August 7 marks National Lighthouse Day — a day honoring the beacon of light that, for hundreds of years, served as a symbol of safety and security for ships and boats all over the world.
Whether it’s their historical wonder or picturesque appeal, lighthouses continue to draw tourists from all over the world to their charming shorelines. From Alaska to Aruba, Holland America Line offers a variety of EXC Tours that feature some of the world’s most famous lighthouses! Read on to see which ones should top your must-see list!
Halifax, Nova Scotia: Peggy’s Cove
Halifax, Nova Scotia’s provincial capital, offers a spirited mix of world-class history and nautical-themed museums alongside bunkers and fortresses that guarded the harbor.
Along Nova Scotia’s southern shores, the city is surrounded by lush greenery and charming villages, including Peggy’s Cove. This quaint fishing village is home to arguably one of the most photographed lighthouses, Peggy’s Point. The iconic red and white lighthouse was built in 1914 as a replacement to a wooden house built in 1868 at the entrance of St. Margaret’s Bay.
Embark on our Peggy’s Cove EXC Tour and being your journey to Peggy’s Point with a scenic drive along the coastal highway of the Lighthouse Route. Take time to view the historic landmark and witness a famous piece of artwork inspired by its harsh yet breathtaking landscape — a granite carving by local resident William deGarthe that beautifully depicts the life and the people of the area.
Oranjestad, Aruba: California Lighthouse
Located off the coast of Venezuela, this windswept Dutch island offers stunning beaches, romantically restless waters and unique wind-bent trees. In addition to its postcard-perfect scenery, a call at Oranjestad also gives you the opportunity to view one of the island’s most recognizable landmarks — the California Lighthouse.
The stone lighthouse was designed by a French architect in 1910 and constructed on Aruba between 1914 and 1916. It’s named after the S.S. California, a wooden sailing ship that sank near shore.
Several of our carefully crafted EXC Tours feature trips to the famous lighthouse, including our Aruba Town and Countryside tour. Explore Aruba via motor coach and begin with a stop at California Lighthouse. Climb to the top and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. On this tour you’ll also see the bright yellow Alto Vista Chapel, the island’s first Catholic Church, and Casibari Rock Formations, where giant boulders lie heaped about the landscape.
Ushuaia, Argentina: Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse
Positioned at the southernmost tip of Argentina, cradled between the towering Martial Mountains lies Ushuaia — a dramatic and fantastical port town. As capital of the Tierra del Fuego region, it’s surrounded by incredible scenery like snowcapped mountains, dense forests and sparkling lakes. Travel just a short seven miles and you’ll find Tierra del Fuego National Park — home to Les Eclaireurs lighthouse — known more commonly as the Lighthouse at the End of the World, or faro del fin del mundo.
Built in the 1920s, the remote-controlled, uninhabited lighthouse guards the sea entrance to Ushuaia. It is named after the Les Eclaireurs islets, found in the Beagle Channel. Guests can visit the park, channel, lighthouse and more with the Beagle Channel Wildlife tour at Ushuaia. In addition to a view of the beautiful lighthouse, guests will get to see seabirds and sea lions.
Bar Harbor, Maine: Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
Picturesque and charming, Bar Harbor is a quintessential New England coastal town that offers walkable streets, lined with fantastic restaurants and quaint boutiques. Adding even more appeal to the destination, Bar Harbor is surrounded by the spectacular Acadia National Park, making the area an adventurer’s playground.
This national treasure is not only home to Cadillac Mountain and Thunder Hole, but it also houses Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. The charming lighthouse marks the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay and makes for a stunning photo. Snap your own during the intimate look at Acadia National Park tour.
For even more lighthouse adventures, the Historic Lighthouses & Acadia National Park by Sea tour takes a look at five of Maine’s most beautiful lighthouses: The Egg Rock Lighthouse, Winter Harbor, The lighthouse on Baker Island, Great Duck and the Life Saving Station on Little Cranberry Island.
Haines, Alaska: Eldred Rock Lighthouse
Haines, is best known as a haven for artists and nature lovers, offering plenty of opportunities for rafting, hiking, kayaking and of course, fishing. A visit to this adventure capital of Alaska also provides the opportunity to see Eldred Rock Lighthouse.
The Eldred Rock Lighthouse is an historic octagonal lighthouse that was first lit in 1906. It is the oldest remaining lighthouse in Alaska and one of the most remote in North America. The lighthouse was built after a series of disastrous shipwrecks during the Klondike Gold Rush, including the famous Clara Nevada in February of 1898. The Haines Whales & Lighthouse Tales tour takes guests along the shorelines of the Chilkat Peninsula to see glaciers, waterfalls, bald eagles, harbor seals, and humpback and killer whales by catamaran. Then guests will head to the island 18 miles south of Haines where the Eldred Rock Lighthouse still stands strong.
Which lighthouses around the world have you visited? Do one of these get your vote for most picturesque?