What are the Official 8 Wonders of the World?

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There is much debate on this subject, particularly on which sites belong to the official list. It is also widely discussed whether there are officially 8 Wonders of the World or only seven.

Many lists exist. However, this list includes the new 7 Wonders of the World along with the one last remaining ancient wonder of the world.

All are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the new wonders were selected through an online voting contest in 2007 run by the New 7 Wonders Foundation. 

Built mostly by medieval and ancient empires, these sites are all enormous architectural marvels and are among the world’s most popular tourist attractions.  

We have visited all of the official 8 World Wonders and can say that they are all worth visiting. Be sure to plan some time in the countries where they reside as well. You’ll be sure to discover plenty of other wonders that aren’t on the official list, too.

The Official 8 Wonders of the World

1. The Taj Mahal – India

Divergent Travelers at the Taj Mahal in India
The classic Taj Mahal photo!

The Taj Mahal is the crowning architectural achievement of the Mughal Empire. Set in Agra, India it resides at the heart of the Golden Triangle. This white-ivory marble mausoleum is famed for its history, stunning architecture, and the tale of love that ultimately led to its construction. 

The best time to visit – March to June are the best times to see and admire this man-made marvel. To minimize the crowds, visit the monument between Monday and Thursday. 

How to get there – It is possible to visit on a day trip from Delhi or by staying in Agra. There are high-speed rail services from various cities in Rajasthan, Varanasi, and Delhi that will bring you to Agra. Most tours in India will also include a stop at the Taj Mahal in their itineraries. We recommend staying overnight in Agra and visiting at sunrise.

Other details – View current opening times and admission fees here.

Our visit to the Taj Mahal: We visited in 2015 during our around-the-world trip. It was part of a longer one-month trip throughout India. We arrived in Agra in the evening and enjoyed a sunset over the Taj Mahal from outside the complex. The next day we got up early and entered the site before sunrise.

2. The Colosseum – Italy 

Lina and David Stock at the Roman Colesseum in Italy - Wonders of the World
Divergent Travelers taking in the beauty of the Roman Colosseum

The Colosseum is a stunning example of the architectural innovation of the Roman Empire. Located in Italy, it is the largest and longest standing ancient amphitheater ever built. For four centuries, this amphitheater was used for gladiator shows, hunting shows, and public executions. 

The best time to visit – Avoid the large crowds and visit the monument during the low season (November to February). Regardless of when you visit, though, be sure to book your tickets well in advance to ensure your entrance to the site. It is often sold out months in advance.

How to get to the Colosseum – To get there you need to fly to Rome. Once there, you have plenty of options for getting to this architectural wonder. From the Colosseum, you can also access other iconic attractions, like the Roman Forum. 

Other details – View current opening times and admission fees here.

Our visit to the Colosseum: We visited in 2009 and 2022 during longer trips through Italy. These two visits were dramatically different but the site was equally impressive both times. Be sure to take a guided tour to learn the history of the site and gain access to the special ticketed areas.

3. The Great Wall of China – China 

Walking the Great Wall of China - Wonders of the World
Amazing views while hiking on the Great Wall of China

Stretching for over 20,000 kilometers, the Great Wall is a series of sturdy fortification systems built across China’s borders. Originally built to protect the Chinese empires and states, today it is one of the most popular places to visit in China. 

The best time to visit – Visit the Great Wall anytime between March and August for pleasant temperatures. Keep in mind that it will be warm, and you could experience some smog.

How to get there – Getting to the Great Wall can be tricky, especially since it has so many sections. It is best accessed from Beijing, and we recommend that you take a guided tour for a hassle-free trip. 

Other details – View current opening times and admission fees here.

Our visit to the Great Wall of China: We visited in 2012 during a trip to Beijing and again in 2014 during a longer trip through China. Both times we hiked with Great Wall Hiking. The first visit was a day hike from Simatai West to Jinshanling. On our second visit, we did a 3 day hike starting in Jiankou and ending in Jinshanling. This route visited sections at Mutianyu, Gubeikou, and Simatai West.

4. Petra – Jordan 

David Stock in front of the monastery in Petra, Jordan
David at the Petra Monastery

Petra is, no doubt, one of the most dazzling wonders of the world and the star of Jordan. Nicknamed the Rose City, this archaeological city wows travelers with its wonderful colors and rock-cut architecture. 

The best time to visit – The best time to visit Petra is either spring or late fall when the rainfall is low and the temperatures are pleasant. You’ll also avoid the crowds if you travel out of peak season.

How to get there – From Amman, the capital of Jordan, you’ll have to drive for about three hours to reach Petra via the Desert Highway. Most, if not all, guided tours in Jordan include a visit to Petra.

Other details – View current opening times and admission fees here.

Our visit to Petra: We have visited the Rose City of Petra four times since 2015. It’s that good. We’ve done the traditional guided visit with entry through the siq, hiked the back door three times, hiked every trail within the site, visited all the overlooks, and even hiked the Jordan Trail from Dana to Petra. Oh, and Petra by night. Jordan as a country is amazing, so be sure to explore its other wonders too.

5. Machu Picchu – Peru 

Lina and David Stock at Machu Picchu in Peru after hiking the Inca Trail
All smiles after 4 days of hiking on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

No list of the 8 wonders of the world is complete without Machu Picchu. For decades, this mystical attraction has been luring travelers with its breathtaking mountain backdrop and fabulous Inca ruins. 

The best time to visit – The best time to visit Machu Picchu is between April and September – the driest months of the year. 

How to get there – Fly to Lima, and then to Cusco. Spend a couple of days in Cusco, to get acclimatized to the high altitude. Afterward, head to Aguas Calientes, and take a public bus to Machu Picchu. Or book an Inca Trail hiking trip – our personal favorite way to do it.

Other details – View current opening times and admission fees here.

Our visit to Machu Picchu: We have visited Machu Picchu three times since 2012. On our first visit, we took the traditional bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and then the train to Aguas Calientes. On our last two visits, we hiked the full 4 day Inca Trail to enter the site through the Sun Gate. If you can manage to do the hike, we highly recommend this! There is nothing like walking in the footsteps of the Inca.

6. Chichén Itzá – Mexico 

Lina Stock at Chichen Itza pyramid in Mexico
In total awe of El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza

Located in Mexico in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, this archaeological marvel is a mythical city built by the ancient Mayan people. Every year, foreign and local travelers flock to this city to admire buildings, like El Castillo, the Temple of the Warriors, and El Caracol. 

The best time to visit – Weather-wise, the best time to visit Chichén Itzá is from November to March. If you want to escape the crowds, visit it in October. 

How to get there – Fly to Cancun, and head to Chichén Itzá by a public bus or an organized tour. Day trips run regularly from Cancun, any hotel in the Riviera Maya, and Tulum.

Other details – View current opening times and admission fees here.

Our visit to Chichen Itza: We visited Chichen Itza on a day trip while staying in the Riviera Maya. We combined it with a visit to Valladolid and two cenotes. We also booked this as a private tour, which made for a fantastic day of exploring the Yucatan. If you have it in your budget, we recommend going this route as you can arrange your visit during the lesser busy times of the day.

7. Christ the Redeemer – Brazil 

Lina & David Stock standing in front of the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Viewing Christ the Redeemer from up close

Created in 1922, and located in Brazil, this iconic statute is the most recently completed structure of the new 7 Wonders of the World. At 125 feet tall, this towering Jesus Christ statue, perched on Mount Corcovado, is an unmissable sight in Rio de Janeiro

The best time to visit – There’s not a bad time to visit this statue. To escape the crowds, visit it on a weekday before 08:30 AM or after 03:30 PM. 

How to get there – There are plenty of ways to reach the statue in Rio de Janeiro, including organized tours and taxi rides. 

Other details – View current opening times and admission fees here.

Our visit to Christ the Redeemer: We visited Christ the Redeemer during a longer 2-week trip around Brazil. As the site is relatively simple, we opted to do a standard visit one day and also booked a doors-off helicopter flight at sunset for another day. This gave us two perspectives and allowed us to appreciate this World Wonder.

8. Pyramids of Giza – Egypt

David Stock exploring the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
One of our favorite vantage points of the Giza Pyramid complex

The Pyramids of Giza are located in Egypt and are one of the most iconic and well-known wonders in the world. They were part of the original 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one that still exists today. This has earned them a spot as the eighth wonder of the world.

The best time to visit – First thing in the morning will offer an almost empty site. This can be great if you’re looking to get photos without a lot of people in them. Many tour buses visit the site in a steady flow throughout the day, no matter the season. Don’t forget to add the Sphinx to your visit, too!

How to get there – Once you arrive in Cairo, there are plenty of ways to reach the Pyramids of Giza. You can visit independently by booking a taxi or UBER from your hotel. However, we recommend that you book a guided tour to gain some history of the complex.  

Other details – View current opening times and admission fees here.

Our visit to the Pyramids of Giza: We have visited the Pyramids of Giza four times since 2015 on longer visits to Egypt. Having explored the complex independently and guided, we highly recommend a guide for your first visit. The history is rich and you’ll want to hear the stories. That said, don’t be afraid to wander the complex for different perspectives.

Protect Your Pursuit of the World Wonders

Lastly, taking a trip of any kind is an investment of your hard-earned money and the last thing you want is to risk a disruption or cancellation that ends with you losing that investment. This is one of the reasons we never leave home without travel insurance.

There are a lot of options out there for insurance, but we use and stand by Allianz Travel Insurance.

That said, we’ve been purchasing plans through them for the past 7 years and they have never let us down. Canceled flights, delayed flights, lost luggage, rental car damage, and a global pandemic, they’ve been there for us.

We always renew their AllTrips Premier annual plan that covers all our trips over 12 months. For single trips, we recommend looking at their OneTrip Prime or OneTrip Premier plans.

This article is sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance. As ambassadors we receive financial compensation. However, all opinions, stories, advice, and insane love for discovering the wonders of the world are 100% ours, as always.

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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