Only one of the original Seven Wonders of the World is still in existence – the Great Pyramids of Giza. Long gone are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, left to the annals of history.
Which is why we were inspired by Condé Nast Traveller’s new and updated list of seven wonders for the modern age. An updated representation of the absolute beauty and magic that Earth has to offer, the best part is that you can visit and see them with your own eyes.
So read on and enjoy this roundup with seven new wonders of the world you have to discover for yourself.
Seven New Wonders of the World for 2022
1. Yellowstone National Park, USA
Yellowstone became the world’s first-ever national park in 1872, though the land has been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years prior to that, of course. Today, visitors continue to fall in love with Yellowstone’s rugged, wild landscape that is so emblematic of the American West. Beyond spotting grizzlies, wolves, and prolific herds of bison, the park’s geyser basin – the largest on Earth – is absolutely mind-blowing. With over 10,000 hydrothermal features and 300 active geysers, there are more hot springs here than anywhere else on the planet.
Fall in love with the magical mystery that Mother Nature provides us, right in our own backyard. Otherworldly colors and patterns swell around you, unique flora and fauna dotting the landscape. Of course, the star of the show continues to be Old Faithful, which spurts its massive column of water 180 feet into the air every 90 minutes without fail.
2. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Few places remain as untouched by human intervention as the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. In November 2021, the country’s government expanded the protected Marine Reserve on the islands by over 23,000 square miles, ensuring that not only will there be more for visitors to explore, but that it will be safeguarded against further encroachment.
This small but mighty archipelago has the highest level of endemism (concentration of native species) than anywhere else on the planet. For millions of years birds, reptiles, and amphibians have existed here and only here; given their absolute lack of contact with humans, they’re unafraid of us.
It’s true: The Galapagos Islands are the only place on Earth where humans are not perceived as alpha predators, making it a wildlife experience unlike any other you will experience in your lifetime.
3. Beijing’s Forbidden City, China
Located right in the heart of Beijing, this ancient palace complex continues to be one of the most stunning works of architecture the world over. It’s an enormous city within a city, comprising around 980 buildings and around 10,000 individual rooms, making it the largest palace complex on Earth. Each of them are dripping in incredible treasures you almost can’t believe are real.
Did you know? For centuries, no one was allowed to see such beauty. From 1429 until 1911, successive Chinese emperors ruled over their kingdom from within those walls, and it was forbidden to so much even try to catch a glimpse of the inside. Hence the name, the Forbidden City.
While the metaphorical curtain has been pulled back, it doesn’t make the complex any less impressive. Red zhennan wood buildings with gold filigree are spread out across enormous courtyards, large enough to hold more than 100,000 people. Its Grand Halls raised on three-tier marble terraces sit next to exquisitely designed temples.
At the center of it all, the Dragon Throne is adorned in precious jewels and carvings of 13 dragon figures, the symbol of the emperor.
January 2022 marks 100 years since the death of the legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton. He was on his fourth expedition to Antarctica when he died, attempting to circumnavigate the polar continent.
Antarctica is home to the largest desert on Earth (that’s right!) and is the largest single mass of ice on the planet as well, covering around five million square miles (that’s double the size of the United States). Did you know? In some places the ice is as thick as 15,000 feet; entire mountain ranges are buried beneath frozen chunks. Icebergs larger than actual cities break up and collapse into the sea in a dramatic denouement. Tens of thousands of penguins scuttle across the ice, killer whales breech the icy depths, and dozens of shades of blue and white converge to delight your senses.
Known for a reason as the “Last Continent,” Antarctica’s preservation is more crucial now than ever. Having the privilege to see such a dramatic and deserted landscape with your own eyes is a unique one that very few can claim to have enjoyed.
5. Luxor’s Grand Avenue of the Sphinxes, Egypt
Ancient Egypt has transfixed and fascinated both archaeologists and tourists alike for over a century. While most of the focus is centered around the legend of King Tutankhamen, the entirety of the Valley of the Kings is worthy of awe and discovery. The concentration of elaborate burial chambers, tombs, temples, and other monuments is a fantastic feast for history buffs and explorers alike.
In November 2021, the Grand Avenue of the Sphinxes was recently unveiled after decades of detailed restoration. Linking the temples of Karnak and Luxor – two of the country’s most incredible sites – the 1.7-mile long and 3,000 year old road is lined with hundreds of statues of rams and sphinxes. It was once used for religious parades and festivals, though it was buried for centuries beneath tons of sand, seemingly lost to history. Until now.
6. Yukon’s Northern Lights, Canada
Few things are as awe-inspiring as witnessing the Northern Lights, and there’s a reason travelers have been chasing that experience for what feels like centuries. As waves of neon pink, blue, green, and purple sway across the night sky, you suddenly feel extremely small yet entirely infinite.
There is more than one way to experience the Aurora Borealis, though the latest is perhaps the most compelling. Aurora 360 is an exclusive flight that takes you 36,000 feet above the clouds, offering lucky travelers the closest and most immersive view possible of the phenomena.
Departing from Whitehorse, located in the heart of Canada’s Yukon territory, these private charter jets have room for just 70 passengers. The flights are guided by dedicated scientists that ensure you’ll be flown right to the heart of the action.
7. Rome’s Colosseum, Italy
It doesn’t get much more impressive than the Colosseum, symbol of power and might of the Roman Empire. For over 400 years, this amphitheater – the largest and most grand of its time – was witness to some of the most bloody and dramatic feats of gladiatorial prowess in history. Over 50,000 spectators would gather there to watch people and animals battle to the death in a carefully orchestrated theater.
Down below, the staging area housed an elaborate series of tunnels to keep the gladiators, wild animals, and more contained as they prepared for combat. For nearly 2,000 years, it was impossible to access this space. Luckily that has changed.
Last June, 525 feet of underground walkways and chambers were opened to the general public for the first time ever, offering you a next-level glimpse into one of the world’s most significant empires that has ever been known.