A travel company has revealed the world's top 20 'alternative' must-see landmarks – including the castle that inspired Disney and houses carved into a UK cliff face.
Extensive research among 1,000 UK globetrotters identified the 'off the beaten track' sights they most want to see.
Among them is Germany's Burg Eltz, a fairy-tale style medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River that is said to be the blueprint for the palace in Cinderella.
The Rock Houses – homes carved straight into the rock amid a wildlife haven in Stourbridge, UK – is also a popular choice.
While the Kiyomizu-dera Temple located in the hillside of Kyoto, Japan – built to honour Kannon, the goddess of mercy – also made the top 20.
The study by Travelzoo also found a fifth of the 1,000 adults polled prefer to visit less known areas because they can experience them without any preconceived ideas.
James Clarke, general manager of Travelzoo UK [https://www.travelzoo.com/uk/], said: "We're all familiar with those must visit places – the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and so on.
"They are all truly amazing landmarks but there are a growing number of travellers who want to see sights that aren't quite so well-known.
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"Thankfully we are blessed with fantastic landmarks across the globe which are also well worth a visit – and that's exactly what we wanted to show through this research."
In addition to the Rock Houses, the UK is also represented by the Minack Theatre, an open-air theatre located on the Cornish shore not far from Land's End.
Wilton's Music Hall in London, which is one of the few surviving musical halls, is also among the British locations to make the list.
Other desirable destinations include Australia's Ningaloo Reef, a world heritage-listed site home to turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales and whale sharks.
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome – considered some of the best-preserved ancient buildings from Roman times, and Canada's CN Tower are other locations travellers are eager to see.
The study also found visiting a particular place can have a profound impact on visitors as a fifth have been moved to tears by the beauty, wonderment or history of some corners of the globe.
And 20 per cent even said their entire outlook on life changed after visiting some places.
Another three in 10 have been left speechless and a quarter have completely re-evaluated how they feel about a country.
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Eight in 10 believe visiting a country's landmarks and other areas of significance gives you a better understanding of that place's culture.
Despite the rise of social media and the internet, the study carried out through OnePoll, also found word of mouth is still the biggest inspiration for where those polled choose to visit.
Four in 10 said they rely on recommendations from friends and family, however a third will depend on Google and a quarter will use guidebooks.
Social media also has an influence too albeit not among quite so many travellers – Twitter (11 per cent), Facebook (18 per cent) and Instagram (16 per cent).
James Clarke added: "Travelzoo exists to provide its members with the inspiration to travel to new and interesting places.
"Visiting the alternative destinations listed in this survey provides a way for travellers to explore unfamiliar cultures and off-the-beaten track landmarks to really gain a deeper understanding of the world."
Top 20 alternative landmarks
1. ALCATRAZ, CALIFORNIA, USA – Former maximum-security prison located on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, off the coast of California – once home to the country's most dangerous criminals.
2. CN TOWER, TORONTO, CANADA – A renowned architectural 'triumph', 'an engineering Wonder of the Modern World', offering entertainment and dining with views of the city.
3. THE BATHS OF CARACALLA, ROME – Some of the best-preserved ancient buildings from Roman times.
4. MINACK THEATRE, PORTHCURNO, UK – An open-air theatre, constructed above a gully with a rocky granite outcrop jutting into the sea.
5. PARLIAMENT, BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – The Hungarian Parliament building, a celebrated example of Neo-Gothic architecture – more than 100 years old.
6. THE TENEMENT MUSEUM, NEW YORK – Experience what it was like to live in New York in the 19th and 20th centuries – restored apartments.
7. NINGALOO REEF, WESTERN AUSTRALIA – World Heritage-listed site home to turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales and whale sharks.
8. CARNAC, BRITTANY, FRANCE – Best known for the Carnac stones – thousands of prehistoric standing stones.
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9. WILTON'S MUSIC HALL, LONDON, UK – A Grade II listed music hall with original cast iron pillars, balcony and decor.
10. PLAZA DE ESPANA, SEVILLE, SPAIN – Built in 1929, it is a landmark example of Spain's Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Baroque Revival, Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival styles of Spanish architecture.
11. THE ROCK HOUSES, STOURBRIDGE, UK – A wildlife haven in the heath and unique homes carved straight into the rock.
12. KATA TJUTA, AUSTRALIA – Ancient red rock formations which appear to change colour.
13. LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA, CANADA – Known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake ringed by high peaks and overlooked by a stately chateau – good for hiking.
14. KIYOMIZU-DERA TEMPLE, KYOTO, JAPAN – Built to honour Kannon, the goddess of mercy, its beautiful hillside location offers spectacular views of the city and valley below.
15. OLOMOUC, CZECH REPUBLIC – The Czech Republic equivalent of Prague, it's known for its architecture, culture and religious heritage.
16. BURG ELTZ, GERMANY – a medieval castle nestled in the hills and forest above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier – resembles that of a Disney/fairy tale castle.
17. BENG MEALEA, CAMBODIA – Beng Mealea or Bung Mealea is a temple from the Angkor Wat period east of the main group of temples at Angkor, Cambodia, on the ancient royal highway to Preah Khan Kompong Svay.
18. KINKAKU-JI TEMPLE, KYOTO, JAPAN – Built in 1397 as a residence for shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, it is completely covered in gold leaf.
19. UXMAL, MEXICO – An ancient Maya city of the classical period located in present-day Mexico.
20. CHRISTMAS ISLAND, INDIAN OCEAN – Nicknamed the 'Galapagos of the Indian Ocean', the island is famous for its red crabs, sea birds, whale sharks and spectacular coral reefs.
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