10 of the World's Most Eccentric Lighthouses

Tourlitis Lighthouse in Andros was rebuilt in the 1990s. (Photo: Lemonakis Antonis/Shutterstock)
Tourlitis Lighthouse in Andros was rebuilt in the 1990s. (Photo: Lemonakis Antonis/Shutterstock)

Rising from a precarious chunk of sea rock off the coast of Andros, Greece, the Tourlitis Lighthouse is so whimsical and surreal that it almost looks Photoshopped. Rest assured, it's 100 percent real, though it's had some pretty rough experiences over the years.

The fantastical lighthouse was originally built in 1897, but was destroyed during the tumultuous chaos of World War II. Although it remained rubble for several decades, the lighthouse was finally rebuilt in the 1990s — much to the delight of both locals and visitors. The remarkable replica remains one of Andros' most picturesque tourist attractions to this day.

Enamored with the charms of Tourlitis? Just wait until you learn about these nine other unconventional shoreline beacons!

Thomas Point Shoal Light — Maryland, U.S.

Thomas Point Shoal Light. (Photo: Peretz Partensky)

The iconic structure is one of the Chesapeake Bay's last remaining examples of a screw-pile lighthouse — a type of lighthouse built by screwing piles into sandy foundations. While there are other screw-pile lighthouses in the area, the Thomas Point Shoal Light is the only one that still remains at the site where it was originally established in 1875.

St. Nicholas Lighthouse-Church — Ukraine

St. Nicholas lighthouse. (Photo: Dance60/Shutterstock)

Part-lighthouse and part-chapel, this elegant architectural structure in Malorchenske, Ukraine, is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. In addition to serving as a guiding light for ships, the lighthouse is a memorial for people lost at sea.

Jeddah Light — Saudi Arabia

Jeddah Light. (Photo: Philippe Gambet)

This futuristic blinking watchtower is perched along the coast of the Red Sea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. At a staggering 436 feet in height, it lays claim to the title of the tallest lighthouse in the world.

Kõpu Lighthouse — Estonia

Kopu lighthouse. (Photo: Risto0/Shutterstock)

This gorgeous structure on the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia, has been in use since it was completed in 1531 — making it one of the oldest active lighthouses in the world. Built atop the island's highest hill, the lighthouse was built as a rectangular prism flanked by a set of immense counterforts. Kõpu's enduring journey through time has solidified it as a cultural icon for the island, and it has become a popular tourist destination in recent years.

Tower of Hercules — Spain

Tower of Hercules. (Photo: Migel/Shutterstock)

With a name like "Tower of Hercules" and architecture inspired by the legendary Lighthouse of Alexandria, this 1,900-year-old lighthouse in Galicia, Spain, has a lot to live up to. And it does not disappoint! Although it existed as far back as the second century, the tower was given a neoclassical facelift in 1788.

Baishamen Lighthouse — China

Baishamen lighthouse. (Photo: Anna Frodesiak)

Erected on southern China's Haidian Island in 2000, Baishamen Lighthouse is distinguished for its triangular tower extending from a multi-story hexagonal base. It's the sixth tallest lighthouse in the world.

Strombolicchio lighthouse — Italy

Strombolicchio lighthouse. (Photo: Roger Wissmann/Shutterstock)

Unlike a lot of the other lighthouses on this list, the Strombolicchio lighthouse is nothing special in the architecture department, but it makes up for it in its surreal placement atop a steep chunk of rock in the Aeolian Islands of Italy. According to Atlas Obscura, "the basalt sea stack is all that remains of the core of a volcano that may have eroded away some 200,000 years ago leaving only the central 'chimney.'" To get to the lighthouse, visitors must climb a treacherous set of stairs that have been built into the side of the island.

Dyrhólaey lighthouse — Iceland

Dyrholaey lighthouse. (Photo: Zhukova Valentyna/Shutterstock)

Perched along the southern coastal cliffs of Iceland, the Dyrhólaey lighthouse offers yet another compelling reason to visit this strange and beautiful land. The concrete tower was built in 1927, though an earlier steel light tower stood in its place before that.

Seven Foot Knoll Light — Maryland, U.S.

Seven Foot Knoll lighthouse. (Photo: Sergio TB/Shutterstock)

Built in 1855, this red beauty is the oldest screw-pile lighthouse in the state of Maryland. However, unlike the Thomas Point Shoal Light we mentioned earlier, the Seven Foot Knoll Light fell into obsolescence in the mid-20th century. In 1988, it was transported to Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where it remains today as a popular historical attraction.