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Talking Points: What TripAdvisor Thinks of the World’s Top Landmarks

Author: David Pettitt

The start of the new year is a key time for planning our annual travels and deciding where to visit this year.

For many of us, TripAdvisor is a go-to when looking for inspiration and advice on where to travel. With this in mind we decided to round-up what travellers on TripAdvisor have to say about the world’s most popular landmarks, to give you some more insight into these famous attractions before planning your visit.

In our new illustrative series Talking Points we have taken the most-used words and phrases related to each of the world’s top landmarks and used these to create illustrations of each landmark.

Have a look at our illustrations below and find out what other travellers have to say about these iconic tourist hotspots.


Angkor Wat: Siem Reap, Cambodia

ngkor Wat

The temple complex of Angkor Wat was named TripAdvisor’s top world landmark for 2017, and travellers discussing the iconic building seem to agree. The common theme from travellers discussing the Cambodian landmark was that the temple is a truly remarkable experience with many travellers describing Angkor Wat as ‘once in a lifetime’ and ‘awe inspiring.’ Travellers also advised to visit the temple early to enjoy the picturesque sunset.

The impressive Angkor Wat was built in the early 12th-century, and its state of preservation is unrivalled. The temple is often cited as the heart and soul of Cambodia, and is believed to be the biggest religious building in the entire world. It is located close to Siem Reap.


Sheikh Zayed Mosque: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque was named as the world’s second top attraction in 2017, and the majestic building has received many positive reviews from travellers on TripAdvisor. Those who have visited the mosque spoke highly of the building’s striking architecture, with the phrases ‘beautiful building’ and ‘amazing architecture’ being two of the most-used phrases when discussing the mosque. Travellers also provided advice regarding dress code when visiting the mosque with many discussions around ‘dress code’ and ‘appropriate clothing’ taking place.

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is relatively modern, having being built between 1996 and 2007, but the grand building has already earned its place as one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. The mosque is the largest in Abu Dhabi and can accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers. The mosque’s design takes its influence from Iranian, Mughal and Alexandrian architecture with notable features including the 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.


Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba: Cordoba, Spain

Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba

The Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba is a religious building that has served as both a Muslim mosque and a Roman Catholic cathedral. Currently the building is of Catholic ownership. The building’s cross-cultural history means the architecture is a fascinating blend of culture, styles and traditions which have evolved through the years.

Travellers are transfixed by the building’s unique architecture with ‘amazing building’ and ‘awe inspiring’ being some of the most used words to describe the landmark. There is also much discussion of both the building’s ‘Christian architecture’ and the ‘original mosque’.


St. Peter's Basilica: Vatican City, Italy

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is of course one of the world’s most popular landmarks, with tourists from around the world flocking to Vatican City to see the iconic church every year.

Again, visitors to St. Peter’s are fascinated by the architecture, with this being one of the most discussed topics about the Renaissance church. It appears visitors are not disappointed by their visit to St. Peter’s, with many travellers describing the building as ‘awe inspiring’ and stating it is ‘worth the wait’ among the long queues.

Travellers also provide advice on the dress code for visiting the church which must be strictly adhered to.

Catholic tradition states that the Basilica is the burial place of St. Peter and the building is deemed as “the greatest of all churches in Christendom.”


Taj Mahal: Agra, India

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the most widely regarded tourist landmarks in the world and one which most travellers will visit on a holiday to India, so it is not surprising to see it rank highly on TripAdvisor’s list.

Travellers discussing the iconic landmark agree the UNESCO World Heritage Site deserves every bit of the praise, commonly describing their visit as ‘breathtaking’, ‘once in a lifetime’, a ‘must visit place’, and one to tick off the ‘bucket list’.

The Taj Mahal is widely considered the greatest architectural achievement in all of Indo-Islamic architecture. The mausoleum was built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife.


Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood: St. Petersburg, Russia

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of St. Petersburg’s most notable sights, and one of the most iconic buildings in the world. The church was built between 1883 and 1907 in the place where Emperor Alexander II was fatally wounded.

The unique building is best recognised for its multi-coloured façade and onion-shaped domes, and is a highlight for many when visiting Russia. The interior of the church was designed by some of the country’s most popular artists at the time, and features more than 7,500 square feet of mosaic tiles covering the walls and ceiling.

The mosaic artwork is certainly a popular talking point for travellers, with ‘mosaic work’ and ‘amazing mosaics’ commonly being mentioned when discussing the landmark. Other popular topics of discussion include the ‘interesting history’, and travellers generally praised their visit describing the experience as ‘well worth the visit’ and ‘breathtaking’.


Great Wall at Mutianyu: Beijing, China

Great Wall at Mutianyu

Another one for the bucket list, the world-famous ‘Great Wall of China’ is commonly described by visitors as ‘once in a lifetime’. Travellers also provide many practical tips when discussing the Great Wall, including to bring water and discussing different mobility options for reaching the top of the wall including walking or using the cable car, and the toboggan ride back down to the bottom.

The Mutianyu Great Wall was built by Xu Da in 1368 AD, and this section of the wall served as the military hub. The Mutianyu Great Wall includes the famous watchtowers of Zhengguantai, Dajiaolou, Yingfeidaoyang,Jiankou,and Beijingji. The Mutianyu Great Wall is surrounded by mountains and the greenery makes this section of the wall particularly scenic, making it a popular choice with tourists.


Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu

The ancient site of Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, and a must-do travel experience for many. Travellers discussing Machu Picchu largely focus on the ‘bucket list’ experience of visiting Machu Picchu describing the experience as a ‘dream come true’, a ‘magical place’ and ‘once in a lifetime’.

Machu Picchu is Peru’s most-visited site, perched high among the depths of the Amazonian jungle. Most travellers visit the iconic site as part of a hiking trail, but it is also accessible by train.

Machu Picchu dates back to the mid-1400s and the site has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.


Plaza de Espana: Seville, Spain

Plaza de Espana

The beautiful Plaza de España is a massive plaza situated in the Maria Luisa Park in Seville. The plaza was built in 1928 and mixes elements of Renaissance and Moorish architecture.

The Plaza de España complex is an array of buildings situated around a moat, with bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain.

Travellers discussing Plaza de España talk about the architecture of the plaza, including the impressive tile work. Travellers are also particularly interested in the Plaza’s rowing boats and moat.

The Plaza has often been used as a filming location over the years, and ‘Star Wars’ is one of the most discussed topics for travellers visiting the Plaza.


Duomo di Milano: Milan, Italy

Duomo di Milano

The Duomo di Milano, also known as Milan Cathedral, is the largest church in Italy and the third largest in the world. The grand cathedral took almost six centuries to complete, and the intrinsic adornment of the building includes spires, pinnacles and over 3,000 statues.

Travellers visiting the Duomo di Milano often refer to the building’s ‘gothic architecture’ describing it as ‘breathtaking’ and ‘awe inspiring’, with the stained glass windows being a particular point of discussion.


To compile our Talking Points illustrations, we looked at the world’s top 10 landmarks according to TripAdvisor’s top landmarks of 2017.

We then created our illustrations using the suggested top words and phrases for each landmark on each landmark’s TripAdvisor reviews page.

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