Share on Facebook

What 15 Famous Landmarks Look Like Zoomed Out

When looked at from a different view, these landmarks tell a whole different story.

1 / 31
Low Angle View Of Eiffel Tower Against Cloudy SkyRaynald Kartawan / EyeEm/Getty Images

Landmarks around the world

We all have an idea of what popular landmarks look like in our heads and we might dream of visiting them one day. But if you’ve ever actually visited any, you’ve probably realized that they look a lot different in person. Pictures taken by tourists or professional photographers only show so much. Take a look at what they famous landmarks look like zoomed out. Check out the most historic landmark in every state.

2 / 31
中國北京故宮建筑前的石獅子Xia Yang/Getty Images

Forbidden City

The Forbidden City in Bejing, China, was constructed in 1420 during the early Ming Dynasty. It is the largest ancient palatial structure in the world and it’s open to tourists to allow people to marvel at ancient Chinese architecture.

3 / 31

Forbidden City

When you see the Foribben City from a wider aerial view, the ancient structure gets lost among the modern Bejing skyline. See what these famous city skylines would look like without air pollution.

4 / 31
Los Angeles in picturesValery Sharifulin/Getty Images

The Hollywood sign

The Hollywood sign was put up as an advertisement for a suburban housing development called “Hollywoodland” but it now serves as a symbol of the entertainment industry in California.

5 / 31
Aerial view of Griffith Observatory with the Hollywood Sign seen in the distancesimonkr/Getty Images

The Hollywood sign

It might be a common pit stop for tourists, but unless you get close, it really doesn’t look that amazing. Speaking of famous signs, here are some things you probably never knew about the Las Vegas sign.

6 / 31
Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees at dawn, Paris, FranceAlexander Spatari/Getty Images

Arc de Triomphe

Aside from the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, France. It honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.

7 / 31
Aerial view of Arc de Triomphe in Paris France at sunsetNisian Hughes/Getty Images

Arc de Triomphe

The roads around the Arc are like spokes on a bicycle wheel with the Arc de Triomphe in the center. Here’s what famous monuments look like on the inside.

8 / 31
The Most Popular Tourist Attractions In CopenhagenNurPhoto/Getty Images

The Little Mermaid statue

The Little Mermaid statue is one of the most popular spots in Copenhagen. The bronze and granite sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.

9 / 31
Copenhagen Tourist AttractionsOle Jensen/Getty Images

The Little Mermaid statue

Tourists constantly crowd the statue making it hard to even get a good look at it.

10 / 31
the mall at central parkEarthScape ImageGraphy/Shutterstock

Central Park

Central Park is located right in the middle of Manhattan. Many people find it to be a nice escape from the bustling city that surrounds it. Even though this urban park is over 840 acres, it’s hard to avoid the noises of New York City when you’re in it.

11 / 31
Aerial view of Manhattan New York looking north up Central ParkTierneyMJ/Shutterstock

Central Park

Yep, that’s still the same park! Find out which iconic American landmarks almost never came to be.

12 / 31
Egyptian Giza three pyramidsmmmm/Shutterstock

The Great Pyramids of Giza

The Great Pyramids in Egypt are the last of the Seven Wonders of the World. It’s located on the Giza Plateau right outside the city of Cairo.

13 / 31
Cairo, EGYPT - August 28, 2014: The outskirts of Cairo View from airMikeDotta/Shutterstock

The Great Pyramids of Giza

It’s easy to see how this magnificent man-made structure is being shadowed by the modern city built up around it.

14 / 31
Berlin Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), Berlin, GermanyNoppasin Wongchum/Shutterstock

The Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is located in Berlin, Germany. It serves as a symbol of what was once a divided city. People used to climb onto an observation deck on it to see what was happening on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

15 / 31
BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 22, 2014: View on the Brandenburg Gate from in Berlin.VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock

The Brandenburg Gate

The Gate was the location where it was announced that the Berlin Wall would be taken down. It now serves as a symbol of unity. This isn’t a view of the Brandenburg Gate you’ll often see photographed, much like these 21 candid photos of significant historical moments you won’t see in history books.

16 / 31
BARCELONA - AUGUST 9: The Nativity Facade of the Sagrada Familia, the most iconic landmark designed by Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, as seen on August 9, 2017. Cranes digitally removedMarco Rubino/Shutterstock

Sagrada Familia

This Roman Catholic basilica in Barcelona, Spain, has yet to be finished. Ten more spires still need to be built. Construction isn’t expected to be complete until 2026.

17 / 31
Sagrada familia and panorama view of barcelona city at dusk ,Spainbasiczto/Shutterstock

Sagrada Familia

Looking at it from up close makes it seem larger than life. Zoom out, and the view is quite different. Still a beauty though!

18 / 31
Parthenon temple on a bright day. Acropolis in Athens, Greeceanyaivanova/Shutterstock

The Acropolis

The Acropolis is made up of a few of the greatest architecturally designed structures in the world.

19 / 31
Aerial birds eye view photo taken by drone of iconic Acropolis hill and the Parthenon, Athens historic center, Attica, GreeceAerial-motion/Shutterstock

The Acropolis

The structures are built on a rocky hill and the city of Athens, Greece, sits below them.

20 / 31
Taj Mahal in sunrise light, Agra, Indiasaiko3p/Shutterstock

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal, which sits on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, India, took over 20 years to build.

21 / 31
Agra town with Taj Mahal at sunsetSean Hsu/Shutterstock

Taj Mahal

This mausoleum is a symbol of wealth and the rich history of India, but many people don’t see the poverty that surrounds it. Unlike the landscape surrounding it, the Taj Mahal hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Take a look at photos of the Taj Mahal and 9 other historical landmarks 100 years ago.

22 / 31
Beautiful Niagara Falls on a clear sunny day. Niagara, CanadaTRphotos/Shutterstock

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the United States. It was established in 1885.

23 / 31
Niagara Falls Aerial View from helicopter, Canadian Falls, CanadaTRphotos/Shutterstock

Niagara Falls

Fact: 3,160 tons of water flow over this famous waterfall every second. It’s pretty amazing to see if from a bird’s eye view.

24 / 31
Stonehenge at DawnBrian C. Weed/Shutterstock


Stonehenge is the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

25 / 31
AMESBURY, WILTSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 03, 2016: Aerial photograph of Stonehenge showing people visiting which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in England.shootmybusiness/Shutterstock


While Stonehenge loses a bit of its magnitude zoomed out, you can’t help but gaze at the lush greenery. 

26 / 31
Mount RushmoreConnor Moriarty/Shutterstock

Mount Rushmore

The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were etched into the side of a mountain in South Dakota, forming Mount Rushmore.

27 / 31
aerial view of Mount Rushmore on a cloudy spring morningWollertz/Shutterstock

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore serves as a symbol of America that stands for the birth, growth, development, and preservation of the country. Mount Rushmore is iconic, but it almost looked completely different. Take a look at the original plans for these iconic American landmarks.

28 / 31
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 06, 2016: Visitors take photo of Leonardo DaVinci's "Mona Lisa" at the Louvre Museummuratart/Shutterstock

Mona Lisa

Many people think the Mona Lisa is much larger than it actually is.

29 / 31
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 18 , 2014 : A many of visitors take photos of "Mona Lisa" , by Leonardo DaVinci's at the Louvre Museum, june 18, 2014 in Paris, France.lapon pinta/Shutterstock

Mona Lisa

The famous painting, which is housed at the Louvre in Paris, France, is only 30 x 20 7/8 inches.

30 / 31
Skyline of Oia, traditional white architecture with windmills, greek village of Santorini, Greece. Santorini is island in Aegean sea, famous summer resort.Feel good studio/Shutterstock


Santorini is a group of islands located in the Aegean Sea. Its rugged landscape was caused by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century.

31 / 31
Aerial view to the amazing Thira. Santorini, Greece.DigitalHand Studio/Shutterstock


Santorini is well known for its beautiful blue waters and whitewashed buildings, not necessarily the earth tones and the incredible natural landscape of the earth surrounding it. Also often overlooked? These 12 American landmarks.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 84%!