“What are the seven wonders of the world?” is a question that causes debate among historians and travellers alike. It’s been a contentious issue for centuries, since Ancient Greek explorers created the first list in the fifth century BC, and hundreds more adventurers and writers have created their own versions.
But today only one of the “original” world wonders still exists (the Great Pyramid of Giza). So what should make the modern list? We asked our Facebook and Twitter followers to vote for the seven wonders of the world. Here are the results:
7. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most-visited attractions. There are over 344,000 square kilometres of colourful coral and underwater wildlife to see here, from sea turtles to sharks, whether you’re in a glass-bottomed boat, snorkelling on the surface or scuba diving. The reef is endangered though, so if you want to tick off this seven wonders list, head here first.
6. Mount Everest, Nepal
At 8848m, Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, earning it a deserved place on this seven wonders of the world list. Hundreds of people scale its slopes to base camp every year (so much so, there’s even sometimes a queue to get to the top) to see the view from the roof of the world. Those that can’t hack the hike can take a flight around the summit instead.
5. The aurora borealis
Not a place but a natural phenomenon, the aurora borealis (also known as the northern lights) also got your vote as one of the seven wonders of the world. This natural light show, caused by collisions between electrically charged particles, is what draws so many people to northern Europe (try Norway, Iceland or Sweden for a strong chance of a sighting), and it’s a truly magical experience when the colours fly through the sky.
4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat is a staple destination on the Southeast Asia backpacker trail, and for good reason. This sprawling complex of ancient Buddhist (though originally Hindu) temples is an atmospheric maze of crumbling structures, hugged by the gnarly roots of the overgrown jungle that surrounds them. Sunrise is the most popular time to visit, when hundreds gather to see the light come up from behind the main temple at the West Gate.
3. Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is one of India’s most famous sights, its marble-clad domes and pillars appearing on the covers of brochures for decades. Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his wife, the structure has inspired many a writer to wax lyrical about its shimmering beauty; perhaps most eloquent was Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore who described it as “a teardrop on the face of eternity”.
2. Easter Island, Chile
This remote volcanic isle has some incredible diving and surfing opportunities, but it’s not those that put it so high on this world wonders list. What excites travellers the most about Easter Island are the enormous sculptures known as moai. These distinctive statues, which depict the ancestors of various kin-groups across the island, were hand carved up to a thousand years ago. The most famous sit on Ahu Tongariki, where a striking line of up to 4m-tall sculptures interrupt the flat, green landscape.
1. Petra, Jordan
By far the most popular choice with our readers, and therefore top of our seven wonders of the world list, Petra in Jordan has captivated travellers for centuries. This colossal ancient city, home of the much-photographed Treasury, is still shrouded in mystery and offers a truly astonishing trip. Its history is so long it’s almost incomprehensible.
Get inspiration for your bucket list with our list of 50 things to do before you die. Compare flights, find tours, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to buy travel insurance before you go.