- Every country has landmarks and natural wonders that are internationally recognizable.
- 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.
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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 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 tall.
Canada: Niagara Falls
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 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 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 long and 66 feet high.
Japan: Mount Fuji
Climbing all 12,388 feet 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
Rob Stothard/Getty Images
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 Harbor and UNESCO World Heritage Site opened in 1973 and remains one of the most recognizable 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
Luciano Mortula - LGM/Shutterstock
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 colorful buildings and cobblestone streets complete with a lively arts scene make this district one of the most visited (and most photogenic) in Buenos Aires.
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
Quang nguyen vinh/Shutterstock
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 waterfall that has been called "the greatest curtain of falling water in the world."
Morocco: Hassan II Mosque
United States: Disney World
Gene Duncan/Disney Parks via Getty Images
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
Franco Origlia/Getty Images
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.
- Read more:
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- 51 mesmerizing photos of the most colorful places on Earth
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- 35 of the most beautiful natural wonders around the world
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