World's 10 most famous fountains worth visiting

1. BELLAGIO FOUNTAINS, LAS VEGAS

People everywhere are entranced by water, nowhere better harnessed than in public fountains, which might be urban monuments, a source of entertainment, or a delight to the eye. These famous dancing fountains are all three. Accompanied by classical or pop music, they erupt from an artificial lake on The Strip, bringing passing crowds to a standstill, and enjoyment to even the most jaded passer-by. See bellagio.com

2. TREVI FOUNTAIN, ROME

The 1954 Hollywood romantic comedy Three Coins in the Fountain made this ornate monument famous. It also featured in Roman Holiday and Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita. The triumphant expression of baroque magnificence, recently superbly restored, is topped by a statue of Neptune riding a winged chariot. It's said that if you throw a coin into the fountain, it will ensure your return to Rome. See turismoroma.it

3. CROWN FOUNTAIN, CHICAGO

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Crown Fountain, Millennium Park, Chicago. Photo: Alamy

A blend of water and light creates this amusing fountain – something of an art installation – in Millennium Park. Two glass towers project LED images of the faces of ordinary Chicago residents, who shoot out spits of water into the black granite reflecting pool below. Interactivity is encouraged. Many residents (not just children) enjoy wading in the pool and dodging the fountain's cheekily aimed waterspouts. See millenniumparkfoundation.org

4. BANPO BRIDGE RAINBOW FOUNTAIN, SEOUL

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Banpo bridge rainbow fountain show at night in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Alamy

Water spurting from a bridge into the Han River below is multiplied to splendid effect in this fountain, which has 380 jets strung out over the bridge's 1140-metre length, creating the world's longest bridge fountain. It's illuminated at night in multiple colours and the waterspouts synchronised with music for a 20-minute display that can be seen four to six times daily between April and October. See visitseoul.net

5. JET D'EAU, GENEVA

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City of Geneva with Jet d'Eau fountain and Lake of Geneva. Photo: Alamy

Geneva's famous symbol on the lakefront, simply known as the "water jet", soars 140 metres. Water leaves the pump at 200 kilometres an hour, propelling seven tons of water into the air, beautifully illuminated at night. You can stroll out along the jetty from which the Jet d'Eau spews, but beware sudden wind changes, as many a tourist has received an unexpected soaking while posing for photos. See geneve.com

6. MAGIC FOUNTAIN OF MONTJUIC, BARCELONA

This fountain was constructed in 1929 for the Universal Exhibition, and was restored in the 1980s with the addition of lighting, music and water effects that appear to make the fountains dance. Thousands turn up on weekend evenings to enjoy the spectacle, which produces 3620 water jets in 50 colours, some soaring high in the air, and accompanied by classical or pop music. See telefericdemontjuic.cat

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7. PEOPLE'S FRIENDSHIP FOUNTAIN, MOSCOW

One of the few reminders of the vanished USSR, this fountain outside the All-Russian Exhibition Centre features 16 enormous gilded statues of waving, happy citizens in national costume, representing the republics that made up the Soviet Union. Fully restored last year, it sports 800 water jets firing 24 metres in the air before splashing back into a vast red granite bowl shaped like a flower. See russiatourism.ru

8. KING FAHD'S FOUNTAIN, JEDDAH

Though few tourists make it to Saudi Arabia, this fountain, modelled on Geneva's, has to be included for surely being the world's most spectacular waterspout. At 260 metres, it's also the world's tallest, soaring over the Jeddah coastline and unusual for using sea water, which is thrust upwards at 375 kilometres per hour. The fountain is at its best at night, illuminated with 500 spotlights. See sauditourism.sa

9. FOUNTAIN OF WEALTH, SINGAPORE

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Fountain of Wealth, Suntec city in Singapore. Photo: Alamy

The Fountain of Wealth purportedly references the richness of life, though its shopping-mall location speaks of more earthly desires. The design, in the form of a bronze ring, is based on a Hindu mandala. It's said that if you walk around the fountain three times while constantly touching the water, you'll have good fortune. At night, laser performances and music are added to the splashing jets. See sunteccity.com.sg

10. DUBAI FOUNTAIN, DUBAI

These dancing, music-accompanied fountains sit adjacent to Dubai Mall, with Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building) an impressive backdrop. A 275-metre curve of jets is accompanied by small arrangements and is illuminated with coloured lights synchronised to Western and Arab music. It's the world's largest choreographed fountain. Bag a table on the restaurant terraces of Souk al Bahar and you'll enjoy multiple shows through dinner. See thedubaimall.com

Brian Johnston travelled both as a guest of numerous tourism offices and at his own expense.

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