With so many stunning and unique locations that span the planet, it is no surprise that many of us have bucket lists devoted to exploring some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Even though there is no definitive definition of what makes a place truly beautiful, these select sites around the globe always seem to captivate, take one’s breath away, and make for an unforgettable experience. From ocean breezes and mountain tops to ancient city ruins and dense forests, each place has its own unique beauty that makes it stand out from all the rest.
Hạ Long Bay (Vietnam)
Hạ Long Bay is located in the northeast of Vietnam and an hour away from Hanoi; this majestic destination consists of thousands of jagged limestone islands emerging out of a bright emerald sea, forming a stunning landscape like no other. It’s not difficult to see why it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994, as its breathtaking beauty never fails to leave you mesmerized and longing for more.
Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)
Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in the heart of Croatia. The park has 16 interconnected lakes along pathways and bridges featuring cascading waterfalls surrounded by lush vegetation. Whether you take a leisurely stroll through the park’s trails or opt for an exciting adventure touring its unique caves and lucent turquoise waters, you’ll be left with warm memories that will last a lifetime.
Victoria Falls (Zambia & Zimbabwe)
Victoria Falls, located on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border, has thrilled visitors for centuries. At nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls has some of the most amazing waterfalls in the world. It is also home to numerous adventure activities and gorgeous views, making it an ideal destination for thrill seekers and photographers. From bungee jumping off a bridge over the Zambezi River to white water rafting through Batoka Gorge, adventure lovers will enjoy visiting Victoria Falls.
Zhangjiajie National Forest (China)
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China is one of the world’s most beautiful natural places to explore. Its stunning scenery takes on a mystical quality with its stacked rocks, deep ravines, and lush forests. With its 4,000 pillar-like mountain peaks reaching 3,000 feet above sea level, these gorgeous views have become popular among tourists after being featured in the movie Avatar.
Kenai Fjords, Alaska (USA)
In the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park is a mountainous terrain with deep fjords situated 120 miles south of Anchorage. During a visit to Kenai Fjords, you can explore serene settings teeming with wildlife like humpback whales, sea lions, seals, and more than 29 species of birds. From hikes through nature trails and majestic snow-capped peaks to kayaking crystal blue waters filled with marine life, Kenai Fjords, Alaska has no shortage of adventure.
Often considered one of the most beautiful places in the world, Seychelles is made up of 115 islands, providing a truly captivating underwater oasis. Its breathtaking shorelines and sugar-white sands offer a relaxing, natural retreat; while fishing boats remind of the archipelago’s diverse culture. With its year-round warm climate, snorkeling, lovely beach resorts, and luxury hotels, add Seychelles to your bucket list!
Hallstatt, a picturesque Austrian village wedged between two lakes and surrounded by the Austrian Alps, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The tiny fairytale village charms visitors from around the world with its traditional wooden cottages, Baroque-style architecture, and cobblestone paths.
Cliffs of Moher (Ireland)
Located on the west coast of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are an impressive sight to behold, stretching 5 miles and reaching a staggering 700 feet high. The air is sea-scented, the green hills stunningly contrasted by a deep blue sea, with creamy seabirds soaring above. Looking out to sea from the top of the steep rocks offers breathtaking views as far as Galway Bay and the Aran Islands in one direction and even towards Northern Ireland on clear days.
Avenue of the Baobabs (Madagascar)
The Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar is a one-of-a-kind sight. Standing vertically against the horizon, this set of baobab trees has been estimated to tower at around 80 feet, with ages of possibly 800 years. Most of them are fat and smooth as if they had seen a lifetime’s worth of stories.
Their branches stretch out from their trunks and reach high into the sky, creating an unforgettable experience for anyone who passes by. Long regarded as a sacred site for Madagascar’s people, it goes without saying that any visit to this legendary site will be unlike any other.
Machu Picchu (Peru)
Nestled high in the Peruvian Andes, Machu Picchu is a stunning sight. The Inca civilization constructed it around 1450 AD as an underground city, and remains an exciting mystery. You can explore its terraces, temples, and complexes that reveal an intriguing past. From the ancient citadel’s renowned Sun Gate, you can take in stunning views of mist-shrouded mountains and lush green valleys. Machu Picchu is truly a remarkable place to visit.
In southwestern Turkey, Pamukkale is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit. This stunning landscape is known for its cascading white terraces from mineral-rich natural springs. The terraced basins filled with thermal water have formed over time, creating an excellent site called the “Cotton Castle” due to its similarity to a small fortress made of cotton billowing in the wind. You can relax in the thermal waters or explore an ancient Roman spa at Hierapolis, built alongside Pamukkale thousands of years ago.
Patagonia (Argentina & Chile)
Patagonia is an increasingly popular travel destination for those seeking opportunities for adventure and exploration. Patagonia is located primarily in Argentina and Chile and features some of the most unique landscapes on the planet. From glacier-capped mountains to ancient forests, you can find all kinds of incredible sights in this rugged terrain. Popular activities include trekking, horseback riding, boat tours, fishing, and more.
Banff National Park (Canada)
Banff National Park, located in Alberta, Canada, offers stunning scenery and diverse wildlife experiences, making it a popular destination for nature lovers, hikers, and photographers. Surrounded by majestic mountains, lush valleys, tranquil lakes, and thundering waterfalls, Banff National Park offers hiking trails that take you through its most incredible landscapes.
Amalfi Coast (Italy)
The Amalfi Coast, in southern Italy, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the world. With its towering cliffs dotted with colorful villas, gorgeous beaches, vineyards, and picturesque fishing towns, it’s hard not to be swept away by its beauty and charm. From savoring the fresh seafood on a terrace overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea or taking in breathtaking views from atop the hillsides, there are plenty of unforgettable experiences on the Amalfi Coast.
Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
The Great Barrier Reef, located along the coast of Australia, is truly a sight to behold. Often seen as one of the most beautiful places in the world, this natural wonder offers many breathtaking views. From lush coral gardens, richly-colored sea life, and warm tropical waters, the sweeping beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is an experience unique to Australia that stretches over 1,400 miles.
Santorini is a popular bucket list destination with its white and blue Cycladic buildings, sparkling crystal-clear waters, black sandy beaches, and volcanic landscape; Greece is a popular bucket list destination. Its romantic sunset views from Oia village will take your breath away with its panoramic ocean backdrop. This Greek island can be explored by boat during an unforgettable adventure through hidden bays and nearby islands.
This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Image Credit: [@Mahara/DepositPhotos]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, explore, and escape! Alex’s mission is to help peopl find the perfect vacation destination.