Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Thu August 20 2015

Lonely Planet Ranks the World's 10 Best Tourist Attractions

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | August 20, 2015

Lonely Planet Ranks the World's 10 Best Tourist Attractions

PHOTO: The Grand Canyon nabbed a spot in Lonely Planet's list of the world's 10 best tourist attractions. (Courtesy of Thinkstock)

A traveler's bucket list is almost certain to comprise more than 10 items. But those looking to narrow their list down should look no further than Lonely Planet's "Ultimate Travel" list.

In it, the travel guide book publisher ranks the 500 best places on the planet.

Here's how the top 10 shook out:

10. Aya Sofya

Once a church and a mosque, the Aya Sofya is now a museum located in Istanbul, Turkey. Constructed nearly 1,500 years ago, the structure now houses architecture and mosaics from throughout history. 

Unsurprisingly, TripAdvisor ranks it as the No. 1 thing to do in Istanbul based on traveler reviews.

9. Alhambra

Visitors to Spain's Andalusia region shouldn't leave before experiencing Alhambra, a palace complex boasting immense history and beauty. 

8. Iguazu Falls

Situated in the heart of the subtropical rainforest on the border of Brazil and Argentina, South America's Iguazu Falls is a stunning display of nature. In total, Iguazu Falls features some 275 drops, the highest of which measures nearly 270 feet.

7. Colosseum

Dating all the way back to 70 AD, Rome's Colosseum is one of the most recognizable and popular tourist attractions on the planet. A structure that once hosted 50,000-plus spectators is now a monument thousands of tourists explore each year. 

6. Grand Canyon National Park 

While Lonely Planet's list features a plethora of amazing man-made wonders, the Grand Canyon is one of the nature's top marvels. 

Spanning 277 miles and measuring four to 18 miles wide, it's no wonder Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited in the U.S. and the only American attraction to crack the top 10.

5. Taj Mahal

India's Taj Mahal is another centuries-old attraction. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan constructed the mausoleum for his wife in the 17th century, and today the site draws millions of tourists from around the world. 

4. Great Wall of China

Crossing most of China, the Great Wall is not one, but a maze of walls covering thousands of miles. That said, it's a hard attraction to miss for any Chinese visitor. But it's a must-see site nonetheless. 

3. Machu Picchu

Peru's Machu Picchu, an icon of Inca civilization, is equally impressive and mysterious. Restoration efforts have been ongoing for the past 100-plus years, but no one can say for sure how it went undiscovered for centuries. 

2. Great Barrier Reef

Off the coast of northeastern Australia, you'll find the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest network of coral reefs, boasting hundreds of different types as well as more than 1,500 different species of fish, whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other animals. 

1. Temples of Angkor

Lonely Planet pointed out that Cambodia's Temples of Angkor took the top spot by a "complete landslide." Once the seat of the Khmer Empire, the vast network of temples, shrines and tombs draws roughly two million visitors annually. 


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