My Favorite Landmarks
Updated: Jul 26, 2018
Over the last few years, I've done a great deal of travel to popular tourist destinations and I literally get star-struck by all of the famous landmarks I see. There's nothing quite like seeing images of a place your whole life in books, movies, etc. to then be standing right in front of it in person. These are some of the places that have left me speechless with love at first site.
1. Stonehenge - England
Seeing Stonehenge in person was absolute incredible, yet not what I expected. We took a day-trip from London to visit the landmark, which is about a 1-hour bus ride. From seeing photos, you'd think it'd was in the middle of nowhere in this majestic place. However, it's literally on the side of the road! We were in our bus on a highway and our driver told us to look out the window and there it was, so casual. We were able to get out and walk around the landmark, but you cannot walk right up to it. Thinking about the history behind this World Wonder is crazy. Some people think it is overrated, but I think it is worth the trip if you are already in England. It's quite remarkable and gives you a star-struck feeling.
2. The Eiffel Tower - Paris
I will never forget the first second I saw the Eiffel Tower. I was studying abroad in Spain and took a weekend trip to visit my dream city. I was expecting to see it from the airplane window or taxi ride to the hostel - wrong. Our hostel was pretty far from the city center so we had to take a metro to get there. Once we got off at the stop, I saw all the signs saying "Tour Eiffel this way" which alone gave me butterflies. I walked out of the metro station and was expecting the Eiffel Tower to be right there in front of me. Wrong again. By then I was anxious and confused as to where it was! We walked around the corner where I finally saw the tip top of the tower. I ran to get closer past some construction, and there she was. I literally cried. My hands shook as I started taking pictures of it - literally as if it were a celebrity. I've since been to Paris one other time, and had pretty much the same reaction. I don't think I'll ever get over the beauty and perfection of the Eiffel Tower. The second time around, my friend and I watched it sparkle every night, had a wine picnic underneath, and went to the summit to watch the sunset. Some of the best memories of my life.
3. Cathedral - Rome
I still can't get over the Cathedral. Not only because Lizzie McGuire gave an epic performance during her summer abroad, but because it holds SO much history. I'm not much of a history buff, but I love imagining everything that has happened within the cathedral over the last 2,000 years. This is also a place I imagined being tucked away, but it's literally just right there in the middle of the city. Our Airbnb was a 3-minute walk to it, so it became a casual everyday site during our few days in Rome. Though Rome in general was a little overwhelming/crowded for me, the Cathedral still holds an epic spot in my heart.
4. Cliffs of Moher - Ireland
No words can describe the beauty of this place. The pictures are amazing, yet they still don't give it justice! We took a day-trip to the cliffs from Galway, Ireland which is about an hour drive. The whole bus ride is magical as you drive through the Irish countryside. We couldn't have lucked out any better with the weather as sunny/blue skies are not quite normal in this rainy country. Definitely a site to be seen if you're in Ireland! There's a little castle you can pay $3 euro to go to the top. I highly recommend it to get some great views/photos.
5. Opera House - Sydney
Ever since Finding Nemo, I had always wanted to visit Sydney, look at the Opera House, and look for P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way. I never in a million years think I'd end up moving to Sydney and see the Opera House on a regular basis. The first time I saw the famous white sails was from afar when I was in my uber from the airport to my flat the day I arrived. I live in Manly which is a 20 minute ferry ride to the harbor, but hardly unpacked a thing before leaving my flat to head back to the harbor and see it up close. The best views of the Opera House are from a ferry because you get right next to it from all angles. You're also able to get great views of it from standing on the Harbor Bridge, while walking through the Botanical Gardens, or across the way in Kirribilli. During holidays/special occasions, the sails will change colors or have cool images like this one :)
6. Big Ben - London
I remember being nervous to see Big Ben when I went to London. As if it were actually this hot guy named Ben haha. While walking around the city, I didn't know when to expect it to pop up. Each time I turned the corner I'd get anxious wondering if Ben would appear. Once he finally did, it was a beautiful site! I got butterflies like I was seeing a celebrity. From animations in Peter Pan, to Hallie seeing it in The Parent Trap, it exceeded my expectations and I was lucky to see him without any construction in the way.
7. Neuschwanstein Castle - Germany
This castle image literally hangs in my parent's house on a large tapestry. That makes me pretty familiar with it - plus the fact that I'm a Disney fanatic and know this was a huge inspiration in the Disney castle design. I took a day trip during my time in Munich in 2016, and it was one of my absolute favorite days. It was the first time I took a big excursion by myself (though I was on a group tour). We got to visit 2 castles, and it was nothing but picture-perfect beauty. Not only is the castle beautiful, but the whole drive surrounding it is absolutely magical. I stood on the balcony (far left of the castle) and I felt like I was in a real-life fairytale. Below is my view from the balcony and it's one of my all time favorite pictures!!
8. Parc Guël & La Sagrada Familila - Barcelona
It's really hard to capture the beautify of Parc Guell. There's so much uniqueness that it really does not turn out in photos. The famous place where the Cheetah Girls strut was a little underwhelming to see - partly because you have to pay 8 Euros to go down to that area. However, the whole park is HUGE so there are several funky structures to see. I've walked through the park twice now, and it doesn't get old!
Other landmarks I'd love see:
1. Matchu Pichu
2. Great Wall of China
3. Santorini Greece white houses
4. Egypt Pyramids
5. Taj Mahal
6. Grand Canyon