How good would it have been to visit the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia or the Lighthouse of Alexandria? Although you’d struggle to get a flight to most of the original Seven Wonders of the World for obvious reasons, the New7Wonders Foundation conducted a 100 million-vote poll to decide seven brand new wonders that you are able to visit from 200 currently existing monuments.
Let’s take a look at exactly what they are and the best way to get to them.
You may not be able to see this wall from the Moon, but more than 10 million people make the trip every year to see it up-close. Much of the brickwork has been eroded away or even pinched by entrepreneurial travellers, but if you head to Beijing, it’s still as breathtaking as ever.
How to Get to the Great Wall of China
You’ll need a rental car or taxi unless you’re up for a 12 hour walk (which I’d advise against since you’ll be climbing more than 4000 steps once you get there! Fly to Beijing Capital International Airport and then drive north for around an hour and you’ll hit the Mutianyu Great Wall, one of the best preserved parts of the Great Wall, which formerly served as the northern barrier for defending the capital. As well as the monstrous amount of steps, there is also the option of a chairlift or gondola lift to ascend and descend, or a toboggan to ride back down if you dare.
This Arabian city truly is a sight to behold. Known as the Rose City due to the colour of its rock-cut architecture, and it also boasts a complex water conduit system, so it’s easy to see why it was chosen as one of the new Wonders of the World. Indiana Jones fans may also recognise Petra from The Last Crusade.
How to Get to Petra
There are a few airports which are close to Petra, such as Amman, Aquaba and Eliat in Isreal, but whichever one you choose will still put you a good few hours away from the city. I’d suggest going for a coach tour or similar to keep stress levels to a minimum. Some sites can even sort out everything for you from flights and visas to accommodation and guides so these are always worth checking out.
This Roman Amphitheatre composed of concrete and sand is the largest amphitheatre that’s ever been constructed, designed to hold somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000 audience members. Used after AD 80 as a venue for gladiatorial contests, re-enactments of famous battles and Classical dramas, these days it’s a tourist attraction and museum.
How to Get to the Colosseum
Fortunately, the Colosseum is just half an hour away from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Italy’s major airport, so a quick car or cab ride will take you right into the heart of Rome where you can visit the Colosseum, as well as the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and the Piazza Venezia, all good contenders for Wonders of the World themselves.
Not a reference to the archaeological site but to the 80ft step-pyramid at its centre. Known as El Castillo (the castle) or the Temple of Kukulcan, the pyramid dominates the landscape in the Mexican state of Yucatán, and was built by the pre-Columbian Maya civilisation between the 9th and 12th centuries.
How to Get to Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is a two-hour drive from Cancun Internation Airport, the second busiest airport in Mexico. Renting a car is easy and allows you to explore Mexico at your own pace, but if you’d rather take a guided tour, there are plenty of options that will allow you to rest up and feel safe en-route to the temple.
This 15th century Inca site located in Peru is an iconic, sprawling location situated on a mounted ridge nearly 8,000ft above sea level. It is an archetypical example of Inca architecture, with polished, dry-stone walls that are cut perfectly to fit together without mortar.
How to Get to Machu Picchu
The easiest and most cost effective way to Machu Picchu is by train, so once you’ve flown into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in the city of Cusco, head half an hour west until you hit Cusco train station (which is actually in the neighbouring town of Poroy). Once there you can board one of the many trains to Aquas Calientes, just a few miles from the site itself, utilising a route that doesn’t get much more scenic. But make sure you book your train in advance to avoid disappointment!
This marble mausoleum in Agra, India must have been a shoo-in when selecting modern Wonders of the World, since it’s as breathtaking in the flesh as you’d imagine. The Taj Mahal is actually just one part of a wider complex which also contains a mosque, a guest house, and some beautiful formal gardens.
How to Get to the Taj Mahal
When travelling to India, you’ll be most likely heading to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, which is a fair few hours away from Agra. Luckily, there are a wide range options, from the excellent train network and regular bus services, to hiring a car if you fancy making the trip at your own pace.
Christ the Redeemer
The most recent wonder on the list at less than 90 years old, Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco marvel weighing in at 635 tonnes. A global symbol of Christianity, it’s also become a cultural icon of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil as a whole, with 1,800,000 visitors every year.
How to Get to Christ the Redeemer
An easy statue to find at 38m, it’s just over half an hour south of Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport — a simple cab ride or drive away! Phew!