We've gathered our favourite impressive skylines from around the world - which one is yours?
The most populous city proper in the world has an equally radical skyline, featuring art deco, Soviet neoclassical and traditional Jiangnan architecture. The Pudong district skyline hosts some of the world’s tallest buildings, including the Shanghai World Financial Center (492 metres tall), the 88-storey Jin Mao Tower, and the sci-fi looking Oriental Pearl Tower (468 metres tall).
Rich in history with a skyline to match, Moscow is dominated by quintessentially Russian landmarks like the onion domes of Saint Basil's Cathedral and the Seven Sisters, seven massive skyscrapers positioned equal distance from the Kremlin (not to mention the Kremlin itself). Many travellers to the city take note that the skyline seems like a throwback to hundreds of years ago, as little of the new architecture has garnered as much prestige in recent years. And now Moscow can reclaim bragging rights for having Europe's tallest building with the debut of Mercury City, a mixed office and residential tower topping 338 metres.
New York City
When we say “Iconic New York”, you say “Empire State Building”, but it doesn’t end there. The Chrysler Building and the MetLife Building similarly add to Manhattan’s diverse skyline, which boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking architecture. From Brooklyn to the Bronx, New York City illuminates day and night - take in the Financial District from the Brooklyn Bridge or soak up the Midtown skyline from the Hudson River.
If you are lucky enough to have a city-facing window flying into Sydney, you will be spoilt with an incredible view as you descend. The Harbour Bridge is an indulging spectacle no matter which way you look at it: from the ground, the air, a nearby hotel room’s wall to ceiling windows, floating on a ferry in the harbour, or actually walking along the very top of the bridge itself. Then there’s the Sydney Opera House. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known the world over, and not just for its hosting of operas and performances. Many liken the modernist roof of the Opera House to a collection of shells or a schooner’s sails. Other buildings - like 1 Bligh Street, Sydney Tower and MLC Centre - similarly represent the best in world-class architecture.
Photo: Kuni Takanami
Credit: Kuni Takanami
Rio de Janeiro
Photographers the world around have produced dramatic images and time-lapse videos of Rio’s skyline, and for good reason. The city’s defining landmark, Christ the Redeemer, is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and sits perched above Corcovado Mountain before giving way to spectacular panorama views of Rio. The city is a dramatic blend of natural beauty with iconic buildings and churches as old as the early 1500s, and the contradicting panoramic skylines are equally as vibrant from the mountain tops as they are from Rio’s stretching beaches.
While most buildings in Paris do not exceed more than five or six stories tall, Paris shares a magic like no other when it comes to impressive skylines and therefore cannot be missed in our top ten picks. At the summit of butte Montmarte, the highest point in Paris, rests a Roman Church known as Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris (Sacre Coeur Basilica). The iconic church is gives way to aerial views of the Paris Skyline, interrupted only by none other than the Eiffel Tower. Strolling along the city’s romantic boulevards - from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs Elysés to Concorde and the Musé du Louvre – will give travellers a second-to-none romantic appreciation of Paris’ dazzling architecture.
The third most populous city in the United States boasts an skyline with an interesting history. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed over three square miles of the city which then led to the largest building boom in the history of the US. Now Chicago skyline stands proud among the world’s tallest and most dense, marked by the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, the Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Hancock Building and Navy Pier.
Photo: Globe Images
Credit: Globe Images
True to the spirit of the Japanese, their most populated city Tokyo has twice in recent history recovered from disaster. As a result of the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake and firebombing during World War II, today Tokyo’s architecture represents a modern reflection of the city’s reconstruction. Tokyo Skytree stands tallest at 634m, surpassing the iconic Tokyo Tower (333 metres), and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings (243 metres Building No.1). In all, there are 47 buildings and structures that stand taller than 180 metres, and all are back dropped by Japan’s highest peak, Mt Fuji (3,776 metres). Whilst historical buildings are somewhat smothered by the urban sprawl, remarkably restored temples exist among the city streets and are well worth a visit – traditional Japanese architecture at its best. Don’t miss an opportunity to take in the dazzling Tokyo skyline at night.
Rich in architectural styles, housing buildings constructed from ancient Portland stone, and with the new Shard, London is a sure pick of impressive world skylines. At 310 metres, The Shard majestically overlooks the city and gives way to panoramic views of the capital from its 69th-floor viewing deck, where to the west Big Ben, Palace of Westminster and the London Eye glow quite tremendously after dark. To the east, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf mark the skyline, to the north St Paul’s Cathedral sits quietly surrounded by the city at large.
Credit: Getty Images
Do so much as blink in Hong Kong and you could miss the opening of a new city skyscraper. The always transforming architectural ‘wonder city’ actually houses more people living above the 14th floor than any other city on the planet. With so many high rises towering above it can be hard to find a good spot to take it all in, but we recommend Victoria Peak, the highest mountain on the island. Set 522 metres above the sea, the Peak offers panoramic views of the big smoke.