Updated: May 6
For major fans of world travel, visiting the Seven Wonders of the Modern World might be an ultimate goal. In fact, it’s one of the ways I planned which places I’m going to see and in what order. The new seven wonders were declared in 2007, not to be confused with the Ancient Wonders of the World, in which only the pyramids of Giza are still standing.
Whether you are already planning to visit the wonders or you came across this article to look for upcoming travel inspiration, this post will help you navigate your journey. I’m going to touch on each location and offer tips for visiting the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
1. Great Wall of China
What is it? Spanning 13,171 miles, the most popular parts and many of the remaining sections of the Great Wall of China were built from 1368-1644 by the Ming dynasty. However, some of the wall was built as early as the 7th century BC. Its main goal for construction was defense but it was also useful for trade regulation and immigration control. It includes watchtowers for security and beacon towers that enable communication, making it a key player in the military defense system.
Where is it? Northern China
How do I visit? Because the wall is the longest in the world, it stretches across nine provinces. You couldn’t possibly see it all, but there are a few sections that are highly recommended. One of the sections is Mutianyu, which is located an hour and a half from Beijing. This serves as one of the best preserved sections. Another choice is Jiankou, a steep yet picturesque location that serves as a great spot for hikers. Simatai is home to 20 watchtowers and 35 beacon towers, and it’s fairly simple to traverse.
Where should I stay? The three wall locations I listed are within 3 hours of Beijing, and since there are many other things to do in the city, I recommend staying there during your trip.
Luxury: The Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing Hotel is a 5-star hotel located within walking distance of many great attractions. It features a restaurant, a pool, and a rooftop terrace.
Mid-range: The Kerry Hotel is a large hotel with two restaurants and a bar area. It has an extremely large indoor pool and a fitness center.
Budget: The Great Wall Hotel is actually a huge 5-star hotel with a remarkably low price.
From Beijing, you can book a tour to the Great Wall using this link.
2. Chichen Itza
What is it? Chichen Itza was a city built by the Mayans. The population of the city was very diverse, and the architecture was no different. Many buildings of Chichen Itza still remain, but the most popular is without a doubt El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan. The amount of steps on El Castillo is equal to 365, designed to represent a calendar year. Twice a year when the equinox occurs, the sun creates an image of a snake slithering down the northern staircase as it sets. Thousands of people travel to Chichen Itza each year to see this sight.
Where is it? Yucatan, Mexico
How do I visit? Chichen Itza is a very possible and common day trip from Cancun. Tourists also take day trips from the capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida. From these locations, you have the option to book guided tours or rent transportation. Furthermore, you also have the option of taking a cruise to Cancun and booking an excursion to Chichen Itza.
Where should I stay? If you're staying in Cancun I recommend the following spots:
Luxury: The Grand Fiesta Americana is an all-inclusive resort with five restaurants and two poolside bars.
Mid-range: The Marriott Cancun Resort is located on the beach and features everything you need or a Cancun getaway.
Budget: ibis Cancun Centro is an affordable hotel near the casino.
For Merida travelers, these hotels should do the trick:
Luxury: Casa Lecanda is very small with only seven guestrooms but it truly makes you feel like you're living the island life.
Mid-range: The Hyatt Regency is located in the city center and features a modern look for a great price.
Budget: The Hilton Garden Inn is a super affordable household name.
3. Christ the Redeemer
What is it? Constructed between 1922 and 1931, Christ the Redeemer is a 98-foot-tall Art Deco statue erected at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain. It was created by a Polish-French sculptor named Paul Landowski and built by Heitor da Silva Coasta and Albert Caquot—the former a Brazilian engineer and the latter a French engineer. The face was created by Gheorghe Leonida. The statue is made of soapstone and reinforced concrete, and today, it is known as a cultural icon and a worldwide symbol of Christianity.
Where is it? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
How do I visit? Many people choose to take the Corcovado Rack Railway to the statue. Others decide to book guided tours to Christ the Redeemer so they don’t have to book transportation themselves. The most time consuming way, yet one of the most spectacular ways to see the statue is by following a path hidden behind Parque Lage. On the hike, you will be immersed in nature, but it isn’t necessarily easy. The path features steep inclines that may be difficult for some travelers.
Where should I stay?
Luxury: The JW Marriott Hotel is a 5-star hotel near Copacabana Beach.
Mid-range: The Windsor California Hotel is also on the beach and it features two restaurants.
Budget: The Hotel Bandeirantes may be cheap, but it's still a beachfront hotel, so what more could you ask for?
What is it? The colosseum is the largest ancient amphitheater in the world, built from 70 to 80 AD by the emperor Vespasian and his heir Titus. It held an average audience of 65,000 people and it was designed to house public spectacles such as gladiator contests and mock sea battles. As years passed by, it began being used for religious purposes. Some of the colosseum was ruined due to robbery and natural disaster, but for the most part, tourists can still see it in all its glory today.
Where is it? Rome, Italy
How do I visit? The colosseum is quite easy to visit. There is usually a recognizable line outside of it that you can queue in to buy a ticket. Depending on where you’re staying in Rome, you may be able to walk to it. If you’re staying further away, the subway makes transportation super easy. You can take the Roma Termini to the Colosseo stop and the colosseum is literally right there when you walk out of the station.
Where should I stay?
Luxury: The Palazzo Manfredi is incredible, as it features a direct view of the colosseum.
Mid-range: Hotel Lancelot is within 5 minutes of the colosseum.
Budget: The Nakissa Inn is small but is only a 8 minute walk from your destination.
5. Machu Picchu
What is it? This Inca citadel was built in 1450 and rediscovered in 1911 by an American historian, Hiram Bingham. The main structures are Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows, and many of the other buildings have been restored over the years. The area was used as a royal estate for 80 years before being abandoned, and it is recommended that about 750 people lived there.
Where is it? Peru
How do I visit? Most people visiting Machu Picchu stay in Cusco and take a train to Aguas Calientes. From there, you can hike or take a bus. The bus takes about 30 minutes while the hike lasts about 2 hours.
Where should I stay?
Luxury: Antigua Casona San Blas has a beautiful terrace and a restaurant with a bar.
Mid-range: The Hilton Garden Inn has a modern look with an amazing view.
Budget: Union Hotel Cusco features a nice courtyard and an authentic charm.
What is it? Petra served as the Nabataean capital as early as the 4th century BC. It’s a city carved into rock, and it’s located between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. At its height, the population was somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000. In 106 CE, Romans defeated the Nabateans and Petra joined Arabia. It was a known trade route, especially for the spice trade, until an earthquake decreased its importance. Excavations in 1993 revealed more of the city and today it is a known tourist spot.
Where is it? Ma’an Governorate, Jordan
How do I visit? People typically stay in Wadi Musa, which is situated right outside of Petra. It’s quite easy to just walk from Wadi Musa to the visitor center, and if your hotel is located a bit further out, it probably offers shuttle services to the ancient city.
Where should I stay?
Luxury: The Petra Guest House is located right at the entrance of Petra and it features a very unique aesthetic.
Mid-range: The P Quattro Relax Hotel only has three rooms, but it offers amazing views from the rooftop.
Budget: The Petra Sand Mars Camp offers a one-of-a-kind experience right outside of the ancient city.
7. Taj Mahal
What is it? Commissioned in 1632, this mausoleum was the idea of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who wanted it built to house the tomb of his wife Mumatz Mahal. Today, Shah Jahan’s tomb can be found in the Taj Mahal as well. It was finished in 1653 and its construction equaled the cost of 916 million US dollars. It’s designed to exhibit Persian and Mughal architecture, with the tomb being the central focus of the building.
Where is it? Agra, India
How do I visit? When visiting India, a lot of tourists stay in Delhi, but some actually stay in Agra where the Taj Mahal is located. When staying in Delhi, it’s feasible to take a train to Agra, although you could also book a day tour that takes care of the transportation for you. You could also stay in Jaipur and venture into Agra. Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur make up the Golden Triangle of India, which is a known tourist circuit that is all connected by railway.
Where should I stay? For this section, I am listing hotels in Agra because of its proximity to the Taj Mahal.
Luxury: The Oberoi Amarvilas is located on a beautiful property just a 15 minute walk from Taj Mahal.
Mid-range: ITC Mughal is a large hotel with two outdoor pools and a spa.
Budget: Hotel Daawat Palace is small and affordable yet reliable.
Visiting the Seven Wonders of the Modern World is a huge achievement for any traveler, and it’s something I’m extremely excited to master during my trips. As you probably know, 2020 has slowed down a lot of travel opportunities, but looking ahead, I am optimistic that travel will resume and I will be given the chance to see each of the wonders myself. I can’t wait to update these posts and create various others as I make these trips a reality.
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