Lighthouse Guides: Must-Visit Lighthouses
Lighthouse lovers abound so what better way to celebrate their fascination than to cast a beam of light on how to have the extraordinary travel experience of a stay—overnight or longer—in a lighthouse tower’s round rooms with wraparound views or a visit a lighthouse keeper’s quaint, adjacent cottage. A coastal sojourn may not sound that new, but staying in a lighthouse is.
In the US, lighthouses can be found from coast to coast and in unlikely places, such as the most northwesterly spot of the lower 48 United States, the thriving metropolis of Boston, and even one of the Great Lakes.
These stunning, one-of-a-kind structures transport us to a simpler time when shipping was the center of both trade and passenger travel. The fact that these beacons are frequently located in breathtaking natural settings doesn’t hurt either, and stories of lonely lighthouse keepers battling the elements only add to the intrigue.
Are you looking for an off-the-beaten-path getaway with a stunning view? Consider visiting lighthouses! For centuries, lighthouses have been beacons of safety and guidance along shorelines around the world. From soaring cliffs and rocky shores to tranquil sand dunes and quaint fishing villages, lighthouses offer a unique perspective on maritime history that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Here is a guide to some of the most iconic lighthouses around the globe.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina, USA
One of the tallest brick lighthouses in existence, this majestic structure stands at 208 feet tall. With its sweeping curves and bright beacon, it’s no wonder this lighthouse has become a popular tourist attraction. Whether you’re taking pictures or just appreciating the view from afar, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Eddystone Lighthouse in Cornwall, England
Situated off the coast of Devon and Cornwall, the Eddystone Lighthouse is one of Britain’s oldest and most iconic coastal landmarks. Built on a treacherous offshore rock in 1759, its bright white tower provides a safe passage for ships traversing the English Channel. On a clear day, visitors can spot seals frolicking in the nearby waters.
Tower of Hercules in La Coruna, Spain
This ancient lighthouse is considered to be the oldest working lighthouse in the world. Located near the port city of La Coruna, it was built over 2000 years ago and has remained largely unchanged since its construction. Its beautiful architecture makes it an Instagram favorite, and the panoramic view from its heights is nothing short of breathtaking.
Kõpu Lighthouse in Saaremaa, Estonia
Kõpu Lighthouse is located on Estonia’s largest island and is known for its spectacular views of the Baltic Sea. It is also one of the oldest lighthouses in Europe, dating back to 1531. Visitors can climb up the winding staircase to reach the top and enjoy the magnificent vista that stretches out before them.
Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was built over two thousand years ago and is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Situated on an island close to the coast of Egypt, this majestic lighthouse served not only as a navigational landmark but also as a beacon of hope for sailors returning home. Today, the lighthouse stands as a reminder of our shared history and adventure.
Skagen Odde Lighthouse, Denmark
Situated off the northern tip of Denmark, the Skagen Odde Lighthouse is one of the most recognizable lighthouses in Europe. This bright white structure was built on a rocky outcrop and is surrounded by deep blue waters. It serves as an important guide for ships navigating the dangerous Skagerrak strait and is a sight to behold for visitors.
La Jument Lighthouse, France
La Jument Lighthouse is tucked away in an isolated cluster of islands located in France’s Brittany region. This striking black-and-white striped lighthouse has been standing guard since 1911 and still continues to serve as a vital navigation aid. Its remote location makes it a hot spot for photographers looking to capture its mystical beauty, and watching it glow against the night sky is truly breathtaking.
Eddystone Lighthouse, England
Located 13 miles off the southern coast of England, Eddystone Lighthouse serves as an iconic beacon for passing ships. First built in 1699, this single-tower granite structure is an architectural marvel and is acknowledged as one of Britain’s most important navigational landmarks. Visitors can explore the lighthouse’s interior and get up close and personal with its impressive lens.
These are just a few of the many lighthouses worth visiting around the world. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape or an inspiring glimpse into history, there’s something special about these beacons that make them a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Lighthouse Preservation & Restoration
Today there is a movement to restore and preserve these global treasures that keep vigil over passing ships and guide mariners safely through dangerous seas and storms.
These legendary beacons, many of the historical landmarks, share a rich history as well as a powerful and romantic symbolism of courage and salvation. “The Lighthouse of Alexandria” named one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Antipater of Sidon, was a tower built in the 3rd century B.C. on the island of Pharos in Alexandria, Egypt and speculated to be the world’s first true lighthouse.
Many famous artists including painters, poets, and novelists have been inspired by the mystique of lighthouses. Lighthouses have been depicted by Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Virginia Wolf to name but a few.
Every architectural element of a lighthouse is seductive—from its majestic oceanfront exterior—the imposing phallic structure standing solitary in a vast seascape to its enchanting interior—a spiral staircase that treks you to the tower top where the all-important Fresnel lens that fills dark nights with rays of light, and the fog bell that sounds a warning to seafarers on their homeward-bound voyage are housed.
Here is a resource list of accommodations so that you can take a lighthouse tour from Cape Cod to Croatia.
Lighthouse Lodging Both Near and Afar – USA
- Cape Cod and Massachusetts: Race Point Lighthouse and Wings Neck Lighthouse
- Rhode Island: Rose Island Lighthouse
- New York: Saugerties Lighthouse
- Maine: Little River Lighthouse and Goose Rocks Light
- New Jersey Lighthouses
- Lake Erie Lighthouse Trail Itinerary for a 3 day Road Trip
- Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, Maine
- Port Isabel: Little Gem By the Bridge
- Haunted Lighthouses of America
- North Carolina Lighthouses Facts & Visitors Information
- England: Burnham High Lighthouse
- Ireland: Wicklow Head Lighthouse
- Croatia: St. John Lighthouse and Veli Rat Lighthouse
- Patagonia: The Punta Delgada Lighthouse
- Lighthouses of The Bahamas