To many travellers, the selfie has been the best thing since sliced bread. In days of yore, if you wanted to get a great snapshot of yourself in exceptional surroundings, you had 2 options: You could get a traveling companion to take it for you & accept that you weren’t both in the picture or approach a stranger to take the picture & hope that they’d get a decent shot and not run off with your expensive camera. The fact is that neither of these options were that great, but what else could you do?
But thanks to digital photography and the miracle of the backwards-facing camera, travellers have been liberated and put in control of the quality of their own travel documentation. Though a fabulous selfie can be taken anywhere, here are a few spots around the world that are truly one-of-a-kind backdrops for your cool travel selfie.
The Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
This iconic landmark has been a well-loved photo location ever since it was built in 1889, but it was just this year that the place was determined to be the most popular selfie spot on Earth – according to an analysis of 219 million Instagram posts that included the word, “selfie” published over a 4-year span, there were 10,700 selfies taken there, more than anywhere else in the world. Though this Parisian wonder is, by no means, the biggest, oldest or most remarkable place in the world, it’s iconic status and romantic associations put it at the top of our list.
The Taj Mahal – Agra, India
Arguably one of the most glorious examples of architecture in the world, the Taj Mahal is simply too jaw-droppingly gorgeous not to photograph. What many may not know is that it’s actually a mausoleum and a labor of love inspired by the immense sadness the emperor Shah Jahan felt when his wife, Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth. There are plenty of perfect opportunities for selfies all over the grounds, but the classic choice is in front of the long reflecting pool that leads up to the southern face of the building.
Napa Valley – USA
For a beautiful aerial view you can't beat the Napa Valley in California. Imagine drifting over some of the best wine country in a hot air balloon ride, admiring sprawling vineyards. Napa Valley is known for its beautiful views, great food and of course – it's delicious wine. You could even treat yourself to a glass of champagne before taking a morning flight. Just don't forget a selfie stick for your hot air balloon ride.
Colosseum – Rome, Italy
If you were to rewind a couple thousand years, there’s a slim chance that any of us would want to take a selfie at this arena that once played host to brutal and bloody gladiator battles. But today, modern visitors can take a Colosseum tour and stroll around the upper levels and marvel at the impressive scale and architectural mastery of the ancient ruins in peace.
However, since you can only access a limited area that’s high above the complex, exposed levels below, you may want to consider using a selfie stick to truly capture the magnitude of the place. And don’t forget to snap another few selfies on your way in or out as the outside of the structure is just as stunning as the inside.
Top of the Rock – New York, NY
If you’re looking for the quintessential NYC selfie, the observation deck of Rockefeller Center in Manhattan is the place to do it. Visitors can shoot up there any day from 8am all the way to midnight, so you can decide whether you want a sun-drenched urban scene or a lit-up cityscape as your backdrop.
Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain
The Gaudí-designed church is perhaps the most famous construction site in the world – though work on the basilica began in 1882, it is still far from complete. While not everyone is a fan of the distinct architectural style, no one can deny that the place is an extraordinary work of art that, fascinatingly, is still being completed to this day. The projected completion date is 2028, so if you find yourself in Spain in the next 18 years, be sure to snap a selfie there so you can tell your kids you saw it when.
Oia – Santorini, Greece
You may not know it, but Santorini is the place you imagine when someone says the words, “Greek islands.” Its trademark white-washed, blue shuttered stucco structures built into hillsides overlooking the Aegean Sea bring to mind a pristine vacation paradise. Oia is notable for the fact that its hilltop location makes it a picture-perfect place to take in a Greek sunset and snuggle up to your better half to take a romantic selfie for the ages.
Big Ben – London, England
London has several iconic locations that are just ripe for the selfie-taking, but Big Ben reigns supreme. Not only is the huge clock tower the very symbol of the city, but it’s narrow dimensions make it the perfect place to take a selfie that captures your face as well as the entire landmark in one frame.
Any Wax Museum Anywhere
You could argue that a wax museum full of celebrity likenesses pales in comparison to the amazing cultural landmarks all over the world… and you’d be right. But, there’s something insanely fun about posting a selfie online that, at first glance, appears to document that one time you hung out with Brad & Angelina and Samuel L. Jackson, no big deal. The best of the best is Madame Tussauds, which was born in London but now has several locations worldwide.
Although the world is full of beautiful man-made and natural places that are absolutely worthy of your selfie artistry, these 8 are among the very best. Not only are they amazing to behold with your own eyes, but their magnificence also translates to photographs that you’ll treasure for the rest of your life.