TripAdvisor Top 25 Landmarks to Visit in the World – Part 2

TripAdvisor Top 25 Landmarks to Visit in the World – Part 2
The 2016 Traveller’s choice awards have revealed the top 25 destinations to travel in the world! That’s a big call for some of the landmarks because there is so much out there to do and see – I am an avid traveller and so far my list of places to visit is not getting any shorter.
In my previous post for Part 1 I gave a breakdown of the top half of the 25 posts and and added my commentary about the destinations revealed. I broke it down into two parts because the original post ended up containing so much information that I wanted to share and write about these beautiful destinations.
In this post, I again will share with you some secrets of my travels to those spots I’ve been to and also once more, I am adding destinations to my  “TO VISIT” column.
This is Part 2, starting from destination/landmark number 12.

 

12. Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya), Istanbul, Turkey
To Visit

 

One of the most memorable locations in a James Bond film and certainly impressive. It is said that this structure changed the history of architecture. In 1953 this building became a museum, but prior to that, it served as an immensely important construction holding many holy relics and changing with wars, conquests and tribulations. Started as an Orthodox Church in 537 AD and when Constantinople was conquered, it became a Mosque from 1453.
Hagia-Sophia-Museum Turkey

 

13. Grand-Place, Brussels, Belgium

To Visit

 A key tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This square is measured 68 by 110 metres. Historically started as a popular market, owned by a Duke, that could continue its trade in all weather. The Town Hall served as a temporary hospital during WW2. The Grand Place continued to serve as a market until 1959 and is still called the Great Market. The neighbouring streets carry the historic existence of the market with names reflecting the sellers; butter, cheese, herring etc.

 

Grand-Palace, Brussels
Image via Booking.com
 If you’ve seen images of this giant flower carpet – it happens every couple of years (in August) on this square. All flowers are begonias, creating intricate colourful patterns on the giant carpet stretching a full 24 by 77 metres, a total of 1,800 square metres. This tradition started in 1971 and due to extreme popularity with tourists, has been carried on to this day, attracting millions every time. 
belgium-brussels-grand-place-flower-carpet

14. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

visited

 Who can miss the Eiffel tower when in Paris? Constructed for the World’s Fair in 1889, the tower is now more iconic than ever. If you’re visiting, you will no doubt have the temptation to climb to the top of Tour Eiffel but the lines can be very long. I remember waiting upwards of 3 hours in a queue to go up the tower in an elevator. Once you’ve finished at the top observation deck, you will be lining up again to come down. Such the experience! I loved observing the tower from all angles of the city and at night it’s lit up by a sparkling light show. In winter, the bottom floor of the tower turns into an ice skating rink and if you wish, you can also dine at one of the restaurants located on numerous floors.

 

Paris Eiffel Tower
Evening in Paris
paris travel live shop travel blogger
The streets of Paris
15.  Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

visited

Who can forget the Hunchback of Notre Dame? The famous cathedral that’s downright spooky in some respects. In others, all romanticism and art. The scary gargoyles , were designed by sculptors and used their imagination and creativity to sculpt these  creatures. Their purpose is not only decorative, but they are used to help drain rain water off the roof to protect the walls from getting damaged. One of the finest examples of Gothic architecture, the Cathedral has been around since the 13th century.

cathedral_of_notre-dame_paris

16. Great Wall at Mutianyu, Beijing, China

To Visit

 

“The only construction visible from space.” or the myth, that’s now been broken, says. The wall is more than 2,300 years old and has been rebuilt and re-constructed in parts under different dynasties many times. Most times when we see tourist photos of the Great Wall, it is a section or two of the wall that’s been completely restored for the purpose of tourism. Currently there’s approximately 1/3 of the wall that’s been sited as ‘missing’ due to natural erosion, locals taking the bricks for home building and possibly other types of degradation which occur with age. If you’re interested in visiting there are many recommended parts of the wall to visit, most popular from Beijing. Depending on what type of expedition you’d like to do, all levels of fitness can be explored. More here.
The-Great-Wall-Of-China-
Image via http://www.unknownworld.co/

17. Acropolis, Athens, Greece

To Visit

 

 Another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perhaps one of the oldest on the global list. The Acropolis is an ancient Citadel located on an extremely rocky site at the top of the city of Athens. This area contains a lot of ruins of ancient buildings, with the most famous one being the Parthenon (pictured below). The Parthenon served as a sacred ground and provides a monument of Greece’s Golden Age.
Acropolis Athens Greece
Image via http://www.keytours.gr/

18. Corcovado – Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

To Visit

One of the most recognisable landmarks in the World and one of the 7 wonders, with the recent Olympic games 2016, anyone will recall this symbol of Rio De Janeiro. Christ the Redeemer, or Cristo Redentor is a gigantic statue (30 metres tall) of Jesus Christ by a French sculptor.  Mount Corcovado is located in central Rio De Janeiro and is called ‘hunchback’ mountain in Portugese. The submission to have Christ the Redeemer with arms wide open as a symbol of peace was approved in 1920. Now Christian believers can host weddings and baptisms at the chapel atop the Corcovado mountain.

Corcova Rio De Janeiro
Image via http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/

19. Big Ben, London, United Kingdom

To Visit

I remember drawing the Big Ben in art class when I was a kid. It’s a structure I studied in intricate details but have never ended up visiting London. I am sure if anyone is in London, then the Big Ben is kind of unmissable. Located at the North end of Palace Westminster and is now officially called Elizabeth Tower. The clock tower has become a symbol of the UK and is the most popular film location in London. Technically, Big Ben is the name given to the massive bell inside the clock tower, presumably named after Sir Benjamin Hall, which weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg).  The clock tower looks spectacular at night when the clock faces are illuminated.

Big Ben
Image via https://cdn.getyourguide.com

20. Chichen Itza, Chichen Itza, Mexico

To Visit

 

This is the largest of archeological cities of the pre-Colombian Mayan period, located in Mexico. It’s recommended to visit the site with 1-2 nights to spare and to rise early in the morning to experience the beauty of this city with sunrise and less tourists, similar to Macchu Picchu. Located about 125 km west of Cancun and is a rugged place full of massive pyramids, temples and columns. It is said that the Chichen Itza was the most powerful city in Yucatan.
Chichen Itza
Image via Grayline.com

21.Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), Bangkok, Thailand

To Visit

The temple is one of the largest in Bangkok and is famous for the giant reclining Buddha (46 metres long) that’s covered in gold leaf.  The Buddha’s feet alone are 5 metres long and are decorated in mother of pearl illustrations. Tourist sites say it is worth walking around the rest of the temple and seeing more golden statues, four chapels and the beautiful courtyard. Wat Pho was the first public university in Thailand and is now a centre for medicine and traditional massage. You can even get a relaxing foot or head and shoulder massage at the end of your visit and it is recommended to book ahead.

Buda-reclinado-Bangkok-Tailandia
Image via en.vietnamitsaenmadrid.com  

22. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

visited

This is officially the tallest building in the World. The Burj Khalifa lights up in beautiful lights at night and is located next to Dubai Mall. If you’re planning to visit, it’s best to purchase your tickets online as the queues to get tickets can be long and there is also a capped limit on the number of passes they issue per day. You don’t have to go up to the top of the tower to appreciate the height. Just try and crank your neck to see the tip of the building, you won’t believe how far you have to tilt your head back just to see where the tower ends.

Burj-Khalifa
Image via http://travelchannel.sndimg.com/

23. Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia

To Visit

This is what happens when you live in a certain place long enough, you don’t visit the touristy places around where you are. I have been to Canberra but never visited the War Memorial, which made the top 25 landmarks to visit this year. The Australian War Memorial was opened in 1941, and is now regarded as one of the most significant memorials in the world. There is an extensive military museum. Every year on April 25th it is Anzac Day in Australia and on this day we remember all Australians who served and died in war and on operational service. Dawn Service, National Ceremony and Last Post Ceremony take place on this day at the Australian War Memorial. 

Australian_War_Memorial
Image via australia.dfns.net

24. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

visited

I used to work at Sydney Opera House, although our office was located nearby, I still had frequent meetings and saw many shows at the Opera House itself. This structure continues to attract tourists from all over the world and its always interesting to just observe the unique structure from the outside. In all weather, the Opera House looks stunning and if you’re lucky enough to visit Sydney during winter, you’ll see the sails light up in a myriad of colours and media projections as a part of the annual VIVID festival. There are daily tours for the Sydney Opera House – you can explore the insights from all the resident companies, including Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and go behind the scenes to view the Concert Hall and Joan Sutherland theatre from the performers perspective.

Sydney Opera House
Image via https://www.homeaway.com.au

25. Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

visited

 

We visited Kyoto after spending a few days in Tokyo and it was quite a change of pace. Kyoto has more historic origins and there are many temples and shrines to visit to learn about Japanese culture. The Fushimi Inari- Taisha Shrine is probably the most famous, identified by the large orange Romon gate and the torii gate covered hiking trail, which starts with two dense, parallel rows of gates called Senbon Torii (“thousands of torii gates”). The hike to the summit of the mountain takes 2-3 hours but you’re free to turn back any time you want.  Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers so you will see many statues of foxes in the shrine grounds. Many visit the Shrine to explore the mountain trails around the area, but when we visited, this was not something that we wanted to do.  It’s funny because I took a photo of the station called JR Inari Station, which is where you get off to go to the Shrine. Inari restaurants and Fox Udon are popular dishes at the nearby restaurants and have fried tofu (said to be foxes’ favourite food).

Fushimi-Inari-Shrine

Image via http://lukezeme.com/

Have you been to visit all of these landmarks? I certainly haven’t but just researching the places I haven’t been to gave me so many new ideas on where to travel next. I hope this article gave you some more information on these Global landmarks. Happy travels!

Go back to part 1 of the 25 Top Landmarks to visit in 2016 to see all 25 landmarks to visit.