Ancient, Modern, Natural and the lists go on…remember when there was just the classic Seven Wonders of the World? We agree, it’s not easy to include all of our planet’s incredible places in any one list, but Gate 1 has narrowed it down to Twelve Wonders of the World that we think are worthy of being on your bucket list this year.
Machu Picchu, Peru
The ‘Lost City of the Incas’ was built in the 15th century, famously re-discovered in 1911 and today is the highlight of any tour to Peru. Dramatically positioned at over 2400 metres above sea level, the citadel’s scenic location is where the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin meet. The World Heritage-listed site is described by UNESCO as “among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements anywhere and the most significant tangible legacy of the Inca civilisation.”
Great Wall, China
Okay, so we know that the Great Wall can’t really be seen from the moon, but it still feels out of this world to walk on this incredible man-made structure. Construction of individual walls started way back in the 7th century BC and gradually these linked together to create a formidable protector of China’s northern borders. There have been many reconstructions and repairs, but the main areas you can visit were built during the Ming Dynasty from the 14th to 17th centuries. A tip: do some stair training before you attempt the climb and wear study shoes with good grip to improve your chances of making it to one of the 25,000 watchtowers along the wall!
Eiffel Tower, France
Standing proud at 324 metres tall and celebrating its 128th birthday on 31 March, 2017, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous attractions in Paris. Each year the tower welcomes over seven million visitors and, not surprisingly, most people choose to take the lift to the top rather than walk the 1,665 steps! Did you know that the Eiffel Tower is also a smog metre? Paris has introduced many great environmental initiatives to improve air quality and on days when the iconic tower is barely visible due to pollution, the city provides free public transport to encourage commuters to leave the car at home.
Chichen Itza, Mexico
So far the Wonders on our list are places you would have heard about and might have already been, but here’s a site that often flies under the radar yet deserves to be high on your bucket list! World Heritage-listed Chichen Itza is one of Mexico’s most spectacular Mayan sites. This magnificent metropolis was the principal ceremonial centre of the Yucatan and here you can learn about the unusual beliefs and rituals that defined the ancient Mayan civilisation. The site is dominated by the towering walls of the dramatic Temple of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo with its 365 steps – one built for each day of the year.
The mighty Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre built in the Roman Empire that seated over 50,000 people. It’s where gladiatorial contests and public events were attended by the rich, the poor and by the Emperor himself. The venue was also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre because it was built during the Flavian dynasty, but the name Colosseum came about thanks to a nearby statue of ‘the colossus of Nero’. Discover more about this great feat of Roman architecture and engineering on Gate 1’s 12 Day Enchanting Italy with Amalfi
Taj Mahal, India
In 2001 the Taj Mahal was officially crowned in the New7Wonders of the World, but of course long before that we’ve all been in awe of the majesty of this monument to love. Completed in 1648 after 22 years of painstaking work, the Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved Queen. This is perhaps the most perfect architectural monument, built of white marble and precious stones; regarded as the finest example of Mughal design in the world.
Grand Canyon, USA
The Grand Canyon is more than a great chasm carved over millennia through the rocks of the Colorado plateau – it is truly a momentous and unforgettable experience. Almost 450 km long, the Grand Canyon varies in width up to 29 km, with the Colorado River winding below. With Gate 1 you get to stay in a lodge that’s less than a half hour walk from the South Rim of the canyon, so just imagine the sunrise that awaits!
Northern Lights, Norway
Maybe more of a thing or experience than a place, auroras, or the Northern Lights, are an incredible Natural Wonder of the World. Predominantly seen at high latitudes, auroras are caused by interactions between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic fields. The brilliant variations in colour that you see dancing across the night sky are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. Norway has some of the best locations for viewing this spectacle and it’s worth braving the colder months from September to March to see this stunning celestial performance.
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Construction was completed 86 years ago in 1931, so that makes Christ the Redeemer the youngest member of the New7Wonders of the World. When in Rio de Janeiro you can ascend by a scenic cog railway to the summit of Corcovado Hill. Here, at 700 metres above the Rio’s favelas and beaches, stands the 38 metre tall statue of Christ the Redeemer with its arms outstretched to embrace the city below. See the thrilling 360 degree sweeping view and understand why Rio is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
UNESCO has set up a programme to safeguard Angkor, because they consider it to be “one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia.” This sprawling city, built by Khmer Kings, was once home to more than one million people at the height of the empire. Your visit can include the fortified city of Angkor Thom and its mysterious Bayon Temple, replete with beautifully preserved bas-reliefs and more than 172 giant smiling stone faces. Ta Prohm is famously where the jungle was left untouched, but the most dramatic is stunning Angkor Wat, a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Renowned for its beauty and splendour, Angkor Wat has the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the entire outer gallery walls, narrating stories from Hindu mythology. Gate 1 travellers get to top off an incredible day at Angkor Wat with an unforgettable sunset!
Lake Louise, Canada
Canada conducted its own poll in 2007 to find their Seven Wonders and everyone agreed, the Rockies had to be on the list. The famous mountain range spans the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. National Parks in the region include Jasper, with the massive Athabasca Glacier, and Banff, site of the glacier-fed Lake Louise. Known for its sparkling blue waters and nestled at the base of impressive Victoria glacier, the Lake Louise area is one of the national park’s most picturesque and a symbol of the quintessential Canadian mountain scene.
St Basil’s Cathedral, Russia
The Church of Intercession, better known now as St Basil’s Cathedral, is Moscow’s most famous tourist attraction. Commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century to commemorate a military victory, legend has it that the ruthless ruler had the architect of the cathedral blinded so that he couldn’t create anything more beautiful (even though this myth has been busted, if you knew Ivan, it’s totally believable!). St Basil’s has survived centuries of war, fire and revolution, and even escaped a demolition order from Stalin. Thankfully the ornate building with its onion domes and circus-like decoration still stands at the southern end of Red Square and today is a must see on any tour of Russia!
Gate 1’s 12 Wonders of the World are on SALE NOW – Save $500 per person until 28 January, 2017. Click here for the full details.
Which Wonders of the World will be on your bucket list this year?