There’s only one rule to keep in mind when traveling: If you don't take photos, it didn’t happen. (That, and don’t drink the tap water. Okay, so two rules.) An un-Instagrammed Eiffel Tower may as well not even exist -- or, at least, you didn't see it. Yes, travel pics are important.
But what are the most popular shots travelers snap while traipsing the globe? Sightsmap recently used data from a Google-powered photo-sharing app to calculate the most captured spots, right down to the specific landmark. Here are the top 10.
10. Budapest, Hungary – St. Stephen’s Basilica Like every other European capital, Hungary’s capital is home to more religious edifices than you can shake a censer at. St. Stephen’s Basilica, named after the first king of Hungary, is by far the crown jewel in the Pearl of the Danube’s scepter -- and yet it’s still only the third-largest church in Hungary.
9. Buenos Aires, Argentina – Caminito Located in Buenos Aires’s beautiful (but touristy) La Boca district, the cobblestone Caminito (Spanish for “little path”) is lined with brightly painted buildings in front of which artists sell prints and paintings from kiosks. The colorful storefronts were inspired by tango culture and soccer teams in equal measure; by all accounts, it’s the ideal place to crack open a cerveza and watch some fútbol.
8. Florence, Italy – Piazzale Michelangelo Italy begins its most-photographed dominance (yes, there are more coming) with Florence’s Piazzale Michelangelo, which isn’t actually photographed all that much. Rather, its elevation allows tourists to avoid shelling out Euros for a postcard by snapping professional-looking panoramas from the perfect vantage point.
7. Monte Carlo, Monaco – Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo For high rollers only, Monte Carlo is an impossibly rich ward of the impossibly small principality of Monaco, which borders an impossibly blue Mediterranean sea. The Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo is just one of many luxury hotels in Monaco, but its fame can be attributed, in part, to its appearance in the James Bond film GoldenEye. Also, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.
6. Venice, Italy – Ponte dell’Accademia Sure, Venice smells and the gondola traffic is frustrating – but check out those bridges, man! The Ponte dell’Accademia is one of four bridges that crosses Venice’s Grand Canal, and for whatever reason this is a super important thing that tourists love to capture on film. Love, in fact, may actually have something to do with it: couples attach padlocks to the bridge to symbolize their undying affection for throwing money away on locks they don't need. Or something. Either way, local law enforcement has been cracking down on the practice in recent years.
5. Istanbul, Turkey – Maiden’s Tower At the southern entrance of the Bosphorous strait in Istanbul, you can actually see the place where the European and Asian continents meet. While it looks like any other landmass surrounded by water, conceptually, it's super cool. If it weren’t for the Maiden’s Tower, a quaint little structure built on a small island in the strait, there would be nothing at all to note the area’s significance. Thanks, little guy.
4. Paris, France – Moulin Rouge Gay Paree has a lot to offer the DSLR-toting traveler: the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Nôtre Dame cathedral... But the city’s most photographed locale, the Moulin Rouge, reminds us that sex always sells, even if there’s absolutely zero chance that Nicole Kidman will show up wearing a black lace garter.
3. Barcelona, Spain – Park Güell Home to many a historic landmark designed by famed architect Antoní Gaudi, Barcelona’s Park Güell and its fanciful buildings make up one of the largest architectural compounds in southern Europe, and all the outdoor stairs/numerous vantage points make for easy photographing.
2. Rome, Italy – Trinità dei Monti The Italian capital is the world’s second most photographed location, according to Google. Of the hundreds of buildings devoted to the Catholic faith scattered about Rome (seriously, you can toss a papal vestment anywhere and hit a house of worship), the one that most often appears in tourist snapshots is the Trinità dei Monti, a Renaissance church built on a former vineyard.
1. New York City, New York – Guggenheim Museum Surprisingly, the most camera-friendly landmark in tourist-unfriendly New York is not the Statue of Liberty or some “abandoned” warehouse in Williamsburg, but the Guggenheim Museum. Which could mean that tourists are finally realizing Times Square is a glaring neon hellscape, and if so, good on them.