Our beautiful lighthouses have guided many boats and ships since 268 BC. They stay atop of entrances to bays and harbors, which prevented many ships from sinking. Many lighthouses are old and ancient, rendering them useless.
However, many old and historic lighthouses still stand on many rugged coastlines. Their unique shape and colors make lighthouses stand out from their surrounding scenery. Today, we have more than 18,600 lighthouses, with the US having the most lighthouses that are still in use.
Read on to learn more about the 15 most historic lighthouses from around the world.
1. Eldred Rock Lighthouse
This famous lighthouse is an octagon-shaped lighthouse on the Elder Rock. The elder rock lighthouse is on a small island located in the Lynn Canal in southwestern Alaska. It’s one of the most historic lighthouses in Alaska and first lit in 1906, but decommissioned in 1973.
2. Lindau Lighthouse
This 108-foot tall lighthouse replaced the Lindau port’s old light station, Mangrum Tower. It’s an 1856 medieval tower built at Lake Constance in Germany. The Lindau lighthouse has a gigantic clock that is visible from most areas of the city center.
3. Maiden’s/Leander’s Tower
The Maiden’s or Leander’s Tower is on a small island at the Bosphorus Strait’s southern entrance. It is one of the most historic lighthouses on this list, which means it has an invigorating history. This 1110 lighthouse was primarily a watchtower until the tower got destroyed by an earthquake, then later burned.
After 1721, it was then used as a lighthouse and a quarantine station. When it got rebuilt, many visitors can visit the Maiden’s tower’s cafe and restaurant.
4. Portland Head Light
The Portland Head Light is one of the state’s oldest lighthouse located on Cape Elizabeth in Maine. It’s one of the only towers that you can access during Open Lighthouse Day. This 1791 lighthouse is now a museum where you can see plenty of displays and lighthouse lenses.
5. Tower of Hercules
The Tower of Hercules is an ancient Roman lighthouse that lived from the second century AD. It is the oldest lighthouse that is still in use. This lighthouse gained recognition as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s a 180-foot tower at Spain’s Northern Atlantic coastline. Its views on the peninsula in Galicia make it one of the most beautiful lighthouses worldwide.
6. Formentor Lighthouse
Formentor Lighthouse is one of the most popular and photographed landmarks. This popular lighthouse sits on the northern tip of the Balearic island in Majorca. The Far de Formentor has a blinding light warning many about the dangerous shoreline since 1863.
7. Phare du Creach
Phare de Creach is among the most powerful lighthouses. You can find this 1863 lighthouse in Ushant, a coastal town in France. This lighthouse sends two flashes every 10 seconds, which you can see from at least 30 miles away.
8. Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
The Rubjerg Knude lighthouse is a structure that now slowly erodes due to the oceans and winds. This 215-yard structure is now buried under the sand, but still shows the top of its structure. There were once museums and coffee shops around the bottom of the lighthouse, but sand buried them since 2002.
9. Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse
Les Eclaireurs is also known as the lighthouse at the end of the world. This lighthouse is at least four miles from Ushuaia, which is the southernmost city in the world. It’s a 1920 lighthouse that you can operate manually and automatically.
10. Hook Lighthouse
The Hook lighthouse is one of the oldest and most historic lighthouses. It’s a unique monument constructed in the early thirteenth century (1210 to 1230). This lighthouse is home to a famous one-off art workshop with many maritime exhibits and art.
11. Marjaniemi Lighthouse
This is one of the lighthouses designed by a Finnish architect named Axel Hampus. Marjaniemi lighthouse is at the western point of Hailouto island, working until today. Many people can go up the 110 steps to learn about the workings and history of the lighthouse.
The pilothouse next to the lighthouse is now a popular hotel. You can enjoy the great views from the lighthouse and its surroundings. The best time to visit the Marjaniemi lighthouse is from July to August every year.
12. Kõpu Lighthouse
The Kopu lighthouse is on the Estonian island at Hiiumaa. You can find this prism-shaped structure standing on top of a 68-meter hill. This lighthouse can light the areas on the Baltic seas, serving as a navigation point until today.
The Baltic Sea is one of the busiest shipping lanes for recreational and local fishing boats. The Kopu lighthouse is the iconic symbol of Hiiumaa and it’s open to tourists.
13. Heceta Head Lighthouse
The Heceta Head lighthouse is a stunning tower on the Oregon Coast. It’s one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States. This lighthouse emits one of the brightest lights in the whole world.
You can find this lighthouse overlooking the Pacific ocean with the forests as its background. The lighthouse was first named by Bruno Heceta when it was lit in 1894.
14. Pigeon Point Light Station
This 115-foot lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in the United States. You can find the Pigeon Point Light Station as a part of the State Historical Park in San Francisco. This 1897 lighthouse still serves as navigation for the US coast guards.
15. Sombrero Key Lighthouse
The Sombrero key lighthouse is on a submerged reef located offshore of Vaca Key. This 1858 lighthouse is a simple red-painted tower in Marathon, Florida. It’s one of the tallest lighthouses in the Florida Keys and the last lighthouse built by Lieutenant George Meade.
If you want a tour of the Sombrero lighthouse, you can check it out here.
Historic Lighthouses Around the World
We have many lighthouses that still live today. Most lighthouses have now turned into tourist spots, while others still serve the same purpose.
We hope you enjoyed exploring the most historic lighthouses! Do you want to learn more about lighthouses and their history? Check out our other guides for more history lessons.