Ever since the (now ruined) Lighthouse of Alexandria became a wonder of the world, there have been beautiful and impressive lighthouses. These functional yet beautiful structures can be found all over the world in a myriad of styles. Here are some of the most interesting:
Torre De Hercules- A Coruna, Spain
The Tower of Hercules clocks in at nearly 2000 years old and is considered to be the oldest surviving lighthouse in the world. The Romans once knew the northern coast of Spain where it resides as Costa da Morte, the Coast of Death, because it is notorious for deadly shipwrecks. Today the 55M tall lighthouse is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dubh Artach- Scotland
This remote lighthouse is perched on a rocky crag in the Aran sea. The name Dubh Artach actually means Black Rock. It was designed by Robert Louis Stevenson’s father and is the location of several pivotal scenes in his famous novel Kidnapped.
This lighthouse, on a small island a couple hours outside of Tokyo, is a stunning architectural marvel. A huge open-air spiral staircase winds around the steel structure and leads to an observatory 100 meters high with gorgeous views of Sagami Bay and Mount Fuji. If heights aren’t your thing there is also an escalator to the top.
L’Agulhas Lighthouse- South Africa
This lighthouse perches at the southernmost tip of all Africa and acts as the official dividing point between the Indian and the Atlantic Ocean. Built in 1848, it was designed as homage to the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria.
Cape Hatteras Light- North Carolina
This iconic lighthouse is the tallest in the United States. It protects an area of the North Carolina coast known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” where shifting sandbars sunk many a boat including the Civil War ship, the USS Monitor. This 64M tall tower can be seen up to 50 miles offshore.
Cape Reinga Lighthouse- New Zealand
Although merely 10M high, this lighthouse’s appeal lies in its location. At the very northern tip of the North Island, Cape Reinga separates the Tasman Sea from the Pacific Ocean. Here you can watch the two seas clash violently together. The Maori believe that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld.
Cabo Branco Lighthouse- João Pessoa, Brazil
This bizarre lighthouse is just outside of João Pessoa and is the easternmost lighthouse in the Americas. It’s known as the only lighthouse in the world designed to resemble a sisal plant. The lighthouse is not tall but allows beautiful panoramas of the city.
Sambro Island Lighthouse- Halifax, Nova Scotia
Built in 1758 to guide ships through the shipping entrance to Halifax, the Sambro Lighthouse is the oldest is North America.
Lighthouse of Genoa- Italy
The symbol of the city of Genoa is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world. A lighthouse has existed on this site since the 1100’s and the current building was erected in 1543. It sits in the Genoa city port and you can climb the 76M tower for great views of the city.
Boston Light- Boston, Massachusetts
The original version, built in 1716, was actually the first lighthouse in the United States. It was a pivotal British stronghold during the American Revolution and was burned down twice by the revolutionaries. The current incarnation dates to 1783. It is the only lighthouse in the US that is still staffed by the US Coast Guard.
Guia Fortress- Macau
This historical military fort and lighthouse is a UNESCO world heritage site. The lighthouse, built in 1865, was the first Western style lighthouse in East Asia. It is 91M tall.
Eddystone Lighthouse- Rame Head, England
This is actually the fourth lighthouse to be built on this site in the past 300 years. One burnt down, one was washed away in a storm and the third was deemed structurally unsound and hauled away. The current lighthouse has been in use since 1882. It’s appeared in popular folk songs and has been mentioned in many works of literature, including Moby Dick.