 1,500 performances occur in the opera house every year.
The Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
The Waitomo Caves are a system of caves located on the north island of New Zealand. There are several caves popular with tourists including the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Ruakuri Cave, and Gardner’s Gut.
Wave Rock, Australia
Wave Rock is located in Hyden Wildlife Park in Western Australia. It gets its name because it is shaped much like an ocean wave. It’s an iconic landmark to take a picture under.
9+ Famous Landmarks in SOUTH AMERICA
South America has a huge diversity of things to see in and do. Filled with natural beauty and archaeological sites.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. It’s located in Venezuela and is 979 meters (3212 feet) tall.
Visiting Angel Falls is complicated because of its jungle location. Expensive private flight tours or expensive (but slightly less so) river tours are the 2 methods of viewing the falls.
Special Note: since 2019, the US Department of State has listed Venezuela as a Level 4: Do Not Travel (the highest). The country is experiencing civil unrest causing riots, crime, shortages, and more.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Christ the Redeemer is a 30 meter (98 feet) tall statue located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The statue is located at the peak of Corcovado Mountain which overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro.
In 2007, Christ the Redeemer was listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Puerta del Reloj | Clock Tower Gate, Colombia
The Clock Tower Gate is the original entrance (and current main city gate) of Cartagena, Colombia.
The original gate can be traced back to 1631. It was repaired and reinforced over the years. In 1874, a clock was brought from the USA and added to the gate. That clock was replaced with the current Swiss one in 1937.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina | Iguacu Falls, Brazil
Iguazu Falls (aka Iguacu Falls) are a series of waterfalls on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Together, the falls are the largest waterfall in the world.
Iguazu Falls are located in Iguazu National Park (Argentina) and Iguacu National Park (Brazil). Both parks are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The falls can be accessed from either country.
La Loberia Beach, Ecuador
La Loberia Beach is a coral sand beach located in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. It’s a popular destination to see baby sea lions. You can also see marine iguanas which aren’t found anywhere else in the world!
Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Laguna Colorada is a shallow salt lake in Bolivia. The lake often appears red because of red sediments and algae. It’s almost guaranteed to spot flocks of flamingos!
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is located along the coast of Brazil. It’s a unique place because it appears to be a desert but it receives much more annual rainfall than a desert would.
The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is comprised of rolling sand dunes. There are lagoons in the valleys between the dunes. During rainy season, these lagoons overflow and become rivers connecting one another.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city located in Peru. Not much is known about the site but it is believed to have been a retreat for the emperor.
In 1983, Machu Picchu was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2007, it was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
The Moai are human figure carvings on Easter Island, Chile. The Moai are whole-body statues but due to their heads being 3/8th the size of the whole statue they’re often called the Easter Island Heads.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
The Perito Moreno Glacier is a 250 km2 (97 sq mi) glacier located in Argentina. It’s one of 48 glaciers in the region which is the third-largest reserve of fresh-water in the world.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in an easily accessible area making it a popular tourist attraction in Argentina.
Salar de Uyuni | Salt Flats, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni (aka the Salt Flats) is the world’s largest salt flat and is located in Bolivia. It covers a pool of brine which contains 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium.
When dry, the salt flats form a crust across the land’s surface. After it rains, the salt is covered in a small amount of water which usually casts a perfect mirror.
Map of Famous Landmarks Around the World
What’s on YOUR Travel Bucket List?
There is no quote truer for me than this one
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.– Sunsan Sontag
Ready for more? Check out these 27 Epic Bucket List Places to Travel next!
What famous (and not famous) landmarks are on your travel bucket list? Let me know in the comments!
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