Sightseeing. What sights to see when exploring new and unfamiliar places. Every country, every city, every town, village, region, has its own unique and “must-see” attractions. No matter where I’m going, however, I always check to see if there are any towers open to the public. 9 times out of 10, there are. While there are occasionally elevator options, towers usually involve climbing quite a few steps, meaning not everyone can enjoy them equally but for me, towers my favorite site in any destination. Here’s why!
What Constitutes a “Tower”?
When I say “tower”, I basically mean any tall structure with a viewing area near the top. This includes everything from free-standing towers, like the Eiffel Tower, to buildings with roof access or viewing areas on upper levels, such as the Empire State Building. Perhaps most commonly, though, I mean church spires and distinct architectural towers of public buildings, such as town halls and post offices.
In certain areas, castle towers can also be very common. Other styles include watchtowers, fire towers, clock towers, and bell towers. Thinking outside the box somewhat, you could even include high spots such as lighthouses, museums, bridges, hotels, train stations, and airports.
Why Are Towers Amazing Tourist Sights?
Towers are usually my first stop in any new city. I could spend hours and hours in towers. Here are some of the reasons I think they are perfect sightseeing spots anywhere you travel.
Ok, this is clearly the main attraction to towers. Depending on their height, you at least get a decent view of the immediate area and can potentially see for miles. Not only does being high up give you a stunning vista to admire, but it also lets you see your destination from a different angle.
You can see the layout of streets, how things are connected, the roofs of other buildings, features not visible from the street, mountains in the distance, you name it! You can plan your route and maybe even spot an interesting looking area or building you hadn’t planned to visit. Towers give you a real overview (pun intended!) of your destination in the most spectacular fashion.
Cheap (or Even Free!)
The great thing about towers as an attraction for budget travelers is that they are commonly very cheap to enter, often even free. There are, of course, occasional, very popular towers (like, say, the Eiffel…) that charge a substantial fee. Climbing your basic church spire or town hall tower, however, will hardly ever run you more than a few dollars, if anything.
Easy to Find
I mean, they’re usually the tallest thing around. It’s hard to miss towers! This makes them easy to get to. Even if you don’t take the most direct route, you always know where you need to go to get to them. Plus, they are usually on the sort of building (church, town hall, post office, museum, castle) that will be clearly marked on maps and easy to search for on your phone’s GPS if you want to find the most direct route.
While there are a few notable exceptions (I keep looking at you, Eiffel Tower!), I have more often than not found myself alone or one of only a few people visiting towers. Maybe this is due to the potential climb involved or that people don’t readily think of church spires and post offices as sightseeing spots. This fluctuates, of course, with the seasons, destination popularity, and how many steps there are to climb, but generally speaking, towers are less crowded than other notable tourist attractions.
Often in Beautiful and/or Significant Buildings
Beyond the towers themselves and the view they provide, you’ll often find that the building they are part of has other attractions as well. Towers are not a common architectural feature anymore. So buildings that have them are often older or significant in other ways. Churches are usually quite beautiful. Town halls often provide informational plaques about the history of the town. Castles almost always have some cool, notable history associated with them.
So next time you travel to a new place, do a little research and ask around if there are any towers for an inexpensive and uplifting sightseeing experience. I always do and they’re always among my favorite memories of my travels.
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