Destination Deep-Dive 16 MINS READ

A Complete Guide To The UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Portugal

A Complete Guide To The UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Portugal

Destination Deep-Dive 16 MINS READ

Believe it or not, Portugal is more than a welcoming retreat for foodies and wine lovers. With a rich history that started around 400,000 years ago, the country is adorned with monuments and landmarks, and it’s home to 17 alluring UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from North to South.

Between one pastel de nata and another, why not take some time to visit the wide collection of landmarks that immortalize the history of the country? Portugal happens to be one of the top destinations in Europe for a culture-filled trip, so you’ll have plenty to see during your vacation.

We probably left you itching to uncover Portugal’s scenic — and utterly Instagrammable — landmarks. So, say no more. To help you plan, here’s the complete list of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal. All of them are worth visiting and guaranteed to take you on a journey throughout the centuries. Spoiler alert: the Alto Douro Wine Region is included!

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Portugal

Aerial view of the Douro wine region, in Portugal

The UNESCO World Heritage currently lists 1,092 sites in 167 countries around the world. In Portugal, there are 17 World Heritage Sites in total and, of those 16 are cultural sites, and 1 is a natural site (the Alto Douro Wine Region).

The newest additions to the UNESCO sites in Portugal are The Royal Convent, in Mafra, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, in Braga, and the Machado de Castro National Museum, in Coimbra, which became World Heritage Sites in 2019. This was considered a reason for “great joy for all Portuguese”, said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, president of Portugal, as reported by Portugal News.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal: The Complete List

Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroísmo, Azores Archipelago (1983)

Angra do Heroismo is a city located on Terceira Island — one of the 9 Azores islands— and, thanks to its significant maritime function, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Occupying a strategic positioning in the Atlantic Ocean, Angra was an obligatory port of call from the 15th century until the 19th century, aside from being the most important city in the archipelago. The city also happened to be the capital of Portugal during the Liberal Wars (1828 to 1834), and the seat of the Bishop of the Azores.

The historic center of Angra is definitely one of the most fascinating parts of the city, as it was able to maintain its authentic Renaissance urban design, and its 15th and 16th-century road network, even after the 1980 earthquake. Angra also boasts a showcase of Baroque-style religious buildings, including the cathedral of Santíssimo Salvador da Sé, the churches of the Misericórdia and Espírito Santo, and the convents of the Franciscans and the Jesuits.

Other must-see constructions in the historic center of Angra do Heroísmo are the 400-year-old San Sebastião and San João Baptista fortifications, which are unique examples of military architecture.

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Convent of Christ, Tomar (1983)

Aerial drone view of Convent of Christ in Tomar at sunrise, Portugal

Located in the city of Tomar, in Portugal’s central region, the Convent of Christ is part of one of the largest Portuguese monument complexes, whose buildings and rural domains spread within roughly 45 acres. The convent is encompassed by the Castle of Tomar, which was founded by the Templar Knights in 1160, alongside with the Tomar village, on a site that was formerly used for Roman worship.

We recommend visiting the convent at length in order to uncover its unique details. Built over the span of five centuries, and sitting at the top of a hill, the Convent of Christ displays a range of architectural styles, from Byzantine-Romanic and Italian Renaissance, to Gothic and Manueline. The centerpiece — and one of the most fascinating sections of the convent— is the 12th-century Charola (Rotunda), which was the Knight´s private oratorium within the fortress. During your visit, also make sure to explore the Chapter House, whose ornamented windows are one of the finest samples of the Manueline style.

While the Convent of Christ is the main feature of Tomar, also take some time to wander around this quaint little city. Placed on the banks of Nabão River, Tomar is home to a medieval urban area with cobblestoned streets, aside from well-preserved constructions that immortalize Portugal’s history.

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Monastery of Batalha, Batalha (1983)

The monastery of Batalha with gothic towers, in Portugal

Welcome to one of the finest samples of Gothic architecture in Europe. Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória, or Monastery of Batalha, was built in fulfillment of a vow by King João to celebrate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the battle of Aljubarrota, in 1385.

Located in the city of Batalha, in central Portugal, the Monastery of Batalha is a sight to be seen by architecture and art lovers. This Dominican monastery designed by the English architect Master Huguet boasts a profusion of sculptures, which represent the 12 apostles, numerous Saints, prophets, angels, and biblical figures.

The monastery was built between 1388 and 1433 and finally completed during the reign of King Duarte I. Its interior, which is 80 meters long and 32.5 meters high, is dotted with rose stained-glass windows, and it’s home to a Royal Cloister. This, by the way, happens to be one of the most important features of the monument, as it harbors the medieval tomb of Dom João I and his wife, Queen Philippa of Lancaster.

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Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém, Lisbon (1983)

Aerial photo of the Belém Tower, in Lisbon, at sunset.

The Jerónimos Monastery (Monastery of the Hieronymites) and the Tower of Belém are two historical gems placed in the very city of Lisbon. Commissioned by King D. Manuel I and gifted to the monks of Saint Hieronymus so they would pray for the king, the monastery is linked to the Age of Discoveries, as it was also built to perpetuate the memory of Prince Henry the Navigator. The monastery preserves a breathtaking and ornamented structure, typical of Manueline art, and it’s home to a two-story cloister built in the 16th-century.

Within a walking distance from the monastery and overlooking the Tagus River sits the Tower of Belém, one of the most prominent examples of Portuguese power during the Age of Discoveries. Erected between 1514 and 1520, this Manueline-style tower was designed by architect and sculptor Francisco de Arruda, and was strategically positioned to defend the city against attackers.

A quick tip: the perfect way to end your tour is by going to Pasteis de Belém, a traditional bakery cafe that has been making the famous Belém custard tarts since 1837.

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Historic Center of Évora (1986)

The Roman Temple of Évora, also referred to as the Templo de Diana.

In the heart of the south-central Alentejo lies Évora. The city boasts a rich history that dates back to the Roman domination when it was an important town praised for its abundance of wheat and silver. In fact, until the present day, there are remnants of the Roman occupation in Évora, including the Temple of Diana, which is believed to have been built around the first century A.D.

Over the centuries, Évora was also ruled by the Moors, the Visigoths, and played an important position in the Portuguese reign during the Middle Ages, serving as the home of King João III.

The city center is compact and easy to explore on foot. You can start on Praça do Giraldo, an ancient market during the Moorish period and now the city’s main square, and head to the Roman Temple of Diana. Then, visit the Évora Museum, and the Sé de Évora, which is the biggest cathedral in Portugal. If you have time, go to the Chaple of Bones, located next to the entrance of the Church of St.Francis. The chapel, which is one of the best-known monuments in Évora, was built by Franciscan monks in the late 16th century, and it’s entirely conveyed by bones and skulls.

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Monastery of Alcobaça (1989)

Aerial view of Alcobaça Monastery, in Portugal

The Monastery of Alcobaça was founded in the 12th-century by King Afonso I as a gift to a Cistercian monk, Bernard of Clairvaux (Saint Bernard), after Portugal’s conquest of Santarém from the Moors, in 1152. Set in a rich and fertile land, the monastery was actually built only 25 years later, in 1178, and its layout was designed to evoke the abbey of Claraval, the Cisternian’s Order’s mother church in France.

Within the monastery, sits a stunning church that is considered the largest Gothic religious structure in Portugal. Its interior, which is more than 20 meters high, is crossed by an imponent central nave, and it features a transept that houses the twin tombs of King Pedro and Inês de Castro. The Monastery of Alcobaça also plays host to 13th and 14th centuries Chapter House, a Refectory, Monk’s Rooms and Dormitory, and the Cloister of Silence, commissioned by King Dinis in 1382, and the largest medieval cloister in Portugal.

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Cultural Landscape of Sintra (1995)

National Palace of Pena in Sintra,  Portugal.

Sintra might be a famous day-trip destination for those who visit Lisbon, but this quaint little village has enough sights to keep travelers busy for an entire week.

With immense natural beauty, this picturesque village is covered in both Mediterranean and northern European flora and encompasses the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park and the 10-kilometers long Sintra Mountains, which has been linked to prehistoric astral cults. This lush vegetation perfectly frames Sintra’s cultural sites, including the National Palace of Pena, the city’s most prominent feature. Placed at the top of a hill, in the Sintra Mountains, this colorful palace is believed to have been built on the site of the Moorish alcazar of Sintra, and it displays the largest collection of Hispanic-Moorish tiles in Europe.

In the 15th-century, Sintra became a famed summer retreat for the affluent people in Portugal, and later on, during the 19th-century, Sintra became the first center of European Romantic architecture. Dating from this period are the Pena Palace, the Monserrate Palace, and Quinta da Regaleira, among others.

When exploring this picturesque cultural landscape of Sintra, don’t forget to stop by Casa Piriquita. Founded more than 150 years ago, the bake is particularly famous for protruding the famous “travesseiros de Sintra” (en: Sintra’s Pillows), a dessert made of puff pastry with a filling of almond cream.

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Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar (1996)

Aerial view of the Luís I Bridge, the Douro River, and the centre of Oporto.

Overlooking the Douro River, the Historic Centre of Oporto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the postcard-worthy Luiz I Bridge and the Monastery of Serra do Pilar. Porto is certainly one of the most charming destinations in Portugal, and its city center is one of the oldest in Europe, with a 2,000-year history.

The city features a slew of well preserved architectural gems, which you can perfectly uncover while exploring the city on foot. During your errands, you’ll certainly come across stunning buildings erected over the past centuries. Make sure to visit the Romanesque-style Porto Cathedral —the city’s oldest surviving structure —, the Monument Church Of St Francis, the most important Gothic monument in Porto, and the Baroque-style Clérigos Tower.

Aside from historic religious buildings, the city also features three bridges, the most prominent being the Luiz I Bridge that spans the Douro River and connects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. When it was completed, in 18886, the bridge had the longest span of any metal bridge in the world.

To experience the best Porto has to offer, cross the Luiz I Bridge —just make sure to quickly stop on the bridge and check out the best view of the city — and go to Vila Nova de Gaia. Filled with world-class wine cellars, the city is also home to the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, the architectural landmark of Gaia. The former monastery was built between 1538 and 1670 and includes a church featuring carved gold leaf altars with Solomonic columns. Bonus? The monastery also has a viewpoint that offers one of the best panoramic views of the Douro and the center of Porto.

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Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (1998,2010)

The Côa River at Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Portugal.

Located in northeastern Portugal, near the border with Spain, the Côa Valley Archaeological Park (PAVC) comprises, along with the Siega Verde Archaeological Park, in Spain, hundreds of prehistorical panels. Both the Côa Valley Park and the Siega Verde are placed on the banks of the rivers Agueda and Côa, which are tributaries of the Douro River, and display rock engravings that date from the Upper Paleolithic to the final Magdalenian/ Epipalaeolithic (22.000 – 8.000 BCE).

Managing a total area of 2 hundred square kilometers, the Côa Valley Park is an immense open air art gallery adorned not only with engravings from the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic but also from the Iron Age, as well as from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

There are three centers that can be visited in the Côa Park: Canada do Inferno, close to Vila Nova de Foz Côa, which are the first group of engravings to be discovered; Ribeira de Piscos, at Muxagata, and Penascosa, close to the village of Castelo Melhor.

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Laurissilva of Madeira (1999)

View of the island of Madeira Island's eternal spring, laurel forests and levades.

The Laurisilva of Madeira is a green sanctuary located within the Madeira Natural Park. Covering 20% of the Island of Madeira, this is the largest surviving laurel forest in the world, and it houses a unique ensemble of native plants and animals, including endemic species that are only found within the forest.

Found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable, mild temperatures, the laurel forest is a type of subtropical forest that covered much of Southern Europe 15-40 million years ago. Due to the different glaciations in Europe, the “laurissilva” disappeared in a great part of Europe and, now, this lush forest is confined to the Azores, Canary Islands, and Madeira Island.

The Laurisilva of Madeira can be explored throughout a few trekking accessible areas and is a place of importance in Portugal thanks to its biological diversity. Aside from maintaining the hydrological balance on the island, and producing abundant sources of water used by the local people, the forest is home to about 760 plants. Of those, 149, including the Madeira Orchid, are edemic, which means that they grow only on the island.

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Historic Centre of Guimarães (2001)

Our Lady of Consolcation Chruch, Guimarães, Portugal

Placed in the district of Braga, Guimarães is a great day trip from Porto and the perfect pit-stop for those who are taking a road trip from the North to the South of Portugal. Founded in the 4th-century, Guimarães is often referred to as the”birthplace of Portugal” or “the cradle city”, as it was the feudal territory of the Portuguese Dukes who declared the independence of Portugal in the 12th century. The city was also the first capital of Portugal, and the Battle of São Mamede, which was the most important event for the foundation of Portugal, was fought near Guimarães.

Guimarães was elected European Capital of Culture in 2012, as it plays host to a sizzling cultural scene, with a profusion of buildings dating from the 10th, 13th, 14th,15th, and 19th centuries. Its compact historic center can be explored in one day, and worth-visiting monuments include the hilltop Guimarães Castle, which is believed to be the birthplace of Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king, and the Baroque-style Our Lady of Consolation Church.

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Alto Douro Wine Region (2001)

Portugal has many things to be proud of. It has 1,794 km of coastline dotted with idyllic beaches, amazing weather all year round, photogenic houses covered in ornamented tiles, and heartwarming food, just to name a few. But one of the country’s most praised staples is definitely the Port Wine. In fact, Portugal is home to the oldest viticultural legal region in the world, the Alto Douro Wine Region, which has been designated a World Heritage site in 2001.

Placed in the North of Portugal, the Alto Douro Wine Region has an ancient tradition of viticulture, and wine has been produced in the region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th-century, the main product of the Douro Valley is the world-famous Port Wine, a fortified, rich, and smooth-on-the-palate wine that retains the natural sweetness of the grape.

The highly valuable cultural landscape of Alto Douro comprises terraced vineyards, wine-producing farm complexes, villages, slopes covered in schist walls, and deep valleys carved by the Douro River, which flows from central Spain to the city of Porto, in Portugal.

One of the best ways of exploring the great scenic beauty of the Alto Douro Wine Region is by taking the Port Wine Route. If you have time, opt for tracking the hillsides of Douro River’s course by car. Along the way, just make sure you stop at the local vineyards and wine cellars, where you’ll be able to learn about centuries-old wine tradition while sipping on some of the best wines in the world.

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The Landscape Of The Pico Island Vineyard Culture, Azores (2004)

Pico Island Vineyard, in Azores.

The Douro might be the most famous wine-growing area in Portugal, but the country harbors several other premium viniculture regions. The Pico Island Vineyard Culture, in the Azores archipelago, is one of them. There’s just one difference: in Pico Island, the vineyards are planted in black lava grounds.

Pico Island is the second-largest island of the Azores, and home to Mount Pico, a stratovolcano that is the highest mountain of Portugal, at 7,713 ft above sea level. Not by chance, the island is covered by extensive lava fields, which form the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture, listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2004. Spanning within 987 hectares of Pico Island, the picturesque Vineyard Culture is divided into small plots (called “Currais”), which are surrounded by stone walls, and separated from the other farms by larger walls, the “jeiros”.

Currently, in Pico Island, three noble indigenous varieties are grown: Arinto dos Açores, Verdelho, and Terrantez do Pico. These are white grape varieties are known for resulting in full-bodied and well-structured wines, with a complex aroma of spices.

One of the best places to go for a wine tasting on the Island is at the Cooperativa Vitivinícola da Ilha do Pico (CVIP), which offers a tour where you’ll have the opportunity not only to learn the history of the vineyards but also taste 6 nectars produced on the island Mountain.

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Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications (2012)

Built from the 17th to the 19th century, the Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications is the largest bulwarked dry-ditch system in the world. This a World Heritage Site located in the region of Alentejo, near the Portuguese-Spanish border, and has seven components: the Historic Centre of Elvas, the Amoreira Aqueduct, the Fort of Santa Luzia, the Fort of Graça, and the Fortlets of São Mamede, São Pedro, and São Domingos. One of the most fascinating is definitely the Fort of Graça, which sits on the top of a rugged hill and it’s surrounded by a star-shaped defense system.

The fortifications, carefully designed by the Dutch Jesuit Cosmanded and adapted to the irregular topography of Elvas, are the second World Heritage Site in Alentejo. A great idea is to go on a road trip in the region and explore the fascinating cities in south-central and southern Portugal. After Elvas, head over to Évora and then to Reguengos de Monsaraz, which was elected European wine capital in 2015.

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University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia (2013)

The courtyard of the University of Coimbra, Portugal

The riverfront city of Coimbra also deserves a place on top of the bucket list for those who are going to Portugal. Built on the banks of the Mondego River, Coimbra is the country’s former capital, and it’s particularly famous for housing the historic the University of Coimbra, the oldest in Portugal, listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2013.

Founded in Lisbon by Dom Dinis, in 1290, the University of Coimbra was permanently transferred to Coimbra in 1537. The university was established in the Royal Palace of Alcáçova, on the hill above the town (Alta), overlooking the Mondego River. Over the centuries, it developed into a series of colleges, but it managed to preserve its stunning features, including the Baroque-style Joanina Library, which houses more than 53 thousand books from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

Fun fact: some say that the black cloak worn by the students of the Coimbra University inspired J.K. Rowling when creating the iconic dress code of Hogwarts.

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Royal Building of Mafra – Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Park (2019)

After a full immersion in Lisbon, we recommend a day trip to Mafra, which is located only 40 minutes from the capital. The city is mostly known for the Royal Building of Mafra, which encompasses a Palace, a Basilica, a Convent, a Garden, and a Hunting Park (Tapada Nacional de Mafra). Designed by the German architect Johann Friedrich Ludwig, the Royal Building of Mafra was ordered by King John V in 1711, and it became not only a Baroque masterpiece but also a symbol of the king’s power.

One of the most notable features of the complex is the National Palace of Mafra, which was the summer residence of the royal family, and built thanks to the Brazilian gild that poured into the country. Covering an area of almost four hectares, the palace is the most important Baroque building in Portugal, and it’s home to 1.200 rooms, more than 4.700 doors and windows, 156 stairways, and 29 inner yards and courtyards. The largest and most prestigious room and the building is the National Library of Mafra, with wooden Rococo bookshelves that hold some 36,000 books dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries.

To gild the lily, pay a visit to the Basilica, which houses a set of six organs, altarpieces by the Italian artist Alessandro Giusti, and the most significant collection of baroque sculpture outside Italy.

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Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga (2019)

Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary located in Braga, Portugal

A sculptured stairway with 573 steps leads to the top of a hill, where the Bom Jesus do Monte Church sits. Developed over more than 600 years, the staircase and the church form the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, in Braga, which is surrounded by a densely wooded verdant area.

The stairway is adorned with symbolic fountains, statues, and Borque-style decorative elements, which represent the Stations of the Cross, the Five Senses, the Virtues, Moses receiving the Commandments and, at the top, the biblical figures that contributed to the Condemnation of Jesus.

Whether you choose to take the stairs or reach the top by funicular, make sure you take in the view from the bottom of the Stairway, where you’ll have a jaw-dropping view of the granite fountains placed on the various landings. Once you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with another breathtaking view: the scenic landscape of the city of Braga, in the north of Portugal.

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Destination Deep-Dive 7 MINS READ

Discover the New Seven Wonders of the World

Discover the New Seven Wonders of the World

Destination Deep-Dive 7 MINS READ

Across the globe, people travel far and wide to visit The New Seven Wonders of the World. But, do you know the history of these sites and how they came to be so important to the global community?

For centuries the world has celebrated amazing sculptures and architecture. So much so that seven of these landmarks have the global status of being a “Wonder of the World”. Although there are now several categories with this title, the original list of ancient wonders dates back to a piece of work written in 225 B.C. by Philo of Byzantine called On Seven Wonders. These landmarks are revered because they show the true capability humans have for incredible imagination and creativity. After all, each of these architectural phenomenons is manmade.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

The New Seven Wonders

pyramids in egypt

The only ancient wonder that still exists today is the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt. In order to choose the new seven wonders of the world, a foundation was created in 1999 to vote and choose them. After over 100 million votes, the new sites were revealed in 2007. They are Petra, in Jordan, The Colosseum, in Italy, The Great Wall of China, in China, The Christ the Redeemer, in Brazil, The Chichén Itzá, in Mexico, The Machu Picchu, in Peru, and the Taj Mahal, in India.

Although these sites are currently closed to the public, travelers can still admire and explore them through virtual tours. Learn about each of the new seven wonders of the world and plan for your future visit.

Petra, Jordan

new seven wonders of the world petra

Petra, Jordan is one of the most remarkable landmarks on the planet. This ancient Jordan city dates back from the 1st century B.C., and it used to be the Arabic capital of the Nabateans Empire. Back then, the state became very wealthy due to its position in the trading routes between Arabia, India, Africa, and the West. Its moniker is the Rose City and it became a UNESCO Heritage site in 1985.

Home to 800 tombs, known as the “Royal Tombs”, including one estimated to be over 2,000 years old, Petra is an exhibiting travel destination for history-enthusiasts. As one of the oldest cities in the world, the site was inhabited by the Edomites (from 18th to 2nd century BC), the Nabateans (2nd century to 106 BC), and the Romans (106 to 395 BC).

The beautiful sandstone walls of Petra became famous after they were featured in the 1989 film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. According to the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA), Petra welcomed over one million visitors in 2019.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

new seven wonders of the world christ the redeemer

The colossal Christ the Redeemer statue looks over Rio de Janeiro from the summit of Mount Corcovado, a privileged location in Rio. Considered Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmark, the statue sits in the National Park of Tijuca, towering 2,310 feet above the city. The statue is 98 feet tall and its arms span 92 feet wide from fingertip to fingertip.

The construction of this gigantic statue took place in April 1922, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and it was completed in 1931, and its design was crafted by many different designers and engineers, such as the Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski and the engineers Heitor da Silva Costa and Albert Caquot.

And in case you’re wondering how did Christ Redeemer was placed at the top of Mount Corcovado, here’s the answer: because of its massive size, the statue was put together on top of the mountain, and the necessary materials were transported on a small cog-wheel train.

Visited by nearly 2 million people each year, it is the largest Art Deco-style sculpture in the entire world. Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro, celebrates and honours the 100th year anniversary of the Brazilian Republic. It is still one of the most visited sites in not only Brazil but the world, and there is even a replica of the statue in Lisbon, Portugal. A great tip is to try to visit it during a day with clear skies, so you can enjoy the best views of the city.

In March 2020, the statue was illuminated with flags of all the countries heavily affected by COVID-19. An act that showed an outpour of support for the global community.

Chichén Itzá, Mexico

new seven wonders of the world chichen itza

Over 2 million tourists visit Chichén Itzá, the second most popular archaeological site in Mexico, a year.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ancient city, which consists of Mayan ruins located on the northern half of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It’s a great day trip if you’re traveling to Cancun or Playa del Carmen, for instance, and when taking a tour to Chichén Itzá, you can walk among the giant pyramids.

The El Castillo, also known as the Kukulkan Pyramid, which is located in the very center of the site, is one of the only buildings to maintain its original structure. Historians say Chichén Itzá was built from 600 A.D. until 1221 during the Mayan empire. Due to its location and size, it stood as one of the most important places in Mayan culture. In December 2019, a new daily visit record was broken, with over 18,000 visitors in just one day. It is a must-visit when planning a trip to Mexico. Curious fact: the term Chichén Itzá means ‘the mouth at the well of Itza’, and it’s believed that Itza means ‘water magicians’.

The Great Wall of China, China

new seven wonders of the world great wall of china

A visit to the Great Wall of China is usually on top of the bucket list of people who want to uncover the new seven wonders. But why? Well, first of all, because it’s one of the most famous structures in the world, acknowledged it as the largest man-made structure on Earth. Built in the early 7th century B.C. the Wall took over 2,500 years to be completed, and its construction spanned over more than 10 Chinese dynasties, which is a very long time.

It’s impossible to precise the wall’s location, since it winds up and down the country in a dragon-like shape, extending over 13,170 miles (21,196 kilometers) and winding through h 404 towns in 15 provincial regions across northern and central China. Made out of a range of materials, like stone, brick, rammed earth, and wood, the walls were used for border control and for defence against nomadic invaders. Due to both human and natural causes, almost 1/3 of the wall is missing today. Thus, the Chinese government has commissioned many restoration projects to renovate the wall and its missing parts.

The Chinese don’t refer to this wonder as “the Great Wall.” They call it Chángchéng, which means Long Wall. Visited by over 10 million people a year, this wonder of the world became a UNESCO Heritage site in 1987.

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

new seven wonders of the world colosseum

Located in the heart of Rome, Italy, The Colosseum stands proud as a symbol of power for the country. The construction of the Colosseum started in 70 A.D, however, it did not officially begin until 72 A.D., being finished only in 80 A.D. Built in the heart of Ancient Rome, the Colosseum was ordered by Emperor Vespasian who wanted to build the largest amphitheater in the world. In fact, it is still the largest in the world. With an oval shape, the structure is 189m long, 156m wide and 50m high, and it’s made from stone and concrete. During its time, the Colosseum could seat as many as 50,000 to 70,000 spectators, and it was used to host gladiator contests, and the vast majority of combatants were men slaves, condemned criminals, or prisoners of wars. The Colosseum also hosted mock sea battles and animal hunts, and some of the animals even included big cats and crocodiles.

By the 20th-century, two-thirds of the Colosseum was destroyed by neglect, vandalism and natural disasters, including the arena’s marble seats. A careful restoration program began in the 1990s, and this historical landmark is still one of Italy’s most famous tourist attractions in the world, being visited by over 7 million people a year.

The Taj Mahal, India

The Taj Mahal is so much more than just a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. Listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the monument was built by Emperor Shah Jahan from 1632 to 1648 for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died on June 17, 1631.
Representing the emperor’s everlasting love for his wife, the building stands as a beacon of light and strength for India and the global community.

Made of white marble from Makrana, in Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal combines a range of architectural styles, such as Islamic, Persian, and Indian styles. For the construction, other noble materials were used, such as turquoise from Tibet, jade and crystal from China, sapphire from Sri Lanka and Arabia, and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.

Over 2.5 million visitors go to Agra, India, to visit the Taj Mahal every year. As are the other wonders, the Taj Mahal is also a UNESCO Heritage site since 1983. While photos of the building show its beauty, they cannot truly capture the delicacy and attention to detail. It is truly a place one must see in person in order to know its magnificence.

Machu Picchu, Peru

machu picchu view

Last, but not least is Machu Picchu as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. This site is one of the most breathtaking global landmarks and the true pride of Peru. Machu Picchu belongs to the Incan empire from the mid-15th-century. However, it wasn’t rediscovered until 1911 by archeologist Hiram Bingham.  He was searching for another ancient city when he found the green terraces and remains of the structure.

Many historians commonly use the term “ruins” when referring to this wonder, however, that is an incorrect description according to It is best to describe this city as a sanctuary as it was a spiritual and sacred place for the Incans. Machu Picchu became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

Have you ever visited one of the new seven wonders of the world? Let us know! Check out our blog to learn about more places you can virtually visit today.

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Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

A Guide to The Art Nouveau Architecture In Riga

A Guide to The Art Nouveau Architecture In Riga

Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

Being culturally aware during a trip is an eye-opening experience and, fortunately, Europe offers a wide range of culture-filled destinations for travelers to experience. Birthplace of some of the most brilliant artists and architects of all time, the Old Continent is home to more than 40 stunning castles, and it harbors 18 of the 25 most beautiful buildings in the world.

A must-go destination for art-enthusiasts, Europe was also the birthplace of a visually intriguing art-movement called Art Nouveau. Known for its sinuous lines and curves, this nature-inspired movement spread all over Europe during the 19th-century

While touristy European cities, including Prague, Budapest, and Barcelona display a showcase of preserved Art Nouveau Style buildings, the top destination for a true Art Nouveau immersion is Riga, the capital of Latvia. Shaped by a rich architectural heritage, the city has over 700 Art Nouveau buildings, more than any other city in the world.

Today, we’re taking you to discover the most intriguing samples of Art Nouveau architecture in Riga. From art museums to picturesque streets, this guide will help you experience architecture like never before. Have a look!

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

What is the Art Nouveau Style

Light pink façade of an ornamented Art Nouveau Building.

Art Nouveau is an artistic style characterized by the use of distinct sinuous lines, nature-shaped motifs, and organic forms and patterns. The movement flourished throughout Europe and the United States between the late 19th-century and the early 20th-century, being employed mostly in architecture, art, jewelry, illustration, and glass design.

Regarded as a universal art style, Art Nouveau was explored by many renowned artists in Europe, such as Gustav Klimt and Antoni Gaudí. Because of that, this style has different names depending on the country. In Germany, it’s known as Jugendstil; in Italy, Stile Liberty in Italian, in Catalunya, Modernisme Català, and in Sweden it’s regarded as National Romantic style.

Art Nouveau Architecture in Europe

There are several destinations where you can experience Art Nouveau architecture at its finest in Europe. In case you’re planning to visit Eastern Europe, two great spots for some Art Nouveau immersion are Prague and Budapest. But if going to Southern Europe is on the top of your bucket list, you can find some stunning Art Nouveau architecture samples in Turin, Italy; Barcelona, Spain, and Aveiro, Portugal.

Now, if going to an offbeat European destination is the ultimate travel experience you’re seeking, Riga, in Latvia, is the place to be.

Traveling To Riga, Latvia

Historical buildings in Riva's Old Town during the sunset.

Riga lies in the center of three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and is the capital of Latvia. Apart from Art Noveau Riga architecture, the city is famous for its wooden buildings and medieval pedestrian-only Old Town, which happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Riga is the most lively in the summer months when the weather is warm, and the city is bustling with open-air concerts, free music festivals, and outdoor cinemas.

However, Latvia offers much more than typical city entertainment. The country is surrounded by Estonia, Russia, Belorussia, and Lithuania, and sports 500 km of coastline. To enjoy the wild abandoned beaches of the country, you can hop on the train to Jurmala or visit the Kemeri National Park for its bog lakes, mineral waters, and therapeutic mud SPAs nearby.

When in Latvia, visiting the bordering countries is also a great option, and you can add trips to St. Petersburg and Tallinn to your itinerary.

The History of Art Nouveau in Riga

Detail of a blue and white Art Nouveau buildin located at Elizabetes Street, in Riva.

To understand why Art Noveau gained the hype in Riga back in the day, we will drop some facts. During the late 19th-century, Riga experienced rapid economic development. It grew by 88% between 1897 and 1913 and, during WWII, Riva was the third-largest city in the Baltic region. Between 1910 and 1913, almost 500 new buildings were built in Riga annually. Most of them were in Art Noveau style and were placed outside of the Old Town of Riga. The architects in charge of designing the Art Nouveau buildings in Riga ranged from Baltic Germans, Jewish, and newly taught ethnic Latvians.

Today, the Art Nouveau Riga buildings represent one-third of all the buildings in the center of the city. This is exactly why Riga, Latvia, is often regarded as the Art Noveau Mecca, as it has the highest concentration of this architecture-style in the world.

Art Nouveau Tour In Riga, Latvia

While wandering around the streets of Riga looking for stunning Art Nouveau buildings, there are some places you don’t wanna miss. A good tip is to start off your trip by strolling through the Old Town, just to get acquainted with the city. Then, you can make your move to some of the places listed below. We guarantee you won’t regret it.

Alberta Street

If there is one street you absolutely have to visit in Riga, is Alberta Street. Named after Bishop Albert who founded Riga more than 800 years ago, the street is a trademark thanks to its Eclectic Art Nouveau buildings. Most of them where designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, and some by Konstantīns Pēkšēns and Eižens Laube, a teacher, and his pupil. The buildings are decorated with sculptures, ornamented balconies, columns, and other Art Nouveau elements.

Riga Art Nouveau Centre

Located on Alberta Street, the Riga Art Nouveau Centre is the only museum in the Baltics that entirely showcases the history of the Art Nouveau movement. The Riga Art Nouveau Centre is placed within a building that belonged Konstantīns Pēkšēns, one of the most famous Latvian Art Nouveau architects.

Walking through the 20th-century building will take you on a journey back in time. During your tour, you’ll not only learn about Art Nouveau but also about how the former owners hosted their guests, how people behaved, and more.

Make sure you look up to the ceiling when entering the building, You’ll see an ornamented spiral staircase, which is a fine example of the Art Nouveau style.

The Riga Artt Nouveau Centre is open every day (except for Mondays) from 10 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee is 9 euros for the full exposition. 

Art Noveau Route in the Riga City Center

If you got excited after discovering the examples of Art Nouveau in Alberta Street, you can surely go beyond and uncover more architectural gems in Riga. The Alberta Street harbors some of the finest samples of the Eclectic Art Nouveau Style in Riga, but there are three other styles you can uncover in the city: the Perpendicular Art Nouveau, National Romantic Art Nouveau, and the Neo-Classical Art Nouveau. 

For exploring the Perpendicular Art Nouveau category, which is commonly referred to to as “department store style” or Warenhausstil (in German) , head over to Krišjāņa Valdemāra iela (Krišjānis Valdemārs Street) number 37, which is home to a multi-storey building designed by Eižens Laube.

A good Neo-Classical example is the former Commercial Bank of Riga, which sits in the very center of the Old Riga, right opposite the Doms Cathedral.

To discover the National Romantic style, or the Nordic Art Noveau, in Riga, stay in the Alberta Street and head over the building number 11, also designed by Eižens Laube.

Take a Free Art Noveau Tour in Riga

If you want to travel on a budget, then a good idea is going on free Riga Art Noveau guided tour. Tours will take you through Alberta Street and Elizabetes Street, as well as to explore some less popular Art Noveau examples. Tours take around 2 hours, and start daily at 3 pm (until the end of September) at the stairs of the National Opera House of Latvia. 

Drink a Coffee Surrounded by the Art Noveau Style in Riga

Tired after seeing too many curvy lines and floral decorations? Have a cup of coffee and slice of cake at this boutique Art Noveau cafe Sienna just across Alberta Street. 

Are you ready for your cultural travel?

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Activities & Adventure 13 MINS READ

The 25 Most Beautiful Buildings In The World

The 25 Most Beautiful Buildings In The World

Activities & Adventure 13 MINS READ

Even though sightseeing the most beautiful buildings in the world may not be the first reason why you travel to the other side of the globe, you must acknowledge that stunning architecture is for sure exciting.

Certain buildings carry a lot of cultural heritage, and paying attention to a destination’s architecture helps you learn more about the history of the place.

So if you’re an architecture enthusiast or just an innate curious traveller, this post is for you. We’ll take you to a tour around the most impressive buildings in the globe. From the ancient Great Pyramid of Giza, in Egypt, to the gorgeous Moorish-style Royal Alcazar in Seville, Spain, here are the top 25 most impressive buildings on earth.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

What makes a building beautiful?

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, they’ve said. With beauty being such a subjective and broad subject, we created a diverse list, using a mix of sources. We relied on the experts (World Architecture Awards in 2019), the general public and, of course, the CuddlyNest’s team of travel enthusiasts.

The Most Beautiful Buildings Around the World

Palace of Versailles, France

versailles the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

The Palace of Versailles is a Baroque-style royal residence. Listed as a World Heritage Site for 30 years, the palace this opulent complex was inhabited by Louis XIV until the start of French Revolution in 1789. In the 19th century, by order of King Louis-Phillipe, Versailles became Museum of the History of France, with its rooms being devoted to housing new collections of paintings and sculptures.

With 2,300 rooms spread over 63,154 m2, the building is one of Frances’ architectural wonders. Versailles is within 20km from Paris, and during your tour, you can also take some time to see the Estate of Trianon, the gardens and the Royal Stables.

To get there, use can the RER train line or the city bus line No. 171. Admission to the palace starts from €13 ($15). Check the current admission and reservation procedures on the Palace of Versailles website.

Taj Mahal, India

taj mahal the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Listed as a New 7 Wonder of the World, the Taj Mahal was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan from 1632 to 1648 for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died on June 17, 1631. The monument, which is a mausoleum, was erected in the first half of the 17th century and finished over a 20-year period using more than 20,000 artisans’ labour. It is located the Northern Indian city of Agra, in the southern bank of Yamuna river in India, and its architecture is one of the most significant examples of Mughal architecture style. The complex also houses a mosque and guest house.

Made of white marble from Makrana, in Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal combines a range of architectural styles, such as Islamic, Persian and Indian styles. For the construction, other noble materials were used, such as turquoise from Tibet, jade and crystal from China, sapphire from Sri Lanka and Arabia and lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.

To get to Taj Mahal, you can take a train from Delhi (there are more than 20 trains a day), a bus, or a taxi. Admission to the Taj Mahal starts from Rs. 300 /- for foreigners. For more info, visit the Taj Mahal’s homepage

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

neuschweistein castle the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

The castle is a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace that sits on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau, in southern Bavaria, Germany. Neuschwanstein was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honour of Richard Wagner, a famous German composer and theatre director. Interestingly enough, the place was built with the King’s personal funds, rather than the Bavarian public money.

Today, when entering Neuschwanstein, you’ll see that many rooms, such as the Singers Hall, were inspired by some of Wagner’s characters. The word “Neuschwanstein”, by the way, literally means “New Swan Castle,” which is a reference to “the Swan Knight,” one of the composer’s characters.

From Munich, you can take a train to Fussen, and, from there, take the bus 73 or 78 to get to the castle. Admission fee is €16.30 ($19), and there are guided tours available in different languages.

Semperoper Dresden, Germany

sempreoper the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Located in Dresden, Germany, the Semperoper State Opera is a concert hall home to the Saxon State Orchestra and the Sempreoper Ballet. The opera was built in the middle of the 19th-century, and it’s a stunning architectural combination between Renaissance and Baroque styles, dotted with Corinthian pillars which are typical to the Greek Classical Revival movement.

The eclectic Semperoper is located near the Elbe River in the historic part of Dresden. Some of the closest stations are the Dresden-Neustadt (train) and the Theterplatz (tram). Admissions for groups in daytime start from €65 ($77). To learn more, go to their website.

Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, France

Mont Saint-Michel Castle the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Did you know that Claude Debussy, the French composer, frequented the Le Mont-Saint-Michel island to gather inspiration for his piano prelude, La Cathédrale Engloutie? The island commune is home to the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey, a famous cultural attraction in France. Built during the 10th-century, the abbey displays different architectural elements, from the West Roman empire to Roman and Gothic styles. The building is a megastructure divided into multiple parts: the Church-abbey and chapels, the “Merveille” and the monk buildings, and more.

To get to Mont Saint-Michel from Paris, take a train at Montparnasse train station and go to Rennes. From Rennes, you can take a coach to the village of Mont St. Michel. The admission to the abbey is free.

Senedd, Wales

The Senedd building in Cardiff, Wales, houses the debating chamber and three committee rooms for the Welsh Parliament. Located 3km south of the Cardiff Castle, the building was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, which created a dramatic light-weight, a gently undulating roof for the building. The main idea of the architects was planning a transparent building that looks towards Cardiff Bay, making visible the inner workings of the Assembly and inviting the public participation in the democratic process.

To get to Senedd from the centre of Cardiff, take the No. 6 Baycar bus that goes to Pierhead Street. The admission is free, and you can also book a public seat to Plenary. Audio tour is public and available on Soundcloud.

City of Petra, Jordan

petra the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Petra, in Jordan, dates back from the 1st-century B.C., and it used to be the centre of the Arab Kingdom during Hellenistic and Roman times. The city has been inhabited since early 7000 BC, and today is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. And even though Petra consists of ruins, it’s still an architectural marvel worth seeing. This ancient city is home the finest examples of the Nabatean architecture, such as a 2,000-year-old tomb.

To get there, use either tourist JETT buses and shuttles, or hire a private driver (we recommend private drivers to balance safety, price, and availabilities). The admission to Petra starts from 50 J.D for a one-day visit.

Macallan Distillery, Scotland

Macallan Distillery in Scotland is a piece of modern architecture that you must not miss. Located in Speyside, Macallan is a place where the process of whiskey production is shown to visitors. The building was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who made sure that the distillery blended perfectly with its surroundings. One of the highlights of the building is the rippling timber roof made of 380,000 individual components – almost none of which are the same.

The admission to distillery guided tour starts from £50.00, and you can get to the distillery from Edinburgh by train via Aberdeen taking a scenic bus ride through the Cairngorms National Park.

Hungarian Parliament, Hungary

Hungarian Parliament the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Hungarian Parliament, located in the very heart of Pest side of the city, called The House of Nation (Országház), is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival style, having a similar façade and central dome. To decorate the building, 40 kg of gold, 500 000 ornamental stones and 242 statues are used, and in the night, the building is lit up in yellow, having a strong contrast with the azure blue Danube river.  

The Parliament lies just in between the Margarethe Bridge and the famous Chain Bridge, in Budapest. So if you’re in the center, you can walk.

The admission fee is different for non-EU and EU citizens, starting from HUF 3500 (around $12). To learn more about the Parliament, click here.

Milan Cathedral, Italy

duomo di milano the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Milan Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Milano, dates back to the 4th century when the construction began. The building, which took nearly six centuries to be completed, it’s the largest Gothic church in the world and it displays a roofline with a dense grid of pinnacles and spires supported by flying buttresses. The Duomo Di Milano has over 90 gargoyles and about 3,400 statues.

Make sure to visit the official page to book your time slot in advance.

Hagia Sophia, Turkey

hagia sophia the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

One of the most beautiful architectural pieces in the world can be found in Turkey. The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque is a place of worship in Constantinople, and it dates back to the 6th century when the city was the imperial capital of the Byzantine Empire. Up to date, it is the largest church in the historical empire territory, and after the fall of the empire was converted in a mosque by Mehmed the Conqueror, remaining as such until 1931, when it was closed to public and later re-opened as a museum. In 2020, the monument’s status for the building was revoked, and it is now a mosque again.

Foreign visitors are not allowed to enter the mosque during the worship hours, but prayer times are determined by the length of the day, which you can consult here.

Florence Cathedral, Italy

Florence Cathedral the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

One of the most beautiful buildings in the world, and surely in Europe, lies in Florence, which used to be a major trade centre during the Renaissance period. The construction of the church started in the 13th century, and it was completed in the 15th century. The exterior and facade dates to 19th century and has a strong impact of Gothic Revival style.

The building is in the centre of Florence, and you can get tickets starting from EUR 18, or $21. The ticket lasts 48 hours.

Notre Dame de Paris, France

Notre Dame de Paris the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

This is undoubtedly one of the most iconic architectural pieces in the world and one of the most famous landmarks in Paris, France. Built between 1163 and 1345, the Notre Dame finest examples of the Gothic style, with its pointed arches and external statues and gargoyles. Its famous twin towers go as high as 69 meters, and a significant number of its stained-glass windows dates back the 13th century.

Following the fire of April 15, 2019, the Cathedral is closed

Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Philippines

Amazing buildings are not always the oldest ones. In fact, one of the most impressive architectural marvels in the world was built in 2018, in the Philippines (read what to do in the Philippines). Designed by the firm Integrated Design Associate, the Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport boasts an impressive alpine-wood roof, with arches that span every 30 meters, allowing the terminal to be as column-free as possible. The project has even won an award at the World Architecture Festival.

The Louvre Museum, France

Louvre the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

It’s no surprise that the Louvre Museum of Paris is one of the most visited museums in the world. Aside from its rich collection of artworks, the museum has a fascinating architectural history. Many don’t know, but the Louvre was actually built in the 12th-century as a fortress and a royal residence. The glass pyramid is probably one of the statement structures on the Louvre. Commissioned by the former president François Mitterrand and designed by the architect I.M. Pei stands at 21 meters high and it’s fully made of glass and metal.

To get to the museum, take the metro and stop at either Palais-Royal Musee du Louvre or Pyramids station.

Before you go, make sure you know what you want to see and check the Louvre museum page to plan your visit. The ticket costs from 17,00 € or adults.

Schwerin Palace, Germany

Schwerin the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Built in the middle of the 19th century in the city of Schwerin in Germany, the castle is a great example of the romantic Historian, which was a movement that tried to evoke the “good old times” when the noble life and society were still in order. Designed by Georg Adolf Demmler, the building reflects the admiration of the architect for the elegance and the simplicity of Prussian Neoclassicism and of Tudor Gothic.

Trains from Berlin and Hannover take around 3 hours, while trains from Hamburg take 2. The entrance fee including photography permission starts at € 8,50.

Parthenon, Greece

Parthenon the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Parthenon, the former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, in Greece, was built in the 5th century BC, when the Athenian Empire was in its peak of power. It’s the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. Interestingly enough, Parthenon was turned into a mosque in the early 15th century, but since 1975 it has undergone numerous large-scale restoration projects.

Parthenon is in the very center of Athens, near the Acropolis; to get there, take the metro to the Akropoli. The entrance fee is included in the ticket for Acropolis which costs around 20 €.

Freebooter, Netherlands

Freebooter the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

The modernist Freebooter, in Amsterdam, is an apartment complex build in 2019 by the Amsterdam-based studio-loop. The most interesting feature about the building is the fact that it’s made of timbers displayed in a parametric shape, which allows sunlight to flood the apartments while at the same time maintaining the privacy of the inhabitants.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Many of the amazing buildings around the world, including Angkor Wat, are temples. Located in Cambodia and surrounded by the country’s natural beauty, this is the largest religious monument on earth by land area, and it was originally constructed as a Hindu temple. According to myth, the construction of Angkor Wat was ordered by Indra, and according to the 13th-century Chinese traveler notes, some even believed that the Angkor Wat was built in a single night!

Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Russia

Saint Basil Cathedral the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Commissioned in the 16th century by the first Tsar of Russia, Saint Basil’s is an Orthodox church located in the Red Square of Moscow and one of the most popular landmarks of Russia. This extraordinary structure has eight tiny chapels dotted around a tall central nave, aside from ornate onion domes colored with strong pigments.

Saint Basil is open to visitors every day, and you can also take a virtual tour of the building.

Tower of Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Tower of Pisa, is a freestanding bell tower that began to lean during its construction in the 12th century. The cause of the leaning was the soft ground, which could not support the weight of the structure and worsened during completion in the 14th century. The structure was stabilized in the 1990s and reversed the tilt from 5.5 to 3.97 degrees.

For information on tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, visit the official website.

Lotus Temple, India

Lotus Temple the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

The Lotus Temple in Delhi, India, is notable for its flowerlike shape. It was open-ended for worship in 1986 and by 2001 it attracted already 70 million visitors, making it one of the most visited buildings in the globe. There is no pons surrounding the Lotus Temple, and the special exterior lighting of the building makes a must-go in Delhi. The building is a famous example of expressionist architecture.

To get to there from the Akshardham station, you can take a bus to Kalkaji Mandir, or take a taxi. The entrance fee is INR 150 for foreign tourists.

Cologne Cathedral, Germany

Cologne Cathedral the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

The Cologne Cathedral was built at the beginning of the 13th century and is still in construction. The medieval builders planned the structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings. Today, it is enlisted as a World Heritage Site, and it’s open to visitors.

You’ll have no trouble spotting the cathedral, as it’s the second-highest building in Cologne. Find the ticket prices at their official website.

Vessel, New York City

vessel the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

New York is home to a multitude of architectural wonders. The city’s skyline is dotted with high-rise skyscrapers and iconic constructions, such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. These are definitely the most well-known structures in New York, but if you’re visiting Manhattan, make sure you also sightsee The Vessel.

The Vessel is a dramatic spiral staircase structure in New York City. Designed by the architect Thomas Heatherwick, the building became open to visitors in 2016 as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in Manhattan, New York.

This modern New York building looks like a honeycomb and it consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2500 steps and 80 landings for you to climb. Although many architects see it as beautiful, critics hold that it is too extravagant.

To get to the Vessel, in New York, take the subway to Hudson Yards. You can get free same-day tickets or schedule your visit by contacting the Hudson yards.

Winter Palace, Russia

Winter Palace the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world cuddlynest

Owner of great beauty, the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, now holds a museum for the city’s visitors. The palace was a winter residence for Russian Emperors from 1732 to 1917 and now houses the Hermitage Museum. The building as you see it today was erected and altered between the 1730s and 1837, and is, therefore, a magnificent example of various styles and tastes, but most significantly, the Rococo style.

The tickets to one of the Hermitage branches (Menshov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory) cost you 300 ($4) rubles.

Do you think there are even more beautiful buildings in the world? Leave your comment below.

Now that you have checked out some of the best places to visit for your next getaway, it’s time to book one of the best vacation rentals around the world. Find your city or countryside holiday rental on CuddlyNest.

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CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

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Destination Deep-Dive 6 MINS READ

Top 10 Things to Do in Dubai

Top 10 Things to Do in Dubai

Destination Deep-Dive 6 MINS READ

One of the most beautiful and unique places to visit in the world is Dubai. As the city reopens this week to welcome tourists, now is the perfect time to learn about the top 10 things to do in Dubai.

Dubai is one of six emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The city is most famous for its high-end and luxurious lifestyle. As well as its unique experiences and attractions.

Dubai is filled with stunning mosques, incredible architecture, and world-renowned pieces of art. Start preparing for your trip by planning all the things you want to do and the popular places you want to visit.

What Should We Do in Dubai?

You may be wondering with so many things to do in Dubai, how long do I need to plan my trip? Dubai is one of the many places in the world where it doesn’t matter how long you intend to visit.

Whether for a quick trip, a week-long visit, or a long stay, you can fit all these popular things to do and attractions in. A great way to start is by finding very accessible accommodation.

Areas like downtown Dubai where you can get to many of these attractions and sites will give you time to see it all. Let’s dive into the many things to do in Dubai starting with Jumeirah Mosque.

Dubai Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque

Worshipers and travelers come from far and wide to visit the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai. The mosque has been open since 1979 and is definitely one of the most visited and beloved landmarks in the city.

Although the mosque is temporarily closed, it can fit up to 1,500 worshipers and curious visitors a day. Tours of Jumeirah occur daily. They include stories about the history, religion, and culture of the Emiratis. Be sure to check the official website for daily updates on the mosque’s awaited re-opening.

View of Dubai Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

One of the most notable attractions in Dubai is the luxurious five-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab. The hotel itself is located on an artificial island, connected to the mainland by a bridge. It stands over 1,050 feet high (321 meters) and has 202 rooms. The most expensive suite in the hotel can cost up to $130,000 for a one-night stay. If you wish to explore the luxurious hotel for the day, visitors can dine in one of the nine restaurants on-site. Including the Al Mahara Restaurant, which is actually located underwater. Dining with a view of the underwater aquarium is definitely on the list of top things to do in Dubai. When visiting this Middle Eastern city, stop by the popular Burj Khalifa skyscraper.

Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame

This picture frame is worth a thousand words. This is structure is located in Zabeel Park. While the Dubai Frame is one of the most incredible structures in the UAE, it is also one of the most controversial. The frame’s design was created during the ThyssenKrupp Elevator International Award competition. The winning designer never actually received official credit or compensation. It was built to be the face of the “new Dubai” and it’s much more than the tallest building in the city. In fact, it holds the record for being the largest frame on the planet. If you’re looking for a picture-perfect moment, visit the frame in downtown Dubai.

Dubai Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood

Dubai’s Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood

For cultural and historic things to do in Dubai, pay a visit to the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. The site is open all day long, but be sure to check the official website for museum hours. Take advantage of learning about Dubai’s early life and culture. The district hosts many different exhibits, presentations, and heritage events. If you want to learn a cultural thing or two during your getaway, then this will be the perfect place to start.

Dubai Aquaventure Waterpark

Dubai Aquaventure Waterpark

A visit to the  Aquaventure Waterpark is one of the best things to do in Dubai with kids. While the park is part of the Atlantis Hotel, you do not need to be a guest to visit for the day. This water park is also one of many in the whole city. There are over 30 attractions to visit in the park. You and your little ones can have the opportunity to spend the full day there.

Dubai Palm Island View

Skydive Dubai

Looking to cross off a bucket list item while in Dubai? Skydiving above Palm Jumeirah Island is by far one of the most epic things to do in Dubai. Skydive Dubai has broken several world records. This extreme sport has been a tradition in Dubai for over 10 years, with hundreds of jumps a month. It is something everyone must experience once in their lifetime, especially in Duba. Check out the official website to book your unforgettable excursion in the air.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

The Dubai Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums and animal sanctuaries in the world. People can see the underwater creatures in their habitat, as well as interact with them. Several encounters and tours include cage diving, shark feeding, snorkeling. The aquarium and zoo are located in downtown Dubai in the famous Dubai Mall, an attraction of its own. If you have ever dreamt of getting up close and personal with ocean and sea creatures, this is your chance. Witness one of the largest creatures in the world, the whale shark, swim just a few feet away from you. This experience will surely take your breath away.

dubai miracle garden

Dubai Miracle Garden

Although Dubai’s colorful Miracle Garden is closed until November 2020, this beautiful site is one of the city’s treasures. This garden is not just any plant home. In fact, it is the world’s largest natural garden with over 150 million flowers. The normal season for the garden is mid-November until mid-May, which is when the flowers are in full bloom. Witness hundreds and thousands of flowers illuminate the garden in a matter of days.

What’s extra special about this garden? Each year the site introduces a new theme. It adapts its arrangements into large structures and designs. On average, over 1.5 million people visit the Miracle Garden every year. Making it one of the most popular attractions not just in Dubai, but in the entire country.

Dubai Desert

Dubai Safari

From camel rides and quad bikes to dune buggies and Jeeps, if you are going to Dubai, you can’t miss out on taking a safari excursion. With several different desert safari tours to choose from, this is definitely one of the best ways to experience Dubai’s desert. You may even stumble upon some of the UAE’s hidden gems if you know where to look. You can spend a day at a theme park, explore the gardens, and enjoy the desert by night.

Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Mall Fountain is one of the city’s most mesmerizing attractions. The founds shoot 22,000 gallons of water up to 460 feet (140 meters) high. The show occurs every day for 30 minutes at six PM. It includes music by Andrea Bocelli, Michael Jackson, Sarah Brightman, and more talented artists. Listening to music with a view of the water dancing in the sky is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Plan at least one of your evenings around the show to admire the work of art that is this performance.

Looking for more things to do in Dubai?

How about places to stay? Although Dubai can be an expensive city to visit, CuddlyNest offers some of the most affordable hotels and vacation homes in Dubai. These properties come with some of the best amenities, activities, and excursions. Browse through one of the many popular neighborhoods to find the perfect accommodation for your trip to Dubai.

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CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

Chicago 4 MINS READ

Chicago, a perfect balance

Chicago, a perfect balance

Chicago 4 MINS READ

How well do you know Chicago? Chicago is a city that offers millions of things to do, from tours, adventure sports, shopping and other attractions. You can enjoy the city on a weekend getaway or even spend a long vacation with family or friends discovering wonderful places that will surprise you.

The first thing we recommend is to do a walking tour. There are many companies that offer this service totally free. All you have to do is sign up online and show up at the time indicated. From Cuddlynest we recommend free tours by foot, an introduction to the city, the history of Chicago and the many major tourist attractions. Once you know the basics of the city, it’s time to choose other activities more in keeping with your personality.

Chicago for adventure and nature lovers

Being on vacation in a big city does not mean you have to give up your adventurous spirit and love of nature, especially if you’re in Chicago. Do you like Kayaking? Then you should not miss the opportunity to navigate the Chicago River during the sunset.

Aren’t you a water sports person? No problem. Chicago is a cyclist’s dream, both for beginners and advanced riders. Chicago is geographically flat, enjoys hundreds of miles of bike trails, and all of Chicago’s major attractions are connected to the Chicago Lakefront Trail. There is no doubt why Chicago consistently ranks as the number one city in America to ride a bicycle. Do not think about it much and go on an adventure on wheels.

Are you passionate about the circus and new experiences? Then go to Belmont Harbor and do what you’ve always dreamed of. You do not need to be a trapeze expert, there are flight workshops for those who have always dreamed of fleeing to join the circus. It’s never too late to fulfill a dream.

If what you want is a more daring experience, what do you think of a parachute jump? Imagine the city of Chicago at your feet, the famous skyline of the city seen from a plane and the adrenaline rushing through your veins when the plane’s door opens. Are you ready to make the leap?

Chicago for art and culture lovers

Chicago is full of beautiful murals scattered throughout the city, but your best bet to detect the highest concentration of street murals is an expedition on foot through Pilsen, starting in the area around 18 and Blue Island. extending west towards the National Museum of Mexican Art. A route to get lost while admiring the beauty of street art.

You can not leave Chicago without spending a day discovering the Loop. The Loop is the financial center of the city, located in the heart of Downtown Chicago. Here are concentrated many of the skyscrapers that make the skyline of the city so recognizable as the famous Willis Tower. This is also where you can enjoy the best cultural offer in Chicago. And when you get tired of so much skyscraper, nothing better than a small picnic in the park with unbeatable views of Lake Michigan.

One of the things that Chicago stands for its the architecture. The Archicenter is a center for exhibitions related to architecture and the city, where you can find out everything related to the art of construction. In addition, you can find there a model that perfectly illustrates the urbanism of this city, a must for lovers of this field is exhibited.

Chicago for music and nightlife lovers

If there’s something we identify with Chicago, it’s Jazz. Come to the Jazz Showcase (the first jazz club in the city and the second in the States). To enter this site is to travel through time and immerse yourself in a pentagram. It is full of memories, photos and feels an atmosphere of jazz, brotherhood, and joy in the air.

If your passion is the Blues, do not miss Kingston Mines, a place to know the true neighborhood blues, the original. Sit down and taste some ribs in pure American style while enjoying the best music the city has to offer. As a curious fact, you must know that celebrities such as Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, have been there too.

There is an endless list of bars and clubs to visit if you are in the city, but these two are a MUST that you should not overlook if you want to breathe the authentic taste of Jazz and Blues in its purest essence.

Do you need more reasons to visit Chicago? We could continue with an endless list, but instead, why not visit our website and start looking for the accommodation that best suits your needs? Remember, book anystay everywhere with Cuddlynest.