When exploring new and exciting places and cities, it can be easy to pass quickly through tourist attractions, checking them off the list and moving on to the next.
But if you find yourself rushing, you could be doing yourself a huge disservice.
Some tourist attractions offer more than meets the eye and are worth spending a day or even 2 to explore.
Below is a list of the tourist attractions where I believe you should spend a little extra time, as follows:
The Louvre, France
The Louvre is one of Paris’ must-see attractions and the most-visited museum in the world. Although much of the crowds gather for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa, there is plenty else to see in this museum. In fact, there are so many pieces of art, 1 could spend days exploring the permanent and rotating exhibitions and never see it all. With renowned paintings such as Delaroche’s Young Martyr, sculptures by Michelangelo, and the preserved apartments of Napoleon III, give yourself and take the time to see everything the Louvre has to offer.
Vatican City, Italy is an architectural feat that should be seen. And while you may be tempted to only visit St. Peter’s Square, there is much more to see than the Basilica from afar. The Sistine Chapel is not the only place to see Michelangelo’s masterpieces, so opt for a tour that shows of his other frescoes as well as artwork by Raphael, da Vinci, and many more. There is also the Hall of Maps, the Vatican Gardens, and the underground catacombs that are worth exploring and there is the Cupola of St. Peters up 551 steps to the Top.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Much of what makes Machu Picchu so incredible is that it resides on Top of a mountain. This means no matter how you arrive at the ancient city you will want to stay awhile. So, give yourself plenty of time to see the highlights such as the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Three Windows, and the IntihuatanaRock. And take the time to hike to the Sun Gate or Huayna Picchu, both offer amazing views of the ruins and the surrounding Andes Mountains.
Palace of Versailles, France
Just outside of Paris, the Palace of Versailles transports its visitors to a time when the French aristocracy lived a life of opulence and luxury. Although admission to the park and garden is (sometimes) free, you must go inside the palace to understand what all the fuss is about. Each room, from the Royal Opera House to Marie Antoinette’s Bedchamber, is more spectacular than the next. Since there’s so much to cover go back for a 2nd day.
La Sagrada Familia, Spain
The streets of Barcelona are lined with masterpieces by genius architect Antoni Gaudí and none are more famous than La Sagrada Familia. Although it has been under construction for over 100 years, the massive Gothic church is roughly the size of a football field and every angle is worth careful observation. The exterior of the Basilica with its elaborate facades and towers is spectacular. Visiting the interior, however, with its beautiful stained glass, tree-trunk columns, and enormous organ is just as breathtaking. Once inside take the time to see Gaudí’s tomb, which can be viewed through a window into the crypt.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USA
One of the most visited museums in the world, Washington DC’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History offers incredible value for free admission. Visitors often go straight to the 2nd floor to see permanent exhibitions like the Butterfly Pavilion and the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals featuring the Hope Diamond. The 1st floor has fewer crowds and will be easier to navigate, it is home to amazing exhibits that feature underwater sea creature displays like sculpted narwhal replicas and dinosaur skeletons.
The Great Wall of China, China
Popular spots on the Great Wall like Badaling and Mutiayanu are a 3-hour round trip journey from Beijing, so day-trippers must arise early to get enough time at the wall. If you are adventurous allot extra time to get further away from the crowds who congregate around the entrances. There is great hiking along the wall, including a 2-day overnight trip from Hexi Village to Gubeikou and Panlong.
9/11 Memorial and Museum, USA
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was built at Ground Zero, where thousands of people lost their lives in the September 11 terrorist attacks. In fact, the museum is built around the remnants of the Twin Towers, including a concrete stairway that survivors used to exit the building. Although the museum is sobering, emotional, and unbelievably sad, it pays homage to the victims and heroes of 9/11. The memorial is quiet, reflective, and beautiful and should not be rushed. So, take your time through this worthwhile tribute to seriously contemplate the loss experienced that day.
Enjoy your travels