Iconic Sights & Wonders of the World
Numerous lists have been compiled rating the planet's favourite natural and man-made wonders, from the official New Seven Wonders of the World that includes Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and Chichen Itza in Mexico, to the New7Wonders of Nature that features the Amazon Rainforest in South America, Halong Bay in Vietnam and Jeju Island in South Korea.
There is such a mix of man-made archaeological treasures including the Rose City of Petra in Jordan and the Great Wall of China, as well as some of Mother Nature's most impressive geological formations or phenomenon's, from the Northern Lights in Iceland to the spectacular Victoria Falls in Africa.
There's a variety of ways in which you can enjoy these wonders.
Sitting on a mountain ridge on a bend overlooking the River Urubamba in Peru, the incredible Inca city of Machu Picchu is the best-known archaeological site in all South America. Left unforgotten when the Incas abandoned the city with the arrival of the conquering Spaniards, the site was rediscovered in 1911 by American historian Hiram Bingham and was declared one of the world's New Seven Wonders in 2007.
Northern Lights in Iceland
Picture draping sheets of neon coloured light dancing across the sky and you've imagined the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights as they are commonly known. This natural phenomenon is caused by collisions between electrically charged particles and solar winds in the high altitudes of the Earth's atmosphere. These lights appear in many colours from red and yellow to blue and violet, with hues of green the most common.
Forming a natural border between the neighbouring countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is an awe-inspiring natural beauty with the world's largest sheet of water thundering over a wide, basalt cliff. The Falls are formed by the usually placid Zambezi River as it morphs into a raging torrent at its full width that plummets into a transverse chasm below a vertical drop. Its indigenous name of Mosi-oa-Tunya translates as 'the smoke that thunders' and it's an apt description for the columns of spray that rise from the depths of the gorge as more than five hundred million cubic metres of water drop from the edge of the Falls at the height of the rainy season.
The Rose City of Petra
Carved from the dramatic pink-hued cliffs of a mountainous desert landscape, the ancient city of Petra is Jordan's leading attraction and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. In prehistoric times the Nabataean city was an important caravan centre on the route between Arabia and Egypt, and today a vast network of elaborate tombs, temples and ingenious water management system remains in a remarkable state of preservation. Nothing can quite prepare you for the sight of the exquisite Treasury façade slowly revealing itself as you make your way through the narrow and deeply cut canyon leading to the city's entrance.
Great Wall of China
Stretching some 20,000 km from the Yellow Sea in the east to the Gobi desert in the west, the Great Wall of China is the world's longest man-made barrier measuring seven metres wide and up to 14 metres high. Snaking its way along forested mountain ridges, the Wall is more than 2,000 years old and punctuated by watchtowers that would have housed soldiers and stored food and weapons.
What natural and man-made wonder have you been fortunate to see?