50 iconic buildings around the world you need to see

From the Taj Mahal to Fallingwater, how many of these have you seen?

When it comes to learning about the history of a new destination, travelers should look no further than its iconic buildings. Of course, there are other ways to discover the local culture, which can be reflected in the food, the textiles, and the dialects, but it’s the buildings that can reveal the most about a place. Local landmarks are—in essence— silent witnesses to past eras, kingdoms, and tastes, but they can also offer us clues to what the future holds (not to mention make for a great travel gram, too).

Consider this lineup to be a travel bucket list of sorts. These buildings are renowned for various reasons—some for their architectural charm, others for their historical significance, and some for a healthy mix of both. A fair amount of them are well-known, of course: Think Europe’s museums, churches, and other landmarks whose replicas live on in souvenir shops and countless photos. There are also, of course, a decent number on this list designed by famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, and Oscar Niemeyer too. And while some of these edifices exist off the beaten path, they’re just as important in their own right. Here, ADrounds up iconic buildings from around the world that you’ll be glad you’ve seen when you look back on your travels. It’s been said that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer, and we couldn’t agree more.

1. Hagia Sophia — Istanbul, Turkey

Image may contain Building Architecture Dome and Mosque
Photo by DeAgostini. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

2. The Guggenheim — New York City, USA

a round building with cabs outside
Photo by Stan Honda. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

3. Taj Mahal — Agra, India

a tall building in front of a river
Photo by Julian Finney. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

4. Dancing House — Prague, Czech Republic

a building that slants
Photo by Insights/UIG. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

5. Château de Chenonceau — Chenonceaux, France

a castle in front of blue sky that extends over the water
Photo by DeAgostini. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

6. Niterói Contemporary Art Museum — Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

a circular building with a circular ramp
Photo by Patrick Altmann. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

7. The Pyramids of Giza — Giza, Egypt

pyramids made of sand
Photo by Sean Gallup. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

8. Acropolis of Athens — Athens, Greece

large building with ancient columns lit up at night
Photo by Milos Bicanski. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

9. Le Centre Pompidou — Paris, France

building with workings exposed
Photo by DEA/C. SAPPA/De Agostini. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

10. The Gateway Arch — St. Louis, Missouri, USA

a large arch in the sky
Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

11. Musée d’Orsay — Paris, France

grand building with tree outside of it
Photo by Chesnot. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

12. The Gherkin — London, U.K.

large building that twists towards the sky
Photo by Oli Scarff. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

13. Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasília — Brasília, Brazil

a circular building with white shards and a cross on the top
Photo by Matt Frost. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

14. Mosque of Córdoba — Córdoba, Spain

inside of a mosque with domed ceilings and arches
Photo by Gerig/ullstein bild. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

15. Westminster Abbey — London, U.K.

large church with pointy architecture
Photo by Pawel Libera. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

16. Dresden Frauenkirche — Dresden, Germany

a building with a large dome
Photo by Sean Gallup. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

17. Château Frontenac — Québec, Canada

large castle with red facade
Photo by Jayakumar Radhakrishnan. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

18. The Colosseum — Rome, Italy

building with holes in it
Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

19. One World Trade Center — New York City, USA

tall building with a spire on it
Photo by Andrew Burton. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

20. The Lotus Temple — New Delhi, India

temple that looks like a flower about to bloom
Photo by Universal Images Group. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

21. St. Basil’s Cathedral — Moscow, Russia

building with spinning tops
Photo by Pola Damonte. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

22. Dome of the Rock — Jerusalem, Israel

gold dome top with blue tiles surrounding
Photo by Joris Görling. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

23. Casa Milà — Barcelona, Spain

a building with wavy facade
Photo by Michelle McMahon. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

24. The White House — Washington, D.C., USA

building with a fountain outside it with white columns
Photo by Alex Wong. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

25. Forbidden City — Beijing, China

a building with a pagoda top
Image courtesy of Getty Images.

26. Sagrada Família — Barcelona, Spain

a large building in the sky
Photo by Prasit. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

27. Lincoln Center — New York City, USA

a dark sky and a building
Photo by Siegfried Layda. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

28. The Shard — London, UK

tall building pointed towards the sky
Photo by Greg Fonne. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

29. Le Mont-Saint-Michel — Normandy, France

a castle on a mountain
Photo by Jeff Morgan. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

30. Bran Castle — Bran, Romania

a castle with a pointed top
Photo by Wojtek Laski. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

31. Angkor Wat — Siem Reap, Cambodia

far away view of a temple
Photo by Tang Chhin Sothy. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

32. Sultan Ahmed Mosque — Istanbul, Turkey

four tall spikes on a building
Photo by Bulent Kilic. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

33. Konark Sun Tower — Konark, India

a temple in the sun surrounded by scaffolding
Photo by Aswajith Cs. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

34. Chrysler Building — New York City, USA

a tall tower with a point
Photo by Mario Tama. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

35. Sacré-Coeur — Paris, France

SacreCur building in paris with steps leading up to it
Photo by Fox Photos/L. V. Clark. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

36. Potala Palace — Lhasa, Tibet, China

large building on top of a mountain
Photo by Yin Shichang/VCG. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

37. Musée du Louvre — Paris, France

a glass pyramid in front of old bulidings
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

38. Sydney Opera House — Sydney, Australia

a building with arches in front of a city skyline
Photo by Michael Dunning. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

39. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao — Bilbao, Spain

a building that curves around
Photo by Tim Graham. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

40. Fallingwater — Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA

modern building built into a waterfall
Photo by Richard A. Cooke III. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

41. The Pantheon — Rome, Italy

a building in Rome with columns
Photo by Werner Forman Archive/Heritage Images. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

42. Space Needle — Seattle, Washington, USA

a tall thin tower with a circular observation deck up top
Photo by Otto Greule Jr. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

43. Villa Savoye — Poissy, France

a square building with sharpe edges
Photo by Juan Jimenez. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

44. House of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower — London, U.K.

a clock tower next to building with pointed spires
Photo by Kriangkrai Thitimakorn. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

45. Burj Khalifa — Dubai, UAE

tall building surrounded by smaller buildings
Photo by Chopper Shoot LLC/Barcroft Media. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

46. Leaning Tower of Pisa — Pisa, Italy

a tower that leans to the right
Photo by Dado Daniela. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

47. São Paulo Museum of Art — São Paulo, Brazil

a building that elevates in the air supported by four pillars
Photo by vbacarin. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

48. The Flatiron Building — New York City, USA

a building with a thin point that looks like its smushed
Photo by Noam Galai. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

49. The Sistine Chapel — Vatican City

intricately painted ceiling with people standing below it
Photo by Franco Origlia. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

50. Eiffel Tower — Paris, France

tall building on four legs that meets at one point