Albeit the most beautiful buildings in the world may not always be the reason you travel to the other side of the world – we, too, sometimes value beaches, performing arts and exotic food experiences even more -, you must acknowledge that beautiful architecture for sure is inviting.
From the Great Pyramid of Giza to the Ancient Inca Temples and Ruins, to more recent Royal Alcazar in Seville, Spain, Art Novae streets in Riga and Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, there are loads of beautiful and interesting architecture buildings in the Europe, and even more in the whole world.
What makes a building beautiful?
Beauty lies in the eye of beholder. That is why we at CuddlyNest composed the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world list from sources ranked by architects (World Architecture Awards in 2019), general public and the CuddlyNest team.
The 25 of the Most Beautiful Buildings
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is a built in French Baroque architecture style. It was a royal residence of France from 1682 and homed Louis XIV until the start of French Revolution in 1789. Today, you can visit the palace when you are in Paris, as it is located about 20 kilometers from the center of Paris. The palace is accompanied by the Estate of Trianon, the gardens and the Royal Stables. These days, the palace is hosting musical fountains shows and musical gardens culture programmes, as well as guided tours.
To get there, use public transportation: find a train station connecting to RER trainline (Musee d’Orsay, Les Invalides, Gare Austerlitz, St. Michel-Notre Dame, Pont de l’Alma, and Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel), or get there by city bus line No. 171 which will arrive at the Versailles-Place d’Armes.
Admission to palace starts from €13 ($15), unless you are qualifying for free admission (under 18 years, or under 26 years for European Union residents), and guided tours are €10 ($12). During Covid-19 pandemic, we recommend you to check the current admission and reservation procedures on Palace of Versailles website. The palace is closed every Monday.
The Taj Mahal mausoleum built to house the Mughal emperor Shah Jannah’s wife’s remains was built in the first half of 17th century and was finished over the 20-year period using more than 20,000 artisans’ labor. It is in 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 white marble building seems to be changing color with the daylight, and it was included in UNESCO Heritage site in 1983. The complex also houses a mosque and guest house.
To get to Taj Mahal, you can take a train from Delhi (there are more than 20 trains a day), wait for a bus, or book a taxi.
Admission to the complex starts from Rs. 300 /- for foreigners, unless you are below the age of 15. The Taj Mahal is closed on every Friday. For more information, visit the Taj Mahal’s homepage.
The castle is a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southern Bavaria, Germany. The palace was built in honor of Richard Wagner as a retreat home for the King. Interestingly, the palace was built using his own personal funds, rather than the Bavarian public funds. Today, upon entering in the palace, you can still see that many rooms are inspired by Wagner’s characters, such as Singers Hall, but the “Neuschwanstein” literally means “new Swan Castle,” referring to “the Swan Knight,” one of Wagner’s characters.
From Munich, you can take a train which goes every 2 hours, but when arrived to Fussen, hop in the bus No. 73 or 78 to get to the castle. To get to Neuschwanstein Castle, you can also walk from Fussen, as the castle is located only 3 km away.
Admission fee is €16.30 ($19), and there are guided tours available in English, German and other languages.
Located in Dresden, Germany, the Saxon State Opera house is a concert hall for the Saxon State Orchestra and home to Sempreoper Ballet. The opera house is a beautiful example of the mix between early Renaissance and Baroque styles with Corinthian style pillars which are typical to Greek classical revival. Built in the middle of 19th century and located near the Elbe river in the historic center of Dresden, the eclectic building is open to visitors.
To get there, use public transport – the main station, and train station Dresden-Neustadt are close to the opera, but tram station Theterplatz will let you arrive where the opera itself is located. Another station close by is Postplatz.
The admission for groups in daytime start from €65 ($77) for small groups up to 10 people, but you can also book a guided tour before the performance, or take a night tour in the Semperoper after the performances for just €15 ($18) per group. To learn more, go to their website.
Mont Saint-Michel Castle
Did you know that Claude Debussy, a French composer, frequented the island to draw inspiration for his piano prelude La Cathédrale Engloutie? The island commune and the mountain has seen times of fort, a monetary, and prison. Today, Benedictine monks have left, and the Abbey is now under the rule of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem. The abbey still holds services daily, and monks still live, eat and pray on the island, so you can visit when you are in France.
To get to Mont Saint-Michel from Paris, use train from Montparnesse train station, and in 2 hours, you will reach Rennes. From Rennes, a coach bus will take you to the village of Mont St. Michel.
The admission to the abbey is free (download the e-ticket here), but you can add a guided tour from €3 ($4) (audio guide) or €8 ($10) (French live tour).
The Welsh Parliament building in the United Kingdom is an example of modern architecture, and is located around 3 kilometers south of Cardiff castle. The building allows for visits, and you can walk in and get a cup of coffee in Oriel on the upper floor, as well as go in the public galleries from Neuadd of the center level. Singers, exhibitions, and other kinds of performers are visiting, so you may go to see a concert (or two!) whilst learning about the democracy in Wales.
To get to Senedd from the center of Cardiff, use No. 6 Baycar bus that goes every 10 minutes and disembark in Pierhead Street and outside the Wales Millennium Centre, but routes No.7 and 8 every 15 minutes stop at Pierhead Street. If you prefer trains, hop off at Cardiff Bay Station.
The admission is free, and you can also book a public seat to Plenery. Audio tour is public and available on Soundcloud – click and listen about Wales now!
City of Petra
The city of Petra lies in Jabal Al-Madhab and was the center for Arab Kingdom in Hellenistic and Roman times. The ruins are located in the southwest Jordan and is built on terrace. The city has been inhibited since early 7000 BC, and today is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
To get there, use either public transit or private driver (we recommend private drivers to balance safety, price, and availabilities). However, tourist JETT buses are available from Amman for 11 JD, which leaves daily at 6 am. We suggest booking your tickets in advance. There is also shuttle from Amman, a public minibus, going from Amman, costing you JD 1.50-5 JD, and leaving when the bus is full.
The admission to city of Petra starts from 50 J.D for a one-day visit, but children under 12 years of age are free of charge. Tourist guide tour will cost you a double of the price, but carriage starts from 20 JD.
Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience
Macallan distillery in Scotland, United Kingdom, is a piece of modern architecture that you much not miss when in Scotland. Located in Speyside, Scotland, the building is a place where process of whiskey production is shown to visitors. The doors are open in weekends, and you can not only see the beautiful building, but also enter the Cave Privee for tasting.
The admission to distillery guided tour starts from £50.00, and you can get to the distillery from Edinburgh by train via Aberdeen or embarking on a scenery bus ride taking you through the beautiful Cairgorms National Park. We recommend you to take a rental car, however, as the public transport does not arrive to distillery building (some 30 minutes’ walk involved!)
Hungarian Parliament Building
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.
To arrive to the Parliament from the city center, take a walk from the center, or look out or the Margarethe Bridge and the famous Chain Bridge – the Parliament lies just in between the two.
To enter the building, you must book a guided tour that lasts 45 minutes. If you pre-book your ticket, you need to arrive 15 minutes in advance to secure your reservation. The admission fee is different for non-EU and EU citizens, starting from HUF 3500 (around $12) or EU-citizens adults. To learn more about the Parliament, click here.
Milan Cathedral Duomo
Milan Cathedral is named to be one of the most beautiful architecture buildings in the world, and rightly so. The construction dates to the first cathedral times in the 4th century, but the facade as it stands now, was competed in1805 upon the order by Napoleon Bonaparte. As the cathedral was built over several hundred years in number of styles, the aesthetic judgements add to discussion of beauty, and John Ruskin has famously commented that instead of beautiful, the cathedral steals “from every style in the world: and every style spoiled.”
To see the Duomo, visit Milano center, and buy a ticket starting from €8 ($9) for combined pass; make sure to visit the official page before to book your time slot in advance.
One of the most beautiful architecture 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 6th century when the city was the imperial capital of the eastern Roman Empire, 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.
The 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. To enter, you can buy a museum pass and enter other historical buildings around, such as Sultanahmet, Topkapi Palace and Harem Rooms.
One of the most beautiful buildings in the world, and surely in Europe, lies in Florence, which was the trade center in the renaissance period, when its glory was built by cultural giants Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli, Galileo and others. The Cathedral was started to be built in the 13th century, and construction was completed in 15th century, but the exterior and facade dates to 19th century and has a strong impact of Gothic Revival style. From English, the name of the cathedral translates as Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers
The Cathedral is in the center of Florence, and you can get tickets starting from EUR 18, or $21. The ticket lasts 48 hours, so you can come back.
Notre Dame de Paris
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful building in the world is in Paris, France. The Notre Dame of Paris is one of the bets examples of gothic architecture styles. The famous twin towers go as high as 69 meters. The building itself is constructed in between 1163 and 1345, and significant number of the stained-glass windows date back to original construction years of 13th century.
The cathedral is located in the very centre of Paris, and is the most popular monument in France, beating even the Eiffel Tower. It is free to enter and see the Crown of Thorns among other religious artefacts, but for entering the tower, a ticket (€8.50) is needed, as well as for seeing the archaeological crypt (€6).
Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Philippines
Amazing buildings in the world are not always the oldest ones; for travelers, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Philippines was constructed to expand the old airport. The judges of World Architecture Festival commended its simple design and material choice – and you can, too, when travelling to Philippines (read what to do in Philippines).
Historical buildings around the world, including Louvre Palace, or the Louvre Museum of Paris, is the most visited and the most famous museum in the world. Already in 1793 part of Louver became a public museum, after being a former royal palace since 14th century for Charles V and subsequent kings of France.
To get to museum, disembark at Line 1 or Line 7 metro stop named Palais-Royal Musee du Louvre, or Pyramids station if you are taking Line 14.
Bear in mind that Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, and there is always a long quoque in front of the famous Pyramid entrance. Before you go, make sure you know what you want to see and check the museum Louvre museum page to plan your visit. The ticket costs from 17,00 € or adults, with free entrance for EEA residents under 25 years, and professionals.
To add to the list for the great structures around the world, Schwerin Palace, or Schwerin Castle, is a castle located in city of Schwerin in Germany. Built in the middle of 19th century, it is a great example of romantic Historicism in Europe and designated to become a World Heritage Site. Since 1990, it is also a seat of government, and you can visit the garden, the orangery and the Grand Duke’s Throne and other works of art whilst there.
To get to Schwerin from Hamburg airport or Lübeck, it will take you under 2 hours in the train, while the trains from Berlin and Hannover take 3 to 3.5 hours ride. Hamburg train
Castle is closed for visitors on Mondays, but on other days you can visit the castle and take a guided tour; a guided tour costs € 60,00 per group, while entrance fee including photography permission starts from € 8,50, or € 6,50 for students, pupils and groups from 10 persons. For more information, go to the official website.
One of the rather old buildings in the world, the former temple on Athenian Acropolis in Greece, is also ranked as one of the most beautiful architecture buildings. Its construction began in 5th century BC when Athenian Empire was in its peak of power and is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. Interestingly enough, the building was turned into a mosque in the early 15th century, but since the 1975, the building has overgone numerous large-scale restoration projects.
Parthenon is in the very center of Athens, near Acropolis; to get there by Athens metro, disembark at Akropoli stop near Plaka, and walk into the site at the Theater of Dionysus entrance. The entrance fee is included in the ticket for Acropolis which costs around 20 €.
One of the prettiest buildings in the world, the modernist Freebooter won the Amsterdam prize in 2019. The apartment complex is a steel building (similar to the iron-made Eiffel Tower!), with timber regulating the amount of sunlight that reaches the structure.
Many amazing buildings in the world, including Angor Wat, are temples. Located in Cambodia, this is the largest religious monument in the world by land area, and originally constructed as Hindu temple, it is, however, oriented to the west. According to myth, construction of the temple was ordered by Indra, and according to the 13th century Chinese traveler notes, some even believed that the temple was constructed in a single night!
To arrive to the temple from Bangkok, hop in a flight to Siem Reap International Airport in Cambodia, or take a train or bus to Aranyaprathet on Thailand – Cambodia border, to arrive at Siem Reap and take a taxi, a tuk-tuk or motorcycle taxi to the site, expecting to pay around $15 for s single day’s hire.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
Saint basil cathedral is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, and in Russia. Ordering construction in the 16th century, the first Tsar of Russia did not see its completion more than 100 years afterwards, but today, the cathedral is functioning and open to visitors on the Red Square. Interestingly, the colors were not there from the very start, as in 17th century, only the domes were gold, with the main building matching the white stone of the Kremlin.
The Cathedral is open to visitors every day, and you can even take a virtual tour in times of pandemic!
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Tower of Pisa, is a freestanding bell tower that began to lean during construction in 12th century, due to the soft ground which could not support the weight of the tower, 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.
To arrive to Pisa from Rome, you can take a 3 hour, even visiting Florence on the way; from Florence, Pisa tower is just an hour’s ride away, and buses and trains circulate quite frequently. There is an entry fee is you want to climb the tower but looking at the outside of the tower is free from Campo dei Miracoli. For more information and tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, visit the official website.
Lotus Temple, located in Delhi, India, is notable for its flowerlike shape; it was open-ended for worship in 1986 and by 2001, attracted already 70 million visitors, making it one of the most visited buildings in the world. There are no pons surrounding the Lotus Temple, and the special exterior lighting of the temple makes it a bucket list place to visit for any travel to Delhi. The building is a famous example of expressionist architecture.
To get to the temple from Akshardham station, you can get into a bus and disembark in Kalkaji Mandir, or hire an auto rickshaw, or taxi for your convenience. The entrance fee is INR 150, – for foreign tourists.
One of the most beautiful cathedrals, the Cologne Cathedral, was built starting 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 open to visitors.
To get to the cathedral, you will have no trouble navigating, as the Cathedral is the second highest building in Cologne after telecommunications tower measuring 145 m. the building is open daily, and you can find the ticket prices on the official website for visitors.
Vessel, the spiral staircase structure in the New York city, that was built and opened to visitors in 2016, is part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in Manhattan, New York City, New York. The building looks like a honeycomb and rises 16 stories. It consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2500 steps and 80 landing for you to climb. Although many architects see it as beautiful, critics hold that it is too extravagant.
To get to the Vessel structure in Manhattan and climb tis interactive artwork, you should take either No 7 subway (connecting to Times Square) to Hudson Yards, or go with the rail arriving to Penn Station just two blocks east.
You can get free same-day tickets or reserve your visit in the future contacting the Hudson yards. You will be allowed to enter one time on any given time of the selected date.
Winter palace in Russia, Saint Petersburg, is a palace now holding a museum for Petersburg’s visitors. The palace was a winter residence for Russian Emperors from 1732 to 1917, and now houses the Hermitage Museum. The palace as you see it today, was built and altered in 1730s and 1837, and is therefore a magnificent example of various styles and tastes, but most significantly, rococo style.
To get to the palace, you should take metro lines No. 1 or 5. The tickets to one of the Hermitage branches (Menshov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory) cost you 300 ($4) rubles, while entry ticket to the main museum complex and branches will cost 800 rubles ($11).
Do you think there are even more beautiful buildings in the world? Leave your comment below.
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