Top 10 Iconic Buildings to look out for on a Just You tour

There are so many highlights on a Just You solo tour, but being able to visit some of the world's most iconic landmarks tops the bill of memorable moments. Here's our top ten iconic sites included as part of a Just You itinerary, or can be enjoyed during  free time.

1. Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza lays claim as one of the best preserved Maya cities on the Yucatan Peninsula and it's also one of the new seven wonders of the world. It occupies 4 square miles and at one point in time, as many as 35,000 people called it home.

The most notable sights include Temple of the Kulkulcan, the Platform of the Skulls and the Sacred Cenote, some of which you'll be able to visit as part of A Mexican Adventure.

The much-photographed temple was built in the 10th century. With a step for each day of the year, the pyramid rises 24 metres above the main plaza - look out for the carving of a feathered serpent at the top - one of the major deities of the ancient world.

Did you know? In 2015 a hidden cenote was identified 8 metres underneath the pyramid, and in 2017, explorations in nearby caves revealed the entrance to the cenote. Blocked by stones, it's believed that they were placed there intentionally as it was thought it represented the centre of the world - with the temple serving as a staircase to the gods but also a gateway to the underworld.

2. Empire State Building 

The impressive art deco skyscraper, the Empire State Building dominates the skyline as well as the movies. Appearing in hit films including Sleepless in Seattle, Independence Day and festive comedy, Elf, the 102-storey skyscraper is as mighty with its movie reel inches as it is in physical stature! You'll have time to visit during your time at leisure in New York, so why not hop across the road to the Rockefeller Center so you can capture views of the Empire State in all its glory.

Did you know? Construction of the Empire State Building started in 1930 and took 13 months - and you may recall that famous image of steel workers perched on girders high above Manhattan.

3. Meenakshi Temple

One of those 'I don't know where to look' encounters, the ornate details of Meenakshi Temple never fail to surprise and delight onlookers. Despite the impossible task of trying to commit every detail to memory, we say always leave something undiscovered, so this temple alone, is a reason to return to Kerala.

A historic Hindu temple resting on a riverbank, it's dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi and her consort. The site has grown over time and is the largest of its kind in India, extending to over 65,000 square metres - it's effectively a city.

And if you thought the exterior was impressive, wait until you see inside! The most striking feature is the Hall of Thousand Pillars, where sculptures of deities look almost life-life. Keep your eyes peeled for Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva which are particularly elaborate and imposing.

There's so much to see here, including gardens and extensive streets lined with shops selling local crafts.

We're delighted to include a visit to the temple as part of the Discovering Kerala Tour, as it's not the easiest of places to get to, so book with Just You to make sure you see it!

Did you know? Despite its size and structure, The Hall of Thousand Pillars doesn't project any echos. Listen out for it, or rather don't(!) as part of the Discovering Kerala Tour.

4. Leaning Tower of Pisa

Though designed to be completely vertical, during construction, the Tower of Pisa developed a lean of up to 10 degrees up until 1990. It's one of the four buildings that make up the cathedral complex - and to this day, the name of the architect remains a mystery.

In a state of construction for over 200 years, due to the onset of a series of wars, the bell tower is constructed of white marble and features 8 storeys, including the bell chamber.

During the 1920s the tower was injected with a cement grout to help stabilise the structure, and according to recent headlines, it's thought that officials are looking to use methods used at Pisa to save a similar tilting model in Bologna. 

And with countless fun ideas to capture this marvel on camera, be sure to create your own amusing shots when you visit.

Did you know? You can visit Bologna and Pisa as part of our one-off departure for 2025? See it all for yourself as part of An Italian Adventure - departing 12 October 2025.

5. Acropolis

You'll know when you've arrived in Athens upon catching your first glimpse of the Acropolis watching over the city. Once a sacred place dedicated to the goddess, Athena, today it's a great symbol of spirit and civilisation of the ancient Greek world.

Roughly translated as 'the city of the air', it's been used for a variety of functions over the centuries, including a key location for the Panathenaic Games (which featured everything from poetry challenges to chariot races!). During the games Athenians would hold a procession to the Acropolis to grace Athena with a new robe.

The Parthenon was even used to store gun powder during the 1600s during the Siege of the Acropolis. Despite these dark times, prior to this, the Parthenon was also used as a church and a mosque throughout various occupations.

To really make the most of your visit to Athens, head to the Acropolis Museum to delve into more stories, and view some of the precious artefacts that have shaped its history.

Did you know? You can also expand on your discoveries with a visit to the British Museum in London to view original artefacts from the Acropolis including a collection of fascinating marble sculptures.

6. Edinburgh Castle

It would be remiss not to include something a little closer to home, and the UK is blessed with some of the finest architecture and fascinating historical insights that draw people from across the globe.

One place that is sure to capture your imagination is Edinburgh Castle, and though impressive on the exterior, it's what's on the inside that counts!

Tour The Great Hall and its wondrous wooden beamed ceiling, and imagine royal banquets hosted by James IV and discover how it wouldn't stay like this for long before it was turned into a military barracks and hospital.

Lovingly restored to its original intention and a splendid Medieval Hall with armour and weapons on display, the Hall is at the heart of the Castle, but as you'll discover as you move throughout, each place has its own story to tell as you explore as part of our short break.

Did you know? The oldest Crown Jewels in Britain are on display here. The crown was made for James V who first wore it for coronation of Queen Mary of Guise in 1540, and it was also worn by Mary Queen of Scots for her coronation in 1543. The jewels were removed from the castle and hidden away in 1651 to avoid being taken by Oliver Cromwell's Army. It wasn't until 1818 that the objects were rediscovered by famous novelist, Sir Walter Scott, along with a mysterious silver wand. We love a little magic and mystery, even if it can be reasonably explained away! 

7. Taj Mahal

Ok so this might be a pretty obvious one to include, but equally, it would be sacrilege not to feature the mighty Taj Mahal. But do you know everything there is to know about this wonder of the world?

This immense mausoleum was built in the 1600s by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his favourite wife. It's adorned with over 40 types of precious and semi-precious stones including pearls, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires.

The best things in life take time, and this symbol of love employed over 20,000 workers and took 20 years to build.

The monument changes colour throughout the day as a result of the changing light. As part of An Invitation to India Tour, you'll be able to see parts of its transformation during your stay in Agra with all hotel rooms offering Taj-facing rooms so you get the best views.

It's said that the best and most wonderful time to visit the Taj Mahal is at sunrise when its bathed in the redness of the sun, giving it an ethereal golden glow. It's also the perfect time to visit to capture the best photography without the crowds.

Did you know? If you look carefully at the four minarets, they are actually tilted outwards and not standing straight and for very good reason! This was done in order to protect the main tomb from damage if the minarets were ever to collapse, ensuring they fall outwards rather than inwards. Now that's 'forward' planning!

8. La Rabida Monastery

We're going a little left of field here, but when a building formed a backdrop to the history and stories of the great explorer, Christopher Columbus, we think it deserves mention!

While Columbus was waiting for financial backing for the voyage which led to the discovery of the New World in 1492, he stayed here in the monastery.

A Spanish National Monument, the Friary was built by Franciscans in the 14th and 15th centuries, and features Gothic and Moorish elements. It's here that Columbus gained the spiritual and logistical support of the friars, who connected him with the Crown and local sailors in order to realise his expedition.

The cloister is worthy of a visit alone, and it's said that this was the location that the explorer revealed his plans to Brother Juan Pérez. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity here, while picturing the surreal gravity of Columbus' vocalising the plans for his iconic voyage.

You can enjoy a visit here as part of the Costa De La Luz 8-day tour which also includes a visit to the Harbour of the Caravels - home to full-size replicas of the vessels that made the journey - and they're unbelievably tiny considering they navigated the high seas!

Did you know? Frescoes created by artist Daniel Vázquez Díaz in 1930, depict the whole story from Columbus' arrival at the monastery to his arrival in the Americas. He was accompanied by 90 crew stationed  across 3 vessels, and it took 61 days for them to cross the Atlantic Ocean to reach the Bahamas. Despite thinking he was arriving in India, we can probably relate with Sat Nav systems being known to let us down!

9. Christ the Redeemer

We're steering things back onto the mainstream with iconic sites, and the colossal statue of Christ which towers over Rio de Janeiro, is as tall with its facts, as it is in physical height!

As the largest art deco style sculpture in the world, coming in at 98 feet tall, its creation was originally the brainchild of the priest Pedro Maria Boss in 1850, to honour Isabel, princess regent of Brazil and the daughter of Emperor Pedro II. However it wasn't until 1921 that the idea gained ground under the Roman Catholic Church, who wanted the vision of Christ to be visible all over Rio.

Designed by Brazilian engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa, his original sketches featured the religious icon holding the world in one hand and a cross in the other. 

Materials and workers for the build had to be transported by cog railway, so mammoth was the project. Workers would scale long wooden poles which acted as scaffolding to  put all the materials together. No doubt a daunting task at hand but it symbolised the intense religious faith of those working on it.

Since its completion in 1931, it's been subject to various repairs and renovations, including a deep clean in 1980 - we're not sure we would want that job! Explore for yourself as part of the Chile, Argentina and Brazil Tour.


Did you know? The colour of the statue is changing over time. The original build used soapstone with a light tint from a quarry in the city of Ouro Preto. Due to the scarcity of this stone and the fact that it is no longer manufactured, restoration works use alternative types of stone which are a deeper hue, gradually transforming the light tint of its original formation.

10. Dancing House

We're ending on a musical note, with Prague's Dancing House, said to be an ode to the performers Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers.

Designed by notable architects Vlado Milunić and Frank O. Gehry, it is one of the more modern iconic sights in this top ten list, having been constructed between 1992 and 1996.

The building is now home to a hotel, gallery and a restaurant with a terrace offering a 360° view of Prague. Fit in a visit during your free time as part of the Prague, Vienna and Budapest Tour.

The site is centred in a densely built section of Prague; and with most surrounding buildings of a Baroque or Art Nouveau style, Dancing House was quite a controversial addition to the city and it managed to stir up a lot of debate. Today it's accepted as a work of art that adds cultural value to the cityscape of Prague and worthy of a visit, if only from the outside to marvel at its unusual design.

Did you know? The shape of the building is now featured on a gold 2,000 Czech koruna coins as part of a series called "Ten Centuries of Architecture".