The world's most photographed landmarks

Louvre Museum, Paris

Louvre Museum, Paris

Flush with architectural wonder and cultural allure, these are the sights that have the world transfixed — and the cameras poised.

Ever wondered what the most photographed building or borough in the world is? It's no secret that few can resist the charm of Big Ben, or the lovingly-crafted lattice of the Eiffel Tower, but would you have guessed Dubai's Burj Khalifa would also make the top 9?

Take a look at where your most treasured holiday destinations stand on the list of the world's most snapped and get ready to add these money shots to your bucket list.

1. EIFFEL TOWER, PARIS

Few will be surprised to learn that Paris' impressive iron tower topped  Sony's recent list of most Instagrammed landmarks in the world. Gazing out over the meandering streets of bespoke boutiques and hidey-hole cafes, the Eiffel Tower stands at 324 metres making it hard to miss when visiting the French capital. It attracts in excess of seven million people each year. If you're looking to take in the tower with a bit more context, head to the Arc de Triomphe. Tourist trap or not, you're guaranteed a postcard-worthy shot.

2. BIG BEN, LONDON

Along with the Queen and the cup of tea, Big Ben (officially known as Elizabeth Tower) is as British as it gets. Standing regally at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, the clock's chimes ricochet over London's bustling streets with old-world charm. The gothic edifice has featured in over 2,435,223 Instagram images since 2013, and is the backdrop to many holiday snaps.

Arguably the world's most famous clock, it has been ticking since 31 May 1859. Although the clock has had its minor set-backs - a flock of social starlings once congregated on its minute hand in 1949, slowing its time by four and a half minutes - it has become a trusted part of every Londoner's day and a must-have shot for the city's many tourists. Situated alongside the River Thames close to the London Eye, Big Ben has been shot from all angles. If you're in for a long day of London sightseeing, be sure to use a WiFi and NFC enabled camera like Sony's RX100M5, so you can share and store your photos safely while on the go.  

3. THE LOUVRE PYRAMID, PARIS

While millions flock to The Louvre each year to gaze up at Mona Lisa's mysterious smile, it's the museum's gleaming exteriors that claim third spot in the world's most snapped spectacles. Designed by American Chinese architect I M Pei in 1989, the three-story glass pyramid was a controversial addition to the long-standing museum. A New York Times critic famously called it a "gigantic, ruinous gadget". Although its postmodern sheen contrasts with its baroque surroundings, Pei's aim was to make his design as unobtrusive as possible, sourcing clear glass (difficult to come by in such thickness) and metal to match in exact hue with its surrounding buildings. 

4. EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, NEW YORK

In a city with its fair share of iconic architecture (Statue of Liberty, The Met, Brooklyn Bridge), the Empire State Building has fared well to secure its fourth-position status alongside the world's most photographed landmarks. Its slender profile has embellished the New York cityscape since its opening in 1931, reaching 443m (bottom to tip) into the sky. Competitive since its conception, the building was designed to out-do the Art-Deco Chrysler Building's 319 metres of steel and brick, which previously held the title of world's tallest building when it was completed in 1930. 

5. BURJ KHALIFA, DUBAI

With far less history than most other landmarks that made the cut, construction on Dubai's Burj Khalifa only began in 2004 but at 828 metres, it's the world's tallest building to date. The vortex-shaped structure shines bright when the blazing desert sun hits its glass, which can make photography a little tricky. Still, that doesn't seem to have stopped hoards of tourists trying for the money shot. It's hard to imagine the spaceship-like skyscraper fitting into many other major city skylines, but it feels right at home in Dubai's luxe landscape.

6. NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, PARIS

One of French gothic architecture's greatest feats, Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral is visited by over 13 million people each year. Dating back to 1163, the French capital's Catholic epicentre is a place of historical religious worship. The impressive structure dominates the Ile de la Cité, its two towers reaching a height of 69 metres. The building's Gargoyle-adorned exteriors are the subject of many traveller shots.

7. ST. PETER'S BASILICA, ROME

Sitting in grandeur within Vatican City is St. Peter's Basilica. At more than 40 metres tall, the church soars above the city's sea of terracotta roofs while also accommodating up to 60, 000 worshippers in its vast space. With a list of contributing architects that boasts Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Michelangelo, it's little wonder that it has become one of the most revered places of wonder and worship on the globe. Getting a shot inside the Michelangelo-mastered dome is a must, though use a camera with muted shutter capabilities so as not to disturb others visiting the religious site.

8. TIMES SQUARE, NEW YORK

Neon wonderland Times Square is the gaudy pumping heart of New York City. In chaotic motion 24 hours a day - Sinatra wasn't lying - it's well-avoided by locals, and a favourite amongst tourists. Illuminated by bright billboards, dazzling shopfronts and 'naked cowboys', the district found its name after the New York Times moved their offices to the square in 1904.

Located between West 42nd and West 47th Streets on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, its relentless buzz and bustle encapsulates the electric energy of the city. Tourists can grab tickets to a Broadway show, admire Hotel Edison's Art Deco architecture or buy an "I heart NY" t-shirt, all before getting their prized shot. Since 2013, Times Square's electric vibe has been captured over a million times on Instagram alone.

9. SAGRADA FAMILIA, BARCELONA

Barcelona is the city with the lot: glistening beaches, medieval neighbourhood nooks, buzzing food markets and, of course, Picasso's earliest works. But while Barcelona is home to some of the art world's most revered museums (Fundació Joan Miró and Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona are must-sees), the city itself is a piece of art. And it's visionary? Antonio Gaudí.

As Catalan Modernism's leading man, Gaudi's kooky designs pop up in all corners of the enchanting city, from the sprawling, mosaic-tiled Park Güell, to the bending, Dr.Seuss-esque Casa Milà . But it's his famously-unfinished Sagrada Família that has the city's heart. With long, twisting columns that shoot high into the sky, its absurdity is truly captivating. Still under construction, scaffolding has become as much of a feature as the cathedral's biblical stained glass windows. Scheduled for completion in 2026, Gaudi had always believed his client was "in no hurry". Capturing this masterpiece in its uncompleted phase is just as valuable as sampling the Mexican street food at Niño Viejo or  seeing Messi score at the Camp Nou.

This article is presented by Sony


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