Over 2,000 years ago the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World were named by the Greek historian Herodotus and the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene. Today, only one of the original wonders remains—The Great Pyramid of Giza. As the only relic left standing, it is likely at the top of any Wonders of the World travel itinerary.
Past this point, defining the Wonders of the World and charting your travel itinerary gets a little complicated.
Following much debate and an online vote, the New Seven Wonders of the World list was released just over 20 years ago. But be advised, there are several versions of the New Seven Wonders list, and some include The Great Pyramid of Giza, bringing the total number of wonders to eight.
The New Seven Wonders of the World are:
- The Great Wall of China
- The Ruins of Petra in Jordan
- Chichen Itza in Mexico
- Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
- The Taj Mahal in India
- Machu Picchu in Peru
- The Colosseum in Rome
- The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.*
If you have not noticed, all the wonders listed above have one thing in common: they are manmade.
Many believe that the Seven Natural Wonders of the World should also be recognized. At a time when we are all returning to travel and seeing new things, we agree this list should be included. It also helps that all but one of the Natural Wonders can easily be viewed from space (making them near and dear to our hearts and our MOVA Earth With Clouds Globe, pictured above).
The Seven Natural Wonders of the World are:
- Mount Everest in Nepal
- The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
- Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe
- Harbor of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil
- The Northern Lights
- The Grand Canyon in Arizona
- The Paricutin Volcano in Mexico
Now that the lists have been established, all that is left is to view them—in person or possibly as seen from space.
A Once-in-a-Lifetime Trip
When making plans to visit rare and wondrous things, especially when they are spread around the world, it can seem a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, there are some thrilling options.
Whether you prefer to travel by sea or by air, several options exist that allow you to view all New Seven Wonders of the World in one single trip. Many tour companies offer a month-long trip package that includes airfare, hotels, transportation, and tour guides at each location. Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam each offer a RTW booking code for a round the world ticket that allows travelers flexibility in itineraries (within each airlines rules for booking) and sightseeing. Your third option for an all-in-one travel experience is a Seven Wonders cruise. They are offered by a variety of cruise lines and vary in length, so you can decide if you want to spend several weeks or months aboard a cruise ship sailing the seven seas to see the Seven Wonders.
Sightseeing on a Smaller Scale
If a globe-trotting tour is a bit above your budget, you can start small. Very small. You can easily view many of the Natural Seven Wonders of the World from space. The New Seven Wonders can also be found in satellite images, but they are harder to identify and would not be visible by an astronaut whizzing around the Earth on the International Space Station (ISS).
Perhaps the most striking wonder from space is the Northern Lights. Astronaut Bob Hines tweeted “Absolutely SPECTACULAR aurora today!!!” along with a set of pictures taken aboard the ISS from above aurora borealis in August of 2022.
While the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro can easily be seen from space (best viewed at night or on the MOVA Earth at Night Globe, pictured above), as it is the world’s largest natural bay. Christ the Redeemer—with his towering height of 98 feet, span of 92 feet, and permanent stance atop Mount Corcovado looking down upon the same harbor—is not.
Known as quite possibly the greatest space-based myth, the Great Wall of China is not clearly viewed from space. For many years it was labeled the only “man-made object visible from space.” The myth was busted in 2004 when Chinese Astronaut Yang Liwei commented, “The Earth looked very beautiful from space, but I did not see the Great Wall.”
Victoria Falls (the world’s largest sheet of falling water) can be seen from space as a stark white line amid lush greens and deep blues at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Several years ago, images of Victoria Falls were captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite mission and can be viewed during a narrated video released by the European Space Agency.
An Unlikely Pair of Wonders
Among the 15 total wonders, two stick out as a bookend pair. They are the oldest and the newest. One is man-made and the other formed naturally. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was constructed between 2550 and 2490 B.C, while the Paricutin Volcano in Mexico formed in 1943. Both have been captured on satellite images and both had witnesses to their formations, although the Paricutin Volcano is the only wonder of the 15 whose witnesses are alive today.
The Paricutin Volcano began as an eruption in a flat field about 200 miles west of Mexico City on February 20, 1943. It destroyed two villages and reached its peak of 9,210 feet in 1952, when it became dormant. Many of the eruptions were captured on film, allowing for a unique view into one of the Earth’s youngest volcanoes, and sealed its fate as a Natural Wonder of the World.
One of the clearest pictures of the Great Pyramids of Giza was taken by astronaut Terry Verts on his last day aboard the ISS in 2015. The pyramids are seen as structures casting a shadow in the sun, as opposed to the tan squares set in a sea of tan desert we knew before. Seeing the pyramids (from space or in-person) is not an easy journey, but one that holds great reward upon reaching the destination.
Any View of a Wonder of the World is a Good One
No matter if you view them in groups on a grand tour, individually on a backpacking trip, or as images from space from the comfort of your living room, the Wonders of the World are beautiful treasures that should be experienced and explored by all, by any means possible. We wish you a safe and awe-inspired journey around the globe.