Fountains are beautiful creations of art, technology, and design. Truly magical fountains require a great deal of planning and ingenuity. It’s these factors that bring in tourists from all over the globe appreciating fountains structures. We have rounded up the top ten places to view the world’s most stunning displays of moving water.
1. Metalmorphosis Mirror Fountain
Located in the Whitehall Technology Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, lies the colossal artwork of David Černy.
The fountain weighs over 14 tons. Each of its stainless steel layers independently rotates 360º to align and form the massive head occasionally. At certain times of the day, the mouth of the fountain also dispells a stream of water into the surrounding pool, creating a remarkable synergy of form and function.
Depending on when you visit the park, the fountain’s famous layers may be away for repairs. It’s choreographed movement incorporates a very sophisticated infrastructure with lots of upkeep.
2. Fuente del Barco de Agua (Water Boat Fountain)
This Spanish fountain employs dozens of tiny liquid jets to embody a transparent, sunlit boat. The result is breathtaking.
The fountain uses only a few rods to create the sailboat’s silhouette, and the streams of water seamlessly do the rest. There are several fountains worldwide with similar structures (including one in Portugal and one in Israel). But this Playa de la Malvarrosa fountain gains the most global tourist attention. The display, located just beyond the sand at this breathtaking Spanish beach, lends a playfulness to the serene setting. Unfortunately, the date of construction along with the name of its architect remains lost in time.
3. Dubai Mall Waterfalls
The Dubai Mall is a giant megastructure boasting exciting features like a video game paradise, Sega Republic, and Dubai Dino, an archaeological haven. However, the mall also offers a mesmerizing sculptural fountain too.
The waterfall fountain running through the shopping structure creates quite the focal point. With a towering height of 24 meters, the falls stretch from floor to ceiling of the mall, enjoyable from any of the four levels. The display, decorated with life-like fiberglass sculptures, depicts dozens of outstretched humans diving gracefully over the falls. Surrounded by tall palm trees, the scene offers shoppers a soothing desert oasis feel. An overhead skylight adds to the aesthetic, bathing the silver sculptures and dancing water in natural sunlight.
4. Font Màgica de Montjuïc
Translated as The Magic Fountain, this Spanish beauty elevates by a stunning nightly light show.
Located in Barcelona, Spain, The Magic Fountain offered onlookers its first show in May 1929. Designed by Carles Buigas, the fountain called on 3000 workers to complete in only one year. Carles’ work continues to draw in tourism and dazzle onlookers on a daily basis. Each night the light shows last for an hour and are a must see attraction! Employing music, the full spectrum of color, and complex water acrobatics, the show is a complete sensory experience. Not unlike many of the others on this list, the fountain requires a great deal of ongoing care. Thus, it closes for maintenance at certain times of the year. Be sure to look into its scheduled closures before booking your trip!
5. Swarovski Crystal Head Fountain
This sparkle-eyed fountain of Swarovski Crystal Worlds (a 1995 Swarovski crystal museum) emerges decadently from the Austrian hillside.
The fountain, sitting at the museum’s entrance, greets guests and ushers them inside. The installation calls upon nature, the elements, and Austria’s natural surroundings for its splendor. André Heller conceptualized both the fountain and the Wattens Museum. He aimed to captivate visitors with creative and innovative uses for crystal. From its mouth, the gentle green giant spews water into a surrounding pond all day long. Regardless of the time of day or year that you visit, the fountain’s eyes are sure to sparkle with its giant Swarovski crystals.
6. Fountain of Wealth
Singapore’s famous fountain was erected as a beautiful symbol of life, vitality, and of course, wealth and excess.
Beginning on the basement level of Suntec City, one of Singapore’s largest shopping malls, the Fountain of Wealth towers over 13 meters high and extends above the ground floor. It plays with lighting techniques, water jets, and even incorporates feng shui principles. In Chinese culture, water is a symbol of both life and financial success.
By constructing a fountain with the inward movement of it, it is believed to ensure economic growth for both Suntec City and Singapore itself. More to that end, the careful design and placement of the buildings surrounding the fountain symbolize the five fingers of a hand. With the ring of the fountain at its center (and acting as the hand’s palm), the fountain is thought to not only guarantee but also to preserve the wealth of the region. For its spectators, simply basking in the fountain’s glory or walking through its center when it is turned off are said to lend good fortune.
When planning what time to view this attraction, keep in mind that evening laser shows are held and touch water sessions run throughout the day. If you are looking to appreciate a special someone during your stay, laser and song dedications are also available throughout the evening.
7. Charybdis Vortex
Located at Seaham Hall in Sunderland, England, this inverted fountain is a must-see!
Designed by William Pye in 2000, the Charybdis Vortex utilizes an air-core vortex to create the endless swirl of water locked within the fountain. Enjoy the fountain from ground level or take the stairs up to enjoy an alternative vantage point.
The name of the fountain comes from ancient mythology of underwater sirens. One in particular, by the name of Charybdis, is said to have been punished by Zeus and was cursed for eternity, becoming a swirling vortex within the sea.
8. Stravinsky Fountain
A musical tribute to the Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, you can find this eclectic fountain in Paris, France.
The Stravinsky Fountain is brimming with musical and visual excitement. Designed by Swiss artist, Jean Tinguely and his wife Niki de Saint Phalle, the unconventional, contemporary artwork has been at the center of controversy for many years now. Because the display is an ode to Igor Stravinsky himself, all sixteen sculptures within the fountain are musical masterpieces! They range from Firebirds to treble clefs, sirens, nightingales, and even a clown hat. Each one of the sixteen creations uses the movement of water to grace its viewers with the art of music.
9. Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain
The Rainbow Fountain Bridge runs for 570m on either side of the famous Banpodaegyo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea.
The bridge employs 380 aqua jets lining both sides which pour graceful streams of water into the river below. The ‘Rainbow’ bridge was named for its ability to change colors, cycling through the full spectrum periodically. Banpo combines light, water, and even music to create the whole experience. Depending on whether you visit during the day or evening, the water and light shows will vary. During the day, the fountain rotates one hundred different configurations. They are designed to resemble the natural sway of willow branches in the wind and to evoke feelings of serenity in its onlookers. In contrast, the evening boasts a much more lively show. After dark, the streams of water are brightly lit in rainbow colors and play in synchronization with music.
The bridge is only in operation for the months of April through October and closes for the winter months. Furthermore, while quite frequent, the shows are not continuous and you should be sure to check the daily schedule before heading out. No stress if you miss one, they run four to six times a day and you can keep yourself busy at the surrounding park’s outdoor stage, picnic areas, or ecological observation site while you wait.
Kala is a Creative Writing graduate of UBC, an avid writer, globe-trotter, and travel enthusiast! She has a passion for animals, screenwriting, adventure, espresso, and most profoundly, sushi! Having grown up abroad as an expat, she has an endless arsenal of worldly stories to share!
Latest posts by Kala Cox (see all)