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The Building with the Most Beautiful Views in Every Country and U.S. State

Date Published: 11th July 2023

Category Study & Research

Author: Robyn

Beautiful Vistas

When a building is exquisite to behold from the outside, sometimes you need an extra incentive to go in and climb all the way to the top.

Thankfully, the architects behind some of the world's most intimidating structures recognise the special value of the top-down view. Indeed, when a building reaches a certain height, the architect will often add a category of room or floor that you'll rarely find in smaller buildings: the viewing deck.

In older and more traditional buildings, big windows and a fine view over the country or city landscape will do the job. In others, such as Burj Khalifa in Dubai - the world's tallest building - the medium is the message: high-powered, augmented reality telescopes and a glass floor with embedded special effects fuse with views of futuristic cityscape, in this particular example.

In order to uncover the iconic structures with the most impressive views, the building experts at Buildworld analysed TripAdvisor reviews of the world's most popular buildings to find the ones that tourists flag for the "beautiful views" they offer.

Key Findings

  • The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, is the building with the most beautiful views in the world, amassing 5,116 mentions on TripAdvisor.
  • The Empire State Building in New York has the most beautiful views of any building in the U.S. (4,696 mentions).
  • Halaszbastya (“Fisherman's Bastion”) in Budapest, Hungary, is the European building that offers the most beautiful views (3,094 mentions).
  • Halaszbastya (“Fisherman's Bastion”) in Budapest, Hungary, is the European building that offers the most beautiful views (3,094 mentions).
  • The London Eye offers the most beautiful views of any UK structure and is ranked #5 in the world (2,685 mentions).

The Eiffel Tower Offers the World's Best Views, According to Tourists

A selection of national signature buildings makes up much of the top 10 in the world. The one that offers the most beautiful views of all, by TripAdvisor user consensus, is no less than Paris's Eiffel Tower.

While the tower itself stretches to 330 metres tall, the top viewing point is at 276 m, making it the highest publicly accessible viewing platform in the EU. The charming bird's eye view of Parisian life alone is worth the climb, but you'll also enjoy a privileged angle on Paris's other star attractions, including the Trocadéro gardens just over the river, Arc de Triomphe to the north, Sacré-Cœur Basilica (itself in our top 10) in the north-east and the golden dome of Les Invalides to the south-east.

Less familiar names also make the top 10. The cliffside Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona, is America's top-ranking building outside of the better-known Empire State and Rockefeller Towers. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building is a feast for the eyes, with its unique architecture and stained-glass windows. Its viewpoint offers achingly beautiful views over the region's otherworldly red rocks and serene mountainous landscapes.

The Building With the Most Beautiful Views in Every Country

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Elsewhere in the world, Burj Khalifa in Dubai offers the best views in Asia and the Middle East. The world's tallest building offers distinctly Blade Runner-ish vistas (click to see them) from a height of 555 metres. Or, if you like a little terror with your epic views, 360-degree views at 456 meters from Level 125, complete with a cracking glass floor effect.

Empire State Building Eclipses Rockefeller in U.S. Vista Stand-Off

New York's Empire State Building offers the finest views of any U.S. structure, according to TripAdvisor users. It's also one of the biggest views: from the 102nd-floor observation deck, accessed by a glass elevator, you can see for 80 miles and across six American states on a clear day. The 86th floor offers open-air 360-degree views of the city from slightly closer up. "We went at sunset, which is extra, but it was beautiful even on a kinda grey day," raves one reviewer.

The Top 10 US Buildings With the Most Beautiful Views

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America's top 10 buildings for views are dominated by famous skyscrapers and big cities. But in addition to the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona (see above), the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, offers a more modest and less urban alternative. Yes, it's only four storeys high (with the façade pushing it to 238 metres), but Biltmore is set in 8,000 acres of landscaped gardens and forest. You can see for miles to the hills, and the interiors of this Châteauesque-style mansion - plus its rooftop observation point - provide an exquisite frame to see it through.

The Building With the Most Beautiful Views in Every State

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Museums, lighthouses and political buildings join the skyscrapers, churches and mansions already mentioned, but there's only one elephant-shaped statue: Lucy the Elephant in Margate City, New Jersey.

Inventor James V. Lafferty built and patented this six-storey structure in 1881 to promote the otherwise unappealing properties he was trying to sell in the area. Ever since then, Lucy the Elephant has offered inspiring views of the beach and ocean from the unusual viewpoint of her howdah.

Famous Edinburgh and London Buildings Duke It Out for Number One

The UK's top ten buildings with the most beautiful views are mostly clustered in the south, and particularly in London, but three can also be found in Scotland. The highest rated of these, Edinburgh Castle, narrowly takes second place. Originally built in 1130 but much modified since, the castle is 130 metres tall at its summit, but you can enjoy "wonderful views [of the city] from all parts of the castle grounds," according to reviewers.

The Top 10 UK Buildings With the Most Beautiful Views

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The UK's number one is the "world's largest cantilevered observation wheel" and, at 135 metres tall, offers views that reach as far as 25 miles - with Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace just a stone's throw away. The London Eye has become the definitive way to see London at a (thirty-minute) glance. Although, one TripAdvisor reviewer cannily mentions that some of the older buildings aren't so pretty viewed from the top since their architects never imagined they'd be seen that way…

Still, "[t]he Eye has done for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris," says British-Italian architect Sir Richard Rogers, "which is to give it a symbol and to let people climb above the city and look back down on it."

Light and Space vs Bricks and Mortar

Architecture is as much an art of light and space as it is of bricks and mortar, and the greatest architects and designers understand that a major part of their job - especially when constructing public buildings - is to position their building not just in a landscape but in a narrative. You can check our full data on the buildings where this has been best achieved in the interactive table below.

When renovating a house, your choice of building materials, windows, terracing and landscape gardening all figure into the grand sum of the home's aesthetic feel and effect. It's always worth taking the long view when making decisions about how a building fits in with the world outside.

Create a vista in your own home with products from BuildWorld. Whether you prefer a modern look or a traditional design, we got you covered. Choose from a wide range of coloured doors, external doors, internal doors, roof windows and more for your home to customise your space. Plus, additional accessories like door hinges, locks, and window blinds are also available to fulfil all your architectural needs in one place.

METHODOLOGY & SOURCES

To find out which buildings have the most impressive views, we scraped search results for "beautiful views" on the "things to do" section of TripAdvisor for every country and U.S. state, searching specifically for the number of "mentions" of the term in reviews that visitors had written for an attraction. We also collected additional details about the attraction, such as location, URL, rating, number of reviews.

Once we had the all of the data, we analysed attractions' categories and filtered out irrelevant ones, for example, "canyons" and "geological formations," excluding countries/states that didn't have an attraction with at least five mentions (hence the three missing states)

The data is correct as of May 2023.

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