Across the globe, there are a collection of stunning and one-of-a-kind landmarks, such as Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Cairns' Great Barrier Reef, and Paris' Eiffel Tower. These iconic sites are cherished and admired by both locals and tourists alike. However, the question remains: which are the most popular and best-loved landmarks in the world in 2023?
Analyzing the world’s landmarks on a variety of factors including annual visitor numbers, entry prices, Tripadvisor ratings, and Instagram posts, we have revisited our 2022 landmark report to reveal the world’s most loved landmarks for 2023. As part of the ranking, we have also revealed the most lucrative landmarks that are raking in the biggest revenue from ticket sales. Have tourist's tastes changed? Or, are they still loving the same iconic landmarks?
1. Niagara Falls, United States & Canada
● 2023 landmark score - 9.45
● 2022 landmark score - 9.22
The best-loved landmark in the world for the second year running, but this time with a slightly higher score, is the stunning Niagara Falls, receiving a landmark score of 9.45/10. The largest of the three waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, lies on the border of both the state of New York in the United States and the province of Ontario in Canada, making it an international landmark. The beautiful views of Niagara Falls make it a fantastic place for a romantic getaway or family vacation.
Niagara Falls is free to visit and welcomed over 13 million visitors in 2022. The attraction also retains a 5/5 rating on Tripadvisor, showing just how well-loved the landmark is.
Niagara Falls has been posted on Instagram over 3.7 million times and has racked up over 1.3 billion views on TikTok.
2. Taj Mahal, India
● 2023 landmark score - 7.60
● 2022 landmark score - 7.67
Claiming second place again, but with a slightly lower score this year, is the Taj Mahal, which is located in the city of Agra in India and received a landmark score of 7.60. The beautiful marble mausoleum opened all the way back in 1648 and houses the tombs of the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, and his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The landmark became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and is recognized as a symbol of India’s rich history.
Between August 2022 and July 2023, there were 22 million searches for the Taj Mahal on Google. The popularity of this landmark is also reflected in its annual visitor numbers, which reached over 3.3 million in 2022, and its 5/5 rating on Tripadvisor.
3. Grand Canyon, United States
● 2023 landmark score - 7.57
● 2022 landmark score - 7.47
Following closely behind, and in third place for the second year running, is the nature-lovers favorite, the Grand Canyon, which receives a landmark score of 7.57. The steep-sided canyon is located in the state of Arizona in the United States and is an incredible 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and has a depth of over 6,000 feet. There are many viewpoints for visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views, including Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station, and Desert View Watchtower.
The Grand Canyon attracted over 4.7 million visitors in 2022 and is a very popular landmark on social media, garnering over 4.3 million Instagram posts and almost 667 million views on TikTok. Between August 2022 and July 2023, the Grand Canyon was searched for on Google over 13.3 million times.
4. Big Ben, England
● 2023 landmark score - 7.31
● 2022 landmark score - N/A
In fourth place and entering the list for the first time is Big Ben, earning a landmark score of 7.31. The iconic London landmark is located in England and was opened all the way back in 1859. The neo-Gothic tower features four shields to represent the nations of the United Kingdom: a rose for England, a thistle for Scotland, a shamrock for Ireland, and a leek for Wales. In 1987, the clock tower became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Around 4.5 million people visit Big Ben every year, showing that the landmark is worthy of its 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor. It is also very popular on social media, currently holding almost 3.4 million posts on Instagram and over 998 million views on TikTok.
5. Golden Gate Bridge, United States
● 2023 landmark score - 7.26
● 2022 landmark score - 6.90
Dropping one position but receiving a higher score compared to last year is the Golden Gate Bridge, which is located in the city of San Francisco, California. The iconic suspension bridge stands at 746ft tall and is 90ft wide, featuring six traffic lanes, a bicycle route, and two walkways. The 1.7-mile-long bridge connects the city of San Francisco and Marin County and has been recognized as one of the Wonders of the Modern world.
The Golden Gate Bridge attracted a huge 15.6 million visitors in 2022 and received a rating of 4.5/5 on Tripadvisor. The bridge also proves to be very picturesque, garnering over 3.3 million posts on Instagram and 440.4 million views on TikTok.
1. Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates
● 2023 estimated revenue - $748m /£595m /€697m
● 2022 estimated revenue - $621.7m /£526.2m /€622.9m
For the second year in a row, the landmark expected to generate the most revenue from ticket sales is the Burj Khalifa. With a general admission entry ticket costing around $37 and over 17 million people visiting the landmark in 2022, the Burj Khalifa is estimated to have earned over $748 million in just ticket sales. This is compared to an estimated revenue of $621.7 million the year prior.
The incredible skyscraper, which is located in the city of Dubai, is the tallest building in the world, standing at 2,722ft tall. It cost over $1.5 billion to build the Burj Khalifa, and it officially opened on 4 January 2010. There are two observation decks, with tourists able to visit the 124th, 125th, and 148th floors to witness amazing views.
2. Sydney Opera House, Australia
● 2023 estimated revenue - $316.1m /£250.7m /€294.3m
● 2022 estimated revenue -$186.9m /£158.2m /€187.2m
In second place is the Sydney Opera House, which is, of course, located in the city of Sydney in Australia. Over 10.9 million people visited the landmark in 2022, and with a tour ticket costing $29, it is estimated that the Sydney Opera House will earn over $316.1 million in ticket sales. This is compared to an estimated revenue of $186.9 million in 2022.
The multi-venue performing arts center was officially opened on 20 October 1973 and can be found on the foreshore of the beautiful Sydney Harbour. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, and there have been many notable performances there, including opera singer Joan Sutherland’s final performance in 1991, Canadian singer Michael Bublé’s performance in the Concert Hall in 2004, and the first Six musical performance in 2020.
3. Empire State Building, United States
● 2023 estimated revenue - $176m /£140m /€164m
● 2022 estimated revenue - $164m /£138.8m /€164.3m
The landmark expected to make the third-highest revenue from ticket sales is the Empire State Building. With ticket prices starting at $44 and over 4 million people visiting the landmark each year, the Empire State Building is estimated to earn over $176m each year in ticket sales alone. This is compared to an estimated revenue of $164 million in 2022.
The 102-story Art Deco skyscraper is located in the city of New York in the United States and officially opened in 1931. Tourists can visit two observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors, providing views of up to 80 miles, including other iconic New York landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty.
4. Palace of Versailles, France
● 2023 estimated revenue - $151.8m /£117.3m /€138m
● 2022 estimated revenue - $77.8m /£65.8m /€78m
In fourth place is the Palace of Versailles, located in the commune of Versailles in France. Over 6.9 million people visited the landmark in 2022, and with an entry ticket to the palace costing around $22, it is estimated that the Palace of Versailles earned over $151.8m in ticket sales. This is compared to an estimated revenue of $77.8 million in 2022.
The former royal residence was built by King Louis XIV way back in 1661 and is currently owned by the French Republic. Depending on the type of ticket purchased, visitors are granted access to various areas of the estate, such as the Gallery of Coaches, the Sculptures and Mouldings Gallery, and the gardens.
5. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
● 2023 estimated revenue - $150.8m / £116m /€139.2m
● 2022 estimated revenue - N/A
Appearing on the list for the first time, the landmark with the fifth-highest revenue from ticket sales is Ha Long Bay, which is located in the city of Ha Long in Vietnam. With entry fees costing around $13, and over 11.6 million people having visited the landmark in 2022, it is estimated that Ha Long Bay earned over $150.8m in ticket sales alone.
Ha Long Bay is known for its beautiful emerald-colored waters and thousands of limestone islands, which are topped with stunning rainforests. The core zone of the bay was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, and the area is very popular with visitors wanting to scuba dive, rock climb, or hike.
A comprehensive list of 128 famous landmarks by The Boutique Adventurer was initially narrowed down to the top 50 landmarks.
Then, we used Tripadvisor to gather the ratings for each landmark. All data was collected on 5 September 2023.
Next, we used Google Keyword Planner to discover how many Google searches had been made worldwide for each landmark between August 2022 and July 2023.
Next, we gathered the entry price for each landmark. This is based on a standard adult ticket but can vary depending on things such as season and time of entry. All entry fees are rounded to the nearest $, £ or €. All entry fee sources can be viewed here in the ‘Entry fees’ tab.
Then, we gathered the 2022 visitor numbers for each landmark. Data for Buckingham Palace was only available for the 2022/23 financial year. No data was available for The Gherkin/30 St Mary Axe. All visitor number sources can be viewed here in the ‘Visitor numbers’ tab.
Next, we multiplied each landmark’s entry fee by the number of 2022 visitors in order to calculate the amount of revenue that each landmark is estimated to have made from ticket sales alone that year.
Finally, we ranked all seven factors, giving each a normalized score out of 10, before taking our final overall score as an average across all seven factors and ranking each landmark accordingly.