1. The Maiden’s Tower, Istanbul
Standing on an islet at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus strait since Byzantine times, the Maiden’s Tower in Istanbul is the subject of many legends. The one that gives the tower its name says that once an emperor was told by the oracle that his daughter would be killed by a snake bite on her 18th birthday so the emperor had the tower built to protect her. In reality, the location of the Maiden’s Tower was first used by the ancient Greeks as a toll station.
The Byzantines built a wood watchtower in 1110 which was then captured by the Ottomans and subsequently destroyed in the 1509 earthquake. The current stone structure dates from 1763, it has undergone several restorations so far, the most recent one in 1998 for the Bond film The World Is Not Enough. Maiden’s Tower is frequently featured in films, TV programs and video games. Today it houses a café and restaurant with spectacular views over Istanbul. You can reach the tower by taking the ferry from Üsküdar on Istanbul’s Asian side, or from the Golden Horn on the European side.
Discover the wonderful city of Istanbul, former capital of three empires, and feel great at Viaport Marina, where you will find everything from world famous designer shops, exclusive restaurants and clubs to the fastest rollercoaster in Turkey.
2. Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, Hjørring, Denmark
This lighthouse in Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula has been called one of the most mysterious structures in the world. Its isolated location and surrounding sand dunes certainly make it look like a mystery waiting to be solved. Built in 1900, Rubjerg Knude was originally at 60 m above sea level but the continuously shifting sands and the coastal erosion (an average of 1.5 m a year) have buried it in sand and brought it closer and closer to the sea.
Due to this, the lighthouse was abandoned in 1968 and, in spite of all the attempts to save it, it’s expected to fall into the sea within the next decade. The coastal erosion is a constant threat for buildings in the area: the nearby Marup church originally stood 1 km away from the shore but was dismantled in 2008 to prevent it from collapsing into the sea. If you end up visiting the area, you will find many tranquil beaches and spectacular scenery.
3. The Tower of Hercules, A Coruña, Spain
The ancient Tower of Hercules is a sturdy classical structure that’s been in use since the 2nd century BCE, making it the oldest existing lighthouse in the world. Thought to have been modeled after the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Tower of Hercules was built by the Romans. It’s the only remaining Roman lighthouse still used for its original purpose and for this reason it was appointed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. A legend related to the lighthouse says that Hercules killed the monstrous giant Geryon after a 3 day battle and ordered its head and weapons buried where the tower stands today.
A masterpiece of Roman architecture, the lighthouse is structured on 3 levels, each with 4 chambers. To reach the top and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city, visitors have to climb 234 steps. Visiting the tower is free but there is a fee for climbing to the top.
4. Santa Marta Lighthouse, Cascais, Portugal
Located in the Bay of Cascais near Lisbon, Santa Marta lighthouse is an easily recognizable white and blue structure that is part of a museum dedicated to Portuguese lighthouses. With a unique architectural project that looks like a modern fortification, the museum takes visitors through the site’s history. Adjacent to the lighthouse there are the ruins of Santa Marta fort, a 17th century structure used for the maritime defense.
The lighthouse building maintains its function, while the other buildings offer interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations. After visiting the museum you can take a break at the café from the fort’s terrace, which overlooks the Cascais cliffs.
Experience Portugal in all its beauty and moor your boat at Marina de Cascais, which for many years has been a meeting place for royalty and sailors taking part in boat shows and contests.
5. Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, Ireland
Fastnet Rock, also known as Ireland’s Teardrop, is country’s southernmost point, 13 km away from the mainland. For Irish immigrants heading to America in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the last sight of their home country.
Day trips are available to the lighthouse depending on weather conditions. The trips include a stop to Cape Clear Island for a visit at Cape Clear & Fastnet Rock Heritage Centre. Boats later circumnavigate the rock to allow an up-close 360 degree view. The area is well known for the whale and dolphin population, so chances are high you will sight one.
Enjoy your time in Ireland and feel wonderful at Castlepark Marina, located 25 km away from Cork, in the fishing town of Kinsale.
6. Saint-Mathieu Lighthouse, Plougonvelin, France
The Saint-Mathieu lighthouse in Brittany was built among the ruins of the Breton abbey Saint-Mathieu de Fine-Terre, on the westernmost point of mainland France. The contrast between the dark medieval ruins and the white tower is quite spectacular and combined with the panoramic view is a great reward for the 163 steps that visitors have to climb. The site also houses the abbey museum, a memorial for sailors lost at sea and a semaphore (guard post).
Britanny is a magnificent destination for the tourists who are passionate about nature and leisure activities. We recommend mooring your boat at Port Le Conquet, located in the commune of the same name. The main attraction in Le Conquet is Pointe de Kermorvan, a perfect location for hiking.