Guinness World Records has compiled some of the most surprising and little-known travel facts and records. The world’s largest ice structure, for example, is the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, which is built from scratch annually. And the most expensive hotel room can be found at Geneva’s Hotel President Wilson for a staggering £53,760 per night!
When it comes to the world’s most show-stopping attractions, bigger is almost always better.
Whether it’s documenting the world’s longest commercial flight on record or measuring the world’s tallest hotel – which comes in at a towering 355 metres – Guinness World Records has long been chronicling some of the most amazing and astonishing travel and tourism facts.
Here we’re sharing some of the most unbelievable record-breaking accounts, all fully fact-checked and Guinness-approved.
And if these don’t inspire you to book a flight, I don’t know what will.
Largest Ice Structure – ICEHOTEL in Sweden
Each year, the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, is rebuilt from blocks of frozen ice from the nearby River Torne.
Covering an area of 5,500 square metres (59,200 square ft), the hotel is – unsurprisingly – open seasonally, from December through to March when it melts away.
In 2015, the hotel celebrated its 25th anniversary, complete with an ice bar, ice church and bespoke themed bedrooms – one even featured a London Tube carriage made entirely of ice.
LARGEST ICE LANTERN DISPLAY
And while you’re in Sweden, why not head to Vuollerim to see the town’s ice lantern-carving tradition? Each February, locals craft thousands of the unique frozen lamps to display in the quaint Lapland village.
Tallest Waterfall – Angel Falls, Venezuela
The largest waterfall by vertical area may be the famed Victoria Falls, which sit on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, but it’s South America that’s home to the world’s tallest.
Salto Angel, or Angel Falls, located in Bolivar, Venezuela, has an impressive, uninterrupted drop of 807 metres (2,648 ft). And if you combine that with the additional sloped cascades, the entire thing measures an astonishing 979 metres (3,212 ft).
Fun fact: It was actually named after the American pilot, Jimmie Angel, who first recorded it in his logbook on November 16, 1933.
And, in case you were wondering, the world’s largest plunge pool – the lakes or depressions formed at the base of waterfalls by the erosive action of the water – is Perth Canyon, in Western Australia, measuring 300 metres deep.
Deepest Blue Hole – Turtle Cove, Bahamas
Found at, or just below, sea level, blue holes are once-dry caves that have filled with seawater over time.
Dean’s Blue Hole is a 76 metre-wide vertical shaft that sinks for 202 metres at Turtle Cove near Clarence Town, on the Atlantic side of The Bahamas.
Largest Area of Glowing Sea – Indian Ocean, near Somalia
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living thing – and can be used to explain the stunning phenomenon of ‘glowing oceans.’
It was in 1995 that scientists at the US Naval Research Laboratory detected luminous sea in the Indian Ocean – just off the coast of Somalia – via satellite.
In this instance, the patch of water was more than 250 kilometres long, and was all thanks to bioluminescent bacteria called phytoplankton.
Similar sightings have occurred in the Maldives and Florida.
AND THE BIGGEST GROUP OF UNDERWATER LIFE-SIZE STATUES…
Found at the National Marine Park in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, The Silent Evolution installation is a group of 450 figures sitting eight metres below the water’s surface.
Made from sand, cement, silicone and fibreglass, the sculptures, which were made by Jason deClaires Taylor, help to promote the recovery of nearby natural reefs.
Tallest Hotel – J W Marriott Marquis Dubai
Formerly known as Emirates Park Towers Hotel and Spa, this UAE establishment holds the title of being the world’s tallest hotel.
Standing over 355 metres (1,165 feet) from ground level to the top of its mast, the property consists of two 77-floor twin towers, the first of which opened on November 11, 2012.
Needless to stay, the five-star hotels offers breath-taking views of the city.
Most Expensive Hotel Room – The Royal Penthouse Suite at Geneva’s Hotel President Wilson
The truly spectacularly rich don’t just merely stay at the most expensive hotel – they want access to an entire wing of a hotel, where they are lavishly catered for.
And this particular suite is just the ticket, costing as much as $83,000 (£53,760) per night.
But the hefty price tag will gain you access to 12 bedrooms and 12 marble bathrooms across 18,000 square feet.
With stunning vistas overlooking the Swiss Alps and Lake Geneva, it’s no surprise that some of the world’s richest – think: Bill Gates and Michael Douglas – have been known to check in.
Most Travelled Toy – Raymondo
Now this is one enviable bear!
A stuffed toy called Raymondo, owned by ISPY, is one of the world’s best-travelled, having clocked 395,605 miles (or over 636,000 km) from between September 27, 2009 and September 3, 2010.
During his journey, he passed through six continents and 35 countries.
Most Expensive Meal – Petrus, London
On July 5, 2001, six diners at Gordon Ramsey’s Petrus restaurant in Belgravia, London, spent a whopping £44,007 ($61,941) on just one meal.
The bill consisted mainly of five bottles of wine, with just £300 of the bill’s charge being attributed to food and £107 ($150) going towards water, fruit juice, cigarettes and six glasses of champagne.
Of the astronomically expensive bottles ordered, the priciest was a 1947 Chateau Petrus vintage claret worth £12,300 ($17,312).
AND THE MOST EXPENSIVE CITY
It probably comes as no surprise to learn then that the most expensive city in the world for eating out is London, where the average cost of a three-course meal, plus one glass of wine, is £39.09 ($79.66). This is almost double the cost of dining out in New York City!
Longest Passenger Aircraft Currently in Service – 747-8 Intercontinental
At over 76 metres long (250 feet), this particular model has the distinction of being the longest aircraft – used by passengers – currently in service.
It’s maximum takeoff weight is over 447,000 kg (987,000 lbs) and it typically shuttles 467 individuals.
It first entered into flight in March 2011 with Lufthansa, though today, carriers such as Air China and Atlas Air also regularly utilise the aircraft.
Meanwhile, the largest passenger aircraft now flying – if measured by weight – is the Airbus 380.
Longest Flight by a Commercial Aircraft – Hong Kong to London
A Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner flew 11,664 nautical miles (or 21,601 km) non-stop – and without refuelling – from Hong Kong to London, England over the dates of November 9 and 10, 2005.
The entire journey took 22 hours and 42 minutes, making it the longest ever by an unmodified commercial aircraft.
The 777-200LR model is powered by two of the world’s most powerful jet engines and the aircraft was first introduced to customer operators in 2006.