A continuation of our previous landmarks post: here are some more must-visit landmarks across the world, from places of worship to ancient arenas. Plus a handful of boutique hotels to check into along the way…when travelling is once again possible. Which landmarks are top of your bucket list?
Acropolis, Athens, Greece
A striking and architecturally important citadel situated high above the capital: the collection of buildings including the Parthenon that sit perched up there were engineered in 5th-century BC. The question is, how did the artisans manage it?
Buckingham Palace, London, UK
Home to the monarchy and its administrative HQ, the Westminster-based dwelling has a whopping 775 rooms, and the largest private garden in London. Inside, the state rooms are used for entertaining and are open to the public at certain points throughout the year. For those wishing to spend the night in the capital, boutique hotel COMO The Halkin (below) is ideally located just a 15-minute walk from the palace. Plush 11 Cadogan Gardens is also close by, a stone’s throw from Sloane Street.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, Abu Dhabi, UAE
The largest of its kind in the country, the complex was built between 1996 and 2007 and can’t help but catch the eye with its many gleaming white domes. Natural materials including gold, semi-precious stones, marble, crystals, and ceramics were used in its design.
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Designed by Antoni Gaudi, the exterior of the Roman Catholic basilica combines Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. At the time of Gaudi’s death in 1926, less than a quarter of the mammoth undertaking was complete. It’s hoped that the project will be finished by 2026, the centenary of the architect’s death. A 20-minute stroll will take you to the Eixample district and OD Barcelona (below), a modern hotel complete with a rooftop bar and pool.
Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Necropolis: the site of a trio of structures built (it is thought) to house the remains of deceased pharaohs who ruled over the land. The plateau is also home to the Sphinx – a limestone statue of the mythical creature. How they were all constructed some 4,500 years ago is another of life’s mysteries…
St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
This super colourful church in the Red Square is now a museum, with occasional holy services held. Created from 1555-1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible, it’s shaped like the flames of a bonfire and draws the eye with its onion domes and vivid tones.
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK
It’s estimated that this prehistoric ring of stones in the English countryside was constructed between 3000 and 2000 BC. Managed by English Heritage, with the surrounding fields owned by the National Trust, it’s thought the site was once a burial ground. Jump in the car and in less than 20 minutes you’ll be pulling into the Hawk Inn (below), a quality gastropub with rooms.
The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Known in the past as the Flavian Amphitheatre, this remarkable and imposing treasure takes visitors back in time to the Roman Empire. Back then, more than 50,000 people would enjoy spectacles such as executions, gladiator battles, and the parading of exotic animals. Characterful Casa Montani (below) is a top choice to lay your head at, as is design-led Hotel Art by The Spanish Steps.
Rewind to Hellenistic and Roman times: this historic city was the centre of an Arab kingdom. Carved into red sandstone rock and surrounded by mountains, the ornate archaeological wonder was visited by more than 1,000,000 in 2019.
Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Bangkok, Thailand
Also known as Wat Pho, the 46-metre long and 15-metre tall statue is covered in gold leaf; immaculately crafted, the feet are decorated in mother of pearl. In total, the complex is has more than 1000 Buddha images and is also the headquarters for the teaching and preservation of Thai medicine, including massage.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota, USA
Picture this: a huge sculpture carved into granite consisting of four faces. That’s exactly the remarkable sight you’ll find in Keystone, where the heads of former Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln can be found.
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Visually distinctive and super impressive, the performing arts centre in the city harbour took nearly a decade and a half to build and opened in 1973. Also notable in the locality is the Harbour Bridge – climb it if you dare…
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, USA
This dinky isle was once a fort, a military prison, and from 1934 to 1963 a high-security penitentiary. Sitting just over 2 kilometres offshore, the currents are notoriously high making escape impossible. Or so it was hoped…
Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France
Another former jail, the incredibly pretty setting belies its past. But this medieval commune on a rock with a Gothic Benedictine abbey at its summit did not always serve as a detention centre: it was a well-known pilgrimage destination, and these days it’s also a tourist stop.
Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto, Japan
This important Shinto shrine sits at the base of Mount Inari. Perhaps more famous are the thousands of vermilion-hued gates that can be followed up the mountain. Encounter smaller places of worship along the way, as well as views to the city below.
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Main landmarks image: Jonathan Ridley on Unsplash. Remainder: Laura Evans, Free Images, and Unsplash.