Whether we talk about a building, a city, a country or even a region, there is something that describes its style: its architecture. This is what makes it unique and appealing. In this article, we will go deep into the top tourist destinations in the world by architecture.
“Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or any other structures.”
Some of the Architectural wonders in Europe are the Colosseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Buckingham Palace in London. But this doesn’t even scratch the surface, as each and every continent and culture has its own different style.
We have gathered the best places in the world by their architecture.
You should definitely add them to your travel bucket list.
Let’s kick off the top with one of the most well known vacation destinations!
Top tourist destinations in the world by architecture: Europe’s Architecture
According to Wikipedia, there were over 670 million international tourist arrivals to Europe in 2017 alone! This is by far the most visited continent in the world, and it’s not such a big surprise.
Here you can find a handful of the most iconic tourist destinations on the globe.
But first let’s talk a little about the history of Europe’s architecture. It all started a few millennia ago with the Greeks. They’ve built temples to worship their Gods and started the urbanization process to accommodate their residents way before other cultures did.
Just a little bit later, the Romans started to build their temples as well but in a different style. Another iconic style for Europe’s architecture is the Byzantine style which originated from the Byzantine empire.
Today’s Europe architecture is a mix of the 3 styles, depending on the place that you want to visit. In the East you can find incredible looking churches and buildings that were derived from the Byzantine style, while in the South and West the Roman style is more pronounced.
This is but a simple presentation of the extremely complex design and styles that you can find scattered across Europe.
The first country in the top will be the most visited country in the world
With over 86.9 million tourists each year, France is the most visited country in the world.
In the capital city of France, Paris, you will find one of the most iconic monument in the world: The Eiffel tower. Chances are you’ve seen this tower a million times in photos, movies, posters, on Facebook or Instagram. It is basically everywhere. This is a place that you should visit at least once in your lifetime.
The second place that comes in everyone’s mind when you say Paris, is the Louvre Museum, the house of Mona Lisa. With its avant-gardist architecture, it is a truly marvelous place to visit.
The third most important must-see place in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. Built to honour those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the edifice stands tall at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.
France is also known for its mountain resorts and skiing opportunities. If you want to get a taste of the French architecture and interior design in its traditional way, make sure to head over to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, for a one week experience.
The second most visited country in the world is Spain, with over 81.8 million tourists. It’s capital city, Madrid, is home to the Royal Palace, a truly marvelous piece of architecture built in the Baroque style, which is specific to this part of Europe.
Another unique construction that can be found in Spain is located in Barcelona. This city is an absolute tourist magnet with over 30 million people visiting it every year. Here you can find the only structure that was so hard to build that it took spanish people more than 150 years to complete (and it is still not finished yet).
In Catalan language it’s called The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, but you may know it by the name of Sagrada Família.
Italy is the land of pizza and pasta. This might be one of the reasons of why over 58 million people visit it each year. It is the 5th most visited country in the world nonetheless.
Random fact: italic formatting type might come from the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Its construction started in the 12th century and finished in the 14th century. The tilt is caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side.
Another great thing about Italy is its scenery.
We suggest you to rent a car and go around the peninsula. To the North of Pisa you will find Milano, which is not only the Global capital of Design and Fashion, but also the home of Duomo di Milano. A true masterpiece as Mark Twain himself described it:
“What a wonder it is! So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful! A very world of solid weight, and yet it seems …a delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath!…”
In Rome, the capital city of Italy, you will find one of the best known monuments in the world: The Colosseum. During the time of the Roman empire it was used as a fighting arena to entertain the crowds. Here, the gladiators, ruthless mercenaries, were competing to survive, either fighting each other for feral animals.
To engulf yourself into the delights of the Italian architecture, make sure to look for the perfect accommodation!
Top tourist destinations in the world by architecture: North America’s Architecture
There aren’t a lot of countries in North America. Nonetheless, the mix of cultures is astonishing and so is its architecture.
Besides the beauty of the land, from east to west and north to south, the colonists left their signature on how the national buildings were built. Here you can find buildings older than 300 years but whom stood strong over the years.
4. The United States of America
USA is large, that’s one obvious fact, but what are the best places to visit?
It’s no secret that we won’t hesitate to admit that the USA is one of the top tourist destinations in the world by architecture.
One of the most emblematic pieces of architecture that actually represents freedom is The Statue of Liberty. It represents the figure of Libertas, a roman Goddess.
While you are in New York, we recommend you to visit the Empire State Building. As of 2017 the tower is the 5th-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States and the 28th-tallest in the world. It’s not a surprise, with a whooping roof height of 380 m (1,250 feet).
Another unique piece of architecture is the US Capitol. The building is located on Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C. and is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government.
Although is not a building, the city of Las Vegas is a truly masterpiece if you want to experience the thrills of gambling and impressive architecture. Here you can view the amazing Fremont Street Experience, the Venetian Hotel and Gondola and even a small version of the Eiffel Tower.
In the northern part of the continent there is a country famous for its heartwarming people and hockey. But Canada is a lot more than that. The first expedition from Europe took place in around 1000 AD when the vikings built a small encampment on the northern tip of Newfoundland. However it only lasted for a few years. Almost 5 centuries ago an Italian explorer found and claimed Canada’s Atlantic coast in the name of King Henry VII of England.
One of the most beautiful and unique edifice in Canada is the Notre-Dame Basilica. The cathedral was finished in the 17th century and is built in the same style as the French churches.
Located in Toronto, the CN Tower held the record for the world’s tallest free-standing structure for 32 years until 2007.
Last but not least we recommend going to The Centre Block, which is the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa.
Canada is also very well known for its mountain getaways. Make sure to take in all that Canada has to offer by visiting its mountain regions and staying at one of their most unique cabins.
The only country in the North American continent that speak spanish as its native language.
There are many things to note about the Mexican architecture, because it is so much different than the rest of North America.
Ancient Mayan and Aztec influences took over since the 1930s. Combined with the modern movement and styles, to Mexico were introduced materials such as concrete and glass.
If you are feeling lucky, head over to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is located near the square of Puerto Vallarta. It is a marvelous combination of diverse architectural styles.
Top tourist destinations in the world by architecture: South America’s Architecture
South America is heavily defined by its Baroque style. The buildings are seen as whole entities and pieces, with complex layouts and no static elements.
Adaptations and measures towards the Baroque style had to be taken, given the climate and South America’s proneness towards earthquakes.
Caracas, the capital of Venezuela stands out because of its unique architectural style. It has a mix of both modern and postmodern structures.
Venezuela is one of the top tourist destinations in the world by architecture because of the ambitious architectural projects. Many of them did not manage to get finished.
One of the most spectacular monuments in Venezuela is the National Pantheon of Venezuela, in northern Caracas. The colonial architecture makes it a unique and distinctive landmark. The Pantheon is also home to various famous pieces of art.
Another imposing monument is the Casa Amarilla, which served as a royal prison, but also as a presidential office. The visitors can still feel the “prison vibe” by looking at the iron bars and chains.
There are many things to note about the Brazilian style and architecture, all the way to the expensive, monumental buildings, to their favellas.
Some of the must see monuments in Brazil are Candelaria Church in Rio de Janeiro, or Christ the Redeemer.
Nonetheless, we want to focus on the Luz Station in Sao Paulo, our particular favorite. It is an architectural piece that shows the Brazilian traditional architecture. It also is known for the Museum of Portuguese Language that offers education to the visitors.
Peru has one of the richest histories from all the South American countries. Their architecture are proof of their beliefs and tradition.
They can be divided into pre-Columbian, colonial and contemporary architecture – and often, a combination of all three.
In most rural regions of Peru, architectural traditions have remained largely unchanged for centuries. Whitewashed adobe bricks are still used in dwellings today, combined with roofs constructed from wood, straw or hand-made clay tiles.
If it’s your first time to Peru, we urge you to go and see the City of Cuzco, which used to be a modest Incan urban center.
Lima, Peru’s capital, is home to one of the most amazing monuments that reflect the colonial Spanish legacy of the country.
Top tourist destinations in the world by architecture: Africa’s Architecture
There is no richer architecture than Africa’s.
With predominantly Islamist and Christian influences, the architecture predominates most among the visual arts.
The mosques, churches and Islamic monuments of Eastern Africa are some of the most visited places on Earth.
African architecture is characterized by stone-walled kraals and some of the most durable building materials.
We cannot talk about Africa’s architecture without mentioning Egypt.
Would it really be necessary to talk about the Valley of the Kings, or the pyramids?
Nevertheless, from the very first moment you step foot in Cairo, you cannot fail to see the corruption and greed that have influenced the modern day architecture of the city.
In search for its modern form, Egyptian buildings have transformed and architects have been constrained to build according to the climate of the country.
You would be forgiven for elevating your eyes on your way out of town to the pyramids at Giza, and forgiven for looking over and above the slums that now ring the city and toward the desert where the pristine forms of the pyramids hang in the dirty air as though suspended over the unfortunate sprawl that constitutes most of Cairo.
Morocco is a delight. Its architecture and style has been heavily influenced by Islamization. It is characterized by its mud brick buildings.
The country has a blend of unique design elements, but you will not find one building that looks like the other. This is one of the reasons why Morocco and Africa in general is one of the top tourist destinations in the world by architecture.
There are different types of buildings in Morocco: mosques, riads, kasbahs or palaces. They are different in their purpose but also architectural style.
If you want to explore the amazing country, you can head over to either Fez, Casablanca or Marrakech. It is imperative that you choose a great place to stay at, in order to take in all the amazement that the Moroccan architecture has to offer.
We hope you enjoyed our little architecture guide! Make sure to check out our other guides here.
See you next time! 🙂