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According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a landmark is “a building or place that is easily recognised, especially one that you can use to judge where you are”. The Merriam Webster Dictionary takes a broader approach to defining the meaning of “landmark” and describes a landmark as “an object (such as a stone or tree) that marks the boundary of land”.
The word ‘landmark’ not only refers to a tangible thing such as a conspicuous object on land that might serve as a location marker for travellers on the road or on the ocean but it can also be an intangible concept such as a landmark event that changed the course of history.
It doesn’t matter which dictionary you consult, they all agree that a landmark is something that is easily noticed, instantly recognisable and stands out from the landscape. If you love to travel, there are plenty of famous landmarks around the world to tick off your bucket list.
Our list of the most famous landmarks and monuments around the world. All landmarks on these lists are distinctive and easily recognised from afar. These worldwide landmarks are either natural or manmade and may are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Europe has stunning landscapes, unique local customs and beautiful architecture to explore. The world’s second-smallest continent is home to some of the most picturesque mountain ranges and coastlines.
It’s a continent with culture, colour and charisma. From the Arctic to the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea, there are so many famous landmarks to discover. Where do you start?
From staggeringly vast and beautiful national parks, marks of ancient cultures, and more modern yet impressive manmade landmarks, the Unites States of America has incredible world-class landmarks to attract both tourists and locals. Each state here is dramatically different, from its natural history to cultural inheritance.
Manmade monuments showcase the best of what America is all about, reflecting democracy, independence and pride in those who sacrificed their lives for their nation, while, natural landmarks of worldwide significance exhibit the power of mother nature through cavernous canyons, petrified forests and colossal lakes.
This fascinating continent with varied landscapes, amazing animals and incredible scenery. From the grand ruins of Machu Pichu and the Incan Empire to the gushing natural beauty of Iguazu or Iguacu Falls, there are simply too many famous monuments and landmarks to tick off your bucket list in one go.
From Argentina to Venezuela, this A to Z of landmarks will have you zooming around the colourful continent on an exploration you won't forget.
Ask most people to name the top landmarks Downunder and the answer is likely to include the usual suspects (Sydney Opera House, Uluru and Great Barrier Reef) but this land of unique and distinctive natural landmarks that are as spectacular as the continent itself when viewed from space. Check them out.
Africa is the worlds second-largest continent with 54 countries and a land of incredibly diverse peoples, landscapes and histories. From the scorching heat of the desert to the lush green humid rainforests, Africa is home to a variety of animals and plants. Natural landmarks range from mountains to rock formations, rivers and waterfalls.
This continent has seen many powerful empires make their mark, including the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, the Romans and the Ancient Greeks. The cradle of mankind, with evidence of the first humans, is home to some of the most amazing landmarks of the world.
A country with stunning landscapes of mountains, waterfalls and lakes, Canada has a huge selection of natural landmarks. With a rich history and vibrant cities, worldwide landmarks of renown such as CN Tower and Canadian Museum For Human Rights have become instantly recognisable too.
However, you’d be surprised that the second-largest country in the world has plenty of landmarks that are often easily overlooked. From iconic buildings to natural landforms to quirky statues, here are some of the top places to tick off your list.
There’s a famous saying that good things come in sets of three and, it just so happens, the three most famous Brazilian icons start with C. Famous around the world for Carnival, Copacabana Beach and Christ the Redeemer, it’s easy to overlook the raft of world-famous landmarks that should be on your bucket list.
Landmarks range from nature’s wonders, like the stunning Iguacu Falls, which is possibly the most beautiful waterfall in the world, to futuristic architectural designs like the edgy architectural Niteroi Museum.
Seven thousand years of history has endowed Egypt with a treasure trove of the most spectacular landmarks on earth. A testament to the advanced culture and technology that existed thousands of years ago, these icons are impressive to see. From engineering wonders, such as the Great Pyramids, to underground systems and mysterious temples, exploring these famous landmarks of the world should be near the top of your bucket list.
A land with a long history, Italy's landmarks are famous around the world. Italy is a history lover’s dream destination, packed with Greek temples, Roman ruins, Baroque churches and from medieval castles. UNESCO World Heritage sites reflect the mastery in architecture and building. With so many enchanting historic town centres, with clusters of monuments, in many places, it’s challenging to pick out individual landmarks to visit.
Champagne, crepes and croissants are some of the delicious things that attract visitors to France. Then there’s fine French food, fashion and a treasure trove of historic sights to explore. There’s no doubt la vie est belle! Yes, life is beautiful indeed and so are these famous worldly landmarks.
The landmarks in the nation's capital alone could fill your entire visit but take heed of this quote about travel by songwriter Gustave Nadaud: “To be is to exist, but to travel is to live” and you’ll be living in the footsteps of royalty as you discover lavish castles, forts and palaces.
The land of temples, islands and palaces, Thailand has a rich heritage and fascinating history. As the only Southeast Asian country that wasn’t colonised by Europeans, the country's culture remains intact and its palaces are as grand as they were centuries ago.
From vibrant cities to white-sand islands and lush tropical hills, these fabulous landmarks should be on your bucket list. Many of the most famous landmarks are gorgeous temples and elaborate palaces but there are plenty of natural formations that are impressive too.
From Berlin to Bavaria, visiting a famous landmark is a great way to get a snapshot of the events that defined this nation. The land of beer and sausages is also a country that brought to the world some of the best artists, philosophers and musicians. It’s the country where the internal combustion engine and the first car was invented.
From forests, mountains and lakes to thriving cities, these incredible world landmarks are diverse and fascinating. With 83 million people, Germany is a key player in the European Union and the fourth largest country by geographical area.
The world’s fourth-largest country and home to a culture with 4000 years of history, it’s not surprising that you'll find so many global landmarks that are impressive. From Imperial palaces and grand temples to a long list of stunning natural wonders, these awe-inspiring monuments and landmarks are precious treasures.
The country’s rapid modernisation also means that futuristic monuments that defy traditional engineering principals keep popping up everywhere every year. But that only makes those historical and natural landmarks, such as the Yangtze River, the Grand Buddha of Leshan and the Great Wall of China even more valuable.
Indonesia has so many islands; even the experts aren’t sure how many there are. The consensus is that this country in Southeast Asia has 17,508 islands and a third of the world’s volcanoes. So, it should come as no surprise that many of the famous landmarks are of the fiery or watery kind.
The islands of the Republic of Indonesia are spread across 5,120 kilometres from east to west, and you might be surprised to learn that 300 ethnic groups speak more than 740 languages and dialects. Being one of 13 countries that straddle the Equator, Indonesia is in both northern and southern hemispheres.
Japan is a country where ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology live side by side. As one of Asia’s most technologically advanced nations, it’s fantastic there’s a treasure trove of shrines, temples and castles too.
What's surprising is these historical landmarks are revered even though the nation's megacities continue to grow at lightning speed. There are thousands of famous landmarks in the cities and throughout the countryside.
From peaceful lakes and areas of outstanding natural beauty to the hustle and bustle of the city, there’s a treasure trove of nature spots in England well and truly on top of the world landmarks list. From the stunning White Cliffs of Dover to castles and abbeys, England has its fair share of impressive worldwide landmarks.
Although you could easily spend weeks discovering the best of England’s capital, there are so many more monuments across the country to see.
Switzerland is famous for its beautiful mountainous scenery, the snow-capped Alps and fantastic skiing conditions. But some of the most famous landmarks in the land of cows and cheese include architectural wonders, castles and cathedrals.
While tourist numbers may drop outside of ski season, it's a beautiful country to visit all year round, with castles to rival the chateaux of France and lakes to rival the crystalline waters of the Balkans.
With national parks, stunning coastlines, mountains, lakes and glaciers, there are just too many natural landmarks in the land of the long white cloud to choose. Whether you’re a hiker, surfer or a kayaker, New Zealand has landscapes you’ll love.
From the spectacular natural beauty of Mount Cook to the ethereal beauty of Milford Sound, these world-famous landmarks are precious treasures.
Incredible India is chock-full of natural wonders of every imaginable kind. Lush jungles, massive waterfalls, sandy deserts, massive mountain peaks, and lakes are just some of the spectacles that dot the subcontinent. It’s no secret that India is one of the most diverse nations on Earth - every hundred miles landscapes, languages, and traditions change, making it feel like multiple countries rather than just one.
Awe-inspiring views and some of the most famous landmarks in the world can be found throughout India, many of which exist almost nowhere else. It would genuinely take multiple lifetimes to explore all of the wonderous landmarks in India.
Russia, the world’s largest country, stretches across Europe and Northern Asia and spans 11 time zones. As such, its natural landscape is vast and filled with a range of environments from deserts to arctic tundras.
Home to many famous monuments and some of the most famous landmarks in the world, such as imposing castles and palaces, this is also a country with the largest number of undiscovered landmarks of the world.
From breathtaking Waikiki Beach to the remarkable Na Pali Coast, there’s a spectacular array of natural landmarks sprinkled around these islands. Renowned as one of the USA’s most visited destinations, Hawaii has something for all kinds of travellers.
Whether you want to shop til you drop in Waikiki, or get lost in nature on the island of Kauai, there are dreamy landmarks that are bound to impress. So get ready to say “Aloha” to a treasure trove of famous world landmarks.
The Republic of Ireland (or Éire in Irish Gaelic), is also called the Emerald Isle due to the national symbol of the Shamrock, which is a type of clover. Filled with castles, ancient history, incredible wild spaces, bustling cities and of course Guinness, there are plenty of must-see landmarks for your next trip to the Emerald Isle.
Renowned for its glitz and glamour, scenic landscapes and top attractions, California is just bursting with things to see and do. One of the most popular gateways for international travellers looking for world-class landmarks, this state offers something for all.
Whether you want to surround yourself in nature at one of the many National Parks or release your inner child at the happiest place on earth, go ahead and make plans to tick these famous landmarks off your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed.
Portugal is famed for its golden sandy beaches, hidden coves and monumental castles. From its sloped cities to dense forest, here are 20 famous landmarks to see. So, grab a pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tart) and plan to visit some of these famous landmarks of the world.
Poland offers incredible diversity in its history and landscape. From towering mountain ranges to picturesque villages, quirky homes to memorials from wars, Poland is filled with some of the most incredible and thought-provoking landmarks in the world.
Mexico is a breathtaking and fascinating place to travel to. Filled with ancient temples and pyramids, to incredible works of art and natural wonders, it offers something for everyone. From mysterious Aztec ruins, with canals, palaces and pyramids to magical cenotes where the underground diving is simply amazing, these international landmarks are a delight for explorers.
The Catalan city of Barcelona is the perfect mix of white sandy beaches, old-meets-new architecture and stunning mountain scenery. A city full of stunning sights, there are plenty of iconic landmarks to tick off your to-visit list.
Barcelona’s list of landmarks is so awe-inspiring, it’s the top city to visit if you’re looking to see the best of Spain. So, make plans now to get an eyeful of Gaudi’s creations and other famous landmarks soon.
Malaysia is a multicultural country in south-east Asia and is a melting pot of Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures with a treasure trove of cultural landmarks to match. With such a rich cultural history, delicious food and lush tropical landscapes, the land is a treasure of wonders. Its rich biodiversity entices visitors to its natural attractions while astonishing feats of architecture, both modern and historical lead visitors into its cities.
Once a colonial trading post for the British, Singapore is an incredible city-state in southeast Asia where remnants of the colonial period stand alongside skyscrapers. Although the island's contemporary architecture is mindboggling, it's also brimming with Chinese, Indian, Malay and British heritage, making it a melting pot of rich cultural experiences. There’s an excellent mix of modern and historical landmarks on this island that you must see when visiting.
Vietnam is often called one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries, it is easy to see why so many backpackers and travellers are drawn to Vietnam. With pristine sandy beaches, bustling cities and lush rainforest, there is a multitude of potential landmarks waiting to be explored.
With eye-catching contemporary architecture and famous historic landmarks, Macau is a place that is attracting lots of attention. The Historic Centre of Macao is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with Baroque churches and ancient Chinese temples while dazzling 21st-century landmarks are redefining the skyline.
With this melding of its rich past and exciting future, it should come as no surprise that the city punches way above its weight in the monument and landmark department. On track to becoming the wealthiest place in the world by 2020, new landmarks keep on popping up each year.
Many of the most impressive ancient landmarks date back to Ancient Greece, which was the birthplace of democracy, the cradle of Western civilisation and one of the oldest languages in the world. Home to philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, artists and scientists, Greece, is a Mediterranean country rich in history, culture and natural beauty.
Officially called the Hellenic Republic, Greece has been part of the Roman and Ottoman Empires and historic landmarks dating back to the Bronze Age. It’s a producer of marble, olives and feta cheese and home to the Colossus of Rhodes, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Double-decker buses, Buckingham Palace and London Bridge, these famous landmarks are straight of a Monopoly board. With so many popular landmarks and famous monuments to see, it can be exciting and overwhelming. England’s dynamic capital is jam-packed with historical and modern-day attractions, from churches and cathedrals to castles and mansions to theatres, museums, quirky streets and markets.
London is such a big city with so many distractions, there are enough famous world landmarks here alone to keep you busy for weeks.
From medieval castles to dreamy mosques and futuristic museums, the list of landmarks in this land is truly impressive. From Barcelona to Madrid and beyond, these landmarks tell stories of the country’s rich history. From Gothic to Gaudi to Gehry, Spain has stunningly beautiful monuments and landmarks to tick off your bucket list.
What could possess a government to fund such a venture? Perhaps it’s all part of the territory. The Black Hills South Dakota, where Mount Rushmore is located, has many ambitious sculptures. Indeed, Mount Rushmore is a famous worldwide landmark of note but the region is worth visiting for any number of monuments, statues and sculptures.
Scattered across the windswept landscapes of the highlands to the cobbled streets of ancient cities, these famouse landmarks represent the country’s rich and proud history. Scotland’s landscape is subject to extremes in weather due to its location, with some islands stretching closer to Norway than the Scottish shores. This diversity in climate provides a land prized for its beauty, culture and history.
Argentina covers much of the southern tip of South America. Its landscape is wild and vast and is filled with roaring waterfalls, hidden relics of ancient civilisations, and the end of the world. Famous for Lionel Messi, the tango and gaucho culture, there are plenty of cultural, historic and natural landmarks to explore.
Peru, in western South America, is a diverse and ancient country. Once the home of the Inca, who left behind incredible cities within dense jungle and at unbelievable heights, Peru still holds festivals celebrating ancient rites and traditions. One of the most famous landmarks in the world is Machu Picchu, which is also one of the most visited landmarks in South America.
The Philippines is an island country consisting of around 7000 island and islets. The landscapes are beautiful and dangerous, with some of the most active volcanoes in the world on its islands. Filled with a vast and varying history, and famous natural landmarks, the Philippines is an incredible country to explore. Here are 20 landmarks you must visit when exploring this amazing country.
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