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10 of the Most Recognisable Tourist Attractions

Updated on November 26, 2013

'Tourist-destinations': Those sites that seem to possess an uncanny talent for luring in colossal numbers of eager travellers from all walks of life. Although the precise criteria for such a destination is, perhaps, unidentifiable, varying vastly from person to person, there are a large number of both natural and manmade sites that seem to consistently bestow a beacon of enjoyment upon their visitors. Whilst naming all of these sites and trying to pinpoint their value seems impossible, I have attempted to compile a brief list of what I consider to be 10 of the best known tourist hubs in the world. What do you find appealing about them?

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls | Source

Niagara Falls

Forming part of the dramatic divide between New York and Ontario, Niagara Falls are well recognised for their beauty and power. They may not have earned the title of the World's Largest Waterfall, but, conveniently located and spectacularly scenic, Niagara Falls continues to make a name for itself as a a much-loved tourist attraction.

La cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
La cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris | Source

Notre Dame

Famously the setting of Victor Hugo's classic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this Gothic cathedral, completed in 1345, still stands as tangible evidence of the grandeur of Medieval architecture. Located in the heart of the Paris and having withstood both natural and manmade threats to its existence, it seems to be a must-see for the huge number of tourists who flock annually to France.

The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China | Source

The Great Wall of China

Remarkable for both its age and size, the Great Wall, started around the 6th century BCE as a military fortification and renovated throughout the ages, sprawls from Western to Eastern China, captivating tourists from all over the world. Constructed variously from brick, stone, packed earth, and wood, its survival throughout the ages truly provides evidence of an astonishing feat of engineering.

The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower | Source

The Eiffel Tower

Returning to Paris, it would be impossible to forget this iconic steel structure, standing tall at 324 metres. Constructed in 1889 for the World's Fair, the tower continues to impress despite much initial displeasure regarding its location and design, and may only exist today due to its usefulness as a radio transmitter during the First World War.

The Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House | Source

Sydney Opera House

Perched on the edge of the harbour, this recognisable piece of architecture continues to impress as Australia's most recognisable landmark, drawing millions of tourists every year. Opened in 1973, it is now not only one of the most recognisable tourist attractions, but also one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world.

The Colosseum
The Colosseum | Source

The Colosseum

Located in the heart of Rome since its opening in 80CE, the Colosseum may no longer be the venue of violet gladiatorial battles, but its rich history and masterful architecture continue to impress regardless. Complete with four levels and underground tunnels, this massive amphitheatre is a true testament to the genius of Roman engineering.

The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge | Source

Golden Gate Bridge

Completed in 1937 and now considered to be one of the Wonders of the Modern World, the Golden Gate Bridge links the city of San Francisco with Marin County, and is considered to be the most photographed bridge in the world. With a main span of 1280m, a record held until 1964, and with approximately 1.2 million steel rivets in place, it is truly an impressive piece of engineering, and is undoubtedly one of the most recognised tourist sites in the world.

The Acropolis
The Acropolis | Source

The Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens and its famous Parthenon were commissioned by democratic leader, Pericles, in the 5th-century BCE, when he undertook campaigns to restore the area following the Persian ransacking of 480 BCE. With the help of Athenian sculptors and architects, including the famous Phidias, the building was completed towards the end of the 5th-century, serving as a lavish temple for the goddess Athena. The lack of any ninety degree angles within the Parthenon is also thought to be a mastery of engineering, solidifying the foundations and creating the optical illusion of perfect straight lines. With such historical significance and construction ingenuity, the Acropolis stands as firm evidence of the wealth and grandeur engendered by the Golden Age of Athens, and is unsurprisingly a top tourist destination for eager travellers stopping off in Greece.

The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty | Source

The Statue of Liberty

Located on Liberty Island, New York, the statue was given as a gift to America from the people of France in 1886, serving, with its depiction of the Roman goddess Libertas, as an emblem of freedom. Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the colossal sculpture, now a World Heritage site, continues to draw in huge numbers of tourists today.

Stonehenge | Source


Located in Wiltshire, England, this prehistoric structure of circular stones was perhaps commissioned as early as 3100 BCE, and continued to be developed and enhanced right up until about 1600 BCE. The lack of written records left by the builders greatly enhances the mystery of the site, perhaps contributing to its success on eager tourists' 'must-see' lists. Debated variously by scholars as a place of healing, burial, ancestral worship, and unification, the site is also involved in mythology and folk-lore surrounding King Arthur and the Devil, and is truly a testament to the phenomenal feats of engineering that were possible in an age predating modern machinery.

show route and directions
A markerniagara falls -
Niagara Falls, NY, USA
get directions

B markernotre dame paris -
Notre Dame Cathedral, 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Place Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
get directions

C markergreat wall of china -
Great Wall of China, Huairou, China
get directions

D markereiffel tower -
Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
get directions

E markersydney opera house -
Sydney Opera House Carpark, 2 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
get directions

F markercolosseum rome -
Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Rome, Italy
get directions

G markergolden gate bridge -
Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 9412
get directions

H markerthe acropolis athens -
Acropolis of Athens, Athens 105 58, Greece
get directions

I markerstatue of liberty -
Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, NY 10004, USA
get directions

J markerstonehenge -
Stonehenge, A344, Amesbury, Wiltshire SP4 7DE, UK
get directions


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    • Thief12 profile image

      Thief12 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Great list and some great places.