January can be a very dreary month! The seasonal festivities are over and we have to talk sternly to ourselves to rekindle a bit of motivation when the skies are grey. To banish the January blues, this is the time I plan my travels for the year ahead, often scanning Instagram for ideas and inspiration. If you like to tick off a few bucket list destinations each year, CEWE Photoworld have come up with a cool infographic of the world’s most instagrammed places based on popular landmark hashtags – take a look at it here.
A few of these popular spots are ones that I’ve visited, like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Acropolis and the Alhambra. Others, such as Burj Khalifa, Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal are still on my bucket list but I hope I’ll be able to tick them off before too long. When I was last in Paris all our walks seemed to radiate out from Notre Dame in the very heart of the city, so I thought I’d share a few tips on where to get the best images of this beautiful landmark, the ones that will be making your friends jealous when you post them on Instagram!
Since it’s free to visit Notre Dame cathedral, this masterpiece of Gothic architecture attracts 14 million visitors a year, so the facade of the cathedral is often difficult to photograph without crowds of tourists swirling in the foreground. If you visit in spring, autumn, or even winter the crowds will be less than in high summer and on a blue-sky day you can get beautiful photos looking upwards at the intricately carved facade.
With 1.1 million shares on Instagram (just check out the #NotreDame hashtag) this is the 5th most shared landmark in the world! It’s possible to climb the 402 steps inside the towers of Notre Dame cathedral, to get those panoramic shots over Paris, as well as getting close to the famous gargoyles, and reaching the belfry at the very top.
If you circle to the back of the cathedral, you’ll find the Place Jean-XXIII which can be a lot calmer and has benches where you can sit and relax or eat a picnic. From here you see the cathedral’s flying butresses that encircle the chancel, supporting the walls and roof, as well as enjoying the grassy space and floral displays.
From Place Jean-XXIII I’d recommend crossing the small bridge of Pont Saint-Louis onto Île Saint-Louis, the smaller of the two islands in the Seine. Stroll along the Rue Saint-Louis, admiring the gorgeous old mansions, shops and galleries while soaking up the village atmosphere. My friend runs Galerie Kara with elegent jewellery and objets from India and Asia, and foodies will want to try the delicious ice cream at Berthillon. Read about my weekend in Paris here
Alternatively, you can walk across Pont de l’Archevêché to the Rive Gauche or Left Bank of the Seine – it was covered with love locks last time I was there. The river provides a beautiful setting for photos to frame the Notre Dame Cathedral, especially if you take your viewpoint on one of the bridges further down river.
If you get a little weary of the crowds around Notre Dame, I’d also recommend heading further down the river to Canal Saint Martin and Bassin de l’Arsenal. They remind me of Regent’s Canal in London, with houseboats in the heart of the city. From here you can access a riverside walk and get further viewpoints along the river, of Notre Dame in the distance. Read my article about Notre Dame Paris here.
So what about those other most instagrammed landmarks which you can find on the infographic from CEWE Photoworld?
The Eiffel Tower in Paris
According to the infographic, the Eiffel Tower is the most instagrammed spot in the world, with 3 million shares. It’s one of those landmarks that every visitor to Paris has to visit and photograph, the ultimate selfie spot that says ‘Here I am in Paris!’
My tip: The queues for the lift to the top of the Eiffel tower are always long, so if you’re fit enough, opt for the much shorter queue to skip the lift and walk up. Take your time and get some interesting shots on the way up of the architecture and structure of this Paris landmark.
The Acropolis in Athens
The Acropolis hill with the Parthenon at the top, comes in at number 10 of the most Instagrammed spots in the world and can be seen from all over Athens. Practically every restaurant, hotel and bar uses their top floor to give you a view of the Acropolis at night, as you sip your iced frappé or cocktail. Find out more on the CEWE Infographic.
My Tip: Don’t miss the amazing Acropolis Museum which contains many of the treasures from the Parthenon and temples on top of the hill. Their terrace cafe is a fabulous place for lunch and boasts – guess what? – a view of the Acropolis.
The Alhambra in Spain
Spain’s most popular historic landmark is a UNESCO World heritage site and has been shared on Instagram 675K times. It’s half palace, half fort and set on the hill with beautiful gardens and courtyards so you’ll need to set aside the whole day for your visit.
My Tip: The Alhambra gets heavily booked so plan for your visit and book tickets online a few days in advance. There are some tickets available on the day but they sell out quickly so you may be disappointed.
Need more inspiration?
If you are looking for travel inspiration from some of the other most instagrammed spots in the world, head over to the CEWE Photoworld Infographic where you can find out more about other top spots such as Big Ben in London, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Burj Khalifa in Dubai or Machu Picchu in Peru.
About CEWE Photoworld
For more ways to share your travel images check out the gorgeous photobook designs from CEW Photoworld. It’s easy to create a photo book so that you can rekindle favourite travel memories and share them with loved ones – a great present to give to your family or travel companions. There are a range of different size photobooks to choose from as well as calendars, cards and prints that can be created from your travel snaps. Find out more about the CEWE Photobooks here.
This article is brought to you in partnership with CEWE Photoworld