When we travel, the one act that proclaims the loudest announcement of arrival to the world is a social media post with the perfect picture to boot. The only thing that makes it better is that perfect picture including a world-famous landmark that is associated with the city or location you have traveled to. One that is synonymous with your destination that announces to the world, “I’m here!” There are countless world landmarks, but few have achieved that upper echelon status that have become known all over the world.
Some are rather obvious and others, surprisingly, aren’t nearly as known to the rest of us. There’s a good chance we have seen these places tagged in a social media post by our friends or family and if not, we’ve certainly seen them by simply browsing online and stumbling across their ever-present existence both in the real world and any number of social media platforms. While there are incredible landmarks we are itching to visit and photograph, the world has its fair share that are no crowd-pleasers by any means, often even evoking disdain for their overcrowding, dirty or less than pleasant looking façade.
Here are seven landmarks we don’t even want to visit and eighteen of the world’s most photographed famous sites on the planet according to lonelyplanet.com which compiled the number of times a site was tagged across social media!
25 Eyesore: Tour Montparnasse, Paris, France
Paris joins our list again, only this time, it’s on the wrong side of things with its Tour Montparnasse, a tower nearly 700 feet tall. Most residents nearly unanimously agree that the tower’s inclusion in the city is entirely out of place, serving as a giant eyesore above Paris’ beautifully landscaped architecture, clashing with the city’s look.
Residents of Paris truly dislike its existence and feel it does not meet the city’s high standards of aesthetics, going against the feel that places like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral give Paris.
24 Eyesore: BT Tower, London, England
The BT Tower in London was once the tallest in the city during its heyday when it was a restaurant and communications tower in use, but has since shut down serving no real purpose now. The biggest gripe by the residents of London is its general look, which simply put, is not nice to look at. The tower’s slender look coupled with its chaotic top spire doesn’t flow well with the rest of London’s historic look, clashing with landmarks like Big Ben and London Bridge.
It also doesn’t help that BT Tower is well over 600 feet tall, making it impossible to not notice.
23 Eyesore: Zizkov Television Tower, Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s tallest tower, the Zizkov Television Tower is one of the more unflattering landmarks in existence and its city’s residents truly dislike its presence. Not only does the tower look unappealing, but for some odd reason, it even has several baby statues climbing up the side of the tower. It simply makes no sense and it’s a huge eyesore over an otherwise picturesque town with beautifully uniform architecture.
At one point, according to the BBC, it was “once dubbed the second ugliest building in the world.” The tower serves a purpose, of course, but there probably should have been more thought put into its aesthetics.
22 Eyesore: The Empire State Plaza, Albany, USA
Albany is actually the capital of the state of New York, much to the dismay of many outside the area who likely assume New York City is. In an effort to keep up with its much bigger and more popular sibling city, Albany embarked on a mission to bring in some tourism and their solution was the Empire State Plaza which is a series of buildings surrounded by art pieces and NY landmarks.
The complex of buildings is disliked by Albany residents because of the excessive cost, generally displeasing and bland look as well as the fact that it forced many residents to be displaced for construction. All this amounts to a pretty unpopular landmark that no one visits often.
21 Eyesore: Torres de Colon, Madrid, Spain
The spectacular city of Madrid is often considered Spain’s greatest town, punctuated by its uniform architecture, all seeming to flow perfectly as if designed this way on purpose. This is exactly why the residents of Madrid look at the Torres de Colon with contempt, considering it resembles a pair of giant salt and pepper shakers. The overall look is unpleasing and rather than drawing people in, it’s been seen as a bit of disappointment by the city.
20 Eyesore: Peter the Great Statue in Moscow, Russia
According to a host of different voting lists, the Peter the Great Statue in Moscow regularly makes its way onto countless “world’s ugliest” lists of statues, landmarks and manmade structures. The statue was erected to commemorate the Russian Navy which Peter the Great helped launch.
The statue is basically seen as a really unattractive monument in Russia’s greatest city and there’s simply no hiding it, as it stands tall at 322 feet high, overlooking much of the surrounding area.
19 Eyesore: Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool, England
Liverpool’s attempt at a religious building, namely, the Metropolitan Cathedral, was met with a lot of confused looks by the residents of the city. The look of the building is far too out there for the city’s overall look with many people, including tourists, joking that the structure looks far too futuristic. The building has become a mockery at the expense of its façade, often being referenced as an alien-like structure in a city that looks historic and antique.
Now, let's dive into the official most photographed landmarks around the world. Which will take the cake at #1?
18 Angkor Wat, Cambodia - 1,092,267 Social Media Photos
According to unesco.org, “Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. It extends over approximately 400 square kilometers and consists of scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as communication routes.”
The most famous and visited of those temples is Angkor Wat which has risen in popularity over the last decade, going from a relatively unknown landmark to the eighteenth most photographed in the world, even attracting celebrities like David Beckham and Beyoncé.
17 Machu Picchu, Peru - 1,162,886 Social Media Photos
Machu Picchu is a testament to human innovation dating back centuries and it’s a wonder to experience in person. All tourists are eager to capture the ancient ruins of a civilization that was once a thriving community. Now, all that is left are the historic remains of a native culture that still leaves us in awe. The grounds are nearly sacred and are fragile, enough so that tourists are asked to not jump on the grounds.
The most popular photo has become a distant one from the top of an adjacent mountain overlooking Machu Picchu, repeated time and time again on social media, but never failing to amaze.
16 Colosseum, Rome, Italy - 1,269,549 Social Media Photos
Built so long ago, it’s safe to say that Rome’s Colosseum has been wowing people since the beginning of civilized society, dating back to when the Romans were at the height of their power. Ever since, the incredible world landmark has been a part of the public conscious, even serving as an arena that is still in use to this very day, all these centuries later. In fact, it is still the largest amphitheater in the world.
Over time, vandalism and neglect caused the deterioration of this beautiful world site, but according to history.com, “restoration efforts began in the 1990s, and have proceeded over the years, as the Colosseum continues to be a leading attraction for tourists from all over the world.” These renovations have made the Colosseum a perfect place for social media worthy photos!
15 Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain - 1,409,928 Social Media Photos
Spain’s most photographed landmark is the Roman Catholic Church known as Sagrada Familia which has been under construction for nearly a century and a half, still incomplete to this day. Started in 1882, the church has gone through several iterations of construction, still unfinished, making this a costly and timely project, but an icon of the city of Barcelona nonetheless.
The church’s distinct look with its many spires and antique-looking façade are considered true art. According to barecelonatouristguide.com, “La Sagrada Familia is one of Gaudi’s most famous works” which says a lot considering he is Spain’s most respected artist of all time.
14 Statue of Liberty, New York City, USA - 1,504,858 Social Media Photos
The final entry onto the list of most photographed landmarks in the world from New York City is Lady Liberty, proving just how photo worthy the city is, considering she is fifth behind four other sites and is likely the most famous statue of all time.
Her graceful presence in the New York Harbor has stood tall by the city’s skyline, making for some incredible pictures. A favorite amongst tourists is taking many of the free ferries across the bay and snapping selfies of her as they float by.
13 London Bridge, London, England - 1,700,613 Social Media Photos
London makes its way onto the list for the third time with its centuries-old London Bridge. Although it is certainly not the longest or tallest bridge of any kind, London Bridge is one of the most famous bridges ever constructed, stretching across the River Thames.
Its two tall spires essentially make the bridge what it is, giving it the unmistakable look that all tourists instantly recognize, ready to take a selfie in front of or on the bridge itself.
12 Empire State Building, New York City, USA - 2,173,858 Social Media Photos
The Empire State Building is probably the one landmark that most folks would assume tops the list when it comes to New York City, but it actually has ended up behind Central Park, Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge. It is rather surprising such an iconic building lands behind so many other landmarks, considering the Empire State Building is essentially synonymous with the city itself, even appearing in countless movies and referenced in music.
Going up to the tower’s observation deck and taking in the view of the city’s incredible skyline with a photo is a must.
11 Niagara Falls, New York, USA and Ontario, Canada - 2,194,575 Social Media Photos
Niagara Falls is far from the world’s highest waterfall, nor is it the biggest in volume, but it has earned its place as a fan favorite amongst tourists everywhere. The waterfall, located on the border of the United States and Canada where the state of New York and Ontario meet, is a majestic giant which is furious and commanding, perfect for powerful images snapped by cameras everywhere. The selfie in front of the giant waterfall has become one of the most popular tourist activities at Niagara Falls.
10 Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California - 2,221,754 Social Media Photos
Quite possibly the most famous bridge in human history, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge truly is a wonder to behold. Although it is no longer the tallest or longest bridge in the world, losing that standing decades ago, it is still a magnificent achievement in engineering that still resonates with people today.
The bridge’s reddish hue and giant towers are known by just about anyone and make for a perfect social media photo, sure to garner plenty of likes and shares.
9 Louvre, Paris, France - 2,344,424 Social Media Photos
The world’s most visited museum is also the world’s most photographed museum, which really shouldn’t shock us. Paris’ Louvre is famous the world over for its grand standing in the art world, home to tens of thousands of pieces of culturally important and historically significant creations by man.
The Mona Lisa calls the Louvre her home and tourists flock to this building to enjoy a bit of culture while taking the perfect selfie in front of the museum’s famous glass pyramid, where most of the pictures are snapped.
8 Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, USA - 2,337,736 Social Media Photos
New York City makes its way onto our list yet again, claiming three of the top eight spots, proving the Big Apple is a tourist’s dream destination. This time it’s NYC’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge joining our ranks with its world-renowned brick arches and architecture that date back well over a century to 1869.
The Brooklyn Bridge has gained a folklore status in pop culture, seen in countless movies, where romantic proposals, professions of love and displays of affection are commonplace. And why shouldn’t it? Its striking beauty makes for the perfect lover’s photo op.
7 London Eye, London, England - 2,501,133 Social Media Photos
Coming in right behind its English sister landmark Big Ben, the London Eye makes its appearance toward the top ranks of the list. Likely one of the lesser knowns of the landmarks listed, the London Eye is not typically a first name basis kind of world site. No matter, considering it leaves other, more famous and well-known icons behind, as its beautiful cylindrical wheel shape appears in millions of photos every year.
The lit-up wheel lighting up the nighttime London sky has become a staple of the city by now.
6 Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE - 2,475,194 Social Media Photos
Although this landmark is one of the youngest of any not just on our list, but in the world, the Burj Khalifa has skyrocketed toward the top in popularity, making its mark with its immense size and unique building design.
Standing at 2,722 feet tall, the Burj Khalifa is easily the tallest tower in the world and it isn’t even close, beating out the second tallest, the Shanghai Tower by an astounding 650 feet. Any photo with this behemoth has to go on social media.
5 Big Ben, London, England - 2,859,349 Social Media Photos
Although not necessarily one of the most visited landmarks in the world, London’s famous giant clock, Big Ben is still one of the most photographed. The landmark is an icon of the city, synonymous with London, having been standing tall over the River Thames picturesquely for nearly 160 years now.
The clock is one of the largest on the planet and looks grandiose with its antique looking façade, matching London’s historic feel as well.
Big Ben comes in at a surprising number five on our list of most photographed icons in the world.
4 Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA - 2,815,414 Social Media Photos
Coming in next is Arizona’s magnificent Grand Canyon, quite literally, the exact opposite of the previous entry that barely beat it out, Times Square. Where one is a crossroads of countless people and manmade structures, the other is perfect, stunning beauty created by Mother Nature.
Formed through billions of years of pressure and time, carved out by the Colorado River, the final result is a deep valley stretching for hundreds of miles, and rock plateaus with such majestic beauty, it will take your breath away.
It should come as no surprise that the Grand Canyon makes for a picture-perfect photograph.
3 Times Square, New York City, USA - 3,243,956 Social Media Photos
New York City makes its way into the top three for a second time unsurprisingly, considering it is one of the most visited cities in the world by far. Times Square, often considered the “Crossroads of the Universe” often seems like just that – several streets crossing where people from all over the world converge by the tens of thousands, creating a chaotic, beautiful melting pot of culture and humanity surrounded by lights, buildings and billboards.
It’s an eclectic mix of disorder, but one that is as fascinating as any other place in the world, making for the perfect opportunity to capture with our cameras.
2 Eiffel Tower, Paris, France - 4,789,120 Social Media Photos
Not surprisingly, Paris’ Eiffel Tower comes in right behind Central Park, although many would likely have guessed it was in first place. No matter, the Eiffel Tower is still often considered the most beautiful landmark ever created by man and sometimes it’s hard to argue for any other place to top it.
At night, when the sun goes down and the Eiffel Tower’s lights turn on, there are few places in the world that can leave us in such awe with its magnificently iconic beauty.
1 Central Park, New York City, USA - 5,898,098 Social Media Photos
Coming in at the top of our list, New York City’s Central Park has been the world’s most photographed landmark by a wide margin over any other. This is surprising for a number of reasons. For starters, many wouldn’t have even guessed it would top NYC’s landmarks, much less all of the world’s.
But alas, it was tagged on social media platforms more than any other place in the world, highlighting the park’s vast space, beautiful natural scenery and countless attractions including Strawberry Fields, the Wollman Ice Skating Rink, and the Jackie Kennedy Reservoir.