What are the best-known and most visited places on Earth? Countless travellers visit them, some are the locations from famous films and others have become symbols of some country. In this article, you will find out all about the TOP 10 places on our planet that everyone knows and which still remain the most popular places in the world. 

Our world is a large and beautiful place and it was made to be explored. On one hand, travelling is becoming more and more popular lately, but on the other hand, it’s becoming a profitable business too. It can be assumed that the most interesting places in the world that have historical, architectural or other value are at the centre of interest and all the happenings. 

People are coming from all over the world to see with their own eyes what they have already seen on TV or other media, yet they don’t hesitate to spend a considerable amount of money to get there. The possibilities are endless and the experiences of each traveller are completely different, even though they may be visiting the same place. 

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Eva a Tom in Bolivia – city Sucre

We dared to compile a list of TOP 10 places that our gorgeous planet offers. Though everyone would compile their own top 10 a bit differently, we are convinced that these places will catch the eye of each and every traveller. Though these spectacular and one-of-a-kind monuments are often surrounded by hordes of tourists, visiting them is still worthwhile. Come with us to discover the TOP 10 according to E&T Abroad.

1. Angkor Wat – ruins of ancient temples in the grip of tropical trees

Angkor Wat was built around the 12th century as the capital of the vast Khmer Empire. The temple itself is surrounded by a huge reservoir that prevents vegetation from engulfing Angkor. The city that grew around the Hindu temple was unprecedented in its history. The scientists believe that at its best time it actually was the largest city in the world. Other temples were built around the main temple, which is equally unique and interesting. Do not miss the best temples what Angkor offers. 

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Angkor Wat Temple is the largest religious monument in the world (photo: janmiklin.cz)

Unfortunately, no remnants of the original city have been preserved, since the houses of ordinary people were probably built from wood. But we can still at least admire the well-preserved temples, which are a unique proof of an advanced civilization. The scientists still don’t know how the Khmer could build something so monumental with the tools they had at their disposal at that time. The entire temple complex invokes many more questions than it answers and is still a bit of a mystery to us.

2. Machu Picchu – Forgotten Indian city in the Andes

The ruins of the ancient city of Machu Picchu were left behind by the Incas in the Peruvian Andes at an altitude of 2,430 meters above sea level. Historians believe that the stone city was built in 1430 and then abandoned after a hundred years. The reason for that was the violent colonization of the Spaniards, who completely conquered the Incan Empire. Though Machu Picchu has located 80 km from the capital of the Incas, Spaniards never discovered it, leaving the monument untouched. Machu Picchu was built on the peak of a mountain of the same name, which served as a building material at the same time. The city was rediscovered in 1911 by an American historian. Although locals knew about the ruins, the public only learned about Machu Picchu after hundreds of years when it was all already absorbed by the jungle. 

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Machu Picchu is the most famous monument of all of South America

Nowadays, the ruins are one of the most visited monuments of entire South America with hundreds of visitors daily. The Peruvian government therefore strictly controls and limits the number of tourists that are able to visit the monument. We can recommend the accommodation for a great price right in the village of Machu Picchu. Other tourist attractions include the hike to the neighbouring mountain Huayna Picchu, which offers breathtaking views of the entire valley including Machu Picchu itself. One of the most popular trails on the planet – the Inca Trail – will take you to this monument.  This four-day trek, which the Incas used to get to the city, will lead you through the Andes Mountains. You’ll also discover several other ruins on the trail left behind by the Incas. Machu Picchu is a real archaeological gem of Peru, one that can’t be found anywhere else in the entire world. 

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The old city of Incas attracts travelers to visit

3. Statue of Liberty – The most famous sculpture in the world

This magnificent sculpture, known all over the world, has been welcoming immigrants from Europe for centuries. The statue was, in fact, a gift from the French, who helped the US settlers during the struggle for American independence. The Statue of Liberty was an expression of mutual sympathies between the two countries and became a symbol of the newly independent world. The statue’s author is Bartholdi and the inside construction was designed by the famous French builder Eiffel himself.

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The statue of freedom guards the entrance to American soil

This 93-meter sculpture is seen by thousands of visitors every day and we definitely recommend that you purchase the tickets well ahead through the official website: statueoflibertytickets.com. It is important to mention that the statue stands on a small island and to get to it visitors need to be transported by boat, which however runs at very regular intervals and completely free of charge. Visitors can take a look inside the pedestal, where a museum is located and enjoy the guided tour as well as the souvenir shop. Only a few lucky ones are able to climb all the way up to the crown itself. Due to the limited space, only a couple dozen people are allowed to visit daily and places are reserved several months ahead. However, it is definitely worth it to wait. You can also get a ticket to Statue of Liberty included in New York Pass or Sightseeing Pass New York, it can save you a lot of money.  New York is full of interesting places and it is worth to visit more of them.

4. Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia – The largest salt field on our planet 

Uyuni Salt Flats (Salar de Uyuni) are the largest salt plains in the world, located northwest of the city Uyuni. The plains are actually the bottom of a prehistoric ocean, but today it is located at an altitude of 3656 meters (11,995 ft.) above sea level. Once a year during the rainy season this plain becomes an enormous and very shallow lake. Its surface then appears to be a huge mirror. It is quite an inhospitable place for the rest of the year though. During the day, you feel like you are in a desert without a single drop of fresh water and during the night the temperatures drop below zero, so everything freezes. Get inspired and play with perspective. Get your own original photos from the salt fields.

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Salar de Uyuni – these are the endless white fields of salt

Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia are so vast that you can easily see them on satellite images as well. As the Salar de Uyuni sometimes turns into a lake, there are several islands, such as the Incahuasi Island. These islands are then surprisingly covered by thousands of cacti that thrive in these conditions.

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At this place, the cactuses are the most successful

5. Safari in Africa – game drive wildlife in the African Savannah

Observing wild African animals is one of the most powerful experiences that any traveller can have. Becoming a part of nature for a while as a silent observer and watching wild animals in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It doesn’t really matter which African country you’ll decide to visit for safari. Nevertheless, there is one unique place we have to mention – the Serengeti national park, located in Tanzania. It belongs among the most beautiful national parks and every passionate traveller should consider visiting it. It is important not to underestimate the preparation and carefully plan the trip.

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Safari in Africa is one of the most passionate travel experiences

6. Taj Mahal – the mausoleum of the beloved wife of the Indian ruler

This monumental building is a symbol of India and more than 8 million travellers visit it each year. The entire monument is built of white marble and decorated with precious and semi-precious gems. The white marble changes hues depending on the daylight. In the morning, it’s pinkish, in the evening, milky white and golden during the night. The story that relates to this unique monument is just as romantic as the building itself. 

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Beautiful Taj Mahal is the dominant feature of India

An Indian ruler had Taj Mahal built as a resting place for his beloved wife, who died prematurely. She died in childbirth at the age of 36 and the ruler was devastated by her passing. To prove his sorrow, he had a magnificent mausoleum built for his dead wife – the Taj Mahal. Many experts were involved in the construction and it is a magnificent work of oriental decorative art. Originally, the Indian ruler wanted to have his own separate mausoleum built, but after his own son took the throne away from him, he was laid to rest beside his wife. 

7. Egyptian pyramids and sphinx – unique tombs of ancient pharaohs

Who doesn’t know the Egyptian pyramids, thousands of years old and shrouded in many secrets of the past? Scientists are unable to agree on how exactly the ancient builders built these monuments and whether their only purpose was a burial one. The limestone pyramids have excited the public for millennia. There are several theories, but none of them very satisfactory.  The most famous pyramids are the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure. The largest of them, the Pyramid of Khufu is incredible 137 meters tall. Until 1887, it was the tallest building on our planet before the Eiffel Tower in France overcame it. The pyramids weren’t just separate units, but parts of a pyramid complex that also included associated temples.

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The pyramids are still sorrounded by the mystery of the past

The Egyptian sphinx is perhaps shrouded in even more mysteries than the pyramids themselves. It is the largest statue carved out of a single piece of stone ever created. Its body has the form of a resting animal with a human head. Historians can’t agree on how old it is, who built it and who it’s supposed to portray. Among the most interesting theories is one according to which the sphinx was originally supposed to have a lion’s head. Thanks to the found evidence, the scientists believe that it’s actually much older than the surrounding pyramids and its head was carved later according to the pharaohs’ wishes. That would explain why is the head so disproportionately small compared to the entire lion body. The Pharaoh’s head was even supposed to be colourful, with green eyes and names of gold and blue stripes. Nowadays, the age of the statue has taken its toll on its appearance. It was covered with sand for a long time and it was possible to uncover it all at the beginning of the 20th century. We can admire it now as a thousand-year-old guardian of the vast pyramids it faces. 

Don’t miss out Luxor in Egypt and check 9 best activities in Luxor.

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Sphinx as the eternal guardian of the pyramid

8. The Great Wall of China – an endless wall built over the millennium  

The Great Wall of China belongs among the longest structures in the world. It is in China and it is over 8,000 kilometres long. It has been built over millennia to protect against Mongolian raiders. Its construction began in the 5th – 3rd century BC and lasted until the end of the 17th century. During that time, its appearance and material changed significantly. The way we see it today is actually how the Ming dynasty created it, who built up the Wall to its enormous proportions using very durable materials. The people working on the construction were mostly criminals – it was a very hard and demanding work that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. The Great Wall of China didn’t fill its protective function as well as could be expected. Because it was so big, it was difficult to guard it and cracks appeared in many places. 

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Only a small part of the Chinese Wall is accessible to visitors

On one hand, archaeologists constantly discover new pieces of complexes that used to form the Great Wall of China. On the other hand, the entire monument is slowly deteriorating, because the conservation efforts of the wall are inadequate due to its size. In the past, much of the material forming the protective wall was used as a building material for the construction of ordinary houses. Only shorter sections of the wall are accessible to tourists.  

9. Grand Canyon – breathtaking scenery of the most famous gap of the world

The Grand Canyon is a massive chasm in the United States of America, with an unbelievable length of 446 kilometres, making it the longest canyon on this planet.  It’s part of one of the first US National Parks that were founded in the USA. Get inspired by our journey through the American West and visit the best parks in the USA. It was made by the Colorado River, which has been digging into the rock deeper and deeper for millions of years. Not many people know that this is actually the reason why is the canyon so exceptional and unique. It is the best-preserved cross-section of a geological formation on this planet. The various layers of rock that originated in different periods are actually distinctly visible on the sides of the canyon. The lowest one is at the same time the oldest, and its age is dated up to 2 billion years back. 

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The American Grand Canyon is very colorful

The entire National Park is divided into two parts – North and South. There are fewer visitors in the North part, which is located at a higher altitude, so the weather there is cooler. Over 5 million tourists visit this natural monument each year. For the more active people who don’t want to just admire from a distance, other activities are available. There are marked hiking trails in the canyon; visitors are able to rent a raft or even to fly over the canyon in a helicopter. Travelling through the United States requires renting an own car. We can recommend the best search website Rentalcars or Skyscanner. In all cases, the beautiful view of the canyon won’t leave you untouched.

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A visit to the canyon is a great enjoyment

10. The rock city Petra – a burial ground guarded by Arabian Bedouins

Petra is an ancient rock city and archaeological site located in the valley of Jordan. Historians believe that this area was first inhabited 9,000 years ago, and the first written mention of it was already found in the Old Testament. The greatest prosperity was achieved in the 4th century BC when the nomadic Nabataeans settled here.  They were excellent merchants and Petra thus established a relationship even with Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia. The preserved architectural monuments show Greek, Roman and Egyptian influences. The Roman columns, amphitheatres, and burial grounds are thousands of years old. 

Check out our travel guide to Petra in Jordan.

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The rock city of Petra has survived several millennia hidden from the public

This ancient city attracts many visitors who flock here in abundant numbers to admire the beautiful monuments carved directly into the rock. Probably the most exciting thing happens during the night. Thousands of candles illuminate the valley and visitors are able to enjoy the mysterious atmosphere full of Bedouin music. 

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