Why It’s Amazing: Napoleon is credited for transforming the City of Light during the Second Empire, but it was engineer Gustave Eiffel who helped define the cityscape with a colossal iron lattice tower, which has become a symbol of romance that can be seen sparkling from even the remotest corners of the 20th Arrondissement of Paris.
Why It’s Amazing: The iconic bridge’s trademark “International Orange” gleam offers a wild contrast against the cobalt San Francisco Bay and the ghostly white fog that often hovers above both. Built during the Depression, in 1937, by the Works Progress Administration, the bridge is an emblem of California’s free spirit.
Nature Preserve in Great Barrier Reef, QL, Australia
Why It’s Amazing: The world’s largest reef system, off the coast of Australia, casts a cerulean underwater glow that is unlike any color you’ll find above the surface. Thousands of species live on the reef, including endemic sea-dragons, giant cuttlefish, saltwater crocodiles, and 134 species of sharks and rays.
Why It’s Amazing: The Tiger’s Nest (or Paro Taktsang Monastery) clings like lichen to rocky cliffs in Bhutan’s Paro Valley and creates an awed silence among visitors, broken only by the sound of rustling prayer flags and chanting monks.
National Park in Grand Canyon Village, AZ, United States
Why It’s Amazing: It’s big. Real big. We’re talking 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and one mile deep. While it’s not the world’s deepest or widest canyon, it’s undoubtedly the most colorful. The Grand Canyon also exposes ancient Proterozoic and Paleozoic strata—two billion years of earth’s rust-hued history—a visual experience that is not easily captured on film and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Why It’s Amazing: Five hundred mountain climbers have died attempting to reach the rocky 14,692-foot summit of the majestic Matterhorn. The snow-covered, sawtoothed peak has a pyramidal summit that has become the textbook illustration of alpinism’s golden age and all its triumphs.
Why It’s Amazing: Millions of people over the course of 21 centuries helped construct, rebuild, and maintain the Great Wall of China, which dips, rises, and bends across the country for some 6,000 miles. The theory that it’s visible from space is now debated, but its immense engineering achievement and man-made beauty are unquestionable.
Why It’s Amazing: Stand on the blustery edge of the steep, rocky Atlantic-battered cliffs and you’ll feel as though you’ve arrived at the true end of the world, with nothing but 2,000 miles of briny Atlantic swells between you and Newfoundland.