At this time, the seven wonders of the world in 2023 are the modern-day Acropolis, Stonehenge. This also implies that they may be viewed personally as well as they should. Because the true magic of amazement lies not in the object itself but in the fact that the more you seek wonder in the world, the more the world becomes a part of you.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Alexandria’s Lighthouse, Artemis’ Temple, Rhodes’ Colossus, Zeus’ Statue at Olympia, and Halicarnassus’ Mausoleum have all gone to dust and memory. Only one of the seven original World Wonders, the Great Pyramids of Giza, still stands.
The Seven Wonders of the World in 2023
As humans, we define by our sense of wonder. “Wisdom begins with astonishment,” Socrates observed. According to research, curiosity causes deeper levels of cognitive processing, increases empathy, and allows us to interact with the world in meaningful ways. Wonder is spiritual nutrition. As far as we know, we are the only creature on the planet that can be moved to tears by a sunset, marvel at the stars at night, and feel awe and humility at our prior accomplishments. Wonder is more than simply a pleasant emotion; it is the germ from which our greatest treasures sprout. Explore, dream, and nourish your spirit. These are the world’s seven new wonders in 2023.
1. The Sardine Run, South Africa
Sardine Run is one of the superb phenomena to occur in the ocean. Tens of millions of sardines travel along South Africa’s Wild Coast every year from May to July. There is a general thinking that it matches even Africa’s massive wildebeest migration in terms of biomass. Shoals can stretch for up to nine kilometers. The action on the water is so intense that you can see it from the air. However, the sardines are just part of the tale. Hundreds of Great White Sharks, Orcas, and other predators follow in their wake, herding them into densely packed bait balls to make them easier to catch. It’s a feeding frenzy on a massive scale.
Those brave enough to dive or swim with them will surround themselves with giant globes of silver scales racing through the water, attempting to avoid the greedy jaws that follow them. Fortunately, those mouths are too busy feasting themselves to notice that we people share the water with them. It’s known as the “Blue Serengeti,” one of the most thrilling underwater expeditions globally. If you dare, jump in. Every year in June/July, world-renowned underwater photographer Pier Nirandara organizes trips to the Sardine Run.
2. Mont Saint-Michel, France
Work on this magnificent Gothic-style Benedictine abbey, famed throughout the medieval world as the ‘Wonder of the West,’ began 1,000 years ago, in 1023. It’s simple to understand why. It appears like something from a fairytale, perched on a rocky outcrop half a mile out to sea in the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. The bay, located on the border of Normandy and Brittany, has Europe’s most extensive tidal range, reaching about 50 feet in spring. At low tide, you may stroll barefoot through the wide sandflats surrounding the abbey.
It appears to float on the water like an ocean mirage during high tide. It took 500 years to finish and attracted pilgrims from all around the world. Though the abbey is an architectural masterpiece in its own right, the mix of sea and stone set it distinct. Perhaps nowhere else in Europe is the visual brilliance of building so alluringly matched by nature.
3. The Lake District, Great Britain
Author Alfred Wainwright referred to Britain’s ‘Coast to Coast’ trail, which he created and penned the now-famous guidebook for, as “one of the world’s great walks.” This lake celebrates 50 this year, and there’s a no better opportunity to see it yourself. It has developed to become the most popular long-distance trek in the country, spanning 190 miles across Northern England from St Bees on the Irish Sea to Robin Hood Bay on the North Sea. There are several highlights, but the Lake District segment is undoubtedly the most magnificent.
Lake District cherished national park, is brimming with treasures, including Lake Windemere, the country’s largest body of water, and Stock Ghyll Force, Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain at 3,209 feet, is one of the country’s most stunning waterfalls. While reclining on the shores of Grassmere Lake, the poet Wordsworth described it as “the prettiest site that man has ever found.” His words, as well as Wainwright’s legacy, reverberate across these valleys. Walk its most famous route, and you might hear some of that poetry rumbling amid the fells.
4. Cappadocia, Turkey
The Ottoman Empire fell in 2023, marking the birth of modern Turkey. Turkey is rich in culture and tradition at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. However, it is also home to one of the world’s great natural wonders: Cappadocia.
This unearthly stretch of massive rock spires known as ‘Fairy Chimneys,’ streaked in red and ochre with wind-sculpted crowns, is one of the most peculiar sights on Earth. But it’s what’s inside them that makes Cappadocia unique.
People began excavating dwellings into the Fairy Chimneys rock at approximately 1200 B.C. But these aren’t your average caverns. Cappadocia’s rock dwellings are works of beauty, with intricate facades, doors, windows, and stairs hewn from the mountain interior. Entire communities have been carved out of the Earth like inverted towers.
You can also stay in some. There are beautiful boutique luxury cave hotels, balloon excursions above the valley, and lovely local wine farms. Cappadocia, in a land steeped in mystery and magic, maybe the most enticing destination of all. I wrote an article on Cappadocia, the city of fairy chimneys.
5. AlUla, Saudi Arabia
AlUla has a rich historical and cultural heritage. However, until recently, no one had heard of it, let alone visited it. That is beginning to change. The site was opened to travelers by the end of 2022, revealing a 200,000-year-old piece of Arabian history. Much of it is unexplored, as its location is in the middle of Saudi Arabia’s northern desert. There is a belief that there is a 5% site excavation.
Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its beautiful enormous tombs cut into rugged red sandstone cliffs; AlUla Old Town is a tangle of now abandoned mud brick buildings scattered with desert earth tones. There’s ancient rock art and restaurants by well-known chefs, such as Maraya, founded by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton and housed on the roof of the world’s most enormous mirrored structure.
6. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan
A long-awaited Trans Bhutan Trail, a 250-mile long-distance hiking trail that traverses the nation from Haa in the west to Trashigang in the east, was completed by the end of 2022. It is possibly the best way to view one of the last major Himalayan kingdoms, passing through 27 local communities, hundreds of temples, and 12 mountain crossings. The nation is a wonder in many respects, surrounded by the world’s highest peaks and a genuinely authentic Himalayan culture. However, Tiger’s Nest Monastery, also known as Paro Taktsang, is unique.
This complex of four Buddhist temples and residential structures, perched literally on the edge of a cliff 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley, with whitewashed walls, brilliant red roofs, and golden-domed ceilings, is almost too dangerous to be genuine. But maybe that’s the goal. The monastery’s establishment is in a cave where Guru Rinpoche, one region’s founders of Buddhism, is said to have meditated in the 8th century. It’s not easy to get there, requiring a two-hour uphill trek, but if you do, some of the knowledge he sought may also rub off on you.
7. Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
Argentina won the World Cup, but Lionel Messi is not the only marvel of the country. Many believe Perito Moreno to be the most magnificent glacier on the planet. This vast wall of jagged turquoise ice covers over 100 square kilometers and rises about 200 feet high in Los Glaciares National Park in the deep southern regions of Patagonia. It is a powerful location.
The Seven Wonders of the World in 2023
Hike to a viewpoint or take a boat to the glacier wall to hear the roar of shattering ice as massive icebergs calve into Lake Argentino’s deep blue waters. They sparkle like crystals in the light as they drift over the sea in dazzling shapes and bright colors, dwarfed by the massive tongue of ice from which they are born. Messi may get the goals, but if you only see one glacier in your life, make it this one.