Need the inspiration to travel to some unique places in this world? How about the New 7 wonders of the world?
In 2007, more than 100 million people voted to declare 7 sites as new wonders of the world. This was a campaign started in 2000 by Wonders Of The World from a selection of 200 existing monuments.
I have been lucky to travel to 4 of these 7 sites. What about you?
Obviously, these sites are hugely popular, so you do need some planning and in many cases, ticket booking before your visit. I reached out to Travel Experts around the world for the best tips on planning a visit to these 7 wonders.
This is different from the 7 natural wonders where I have had the chance to visit only 2 natural wonders, Grand Canyon South Rim being the recent one.
The Great Wall, China | 700 BC
Chang Cheng, or the Great Wall, extends along the northern boundary of China in an east to the west line for over 8,000 km. The majority of the existing structure that forms the Great Wall of China dates back to the 13th century Ming Dynasty. It was built to protect against raids and invasions of various nomadic groups.
Visitors can access the Great Wall at many sections in Hebei and Gansu province and from Beijing at the Badaling and Mutianyu sections. We visited the Mutianyu section, a short 1.5-hour drive from downtown Beijing, during National Day Holidays in early October. The drive through the fruit orchards introduced us to the Chinese countryside, a stark contrast to the high rises and traffic of Beijing.
We took the cable car to the Wall, taking in the scenery of blue skies and green pine and cypress trees. If you are inclined towards trekking, there are steps to hike up – allow for an hour for the climb up and another half hour for the descent. Going down was as much fun as the Wall itself – we took the single-rider toboggan to zip down to the valley.
Tips for visiting the Great Wall
The days are sunny and windy, so make sure to carry caps, jackets, and sunglasses to this Wonder of the World. It snows during winter so prepare accordingly. The Mutianyu section is relatively accessible for children, seniors, and wheelchair users. This section is steep so be prepared for climbing stairs and running down the ramparts.
The watchtowers provide interesting architecture and shaded spots to rest. The section between Tower 14 and Tower 23 offers great views of the vistas and perfect photo ops.
Though there are a few restaurants here, we carried packed lunch and picnicked on the Great Wall. Budget at least two hours to enjoy the experience.
If you’re inclined towards staying over and soaking in the country air, The Schoolyard and The Red Door at Mutianyu are excellent options.
By Shweta Markandeya
Planning a trip with kids? Do read: Walking the Great Wall of China with kids
Petra, Jordan | 312 BC
You’ve seen the pictures – Petra is indeed one of the new 7 wonders of the world. First, there’s the astounding beauty of the Treasury – carved tall just beyond a long, narrow trail sliced through towering rock. In traveler’s dreams, finally seeing the site made famous by Hollywood’s Indiana Jones, is the apex of visiting Jordan. Keep going! Once you’re there Petra opens up in wave after wave of astounding beauty.
The Nabateans knew what they were doing and built to impress.
As ancient world traders, they adapted techniques from other cultures and you see it in their intense craftsmanship throughout Petra. They would take business partners to negotiate in Little Petra – a separate passage nearly 13 kilometers away by trail or fifteen minutes by car. Wide plazas and rooms were carved in the sandstone and it’s easy to imagine layers of rugs and trays of tea being passed during discussions. Nabateans brought worthy visitors through to the Treasury and beyond to their flourishing city, in the first few hundred years B.C. Today the site holds secrets as mounds still wait for excavation. Bedouin traders and guides still live in some of the carved spaces.
Petra proper opens up beyond the Treasury and that’s where the marvels of artistry, scale and the people who created it, hits you.
Petra invites superlatives for good reason. My heart still races when I look at the pictures and pinch myself. You will too.
Tips for visiting Petra
Plan your visit for walking, riding carriages, camels or donkeys as needed. If you’re inclined and adventurous, leave before dawn and follow trails to the promontory above the Treasury, then down to the Monastery site beyond. Take the time, bring water and snacks, wear a hat and long sleeves, then reward yourself with cardamom coffee or sage tea in the cafes set amidst the boulders.
By Elaine J Masters | Trip Wellgal
Colosseum, Italy | 80 AD
This gladiatorial arena fires up the imagination of a bygone era both in adults and children alike. It was difficult to engage my 5-year-old daughter in any of the museums during our 4 days in Rome. But she enjoyed the visit to the Colosseum as well as nearby Forum and Palatine Hill.
The Colosseum is the most recognizable of Rome’s Classical Buildings. It was built as a huge ellipse with tiered seating, with an arena within.
With a capacity of 60,000 spectators – 50,000 seated and 10,000 standing – and with 80 entrances, this is a remarkable structure. Equally remarkable is the fact that it took less than 10 years to build it.
Tips for visiting the Colosseum
At any point in time, only 3000 visitors are allowed in the Colosseum. So plan ahead for this New Wonder.
We had booked our tickets only through this site. This is a combined ticket to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. This takes up the better part of a day with a lot of walking to be done, so wear sensible shoes and a hat (especially in summer months).
You will need to pick up the tickets on-site. There are long queues for that as well, we were lucky to find a booth not in the main building but away from it to collect tickets, that was uncrowded.
Also, visit to the underground arena requires an additional payment. If you are headed here in the summers months, you may want to book a skip-the-line tour with Viator or Walk Italy.
by Shweta | Zest In A Tote
Chichen Itza, Mexico | 600 AD
Chichen Itza is a sacred Mayan complex consisting of multiple ancient buildings. The complex is built around 2 old cenotes or natural wells. This ultimately gave it the name Chichen Itza which means “Edge of the Water”.
Early settlements in Chichen Itza began around 500AD and soon this town was the center of most important pilgrimage. The most famous of the buildings, which is popularly photographed, is called El Castillo or the Temple of Kukulkan. El Castillo is a brilliant example of the astronomical excellence of ancient Maya people. There are 365 steps that lead up to the top of this pyramid temple as was also the 365 day in a year as per Mayan calendar.
Once you are done visiting the historic buildings you can treat yourself with traditional Mayan food in the restaurants nearby. Or perhaps buy local handicrafts from the many artisans selling their good on the streets within the Mayan complex.
Tips for visiting Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is located in Yucatan, not too far from the famous tourist destination Cancun. It is about 2 hours drive from Cancun International Airport. You could rent a car, else there are plenty of tour buses who will pick you up from your hotel in Cancun and drive you up to the site.
It is a fairly large archeological site so give yourself ample of time if you want to see all the Mayan ruins. The entrance fee is 232 pesos, roughly about $12 USD. It would be advisable to pay in cash as payments via credit card might cost you 10% more.
The Mayan ruins complex is open daily from 8 am to 4.30 pm. Given the tropical climate of Mexico, you could plan to visit Chichen Itza any time of the year. In order to beat the crowds, avoid going there on Sundays when it is free for Mexicans to enter.
By Richa Joshi |My Ticklefeet
Machu Picchu, Peru | 1450 AD
Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level.
The term Machu Picchu means “old mountain” in the Quechua language.
The location of this world wonder is spectacular. This ancient ruin is a must-visit for anyone visiting Peru. This is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The ruins are the size of a village and combined with adjoining forest park, covers more than 116 square miles.
Tips for visiting Machu Picchu
The site is most heavily visited between10 am and 2 pm. June through August are the busiest months. In the busy months, more than 2500 people visit the site daily. But even with all the people, the grandeur of the archeological site and the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains make you gasp at first sight.
Like everyone else, we had seen multiple pictures of Machu Picchu long before we visited it. We visited the site independently. We took a bus from Aguas Calientes, the closest town where we had spent the earlier night. We had bought our ticket on reaching the site itself.
There are enough tour operators – both budget and in the luxury space – who could customise the experience for you. A trek can be done before, the Inca trail is the busier one but we did the Salkantay trek. Or you could take the train from Cusco and relax in a boutique hotel in the Sacred Valley.
by Shweta | Zest In A Tote
Taj Mahal, India | 1643 AD
Wikipedia describes Taj Mahal as ‘an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra.’ While that is factually correct, this symbol of love and beauty – one of the new 7 wonders of the world has many other beautiful epithets.
Poet Rabindranath Tagore described the Taj as “the tear-drop on the cheek of eternity”, Rudyard Kipling as ‘the embodiment of all things pure’; while its creator, Emperor Shah Jahan said it made ‘the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes’.
Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan got this monument constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, with whom he fell in love at the first sight. Some 20,000 people from India and Central Asia worked on the building. The structure is made of white marble, carved with flowers and inlaid with thousands of semiprecious stones in beautiful patterns. The Taj Mahal itself stands on a raised marble platform at the northern end of the ornamental gardens, with its back to the Yamuna River.
Tips to visit Taj Mahal
You could visit the site independently, purchasing the ticket at the small government tourist center, which is located about a kilometer away from the site. Or go with a tour group which has purchased the tickets in advance for you. The Taj can be accessed through the west, south and east gates.
Cameras and videos are permitted but you can’t take photographs inside the mausoleum itself. The ticket price for Indians and foreigners varies substantially, but foreigners are allowed to skip ahead in the queue.
Taj Mahal is open from sunrise to sunset (6 am to 630 pm) through the year, except for Fridays, when it is only accessible to Muslims for afternoon prayers. 5 days in a month, there are night time viewings allowed. For more details on ticket purchase and night time viewings, please visit this tourism site.
by Shweta | Zest In A Tote
Christ The Redeemer, Brazil | 1931 AD
The statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of the icons of Rio de Janeiro. Towering over the city atop Corcovado mountain, the statue is visible from all over Rio and stands as a testament to this outgoing, confident nation which combines spectacle with Christianity in a culture that exists nowhere else on earth.
The downside of an iconic attraction that sits on top of a mountain is that it’s… well… not that easy to get to. You can get there by taking a cog train to the base of the peak on which it sits; but if you get a chance, don’t miss a detour to one of the nearby peaks for stunning views of the statue itself. The Mirante Dona Marta boast spectacular views of both the city and the statue that make it well worth the effort.
When you reach the top, the size of the statue is breathtaking.
Built between 1926 and 1931, it stands a whopping 30 meters tall, not including the 8m base. That’s 124ft in total. Looking up, it’s hard to take it all in.
The size of the statue does pose a problem when it comes to getting the all-important selfie. Prepare to jostle for position with dozens of other excited visitors, all striving for the perfect low-level shot and trying to keep their double chins to a minimum! But take a moment, too, to appreciate the panoramic view over Rio, from the Maracana and Sambadrome to Sugar Loaf Mountain, the lagoon, and Copacabana Beach. Rio is staggeringly beautiful.
Tips for visiting Christ the Redeemer
Your train or bus will take you to the base of the peak, from where a series of lifts and open-air escalators take you up to the statue – a truly bizarre experience!
To reach Christ the Redeemer, take bus 583 to reach the train station (visit here for more details). The bus passes through Ipanema and Copacabana. Alternatively, take one of the official Parque da Tijuca vans (more details on this site).
By Jill Bowdery | Reading The Book
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I have been fortunate enough to visit all seven of them. It took several years but go it done last October by visiting Taj Mahal and the Colosseum. Happy travels!
Oh wow! That’s amazing. Which is your favourite experience? I am so keen to visit Petra and the Great Wall of China.
I have been to the Colosseum… Surreal! All the other places are on my bucket list! Great post!
Thanks, Lucile. I loved the Colosseum, and also the Forum and the Palatine Hill. Rome is an amazing city to visit for history, culture and food. I have 3 more to cover. Hoping to make it to Petra soon.
Thanks for sharing the list. So far I have visited only Taj Mahal.hope to visit others soon
Thanks for dropping by Madhu. Did you take a guided tour of the Taj? I went more than a decade ago, but hear that the lines are crazy long now.
Hey I also went long back without guided tour. Not sure how it’s now. Probably should visit again 😊
Fabulous post this one! Have only been to 2 of these: the Taj Mahal and the colosseum. The Colosseum visit was a very solemn one because of the grim history of the place. But it is definitely worth a visit! Missed the underground tour though.
I really really want to go to Madhu Pichu though with the guidelines these days it seems quite a task!
Petra is also on my mind. The place has such intriguing history:)
Thanks, Divyakshi. So glad you enjoyed reading it. I am keen to visit Jordan / Petra myself. And Machu Picchu is spectacular. My husband and I did the Salkantay Trail from Cusco to reach there, the scenery is out of the world. Hope you get to go there soon.
This was a humbling post! I’m ashamed to say I’ve only made it to the Colosseum so far. I definitely need to step up my travels, and get to the last six locations on this list. In my defense, I saw Teotihuacan in Mexico, which is also impressive. But I’ll make it a game to see how soon I can see the rest. Petra is probably most interesting to me, although I’ve definitely heard it’s touristy there.
All these sites are hugely visited, hence touristy for sure. But for a good reason I think. Anyway the post was not meant to set up insane travel goals for anyone :-), just some impressive sites to inspire and travel tips to share.
Oh no! I’ve been to just one…the Colosseum. And we just came from Cozumel and the Yucatan and missed going to Chichen Itza!
Well, you have a life ahead to see some of these impressive sites. Hope you get to some soon.
South American temples really interest me. I would love to visit Machu Picchu and see some llamas. Is the Salkantay trek the hard trail? Also, picnic on the Great Wall of China sounds fun!
I think the Inca trail is harder. We stayed in lodges with warm water on the Salkantay trail and had gourmet food every night. Cant say that was hard 🙂 The trek was easy to moderate.
Have been to the Colosseum, but I thought the Egyptian pyramids were also on this list? In any case Petra is on the top of my list as are the Mayan ruins in Mexico-hopefully I’ll get there in the next few years!
Brooke, Pyramids are the only ones intact from the Old Wonders. so you are right, they do have an honorary position in this list 🙂
I’ve only visited one – though some of the others are very much on my wish list (petra in particular). Do you have a personal favourite? I’d love to see the great wall of China too…
I loved the location and surrounding natural beauty of Machu Picchu. That’s my fav of the ones I have visited. I am quite keen to visit Jordan / Petra myself.
It was a relief to see Colosseum! I have not seen Taj Mahal yet… what a pity!
Hope 2018 proves lucky for me.
Why a relief! My husband and I were reading some interesting books on Italian history at the time, so the visit to the Colosseum, Forum and the Palatine were special and alive for us. Agra is not too difficult to plan, what with the new highway from Delhi.
Argh, I’ve not been to even half of these wonders! I have done Petra, Taj Mahal and Colosseum and thats it. Great Wall of China must happen in 2018, not sure about Brazil, Peru and Mexico, maybe 2019. So good to see this list of the new wonders of the world, thanks for putting it together!
Glad you liked it. Did you enjoy Petra? Any tip to share here with travelers?
I’ve only been to the Colosseum! I would like to check out all of them, but they’re so spread out! hahah so I think it’s going to take a while.
But each one worth it in its own right. I have very keen on visiting Petra, travelers gush about its beauty.
Ah, I’ve only been one of these so I have some catching up to do! The Great Wall, Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu are on my lost though. I like how each author has mentioned a specific tip for each wonder – I never knew Christ the Redeemer was 30m tall so I’d imagine it would be difficult to get a good shot of it once you’re up there (double chins and all!)
That was the idea Alyse. Since these are very popular sites, it is good to know some tips beforehand to make the best use of your time. Christ the Redeemer had scaffolding all over when I visited, so my double chin was the least of my worries 🙂
I’ve visited the Great Wall and it is a truly remarkable, Shweta! I really hope to visit all of these wonders soon!
I hope to visit The Great Wall soon. For me, of all the sites I have visited so far, Machu Picchu was spectacular.
I have been to all except the Great Wall. My tip to everyone would be to put on your walking shoes. These sites are great and best seen walking every inch.
Lucky you to have visited 6 already. And the tip of covering each of the sites walking through them – soaking in the history and the atmosphere – is so true. Thanks for sharing.