The lighthouse sits at the entrance of a beautiful bay and natural harbor and has prevented ships from running aground for centuries.

Sadly, however, many of these have become redundant and replaced by more efficient onboard navigation systems.

The remaining lighthouses are mostly automated, with more powerful lights and lenses than those used in the past.

Lighthouses often become very unique landmarks, their shape and color contrasting with the surrounding landscape. Therefore, they provide excellent shooting opportunities.

1. Portland Lighthouse

Portland beacon lights have been guiding sailors back to safety since 1791. This historic lighthouse sits atop a rugged cliff in Cape Elizabeth, just south of the busy Portland Harbor.

At nearly 25 meters high, the white conical tower stands out against the desolate and rugged coastline.

Although it is now automated, visitors can stop by the adjoining Maritime Museum to learn about its fascinating past and hear the harrowing stories of the many ships that were wrecked along the Maine coastline.

2. Formento Lighthouse

The Formento Lighthouse is one of Mallorca's most famous landmarks, located at the northernmost tip of the Balearic Islands. About 210 meters above the sea, the lighthouse sits atop a towering cliff with a steep waterfall below.

Since 1863, its dazzling lighthouse has alerted sailors to the dangers of the Mallorca coastline. Formento Lighthouse is not to be missed due to the outstanding natural beauty of its surroundings and the wonderful views of the Mediterranean Sea.

3. Chania Lighthouse

Located at the entrance to the historic port of Chania in Crete, this charming lighthouse is one of the oldest in the world. Originally built by the Venetians at the end of the 16th century.

It was subsequently restored and reimagined by the Egyptians, Ottomans, and later the Greeks. As such, the lighthouse has a splendid and interesting history, as evidenced by its unique design.

Its charming architecture and splendid backdrop to the city make Chania Lighthouse such a popular attraction.

4. Cape Hirshta Lighthouse

Nestled in a prominent and picturesque spot on the Oregon coast, the Cape Hirshta Lighthouse is certainly a great sight to behold.

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the striking rocks below, the gleaming white towers are backed by verdant forests rolling down the hillside.

First lit in 1894, the lighthouse is named after the Spanish explorer Bruno Hirschta who sailed the Pacific Northwest in the 18th century.

Now, the Cape Hirshta Lighthouse is a designated state attraction and well worth a visit, as it overlooks the Oregon coast and the Pacific Ocean.

5. Hercules Lighthouse

The Hercules Lighthouse has dominated Spain's North Atlantic coastline since the second century AD. This makes it the oldest lighthouse still in use today. First built by the Romans, the 57-meter-high, solid square tower was restored and renovated in 1791.

Besides the amazing history and architecture. Hercules Lighthouse's scenic location on the Galician peninsula makes it undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world.