World Tour 5: Portugal thru Wales

World Tour – 5 is the final gallery of your quick global sightseeing. Thousands of travel photos are available on Encircle Photos from across the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. So you are just getting started. Enjoy traveling!

Share this

1 Tower of Belém in Lisbon, Portugal

In the early 16th century, King Manuel I ordered a fortification to be built along the Tagus River to protect Lisbon from invasion. This 100 foot, limestone tower with exquisite turrets, canon portholes and the hexagon bastion on the right was finished in 1519. The Torre de Belém’s unique architectural style is named Manueline after the Portuguese king. It failed twice during battle and was later used as a prison.

Av. Brasília & Av. Torre de Belem 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

2 Moors Castle in Óbidos, Portugal

The Óbidos Castle was first built by the Moors during their occupation of Portugal starting in 713 AD. It was reclaimed by King Afonso Henriques in 1148. The Medieval citadel and its surrounding walls were then rebuilt and enhanced during the 13th, 14th and 20th centuries.

Estr. da Cerca, 2510-999 Óbidos, Portugal
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

3 Pena National Palace Entrance Gate in Sintra, Portugal

Follow these tourists through the front gate of the Pena National Palace. Built upon the ruins of a Hieronymites monastery that was destroyed during a 1755 earthquake, this summer palace for Portuguese royalty was started in 1840 by King Ferdinand II and completed the year he died in 1885.

Park and National Palace of Pena Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

4 Introduction to Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce richly deserves its nickname “The Pearl of the South.” Founded in 1693 and named after Spaniard Juan Ponce de León y Loayza, this delightful city of 170,000 Puerto Ricans is filled with marvelous architecture facing the Caribbean Sea. Ponce also makes an excellent hub to explore the island’s western towns and coastline. This cityscape was captured from the gardens of Castillo Serrallés.

Sector El Vigia, Paseo De La Cruceta, Ponce, 00730, Puerto Rico
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

5 Overview of El Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico

You are about to be one of the two million people a year who visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro. This massive, six-level fortress dominates 70 acres at the northwest tip of Isleta de San Juan. El Morro was a formidable military post for 422 years, beginning with the Spanish in 1539 and ending with the U.S. Army in 1961. This must-see citadel was designated as a UNESCO World heritage Site in 1983.

El Morro, Calle del Morro, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

6 State Historical Museum in Red Square in Moscow, Russia

The State Historical Museum was founded in 1872. Located at the northwest end of Red Square, it opened in 1883 in sync with the coronation of Alexander III of Russia, nicknamed The Peacemaker. The red building’s Russian Revivalism style is credited to architect Vladimir Sherwood. The collection’s nearly five million items and 20,000 exhibits chronical Russia’s history and culture. Each of the 35 halls is devoted to a different era in the world’s biggest country beginning with the Stone Age. Although all written descriptions are in Russian, a visit is still highly recommended.

State Historical Museum, Red Square, Moskva, 109012, Russia
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

7 Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Along the Griboedov Canal is one of Saint Petersburg’s most iconic sites: Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. The Russian Orthodox church was commissioned in 1883 to mark the place where Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. The Romantic Nationalism design by architect Alfred Parland required 24 years to complete. Also called the Resurrection of Christ Church, its prominent features are five colorful onion domes decorated with gold and semi-precious jewels.

Griboyedov Channel Embankment, 2A, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

8 Early History of Catherine Palace near Saint Petersburg, Russia

Among the land acquired by the Russians after their victory over the Swedes in 1709 was the Sarishoff estate (Sarskaya Myza). In 1710, Peter the Great gifted the property to his fiancée, Catherine Alexeyevna. Her name had been Marta Skavronskaya before converting to the Russian Orthodox religion five years before. As her summer residence was being built, the town of Tsarskoe Selo emerged to house servants and builders. After the death of Peter I in 1727, she became Catherine I, Empress of All Russia, for two years. During her reign, the palace that bore her name was relatively modest. But by the mid-18th century, Catherine Palace evolved into an extravagant imperial residence. Its lavish Russian Baroque design rivaled the most beautiful European palaces. When Catherine the Great died in 1796 and her son became Russian Emperor Paul I, he abandoned the palace. Although other Russian rulers of the Romanov dynasty occasionally used the Great Tsarskoye Selo Palace until 1917, it never regained the glory of the 18th century. Catherine Palace is located in the municipal town of Pushkin, a suburb of Saint Petersburg about 15 miles from city center.

Garden St, 7, Pushkin, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 196601
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

9 Introduction to Peterhof Palace near Saint Petersburg, Russia

Peter Alexeyevich – better known as Peter the Great – was Tsar of All Russia from 1682 until 1721 when he founded the Russian Empire. He was Russia’s first emperor until he died in 1725. In 1705, Peter I commissioned J. F. Braunstein and later Jean-Baptiste Le Blond – then the Architect to the Crown – to design Peterhof (Peter’s Court) on the Gulf of Finland near Saint Petersburg. He wanted his summer palace to resemble Versailles in France. Empress Elizabeth, Catherine the Great and Nicholas I all expanded the opulent estate and grounds called Peterhof Palace. Today, this historic complex contains an incredible array of palaces, gardens and fountains on 9,721 acres. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the municipal town of Petergof, about a 45 minute drive from Saint Petersburg.

Razvodnaya Ulitsa, 2, Petergof, Sankt-Peterburg, 198516, Russia
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

10 Islands in Cul-de-Sac Bay North of Orient Beach in Saint-Martin

North of Orient Beach is Cul-de-Sac Bay. Along its shoreline are homes with enviable views of aquamarine water and two islands. In the foreground is Petite Clef or Little Key. It is uninhabited unless you consider migratory pelicans to be residents. In the background is Pinel Island or, in French, Îlet de Pinel. This islet is visited by those seeking excellent snorkeling, sheltered waters for kayaking, hideaway beaches and rustic hiking trails.

Hotel Mont Vernon, Rue du Mont Vernon , St Martin
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

11 Blackbeard’s Castle in Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas

For a small entrance fee, you can tour Blackbeard’s Castle and other historic buildings in the King’s Quarter of Charlotte Amalie. Although I highly recommend the tour, the name is a misnomer. First, the Skytsborg Tower was built as part of a Danish fort in 1680, the same year the pirate was born as Edward Teach or Thatch. Second, although Blackbeard did plunder ships along the Lesser Antilles, some historians believe he never set foot on St. Thomas. However, several other pirates and bootleggers did have a safe haven on the island at the turn of the 17th century. So what is fact versus fiction is murky but the view from the top is worth climbing up the 40 foot circular staircase.

Blackbeard's Castle, 1002 Blackbeard's Hill, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas 00802, USVI
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

12 Couple Reading and Napping at Magens Bay on the Northside, Saint Thomas

There are about forty beaches on the island of St. Thomas. One of the most popular is Magens Bay on the Northside. It has an exquisite sandy beach that stretches for three quarters of a mile. Although it tends to be crowded, there is always plenty of room to find your spot to lie down and enjoy a good book or a great nap.

Magens Bay Park, Magen's Bay Rd, St Thomas 00802, USVI
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

13 Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch when in Scotland, is an architectural time capsule. On the far left are the ruins of the Augustinian Abbey commissioned by King David I in 1128. Next to it is the dominant north-west tower. King James V ordered its construction in 1528 and William Aytoun finished this first phase in 1532. Inside the James’ Tower was the royal apartment of Mary, Queen of Scots. After being partially destroyed in 1544, the palace was extensively renovated and expanded beginning in 1672. Above the main entrance from the outer courtyard is a relief of the Royal Arms of Scotland, a clock manufactured in 1680 and a cupola shaped as a crown.

Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

14 Main Building at the University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland

From its founding in the mid-15h century until about 1870, the University of Glasgow conducted classes in various locations around the city. A replacement campus was then designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the West End on Gilmorehill. Their Main Building along South Front is not only spectacular but also the second largest Gothic Revival building in the United Kingdom. The 279 foot bell tower was added in 1891 by Scott’s son. The university has more than 25,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

5 University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8NN, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

15 Eilean Donan Castle Profile on Loch Duich in Scottish Highlands, Scotland

The 13th century Eilean Donan Castle lay in ruins for 200 years, from 1719 until 1919, when John MacRae-Gilstrap began building his vision of the Clan Mackenzie castle. When it was finished in 1932, historians claimed it bore little resemblance to the original. However, as a romanticized version of a medieval castle, Eilean Donan has become a major tourist destination in the Scottish Highlands. It sits on an island within Loch Duich and is accessible by a stone bridge.

A87 Kyle IV40, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

16 Northwest Highlands Gateway at Inverness, Scotland

Inverness is a great, one-day stop during any road trip through Scotland. But its location at the northern tip of the Great Glen, a 62 mile long valley, also makes this the perfect base while exploring the lochs, mountains and islands throughout the Northwest Highlands. Whichever you select, make sure you stay at least for one sunset. That is when the city’s landmarks, such as the Old High and St Columba’s High Churches plus the Greig Street Footbridge, are bathed in a wonderful golden hue.

42 Huntly St, Inverness IV3 5HR, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

17 First Tee at Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland

There are approximately two billion people worldwide who play golf. Many of them fantasize about teeing off at the Old Course at St Andrews, the birthplace of golf around 1400 AD. The game was banned by Scottish kings from 1457 until 1502. In 1764, the original 22 holes were reduced to 18, thus setting today’s standard. In 1894, the Town Council declared the course to be open to the public. So make your pilgrimage to St Andrews, have your friends take your photo on the first tee (called the Burn), and then stay at the Old Course Hotel in the background while indulging in all six courses in town.

22 Golf Pl, St Andrews KY16 9JD, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

18 Ajumas at Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan, South Korea

As your mesmerization wanes from staring at Jagalchi Fish Market’s displays, you begin to realize a common denominator: all of the fishmongers are women. They are called Jagalchi Ajumas, meaning middle-aged married women. These multi-tasking females seem tireless, capable of gutting the fresh catch-of-the-day while bargaining with multiple customers and beckoning for new ones.

52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Nampo-dong, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

19 Gwandeokjeong Pavilion Outside Jejumok-Gwana in Jeju City, South Korea

Gwandeokjeong Pavilion is the oldest structure in Jeju City. Built in 1448 by governor and pastor Sin Suk-Cheong, the magnificently decorated wooden structure was used as a training ground for soldiers during the Joseon Dynasty. The word Gwandeok implies the need to train and discipline the mind and body with righteous virtue. Registered as National Treasure Number 322, Gwandeokjeong Pavilion stands in front of Jejumok-Gwana.

43-3 Samdo-dong, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

20 Landmarks at Montjuïc Hill and Park in Barcelona, Spain

The 700 foot elevation of Montjuïc Hill provides wonderful views of central Barcelona and the Mediterranean. This is just the beginning of the attractions warranting exploration. An example is the National Art Museum of Catalonia below these towers and domes. This is one of a few pavilions left from the 1929 International Exhibition. You will also find stadiums that hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics, the Jardí Botánic botanical gardens, a Spanish village named Poble Espanyol, the Magic Fountain (Font Mágica) and the historic Montjuïc Castle. Within Montjuïc Park are a bullring, convention centers and Venetian Towers.

Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

21 Brief Historical Overview of Cádiz, Spain

Cádiz is on a peninsula jetting into the Atlantic in southwestern Spain. This coastal position made it an important seaport since it was founded as Gadir by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. The city was sequentially controlled by the Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors. Starting in 1500 and extending for 300 years, the city grew wealthy as the primary Spanish trading center with the New World. To protect their riches, Cádiz was encased by a network of formidable walls and forts. Their prosperity continued until occupied by the French in the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815). This led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812 being written in Cádiz. Although overturned, this proclamation became the foundation for Spain’s constitutional monarchy ratified in 1978. This is now the capital city of the Province of Cádiz. Seen in the background from along Avenue Campo del Sur is Cádiz Cathedral.

Av. Campo del Sur, 286, 11002 Cádiz, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

22 Roman Theatre of Cartago Nova in Cartagena, Spain

After the Romans defeated the Carthaginians in 209 BC during the Second Punic War, they renamed the city Carthago Nova. It grew in strategic importance and wealth thanks to silver and lead mining and active trade in the port. When Julius Caesar proclaimed it to be a Roman colony in 44 BC, the city gained further status and success. While Augustus was Emperor of the Roman Empire (27 BC to 14 AD), he heavily invested in prestigious infrastructure. The Roman Theatre of Cartago Nova was built during this era. It is hard to understand how this archeological gem from 4 BC was buried for 1,800 years until discovered in 1987. Now sit on one of the 6,000 seats within the 288 foot wide theatre. Imagine hearing music from the orchestra pit. Pretend to watch a grand performance on stage. Marvel at the remnants of pink marble columns that once supported a 53 foot magnificent structure. This is an incredible experience!

Plaza Ayuntamiento, 9, 30202 Cartagena, Murcia, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

23 Roman Bridge in Córdoba, Spain

The Roman Bridge derives its name from when it was built by command of Augustus. He was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire who reigned from 27 BC until 14 AD. The crossing over the Guadalquivir River was reconstructed in the early 8th century by Al-Samh, the Arab governor of Al-Andalus. This was the Muslim territory comprising most of today’s Portugal and Spain. Additional renovations and expansions occurred during five centuries yet it has largely maintained its medieval appearance. The 820 foot length of Puente Romano is supported by 16 arches. The landmarks in the background are (left to right): The Bishop’s Palace, Triumph of San Raphael, the Puerta de Puente and the Mosque-Cathedral.

Puente Romano, 14009 Córdoba, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

24 Royal Palace of Madrid in Madrid, Spain

While the King of Spain from 1700 – 1724, Felipe V (Philip V) commissioned architect Fillippo Juvarra to build a royal residence after the Alcázar on this site was destroyed by fire in 1734. In 1764, King Charles III was the first monarch to live in the Palacio Real de Madrid. In 1931, Alfanso XIII was the last king at the Royal Palace before fleeing the conurty. Since then, the Baroque palace has been reserved for state functions and a daily flow of tourists. Only a portion of the 1.4 million square feet and over 3,400 rooms – Europe’s largest palace – is available to tour.

Plaza de la Armería, 2, 28013 Madrid, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

25 Sailing into the Port in Málaga, Spain

Regardless of how you sail into Málaga – whether aboard a scrappy sailboat or a luxury cruise ship – you will be impressed with this charming jewel along the southern coast of Andalusia, Spain. This metro area of about 1.6 million people has attracted residents for nearly 3,000 years. Fans of history will delight in exploring fascinating sites ranging in age from the 1st century BC through the end of the 16th century. Among the highlights are a Roman theatre, medieval fortresses and the Cathedral of Incarnation seen in the background. After disembarking at one of the piers (this is Muelle Dos), use the 276 foot bell tower as your beacon to start your walking tour. At the end of the day, return to enjoy the delightful attractions at the port.

Paseo del Mulle Uno, 29001 Málaga, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

26 New Town From Puente Nuevo in Ronda, Spain

Puente Nuevo is a feat of 18th century engineering for spanning the El Tajo. After its construction, the New Town called El Mercadillo (Little Market) flourished and is now the city’s commercial center. On the right is Plaza España. The Parador de Ronda Hotel is perched on the massive wall of Tajo Gorge. To understand the grandeur of this escarpment, notice the relative size of the people walking along the promenade.

Calle Armiñán, 3, 29400 Ronda, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

27 Expo Sevilla 1929 in María Luisa Park in Seville, Spain

In 1893, María Luisa d’Orleans, the wife of the Duke of Montpensier, donated the gardens of the San Telmo Palace to Seville. The 170 acres adjacent to the Guadalquivir River became an ideal location for the Ibero-American Exposition during the summer of 1929. Numerous pavilions were constructed to represent various countries. Master designer Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier also orchestrated the creation of ponds and fountains among the trees and flower gardens. The resulting Parque de María Luisa was a spectacular setting for Expo Sevilla 1929. As evident from this view of Plaza de España, María Luisa Park continues to be a must-see location when visiting Sevilla.

Av de Isabel la Católica, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

28 Lipstick Building and Barken Viking Ship in Gothenburg, Sweden

Side-by-side at Gothenburg’s harbor are two of its famous landmarks. On the left is the Barken Viking, the Nordic countries’ largest sailing ship at 387 feet. The four-masted barque was launched in 1906 as part of Denmark’s merchant fleet, decommissioned in 1950 and is now a hotel and restaurant. On the right is the distinctive Skanska Skyscraper. Although formally called Lilla Bommen, the red upper floors earned it the nickname The Lipstick Building. Near the top of Läppstiftet’s 282 feet height is the Götheborgs Utkiken observation deck.

Jussi Björlings plats Christina Nilssons gata 1, 411 04 Göteborg, Sweden
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

29 Kärnan Fortress Tower in Helsingborg, Sweden

The Kärnan is all that remains of the original Helsingborg Castle that was built by King Eric VI of Denmark at the start of the 14th century. The fortress held a strategic position to protect the narrow strait of the Øresund sound. The citadel exchanged hands several times between Denmark and Sweden until most of the castle was demolished during the late 17th century. Yet this 115 foot tower has stood proudly for over 700 years.

Kärnan Slottshagsgatan, 250 07 Helsingborg, Sweden
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

30 Rådhuset or Town Hall in Malmö, Sweden

In the northeast corner of the Stortorget square is Malmö’s architectural gem: the Rådhuset. This magnificent building was constructed in 1546. It replaced an earlier town hall dating back to the mid-14th century. The current Dutch Renaissance façade of the radhus was added around 1860.

Stortorget 3, 211 22 Malmö, Sweden
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

31 Storkyrkan Cathedral Clock Tower in Stockholm, Sweden

Dominating the skyline of Gamla stan, the Old Town of Stockholm, is Storkyrkan. The clock tower reaches 216 feet. Located next to the Royal Palace, the cathedral is historically the site of royal religious ceremonies. Church of St. Nicholas was founded in 1279. The Great Church was completed in 1306 and reconstructed in 1740.

Trångsund 1, 111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

32 Rathaus Town Hall in Basel, Switzerland

The centerpiece of Basel, Switzerland, is the Rathaus. It was the site of the first Town Hall in the 14th century when citizens wanted independence from a ruling bishop. This gorgeous, red sandstone government center with three pointed arcades was built in the early 16th century, decorated with frescos in the early 17th century, and the bell tower was added around 1900. The Cantonal Government of Basel-Stadt still meet here every week and the Parliament assembles bi-monthly.

Marktpl. 9 4001 Basel, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

33 Marktgasse and Zytgloggeturm Clock Tower in Bern, Switzerland

Marktgasse is the main pedestrian street through the Old Town of Bern. It is flanked with 17th and 18th century buildings and arcades decorated with colorful flags, statues, fountains and guild signs. Ahead of this couple is the 13th century Zytgloggeturm tower. On the west side is the painted fresco called “Beginning of Time.” Facing Kramgasse is a famous astronomical clock.

Bim Zytglogge 3, 3011 Bern, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

34 Swimming Swan Beneath Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland

No visit to Lucerne, Switzerland is complete without walking across the world’s oldest truss bridge and hearing the wooden boards creak below your feet while staring up at the 17th century paintings within its triangular frames. The Kapellbrücke, also called Chapel Bridge, was built across the Reuss River in 1333. In the background are the Wasserturm water tower and the majestic, snow-capped Swiss Alps. The perfect accent is the swimming swan.

Kapellbrücke 6004 Lucerne, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

35 Picturesque Monte Carlo of Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland is nicknamed the Monte Carlo of Switzerland because of all the rich and famous who visit. With stunning scenery like this, it is easy to see why it is such a popular, cosmopolitan resort town. Its Lugano Lake, also called Ceresio, has glacial origins. Yet it stays relatively warm thanks to the area’s mild climate. Lugano’s official language is Italian. This accommodates visitors who make the short drive from Northern Italy. It is a must see destination regardless of what country you are from.

Piazza Bernardino Luini 2 6900 Lugano, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

36 Château de Nyon and Terrace in Nyon, Switzerland

This castle in Nyon, Switzerland, was first built in 1272 by Cossonay Prangins who was part of the Cossonay family, nobility from the Canton of Vaud. It has experienced several expansions and renovations over more than 700 years. It is now a history museum that includes an extensive collection of porcelain dating back to the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Nyon Castle Place du Château 5, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

37 Romantic Couple With Tulips Along Lake Geneva in Ouchy, Switzerland

Few settings are more romantic than sitting on a bench close to your partner along Quai de Beique in Ouchy. The promenade is encircled by hundreds of gorgeous tulips and pansies. Who needs words when you can hold hands while marveling at the beauty of the Alps from across Lake Geneva along the southern shore?

Place du Général-Guisan 1006 Ouchy, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

38 Cathedral of St. Ursus and Basle Gate in Solothurn, Switzerland

Up this staircase is the Cathedral of St. Urs and Viktor, a magnificent Roman Catholic church that was finished in 1773. Its baroque and neo-classical style, with Corinthian columns and a copper dome above the bell tower, was built with white Jura limestone. On the left is Basel Gate, which was built in the early 16th century as the eastern entrance to the fortified town.

St. Ursen-Kathedrale Seilergasse 4, 4500 Solothurn, Switzerland
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

39 Gilded Garuda around Ubosoth in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, Thailand

The Wat Phra Kaew is the most revered Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand. Inside this Grand Palace are two, 16 foot, gate-keeping giants with ornate swords that protect the 100 buildings within the 200+ acre complex. Surrounding the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, called an ubosoth, are 112 of these gilded Garuda man-eagles. Inside is the Emerald Buddha, which only the king is allowed near.

Na Phra Lan Rd, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

40 Brick Chedi Ruins at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Construction of this enormous brick chedi began in 1391. It was the tallest building in the Kingdom of Lanna upon completion in 1475. This religious landmark was partially destroyed during an earthquake in 1545 and then fell to the Toungoo Empire a few years later. That Burmese dynasty was once the largest empire in Southeast Asia. Today, this giant stupa at Wat Chedi Luang is in ruins but is still impressive.

103 Road King Prajadhipok Phra Singh, Muang District, Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

41 Mahouts Bathing Elephants in Pond in Hang Chat, Thailand

Twice a day the elephants at the Elephant Conservation Center in northern Thailand are led by their mahouts or professional keepers towards a pond where they are bathed and cooled off. Notice how the men seem relaxed on the backs of these giant animals yet the women are desperately holding on. That is because they are part of a homestay program where you are taught to care for an elephant for a few days. On day one, it is very easy to fall off your swimming elephant.

2031 Thai Elephant Conservation Center, Tambon Wiang Tan, Amphoe Hang Chat, Lampang 52190, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

42 Chedi Kukut Close Up at Wat Chamthewi in Lamphun, Thailand

These are nine of the 60 standing, Dvaravati style Buddha statues inside niches that surround the Chedi Kukut at Wat Chamthewi. The stupa’s square base is 50 feet wide and the five tiers reach a height of 69 feet. Inside are the ashes of Queen Chama Thewi who became the first ruler of the Haripunchai Kingdom in 663 A.D.

Wat Cham Thewi, Moo 5, Tambon Nai Mueang, Amphoe Mueang Lamphun, Lamphun, 51000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

43 Minutes Before Tsunami on 12-26-2004 at Maya Bay in Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

In the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach, college students seek paradise in the Phi Phi Islands of Thailand with disastrous results. Four years later, my family had a similar experience within minutes of arriving in Maya Bay where the movie was filmed. This was the last photo I took before we were nearly killed by the 2004 tsunami. If you look closely, the water is retreating under this long-tailed boat. Soon the water completely drained from the bay and a few minutes later a huge wave engulfed me and my two children. We nearly drowned. Read the full stories in the Adventures section.

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

44 Library of Celsus Ruins in Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus was a Greek city of half a million people dating back to 10 B.C. This archeological gem is located on Turkey’s western coast. Although only a small portion has been excavated, it is an amazing collection of Greek and Roman ruins. The site includes temples, a theater and a basilica. The most impressive is the two-story, 52 foot façade of the Library of Celsus. It once contained over 12,000 scrolls. This magnificent structure was built as a tomb in 117 A.D.

Celsus Library Acarlar Mahallesi, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

45 Dome and Semi-domes of Süleymaniye Camii Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

The interior of the Süleymaniye Camii Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, is almost 200 feet high and wide. Look up! The 173 foot dome is surrounded by semi-domes, arches and massive columns punctuated by 200 stained-glass windows that accent the brilliant coloring. It was built by 3,500 workers and finished in 1558. A three-year restoration project was completed in 2010.

Süleymaniye Cami & Süleymaniye Cd., 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

46 Secluded Tropical Nirvana in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

Five main beaches stretch contiguously along the western shoreline of Grand Turk. The most popular are (from south to north) Cruise Center, Governor’s and Pillory Beaches. They are also the most crowded. If a secluded paradise is more your style, just look for signs along Duke Street reading, “Columbus Landfall National Park Beach Access.” They are your pathway to a tropical nirvana. Enjoy the view!

Columbus Landfall National Park, Beach Access Pond St, Cockburn Town TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

47 Woman Wearing Abaya with Hijab Scarf Inside Al Fahidi Fort in Dubai, UAE

About 25,000 cranes have built exceptional architecture across Dubai’s skyline, including the world’s tallest building and three islands in the shape of a palm. In contrast, the oldest building from 1787 is the Al Fahidi Fort. It is now the Dubai Museum. This woman, who is wearing an Abaya long black robe with a Hijab head scarf, is standing in the fort’s courtyard.

Al Fahidi, 8 58 St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

48 Boys Sitting on La Mano, The Hand, on Brava Beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay

A large percent of the 9,000 people living in Punta del Este, Uruguay serve wealthy tourists. The visitors flock to this quaint resort town for the nightlife and beaches. Brava Beach is very popular for sunning and swimming. In the center is this monument to the drowned. La Mano, or The Hand, consists of five giant fingers protruding from the sand. The concrete sculpture by Mario Irarrázabal has become a local landmark since the dramatic artwork was erected in 1982.

Brava Beach, Punta del Este, Uruguay
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

49 Sunrise over Isles and Fishing Boats in Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

In the northern part of the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam is Ha Long Bay. This geological marvel is one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Legend declares dragons created the 1,600 limestone isles. From afar they look like the backbone scales of a giant, swimming sea creature. Watching the sun rise on this mystical place was breathtaking, particularly as the local fishermen embrace the wind and waves of a new day.

Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

50 Burning Incense at Altar of Thiên Hâu Temple in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Thiên Hâu Temple in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, reveres Mazu. The sea goddess was born in 960 A.D. and is the protector of sailors and fishermen. The Chinatown entrance features small porcelain figures below two sea serpents. These delicate, blue and tan figurines with pointed ears fill the courtyard roofs. This leads to the altar with three bronze Thiên Hâu statues in brightly colored robes. Throughout the pagoda are urns filled with burning joss sticks and conical incense coils. The result is a heavy smoke that drifts and twirls everywhere.

710 Nguyễn Trãi, Phường 11, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

51 Western Towers of Caernarfon Castle in Caernarfon, Wales

This view of the 13th century Caernarfon Castle from near the Aber Swing Bridge on the south bank of Afon Seiont provides a panorama of the western defenses. Let’s start on the left and look right. The arched opening is Water Gate leading from the quay to Castle Ditch Street. Behind it is the Well Tower. In the foreground is Eagle Tower and next to it is Queen’s Tower. These are three of a dozen towers encircling Caernarfon Castle. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, spelled Caernarvon in English, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Wales. The warm hue of the façade is courtesy of a wonderful sunset.

Caernarfon Castle Castle Ditch, Caernarfon LL55 2AY, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

52 Outer Main Gatehouse at Caerphilly Castle in Caerphilly, Wales

This is the Outer Main Gatehouse of Caerphilly Castle and the tourist entrance to the attraction. In the 13th century, there were two draw bridges before reaching this point. Inside was a third bridge leading to the East Gatehouse. Imagine being a soldier of Llwelyh ap Gruffudd, the last Prince of Wales, ordered to storm this citadel in 1270 under a barrage of arrows and javelins fired from five levels of slits in the tower. Despite those odds, they succeeded in burning the half-finished castle. However, Gilbert de Clare reclaimed it within a year and continued its construction through 1290, making it into one Wale’s greatest and innovative strongholds.

Caerphilly Castle, Castle St, Caerphilly CF83 1JD, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

53 South African War Memorial Statue in Cardiff, Wales

The South African War Memorial is a tribute to the 817 Welsh soldiers who died during the Second Boer War from October, 1899 through May of 1902. The bronze winged statue holding an olive tree represents Peace. On the right is another allegorical sculpture by Albert Toft symbolizing Grief. This tribute was erected in Cathays Park along King Edward VII Street in 1908. In the background are the twin Baroque towers of the Cardiff Crown Court.

King Edward III Ave, Cardiff CF10 3NL, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

54 Southern Façade of Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales

After King Edward I of England suppressed the Welsh in 1283, he demanded their Aberconwy Abbey be moved and this impressive castle be built on its site. Architect John Bonvillars and grand mason James St. George orchestrated hundreds of laborers to complete the Edwardian stronghold within four years. This perspective from across the River Conwy shows the castle’s southern curtain wall. It was constructed from sandstone and limestone. The four towers from left to right are the South-West, Prison, Bakehouse and King’s Towers.

Castle Square, Conwy LL32 8AY, UK
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions