Famous World Landmarks, Ranked

For travelers seeking culturally enriching experiences (or an epic Instagram shot), there’s nothing better to anchor your itinerary than one of the many inspiring, famous world landmarks. TripAdvisor’s list of Travelers’ Choice award winners this year includes historical sites, scenic attractions, and breathtaking examples of architectural innovation in destinations far and wide.

If you’re planning a visit to one of these world landmarks, make sure you prepare ahead of time. Below, we’re featuring some of the highest-rated tours for seeing these attractions up close, according to our traveler community. Pre-book a viewing experience (right on TripAdvisor), a private guided excursion, or a skip-the-line VIP ticket and you won’t need to worry about any further logistics once you’re in your destination. Or if you are on the trip, you can easily book cool experiences and tours using TripAdvisor’s mobile app, too.

Each of these world landmark tours comes highly recommended—just like the attractions themselves!

1. Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat

The stunning remains of a great ancient empire, the temples of Angkor Wat are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, global icon, and one of the most spectacular places to visit in the world. After visiting Angkor Wat, one TripAdvisor user said, “Take everything you have read about this place and then still be prepared to be blown away! It is truly vast and the carvings in particular are absolutely incredible.”

Angkor Tour by Tuk Tuk from Sunrise

Visiting Angkor Wat by tuk tuk is not only a fun and quirky way to travel, but also lets you zip around from temple to temple without the crowds of a larger vehicle. This tour leaves early in the morning, so you can arrive in time to catch the sun illuminating the temple’s many spires and shedding first light on the day—a dream for photographers.

Angkor Temples Bike Tour from Siem Reap

Many TripAdvisor users recommend visiting with a guide who can bring the ruins to life by providing insight into the Khmer Empire, the ancient civilization that built and ruled from Angkor Wat. Traveling by bike lets you cover more of the 250-square-mile Angkor Archaeological Park in a day than walking.

Angkor Wat Helicopter Flight with Private Tour of Temples

See the ruins from every angle on this Angkor Wat helicopter tour, which takes you high above the site by helicopter, brings you in close for a unique view from above, and takes you on a fully customizable private tour of the temples. Inclusions like meals, a traditional dance performance, and round-trip transportation from your Siem Reap hotel make this a hassle-free tour with just the right touch of luxury.

2. Plaza de España – Seville, Spain

Plaza de Espana

Whether you visit for the famous architecture, vibrant cultural scene, or just a day in the sun, Plaza de España is a must-see world landmark while in Seville. The name specifically refers to the massive building and grounds constructed for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929, but the site is located inside María Luisa Park so you easily spend a half-day exploring. A unique combination of Renaissance and Moorish architecture creates a visually striking building—expect to see photo shoots and remember to bring a camera.

Seville Electric Bike Tour

This tour has proven to be one of the most popular and highly rated ways to visit Seville attractions, including Plaza de España. Your guide tells you all about Seville history as you make your way through the city with the ease of an electric bike, stopping to take photos and pick up recommendations for further exploration of the city as you ride.

Seville Sightseeing Tour with Guadalquivir River Boat Ride

By combining a guided city tour via minibus with a cruise on the Guadalquivir River, this Seville city tour packs great value. Plus, easy upgrades—like entrance tickets to the Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcazar—make it a cinch to pre-book tickets to top Seville attractions under a single booking.

3. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

By far the youngest world landmark on this list—having only been completed in 2007— the gigantic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center holds its own against more established icons. A gorgeous marble mosaic courtyard, elaborate hand-tied Iranian carpet, and seven German-made chandeliers glistening with Swarovski crystals are among the draws for visitors, but those coming to pray will find the mosque’s room for 40,000 worshippers more than accommodating. If you’re having trouble deciding when to go, check out this TripAdvisor user’s advice: “The best time to visit this beautiful gem is during sunset while the sun shimmers on this stunning attraction and its surroundings.”

Abu Dhabi Small-Group Day Trip from Dubai

Even if you’re staying in Dubai, visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is feasible in a day with a guided tour. Drive through the desert and around Abu Dhabi’s top sights with a guide, who tells tales of both cities as you travel. Because it’s a small-group tour, you have plenty of opportunities to chat with your guide, too.

Private Abra Boat Cruise in Abu Dhabi

Sailing along Khor Al Maqta Creek in a traditional open-air abra boat lets you see the Abu Dhabi skyline and monuments from a whole new perspective. Sail past the mosque, Maqta Fort, Mangrove National Park, and more on a private boat with just your guide and your private party for a personalized day out on the water.

4. St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican City, Italy

St. Peter's Basilica

Art lovers and history buffs alike agree that St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the most important world landmarks. Not only is it the largest and one of the most important Catholic churches in the world, but it is also a highly regarded example of Italian Renaissance architecture and home to works of art by masters like Michelangelo and Bernini. The church itself is free to enter, but the popular dome comes at a small fee for those willing to climb the 500 steps.

No Wait Dedicated Access: St. Peter’s Basilica Self-Guided Tour

This tour is a steal for those who want to skip the often hours long wait to access St. Peter’s and get all the benefits of a guided tour without the expense. Guarantee a valid skip-the-line entrance pass (vendors will likely try to sell you unverified options if you wait till you get there), and then explore on your own timetable with an informative audio guide downloaded onto your smartphone.

Vatican VIP Experience: Exclusive Breakfast at the Vatican with Early Access to Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

With an early-access tour, you get to visit the Vatican Museums before any crowds from the general public arrive. Tour the Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Rooms with the peace of just your group and your guide, and then enjoy skip-the-line entry to St. Peter’s Basilica and a guided tour of its highlights. This tour also includes breakfast and an upgrade for a tour of the difficult-to-access Vatican Gardens and Vatican City.

Small-Group Segway Tour in Rome

Even if you don’t go inside, St. Peter’s Basilica is worth swinging by—or gliding by, in the case of this Rome Segway tour. Choose from a variety of two- to three-hour itineraries that take you past Rome’s attractions in a fun and active way, efficiently covering ground between landmarks like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, and St. Peter’s faster than is possible on a walking tour. Your guide highlights fun facts and insights as you go, making this a great choice for Rome sightseeing on a time budget.

5. Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba – Cordoba, Spain

Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba

The Mezquita Cathedral embodies the blend of Christian and Islamic cultures that makes Cordoba unique. Once a massive mosque, it is now a Roman Catholic cathedral that seamlessly blends eight centuries of building expansion into a single stunning example of Moorish architecture. After visiting, one TripAdvisor user said, “The Mezquita took my breath away! The interior of the building with the striped columns was just spectacular, and the portion with the cathedral is even more impressive.”

Great Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba History Tour

Without a guided tour, you might miss some of the architectural details that tell stories behind the Mezquita and make it worth a visit. This guided tour is a good option for seeing the Mezquita in just an hour without skimping on any of the history you came to hear.

Cordoba Day Trip from Seville

Even if you’re staying in nearby Seville, you can still visit the Mezquita in a day with this guided tour. Private transportation efficiently takes you from your Seville hotel straight to Cordoba’s top sights—including the Mezquita—while your guide informs and entertains throughout the day. This tour also includes a visit to the Alcazar, the Cordoba Synagogue, and Calleja de las Flores for an action-packed outing.

Cordoba Old Town Evening Walking Tour

Though this Cordoba evening walking tour doesn’t include entrance to the Mezquita, it does let you see the building twinkling with evening lights—and without the daytime crowds. Your guide not only shares tons of information as you walk between Cordoba’s must-see attractions, but also gives you local-approved recommendations for where to go afterward for the perfect night out. Top off your evening with an included drink at a vista point overlooking the city.

6. Taj Mahal – Agra, India

Taj Mahal

One of the world’s most-recognized landmarks, the Taj Mahal barely needs introducing. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed building is widely considered the greatest example of Indo-Islamic architecture in the world: lace-like stonework crawls around white ivory minarets and an elaborate dome, while a huge reflecting pool provides an appropriately grand entrance as you walk up to the doorstep. As one TripAdvisor reviewer expressed, “Everything you hear and read about the Taj is true. Until you actually see it in real life, you can’t comprehend its magnificence and history. An experience of a lifetime.”

Agra Private Tour from Delhi

This tour combines a visit to the Taj Mahal with a tour of Agra’s other UNESCO-listed attraction: the Agra Fort. Learn all about the history of the remarkable city as you tour the main landmarks with a private guide. Then, get a taste of modern life in Agra by joining a local family for a home-cooked lunch.

Sunrise or Sunset View of Taj Mahal on Yamuna River Boat Ride

Admire the silhouette of the Taj Mahal against a glowing sky on this sunrise or sunset cruise on the Yamuna River. Sail right by the Taj Mahal and stop for a perfectly framed photo that captures the whole building before the crowds arrive. This tour is especially popular among photographers looking for a unique shot of the Taj.

7. Duomo di Milano – Milan, Italy

Duomo di Milano

When you see how grand and ornate the Duomo of Milan is, it won’t come as a surprise that Italy’s largest church took nearly six centuries to build. Be sure to thoroughly check out this stunning landmark from every angle: admire the soaring towers on the outside, see the grand stained-glass windows from the inside, and even catch sight of the city from the rooftop. One TripAdvisor reviewer agrees, saying, “The recently cleaned Duomo is a stunning sight. It looks different in every light! Go to the roof to see even more details of the architecture and a fabulous view of the city.”

Skip-the-Line Duomo Tour with Rooftop Access

Get straight to the point of your visit with this skip-the-line Duomo tour. A no-frills option gets you ahead of the crowds—the wait can otherwise notoriously take hours—so you can tour the cathedral and head up to the rooftop in half the time. This tour includes a guide from the Duomo’s official conservation organization to show you around, plus a ticket for the lift to the rooftop so you don’t have to take the stairs.

Vintage Fiat 500 Tour in Milan

Your Milan sightseeing tour doesn’t get any more authentically Italian than with this city tour by vintage Fiat 500. Zip around city streets like a local while a guide navigates traffic en route to top sights like the Duomo, La Scala Opera House, and more. Choose from three itineraries that suit your interests for a super fun overview of Milan that’s perfect for first-time visitors.

Best of Milan by Night Walking Tour with Rooftop Aperitivo

See Milan transition from day to night with this evening walking tour of the city. A guide shares insight into the city while taking you around to Milan highlights without the daytime crowds, and then leads you to a rooftop to enjoy an aperitivo (a pre-dinner drink with snacks) while admiring a beautiful city view.

8. Alcatraz Island – San Francisco, California

Alcatraz Island

Once an inescapable prison complex occupied by notorious gangsters such as Al Capone, Alcatraz Island is now one of the most-visited historical attractions in the United States and the world. Visitors are drawn both to its legend-studded history and the fun of the visit, as the island is only accessible via a ferry ride across the San Francisco Bay. To make the most of your visit, be sure to follow this TripAdvisor reviewer’s advice: “This tour was one of the highlights of our trip to San Francisco. Tip—make sure you book tickets before you go as it is often sold out weeks ahead.”

San Francisco Helicopter Tour and Sunset Dinner Cruise

See Alcatraz from the water and from the sky on this San Francisco helicopter tour and sunset dinner cruise. Admire unbeatable views of San Francisco highlights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and Coit Tower on a narrated helicopter tour over the city, and then transfer to a romantic cruise with a four-course dinner and panoramic views of the skyline.

Alcatraz Tour plus Muir Woods and Sausalito Day Trip

Combine San Francisco’s three big-hitter attractions into a single booking with this tour to Alcatraz, Muir Woods National Monument, and the coastal village of Sausalito. Joining a guided tour is a hassle-free way to fit all three sites into just one action-packed day—ideal for visitors who are short on time.

San Francisco Combo: Alcatraz and City Segway Tour

San Francisco’s famous hills are a lot easier to explore when you’re not going by foot. This Segway tour lets you glide around the city’s top attractions with ease, plus includes admission to Alcatraz for a self-guided audio tour. Because Alcatraz tickets famously sell out months in advance, joining a guided tour is a great loophole for a last-minute booking.

9. Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Bridge

One of the world’s most-recognized bridges, San Francisco’s Golden Gate spans the San Francisco Bay to connect the city with Marin County. Whether you choose to drive, walk, or bike over the 1.7-mile-long expanse, your efforts are rewarded with unbeatable views of the city, harbor, and Marin Headlands. For the best views, wait until the fog burns off later in the day. Or, go early in the morning to see the bridge’s iconic international orange color highlighted against the gray fog.

San Francisco Coastal Walking Tour from the Golden Gate Bridge to Cliff House

Admire San Francisco’s seaside attractions on this small-group coastal walking tour from the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Learn about the city’s rich history as you walk to less-frequented attractions like Baker Beach, the Sutro Baths, and the Sea Cliff neighborhood, ending the tour with a sunset drink at the Cliff House.

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito Bike Tour

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge is a popular option for seeing this top U.S. landmark in just a couple hours. This tour takes you along a mostly flat route around San Francisco’s coast before leading you across the bridge. Then, enjoy free time in the Marin Headlands or Sausalito before returning on your own schedule. Because a bike rental is included for the whole day, you have plenty of time to explore.

10. Parliament – Budapest, Hungary

Hungarian Parliament Building

Located on the banks of the Danube River, Budapest’s Parliament building is the hub of Hungary’s civic life and an iconic city landmark. The massive building is an exquisitely detailed example of Gothic Revival architecture and a favorite sight among visitors. Here’s what one TripAdvisor reviewer had to say about the Parliament: “The building is an architectural marvel. The best views can be had from the river, or even further away on Castle Hill. The building is so large, designed to be bigger than London’s, to fully appreciate the scale you need to view it from a distance. Be sure to see at night when it glows with light.”

Budapest Parliament House Tour

Due to their popularity, Parliament tickets can be tricky to secure at the last minute. Booking entry through a guided tour gives you a little more wiggle room and simplifies the booking process. (Travelers report that the official online booking system can be confusing.) Going with a guided tour also helps you get the most out of your visit to Parliament, whose nearly 700 rooms can be intimidating to tour on your own.

Budapest Evening Sightseeing Cruise

See Parliament silhouetted against the sunset or illuminated against the night sky with this evening sightseeing cruise on the Danube. Catch unobstructed views of the Budapest skyline as you relax on board with a drink for a cruise that feels much more luxurious than its budget price tag belies.

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