Baishamen Lighthouse, China
An atypical yet beautiful design, the Baishamen lighthouse on Haidian Island is the sixth tallest in the world and the second tallest in China. What makes it so appealing to tourists, however, is its unique structure. A 3-story hexagonal base blends into a triangular cylindrical tower, reaching 72 metres in height. The entire construction is made from white concrete. Still a fully-functioning landfall light, Baishamen emits a single white flash every six seconds.
Gay Head Lighthouse, Massachusetts, USA
Until very recently Gay Head Lighthouse was on America’s Most Endangered Historic Places list. Set just 14 metres from the edge of an eroding cliff, there was a great fear about the future survival of this much-loved landmark. Geology experts remarked that the only way the Gay Head Lighthouse would live on would be if it were moved. The project was estimated to cost $3.4 million, and a Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee was set up. In June 2015, the historic lighthouse was successfully moved to its new, safe home. On 11th August 2015, the beacon was lit again – symbolising the end of the longest non-functioning period the lighthouse has experienced in its 160 years.
Middle Bay Light, Alabama, USA
One of only a handful of screw-pile lighthouses left in United States bays, there is something incredibly romantic about Mobile, Alabama’s Middle Bay Light. This hexagonal, cottage-esque creation has had its fair share of both joys and traumas since its completion in 1885. It is said to have been the birthplace of one of the first keeper’s children, have housed a dairy cow for a short while, and even survived a potentially disastrous hurricane in 1916. Although Middle Bay Light eventually became operated by electricity, when it first opened, a group of keepers had to take turns working shifts to ensure the whale oil-burning lamp never went out. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1967 and is now a protected piece of history. To ensure it’s beauty lives on, restoration works have been carried out on it over the past two decades.
Punta Penna Lighthouse, Italy
The second tallest lighthouse in Italy, outdone only by the famous Lantern of Genoa, Punta Penna Lighthouse is one of the idyllic region of Abruzzo’s favourite visitor attractions. Constructed in 1906, the lighthouse is still fully operational today, despite having had to undergo several bouts of reconstruction throughout its lifetime, especially in the years following the two world wars. Located in the port of Vasto, tourists are welcome to visit the lighthouse and climb the 307-step spiral staircase to Punta Penna’s summit. Once at the top, visitors are not only able to marvel at the lighthouse’s workings, but are also treated to an incredible view across Abruzzo. What makes Punta Penna differ from other lighthouses is the two-story house at the bottom of the tower. This is where the original lighthouse keeper and his family would have lived. Today, it is home to administrative offices – not quite as romantic, maybe, but the unusual design still makes for captivating photos.
Bell Rock Lighthouse, Scotland
Often described as one of the seven wonders of the industrial world, the Bell Rock Lighthouse is the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse. Built over a three-year period between 1807-1810 by English civil engineer Robert Stevenson, the lighthouse was so well designed and constructed that in over 200 years the masonry work has never needed reconstruction work. Situated eleven miles out at sea, the Bell Rock lighthouse operated in tandem with the Bell Rock Signal Tower that was built on land. The signal tower is now a museum detailing the workings and history of this infamous lighthouse.
Marjaniemi Lighthouse, Finland
The fourth lighthouse to be designed by Finnish architect Axel Hampus Dalström, Marjaniemi Lighthouse was first lit in 1871. Situated in the westernmost point of Hailuoto island, the lighthouse is the focal point of the town of Marjaniemi. The lighthouse still works as a navigation aid today, but it is also open to visitors throughout July and August each year. During this period, groups are guided up the 110 steps to the summit of the lighthouse, where they learn all about the history and workings of the lighthouse. The old pilot house next to the lighthouse is now a popular hotel, affording guests fantastic views of both the lighthouse and its stunning surroundings.
Hook Head Lighthouse, Ireland
One of Ireland’s proudest attractions, Hook Head Lighthouse is the oldest intact, fully operational lighthouse in the world. Flashing warnings out to passing ships for the last 800 years, Hook Head is absolutely steeped in history. Informative guided tours are held daily throughout the year, and are the perfect way for inquisitive visitors to learn more about this fascinating feat. The lighthouse is also home to a number of one-off art workshops and a series of art and maritime exhibits. Lucky wintertime visitors may even catch sight of humpback and fin whales feeding in the surrounding waters.
Peggys Point Lighthouse, Canada
The most popular stop-off point along Nova Scotia’s scenic Lighthouse Trail, Peggys Point lighthouse is one of the most iconic symbols of Canada. Nestled into the rocky formation surrounding Peggys Cove, the white and red structure is instantly recognisable. Once a fully operating post office, Peggys Point is now a hugely popular tourist spot and the surrounding rocks make for a great picnic spot. After visiting the lighthouse, enjoy a slow amble through the quaint, artsy, fishing village of Peggys Cove.
Low Lighthouse, Bridgewater Bay, England
A truly distinctive lighthouse, Low Lighthouse is one of three lighthouses on Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, but it is the only one still functioning today. It stands on nine wooden legs (some of which have been reinforced with metal in recent years) and reaches just 11 metres in height. Due to its unusual design and structure, the Low Lighthouse is now a Grade II listed building, having survived in such splendour since 1832. The red and white wooden house on stilts makes for a great beach photography subject, especially at dusk.
Jeddah Light, Saudi Arabia
Having stolen the title from Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial (Ohio) in 1990, Jeddah Light is officially the tallest lighthouse in the world. Located at the entrance to the Jeddah seaport, the lighthouse doubles as the port’s control tower. Its primary function, however, remains as an aid of warning to approaching ships as far as 40 kilometres away of the potentially dangerous coral reefs that line the shore. The cylindrical lighthouse is particularly mesmerising at sunset.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Bermuda
One of the first cast-iron lighthouses in the world, Gibbs Hill lighthouse was built by the Royal Engineers in 1844. It is now one of two lighthouses in Bermuda, but by far the most popular to visit. Offering those able to climb the 185 steps to the lighthouse’s summit arguably the best bird’s eye view of Bermuda, it’s certainly not to be missed. The lighthouse is also home to a fantastic casual dining restaurant that is open for dinner daily, lunch on weekends, and breakfast on Sundays. Reservations for the restaurant are recommended, but are not needed to visit the lighthouse itself.
Enoshima Lighthouse, Japan
One of the world’s most modern lighthouses, the Enoshima Lighthouse (often referred to as Japan’s ‘Sea Candle’) opened in 2009. Using a high-power LED projector, the lighthouse is lit up a different colour depending on the time of year. In Spring, Enoshima is a pale pink, in Summer a bright blue, in Autumn a yellowy orange, and in Winter, purple. Visitors are able to ascend the 100 metres to the lighthouse’s summit throughout the entire year. Autumn and Winter are arguably the best months to visit, however, as this is when Mount Fuji is most likely to be visible in the distance.