The world is full of beautiful landmarks and these places always top the must-see list for any tourist. What would a holiday be if you did not have a snap at an iconic location to show that you were there?!
So far in our travels I have always been suitably impressed with all the famous sites we’ve had the opportunity of visiting. But it is also fair to say that some have captivated me more than others while some hold a special place in my heart because, being able to see it in real life, meant the realisation of a life-long dream.
So while I hope and believe that I will get to add to the list over the course my life, here is my top 10 landmarks as it stands today:
- The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
What more is there to say?! Every time I see it, I have an urge to take a picture of it. It represents fashion, food, romance… and PARIS! Talk about iconic – this is probably one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. One can’t fathom that it was built to be a semi permanent structure for the world fair in 1889. Now you can’t imagine Paris without it.
- London Eye, London, England
While not of any historical importance, the London Eye is definitely something that made its mark on the London skyline. London was the first foreign city we’ve ever visited and the London Eye the first foreign landmark I’ve ever seen! What makes this such a great landmark is that, once you are on the Eye, you get to see all the other landmarks on your must-see list as well! I remember being in the bubble and just staring out in amazement at the view of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey… Oh, I love that holiday feeling!
- Carcassonne, France
In 2008 I saw Rick Stein’s French Odyssey on tv for the first time. A bucket-list item was borne – hubby and I would just have to go on a boat trip on the Canal du Midi of our own. In 2015 this dream finally came true! One of the highlights on this trip was visiting the beautifully preserved medieval village of Carcassonne. Truly breathtaking and special – and a reminder that if you can dream it, you can achieve it!
- Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
It’s a bit of a cheat, because it’s about the bridge, but it is also because of the view from the bridge. It’s Venice. Nothing I can say in words can describe this place. Just go. You have to.
- Colosseum, Rome, Italy
This symbol of the Roman Empire is impressive. I find it hard to believe that they could construct something of such magnitude so long ago and that it is still around today. You can see chisel marks on the columns and it is almost unimaginable that the stones and column was carved by hand. It’s majestic.
- Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
This was the first landmark we saw when we arrived in Paris. As we exited from the metro station, we were greeted with this building standing proudly at the top of the Champs Elysees! After seeing it for so many years at the end of the Tour de France to see it for myself – unbelievable! And we were lucky enough that from our hotel balcony we had a great view of it lit up every evening. At night we would stand outside, sip our Bordeaux and stare like love-struck teenagers at its beauty!
- Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
WOW. Upon arrival I was struck by how different it looks in real life than what I’ve always seen in pictures. Although it is big, it is somehow smaller than I expected – in pictures (like the one above) the circle seems bigger than what it is if you look at it with the naked eye. The day we visited was overcast and misty. Black birds were flying around and seemed unsettled, making squawking sounds. It felt eerie and while we might never know exactly what happened there, I know how it made me feel… as if I was walking on hallowed ground.
- The Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Field of Miracles, Pisa, Italy
Of course when going to Tuscany, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was something we had to see, but what makes it worthy of my list is its unexpected beauty. The details are gorgeous and the fact that we had a perfect blue sky day didn’t hurt either – it is such a magical setting! Also, talk about the iconic “Look, Mom! I’m holding it up” photo – I spared you our numerous attempts! (PS: It is only once you are there that you realise just how much it leans! It leans A LOT!)
- Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
An amazing place – nothing can really prepare you for the impact! A male colleague of mine visited the Cathedral recently and said that he had to remind himself as he walked in “Cowboys don’t cry!”. It is amazing to see the work of Gaudi and the different sculptors and architects after him and to appreciate the effort and craftsmanship that goes into creating an icon. Almost 134 years in the making and still not completed. It puts in perspective on so many of the cathedrals we’ve seen – each an amazing feat to complete. However, the Sagrada Familia with its beautiful stained glass windows is simply amazing.
- Piccadilly Circus, London, England
Not quite something that most people would get excited about, but I remember when I was just a little child, seeing it on tv. It looked so foreign, buzzing and exciting all at the same time. I was mesmerized and it never even crossed my mind at that stage that seeing it for myself would even be a possibility. London was the first foreign city we ever visited and I remember the evening hubby and I got to Piccadilly Circus. When we were standing there I actually recalled the small me, sitting in front of the tv – being amazed at all the people and the lights – and there I was, part of it! Nuts!
So there you have my top 10 – some for obvious reasons and others a bit more personal… I love them all!
But what about you – what would you recommend hubby and my next stop to be? I hope you will comment and let me know!