Humans have been fascinated with creating tall structures for most of their history; from the Tower of Babel to the Pyramids of Egypt, these grand scale building projects are symbols of power and achievement. It is no different today, as builders around the world vie to construct the tallest structures possible.
But towers are not just impressive for their height; like the famous leaning tower in Pisa, towers can offer novelty, history, and an amazing view to the traveler who seeks them out.
- Cairo Tower (Cairo, Egypt—187 metres/613 feet) Made out of granite, this tower was built to resemble a lotus plant.
- Hassan Tower (Rabat, Morocco—44 metres/144 feet) Designed to be the largest minaret in the world at the time of its construction in A.D. 1195, this tower has ramps instead of stairs, allowing the muezzin to ride his horse to the top to issue the call to prayer.
- Hillbrow Tower (Johannesburg, South Africa—270 metres/886 feet) This distinctive looking tower is part of Johannesburg’s official logo.
Asia & Oceania
- Kuala Lumpur Tower (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—421 metres/1381 feet) Home to the Kuala Lumpur International Towerthon, where competitors run uphill for 800 metres before climbing 2,058 steps to an observation deck 288 metres above the city.
- Macau Tower (Macau, China—338 metres/1109 feet) The Macau Tower features high altitude activities to its visitors, including the SkyJump (similar to skydiving) and the SkyWalk X (visitors walk a narrow ledge tethered to an overhead rail system).
- N Seoul Tower (Seoul, South Korea—236.7 metres/777 feet) This tower, recently renovated in 2005, is built on a 262 metre (860 feet) peak overlooking Seoul.
- Oriental Pearl Tower (Shanghai, China—468 metres/1535 feet) This high-tech tower boasts a museum, a hotel, a rotating restaurant, various shops and an observation deck.
- Sky Tower (Auckland, New Zealand—328 metres/1076 feet) Sky Tower, the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, has a variety of amenities, including a guided climb up the tower’s mast and the SkyJump experience (similar to skydiving).
- Sydney Tower (Sydney, Australia—305 metres/1001) At the top of the Sydney Tower, guests can visit OzTrek, a motion simulator ride showcasing Australia’s history and geography.
- Tokyo Tower (Tokyo, Japan—333 metres/1092 feet) Built to resemble the Eiffel Tower in Paris, this iron tower houses an aquarium, wax museum, and two observatory floors.
- Yellow Crane Tower (Wuhan, China—51.4 metres/169 feet) Symbol of the city of Wuhan, this tower was built in A.D. 223.
- Blackpool Tower (Blackpool, UK—158 metres/518 feet) Built to resemble the Eiffel Tower, the tower complex is home to a circus and a famous ballroom (the Blackpool Tower Ballroom) where guests can take high tea while listening to the strains of a Wurlitzer organ.
- Donauturm (Vienna, Austria—252 metres/827 feet) It’s possible to spend a romantic evening 152 metres (499 feet) in the air here; dinner, breakfast, and accommodation on the observation deck are all included.
- Fernsehturm (Berlin, Germany—360 metres/1181 feet) Literally, the “TV Tower,” a spherical portion of this Berlin landmark was painted to resemble a magenta and silver colored football in honor of the 2006 World Cup.
- La Tour Eiffel (Paris, France—324 metres/1063 feet) World-famous symbol of Paris, this much-imitated tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel for the centenary of the French Revolution in 1889.
- Näsinneula Tower (Tampere, Finland—168 metres/551 feet) The Näsinneula Tower is the tallest observation tower in Scandinavia.
- Rundetaarn (Copenhagen, Denmark—34.8 metres/114 feet) This “round tower,” completed in A.D. 1642, houses the oldest functioning observatory in Europe, where visitors can still view the night sky through a telescope.
- Tallinn TV Tower (Tallinn, Estonia—314 metres/1030 feet) Built for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, on clear days the tower affords visitors a view of Finland’s coast.
- Tour Montparnasse (Paris, France—210 metres/689 feet) The breathtaking view from the top of this tower in the historic neighborhood of Montparnasse is well worth the visit.
- Tower of London (London, UK) This “tower” is actually a royal fortress, formerly used to hold (and sometimes execute) political prisoners, but now boasts an exhibit of the royal Crown Jewels.
- CN Tower (Toronto, Canada—553 metres/1814 feet) This Toronto landmark is the tallest building in the world.
- Montreal Tower Observatory (Montreal, Canada—175 metres/574 feet) The Montreal Tower, the highest inclined tower in the world, leans at an angle of 45 degrees (the Tower of Pisa leans at an angle of 5 degrees).
- Coit Tower (San Francisco, USA—64 metres/210 feet) Built by philanthropist Lillie Hitchcock Coit to honor the fire fighters of the 1906 earthquake, the tower houses murals completed under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) project of the 1930s.