From the views from the Golden Gate Bridge to the most famous archeological site in South America, these are the 10 landmarks TripAdvisor users voted the best in the world.
There are some sights that are best seen in person. TripAdvisor polled its users on their favorite landmarks in the 2015 Travelers’ Choice awards. From the infamous Alcatraz Island to the structural wonder that is Machu Piccu, there’s a site to see in every part of the world. Dig into the first ten—you can see the whole list here—and start planning your adventure.
No. 1: Angkor Wat
Built in the 12th century, this Cambodian religious monument started out as a Hindu temple and was eventually converted to a Buddhist temple. The site—which also appears on the Cambodian national flag—is surrounded by a 650-foot moat. Fun fact: the temple’s bricks are bonded by a vegetable compound instead of the more commonly used mortar.
No. 2: Machu Picchu
Much of Machu Piccu is still undiscovered (including how it was constructed), yet it still clocks in as the more famous archeological site in South America. Built around 14000, the landmark was built along two of the Earth’s fault lines and has remained relatively intact for hundreds of years.
No. 3: Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal took nearly 22 years to build, features more than 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones, and has since been named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. If the same structure were to be built today it would amount to more than one billion dollars.
No. 4: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Located in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque Center was built between 1996 and 2007. The entire structure houses 82 marble domes, 1,000 columns, the world’s largest chandelier, and the largest hand-knotted carpet.
No. 5: La Sagrada Familia
Gaudi’s masterpiece is one of the most well-known attractions in Barcelona, with its incredibly intricate exterior and impressive stained-glass windows. However, the construction for La Sagrada Familia is ongoing—in fact, it’s not expected to be completed until 2026 (building began in 1882). Make sure to make the trip to the very top for exceptional views of the city.
No. 6: St. Peter’s Basilica
As if artwork by Michelangelo weren’t enough of a temptation, the view from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica is well worth the staircase climb to the top. Measuring in at more than 240,000 square feet, it also claims the title of the world’s largest church.
No. 7: Milan Cathedral
One of the most recognized pieces of architecture in Italy, Milan’s Northern Gothic cathedral boasts rooftop views of the Italian Alps on a clear day.
No. 8: Alcatraz Island
The roster of this former prison is impressive, including names like Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone. Aside from housing criminals, the island is also home to the West Coast’s first lighthouse, which began its operations in 1854.
No. 9: Cristo Redentor
Clearly a tourist favorite, Christ the Redeemer was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. The statue lives on the Corcovado Mountain—2,300 feet above Rio de Janeiro—and is quite a sight to see at night when it’s lit up. And while the statue has been struck by lightening several times, it remains intact, with minimal damage to the fingers, head, and eyebrows.
No. 10: Golden Gate Bridge
While the best view of the bridge may be hotly debated (some say it’s below at Fort Point, and others at Vista Point in Marin), there’s no denying the bridge as a world icon. Fun fact: Golden Gate Bridge was painted orange to blend in with the local setting.