Business Insider Edition

The most iconic tourist attraction in 26 countries around the world

Talia Lakritz , Business Insider US
 Jan 20, 2020, 06:08 PM
  • Every country has landmarks and natural wonders that are internationally recognisable.
  • You can't visit France without seeing the Eiffel Tower, or Iceland without swimming in the Blue Lagoon.
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a symbol of Italy, and Canada calls Niagara Falls to mind.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Iconic tourist attractions are popular for a reason.

Sure, it might be a little bit cliche to snap a photo in front of the Eiffel Tower or take a dip in Iceland's Blue Lagoon, but there's something powerful about finally seeing a famous landmark or natural wonder in person instead of on a postcard (or on Instagram).

Here's the most iconic tourist site in 26 different countries.


China: the Great Wall of China

At over 13,000 miles (20,000 kilometres) long, the Great Wall of China is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is the most popular with tourists, just two hours outside Beijing.


India: the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal was built by the emperor Shah Jahan between 1631 and 1648. UNESCO calls it "the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture."


France: the Eiffel Tower

No trip to France is complete without visiting the iconic Eiffel Tower, which was completed in 1889 and stands at 1,063 feet (324 metres) tall.


Canada: Niagara Falls

Facto Photo/Shutterstock

With about 30 million visitors a year, Niagara Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the world.


Thailand: Patong Beach

Patong Beach is arguably the most famous (and stunning) of Phuket's beach resorts.


Brazil: Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

The 98-foot-tall (29-metres) statue in Tijuca Forest National Park can be seen for miles and is one of the new seven wonders of the world.


Cuba: Old Havana

Old Havana was founded around 1519. It has five plazas serving as historical city centers with Baroque and neoclassical architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


United Arab Emirates: Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa in Dubai holds seven world records, including the tallest building in the world, at 2,716 feet (827 metres) tall.


Egypt: the Great Sphinx

Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

The Great Sphinx with the face of the ancient Egyptian King Khafre is 240 feet (73 metres) long and 66 feet (20 metres) high.


Japan: Mount Fuji

Climbing all 12,388 feet (about 3,000 metres) of Mount Fuji isn't for the faint of heart, but it's doable to reach the summit in a day or two.


United Kingdom: Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the British monarchy's administrative headquarters with a total of 775 rooms. Tourists who time their visits right can witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, and may even catch a glimpse of a member of the royal family.


Australia: Sydney Opera House

This symbol of the Sydney Harbour and UNESCO World Heritage Site opened in 1973 and remains one of the most recognisable buildings in the world.


Greece: the Parthenon

Built in the 5th century BCE for the goddess Athena, much of the white marble basic structure has remained.


Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni salt flat

The world's largest salt flat makes for some amusing photo opportunities that play with perspective.


Spain: La Sagrada Família

Construction on the ornate temple began in 1882 and still isn't finished (the expected completion date is 2026). Over 4.5 million people visit the cathedral each year.


Iceland: Blue Lagoon

Contrary to popular belief, the Blue Lagoon isn't a naturally-occurring phenomenon. It's made from a nearby geothermal power plant's discharge.


Argentina: La Boca, Buenos Aires

La Boca's colourful buildings and cobblestone streets complete with a lively arts scene make this district one of the most visited (and most photogenic) in Buenos Aires.


Mexico: Chichen-Itza

This ancient Mayan settlement dates back to the 400s and was abandoned in the 15th century. Thousands of people visit its remains each day.


New Zealand: Hobbiton

Fans of "The Lord of the Rings" can visit Middle Earth in the form of Hobbiton, the movie set used to film scenes in the Shire for the "Lord of the Rings" movies.


Croatia: Dubrovnik Old Town

The Dubrovnik Old Town is one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in the world with enormous walls dating back to the 11th century.


Vietnam: Ba Na Hill mountain resort

Ba Na Hill's attractions include cable cars through the mountains, the Golden Bridge held up by enormous stone hands, and theme park rides.


Zambia: Victoria Falls

At the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe lies Victoria Falls, a 354-foot (105-metres) waterfall that has been called "the greatest curtain of falling water in the world."


Morocco: Hassan II Mosque

The Hasan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Africa and has the tallest minaret in the world at 700 feet (213 metres) tall. It was built in 1993.


United States: Disney World

Disney World is one of the most popular tourist sites in the US with over 17 million visitors every year.


The Netherlands: Anne Frank House

Anne Frank's diary chronicling her life before World War II, her years hiding from the Nazis, and her musings as a young woman became world famous after the war. Visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam where her family hid in a secret annex requires a reservation months in advance.


Italy: Leaning Tower of Pisa

It's nearly impossible to resist the optical illusion photo-ops that the leaning tower of Pisa provides. Construction on the building began in 1173, and it currently leans about four degrees.

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