Photo courtesy of iStock / j76n
The first lighthouse on record was built between 300 and 280 BC by the Egyptians. Called Pharos of Alexandria, it was used to guide boats to the island of Pharos and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Since then, these beacons of light have helped ships navigate rough waters, rocky coasts and treacherous sailing.
Here are 15 unique and beautiful lighthouses around the world.
Photo courtesy of E+ / chrisp0
Cape Reinga Lighthouse - North Island, New Zealand
The Cape Reinga Lighthouse is located at the tip of New Zealand where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet. From this vantage point, you can watch as the two sea currents swirl together. When it was built in 1941, it was one of the least accessible lighthouses in the country.
Photo courtesy of iStock / AdamParent
Cape Neddick Light - York, Maine
Cape Neddick Light, also known as "Nubble Light," was built in 1879 and is still in use today. Though not accessible to the general public, it can be viewed from the mainland by telescope.
Photo courtesy of iStock / oriba
Fingal Head Light - Fingal Head, New South Wales, Australia
When the Fingal Head Light was first built in 1872, the lighthouse keeper had to row from the pilot station on Tweed Heads to Fingal every evening to manually light the flame. Today, the light is powered by electricity.
Photo courtesy of iStock / Gerald Zaffuts
Alcatraz Island Lighthouse - San Francisco, California
The lighthouse on Alcatraz Island was there long before the infamous prison, and, having been built in 1854, it was actually the first lighthouse constructed on the West Coast of the United States. After being damaged in an earthquake, the original was replaced with a new tower in 1909.
Photo courtesy of iStock / jumabufu
Illa Pancha Lighthouse - Galicia, Spain
The region of Galicia in Spain draws tourists from around the world to see its beautiful lighthouses strewn along rocky coasts. Illa Pancha Lighthouse, pictured here, was built in 1880.
Photo courtesy of iStock / SeanPavonePhoto
Portland Head Light - Cape Elizabeth, Maine
George Washington himself commissioned Portland Head Light to be built in 1787, and it was first lit in 1791. It's the oldest lighthouse in the state of Maine and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Photo courtesy of iStock / Ignacio Leonardi
Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse - Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse in Beagle Channel is located on a solitary rock that's five nautical miles east of Ushuaia, the provincial capital. Their motto is "end of the world, beginning of everything." And that's exactly what it seems like at this lighthouse located at the southern end of Argentina: the very end of the Earth.
Les Eclaireurs was put into service in 1920.
Photo courtesy of iStock / TonyCataldo
Diamond Head Lighthouse - Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Overlooking a great expanse of the Pacific Ocean, this lighthouse was first built in 1899. After cracks threatened to destroy the integrity of the structure, the tower was rebuilt in 1917. This particularly scenic lighthouse was featured on a U.S. postage stamp in 2007.
Photo courtesy of E+ / PPAMPicture
Hog Island Lighthouse - Paradise Island, Bahamas
The beacon with many names, it's been called Hog Island Lighthouse, Paradise Island Lighthouse and Nassau Harbor Lighthouse. It's the oldest lighthouse in the Bahamas, having been built in 1817. The walk to the lighthouse from nearby Atlantis resort can be challenging, and the lighthouse has been neglected, so visitors approach at their own risk.
Photo courtesy of iStock / Ron and Patty Thomas
Marshall Point Light Station - Port Clyde, Maine
The name "Marshall Point Light Station" might not be familiar to most, but millions of people saw the lighthouse when it was used as the ending point of Forrest's epic run in "Forrest Gump." The lighthouse was built in 1832.
Photo courtesy of iStock / ChrisBoswell
West Point Light - Seattle, Washington
West Point Light was first built in Seattle in 1881, and it was lit by a kerosene lamp for 44 years before it was finally connected to an electric grid. The best views of the lighthouse are looking south with Mount Rainier towering behind it.
Photo courtesy of iStock / pabradyphoto
Peggy's Point Lighthouse - Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
Peggy's Point, also known as Peggy's Cove Lighthouse, is the crown jewel of Nova Scotia's "Lighthouse Route." It's noted as one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world. The structure seen today was built in 1914, replacing the original that was constructed in 1868.
Photo courtesy of iStock / gaspr13
Porer Lighthouse - just off Premantura, Croatia
The tiny island of Porer is located just off the coast of Croatia, near the town of Premantura. You can actually spend the night in this lighthouse and do some diving in the surrounding Adriatic Sea.
Photo courtesy of iStock / simonbradfield
Nugget Point Lighthouse - South Island, New Zealand
Nugget Point is named for the boulders that can be seen in the water right below the point, called "nuggets" by Captain Cook. The lighthouse was built and first lit in 1870. The walk to the point is about 20 minutes and is absolutely stunning.
Photo courtesy of E+ / ejs9
Point Reyes Lighthouse - Point Reyes, California
Point Reyes Lighthouse was built in 1870 and has a twin at Cape Mendocino. This 16-sided lighthouse is almost always enveloped in heavy, freezing fog and wind, but visitors who catch it on a clear day are in for an incredible view.