The Best Scenic Beauty from Around the World: A Breathtaking Journey
Are you ready to embark on a breathtaking journey around the world? Get ready to be spellbound by the best scenic beauty our planet has to offer. From the icy wonders of Antarctica to the bustling streets of Venice, from the lush landscapes of Vietnam to the rugged cliffs of Ireland, this article will take you on a whirlwind tour through some of the most awe-inspiring destinations. So buckle up and get ready for a visual feast that will leave you longing to pack your bags and explore these incredible places for yourself. Get ready to be captivated by the world's most stunning sights!
Whenever people ask us what our favorite destination is, Dave always answers Antarctica. The reason? Because it is one of the most stunning places to capture photos on earth.
The various shades of blue ice and snow create a picturesque landscape. Enormous ice formations the size of buildings float through the deep blue water and the skies are clear. There is no other place in the world quite like Antarctica.
Gobi Desert and Mongolian Steppe
While driving through Mongolia during the Mongol Rally, I couldn’t get over the vastness of the landscape.
I know that sounds strange to say, but the Mongolian Steppe is so wide open, that even the skies feel bigger here than anywhere else in the world.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
For years we had seen pictures of this fairytale castle and didn’t know where it was. It wasn’t until we traveled to Bavaria in Germany last summer that we finally saw it with our own eyes, and it did not disappoint. Read more: Most Beautiful Castles in Germany
This castle is so perfect, Walt Disney modeled his Disney Castle after it. It is located just 90 minutes from Munich.
Hạ Long Bay (Vietnam)
Photo Credit: [@monticello/DepositPhotos]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.
Farmer in rice terrace,Vietnam
It has been well over a decade since we visited Sapa in Vietnam, but its striking scene will always be etched in our minds. While hiking through the plunging rice terraces in the high mountains on the border of China, I felt as if each turn was a picture in a National Geographic photo story.
Kuang Si Falls, Laos
Ahmad Syukaery//Getty ImagesWithout a doubt, Laos (also known as the Land of a Million Elephants) is a treasure that deserves all of its flowers for its unmatched beauty and splendor. Set near the Mekong and Nam Kham rivers, the city of Luang Prabang is picture-perfect with its golden temples. Venture the 40-minute drive to Kuang Si Falls, and you'll be surrounded by a vibrant jungle. The falls consist of three tiers, each with pools for taking in the view and wading in peace.
Zhangye Danxia Geopark, China
Getty ImagesGeology lovers and avid Instagrammers alike will be drawn to the otherworldly hues of the "Rainbow Mountains." The colors were formed by the layering of sedimentary mineral deposits over millions of years, but it's hard to look at the flowing reds, yellows, and oranges and not feel like you're witnessing magic.
More than 3,000 narrow, quartz-sandstone pillars make up Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area in the Hunan Province. These natural wonders, many higher than 656ft, are broken up by ravines, gorges, caves, and waterfalls. It’s easy to see why the UNESCO World Heritage Site was James Cameron’s inspiration for Avatar.
Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)
Photo Credit: [@gsafarek/DepositPhotos]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.
Zion National Park, Utah
Lauren Breedlove/Travel Leisure
Glorious Navajo Sandstone cliffs, rainbow-colored canyons, and incredible biodiversity make Zion one of the most popular (and most scenic) national parks in the U.S.
Kenai Fjords, Alaska (USA)
Photo Credit: [@jason.troutnut.com/DepositPhotos]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.
Grand Canyon, USA
The sun illuminates the Grand Canyon
I’m not going to lie. When visiting the Grand Canyon, I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it would be a cheesy tourist trap, but it lives up to the hype! There is a reason the Grand Canyon is featured in so many movies; it is spectacular. A road trip through California and Arizona brought us to this place, and I am so glad that we saw it with our own eyes. Read: The 17 Best Hikes in Arizona
South Dakota Badlands
Waking up early and watching sunrise at Widows and Doors was a highlight of the trip for us.
Who knew that South Dakota has so much to offer. We were invited on an Instagram trip to the state a few years ago thinking we’d have trouble finding interesting photos to capture. It turned out that South Dakota is photogenic at nearly every turn. There’s more to it than Mount Rushmore. The Badlands are truly spectacular read all about it here.
Railay West Beach, Thailand
Dmitrii Guldin / Getty Images
On the Railay peninsula's west side, Krabi's famous karsts meet a simply stunning jade-green lagoon. The vertical cliffs block access from the Krabi mainland, making Railay reachable only by boat, adding to its incredible appeal.
Lake Nakuru, Kenya
Beautiful Flamingoes of Nakuru
The Masai Mara may be Kenya’s top draw, but it was Lake Nakuru that we really fell in love with the beauty of Kenya. Known for the flamingos and pelicans that frequent its alkaline shores, Lake Nakuru is a picturesque location in Africa. It’s also one of the best places to see rhinos in Africa.
Maasai Mara, Kenya
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This famed wildlife preserve (next-door neighbor to the Serengeti) is one of the world's most enchanting ecosystems. The Mara's golden grasslands stretch to the horizon, interrupted by graceful acacia trees and rumbling throngs of wildebeest and zebra — and their stalking predators.
Lake Louise, Canada
Each time Dave and I visit Lake Louise in Banff National Park, we are reminded of why we always tell people it is the most beautiful place in Canada. With Victoria Glacier plunging into the turquoise waters of this glacier lake, Lake Louise is the perfect natural Canadian setting. Read more: The Best Things to do in Banff
Lake Louise is even beautiful in winter
The entire area of Banff is picture-perfect, and you’ll be mesmerized with each scene you encounter. We had an epic game of pond hockey on Lake Louise in the winter, and it was just as beautiful in the summer. In fact, we like it better in the winter because there are no crowds!
Banff National Park, Canada
Nick FitzhardingeThe best time to see the Marvel Lake's vibrant turquoise hue—created by sunlight reflecting off the rock floor—is July and August. But Banff is also home to three world-class ski resorts and is lovely during the winter.
Cat Island, The Bahamas
Cat Island is a secret nirvana hiding in plain sight in the Bahamas. Sparsely developed and off the main tourist track, Cat Island is resplendent in miles of nature trails and wondrous pink-sands sprawling under the Caribbean sun.
The sapphire blue waters of the Maldives are like nothing we’ve ever seen.
Secluded private islands house luxury hotels with over-the-water bungalows. The sand is soft and white as snow, creating the perfect island paradise escape.
Getty ImagesIf traversing the canals with a be-striped gondolier sounds unbearably touristy, stick to the sidewalks and spectacular arched bridges to get your fill of this truly unique, wildly romantic floating city.
Lake Como, Italy
Roberto Moiola/Getty Images
Lake Como has been one of Italy's most popular vacation spots since the time of the Roman emperors. This unabashedly high-rolling resort area still attracts a posh crowd with its lush gardens, cinematic palaces and villas, and sun-soaked alpine shores. Take the funicular to the tiny village of Brunate for an amazing panorama.
Pailón del Diablo, Ecuador
Alessandra Taryn Bea//Getty ImagesKnown as "Devil's Cauldron" in English, this remote hiking destination in the Ecuadorian rainforest is like something out of a fairytale.
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Photo Credit: [@kbarzycki/DepositPhotos]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!
Avenue of the Baobabs (Madagascar)
Photo Credit: [@GUDKOVANDREY/DepositPhotos]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.
Serengeti Plains, Tanzania
While Dave loves Antarctica, I (Deb) love Tanzania. And no place is as beautiful as the Serengeti.
The wildlife is outstanding, but the sunsets and landscape of the great plains of Africa are second to none.
Every beautiful picture that you see of those African sunsets really is that gorgeous!
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Ohto Nygren/Getty Images
Solitary Mount Kilimanjaro is one of Africa's most stunning icons, rising more than 19,000 feet from coffee and banana farms up to snowy volcanic peaks. Along the way, hikers trek through distinct climate zones, from rainforest to high-altitude desert to the arctic-like summit (aka "the roof of Africa").
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Most people suggest the Namib Desert and sand dunes of Sossusvlei. But while cycling through Namibia, we had our heads down until reaching Fish River Canyon. With a night off to relax and take in the view, I’ll never forget overlooking the endless ravine spanning 100 miles before our eyes.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Photo by Russell Patterson/Getty Images
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is the largest inland delta in the world. It is a sprawling network of winding waterways and lagoons that attract a wide variety of animals. Exploring the delta in a traditional canoe called a mokoro is a must-do experience for nature lovers. Keep an eye out for hippos, leopards, and elephants along the reed-studded channels.
Photo by Carlina Teteris/Getty Images
Located on the west coast of southern Thailand, Krabi is a province known for its stunning coastline. The region is speckled with limestone cliffs and hundreds of islands that dot the Andaman Sea. It is a popular destination for beach vacations, offering beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
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The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic road that stretches 469 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. While it may not have the ocean views of Highway 101, it offers breathtaking Appalachian beauty. The route has numerous overlooks where road-trippers can marvel at the dreamy blue hue of the mountains.
Cliffs of Moher (Ireland)
Photo Credit: [@4kclips/DepositPhotos]
The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland are a sight to behold. Stretching 5 miles along the west coast, these cliffs reach a staggering height of 700 feet. The combination of the sea-scented air, the green hills, and the deep blue sea is absolutely stunning. From the top of the steep rocks, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Galway Bay, the Aran Islands, and even Northern Ireland on clear days.
Photo by Jon Douglas/Getty Images
Glencoe is one of the most famous glens (valleys) in the Scottish Highlands. It is known for its astonishingly scenic landscapes. While the valley has a dark history due to a brutal massacre in the 17th century, it is now a haven for hikers, mountaineers, and whiskey lovers. The nearby Ben Nevis Distillery is a popular attraction for whiskey enthusiasts.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Photo by Chao Photography/Getty Images
For those seeking to get off the grid, Torres del Paine National Park in Chile's Patagonia region offers some of the most beautiful mountain views in the world. This remote park is characterized by its turquoise lagoons, coral reefs, and breathtaking scenery. It is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurers.
Matira Beach, French Polynesia
Photo by Niklas Flindt/Getty Images
Bora Bora's Matira Beach in French Polynesia is renowned for its pearly white, flour-fine sand and stunningly bright turquoise lagoon. This South Pacific paradise is a favorite destination for beach lovers. The combination of the pristine beach, crystal-clear waters, and lush surroundings creates a truly idyllic setting.
Pitons, St Lucia
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The Pitons are two volcanic mountains that are a signature feature of the Caribbean island of St Lucia. These mountains are not only beautiful but also iconic. You can enjoy the view of the Pitons from the pristine white sand beach at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Photo by Matteo Colombo/Getty Images
Bora Bora, located in French Polynesia, is a small island that is often referred to as paradise on Earth. With its turquoise lagoons, coral reefs, and overwater bungalows, it offers a truly magical experience. It is a dream destination for those seeking a tropical getaway.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
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The Great Ocean Road in Australia is a coastal drive that offers spectacular views. From the famous 12 Apostle rock formations to koalas in Great Otway National Park, there is plenty to see along the way. The charming seaside town of Lorne is also a highlight of the journey.
The Algarve, Portugal
Photo by James O'Neil/Getty Images
The Algarve, a region in Portugal, is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and offers a wild and beautiful coastal landscape. Wind-sculpted cliffs and headlands frame the region's sandy beaches, which are popular with surfers. The Algarve is also known for its secret coves and grottoes, adding to its allure.
Tu Le Valley, Vietnam
Photo by 117 Imagery/Getty Images
Tu Le Valley in Vietnam is known for its breathtaking beauty. It features a mesmerizing pattern of golden and green terraced rice paddies, surrounded by mountain ranges. The valley is a sight to see year-round, but the best time to visit is in September when the rice is ripening.
Mù Cang Chải, Vietnam
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Mù Cang Chải in Vietnam is a rural region that offers a stunning landscape. It is famous for its terraced mountains lined with rice paddies and flowing streams of water. This scenic region takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the city and immerses you in the natural beauty of the mountains.
Mount McKinley, United States
Photo by Mount McKinley
Mount McKinley in Alaska is a truly awe-inspiring sight. It is not only an active volcano but also an icon of serenity. The views from the summit of this magnificent mountain are breathtaking. You can hike to the top for sweeping views or enjoy the sight from Lake Kawaguchi and other vantage points in the beautiful Five Lakes region.
Palm Springs, California
Photo by Dane Deaner/Getty Images
Palm Springs in California's Southern Desert is a favorite destination for design lovers and sun-seekers. Surrounded by mountains and adorned with Palm Trees, bougainvillea, and citrus trees, the natural landscape provides a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities. From sunrise hikes and sunset cocktails by the pool to golfing and rock climbing, there is something for everyone in this desert oasis.
Zhangjiajie National Forest (China)
Photo Credit: [@efired/DepositPhotos]
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. The park features stacked rocks, deep ravines, and lush forests, creating a mystical and enchanting atmosphere. With its towering mountain peaks reaching heights of 3,000 feet above sea level, the park offers breathtaking views that have captivated visitors. It gained international recognition after being featured in the movie Avatar.
Mount Fuji, Japan
Photo by DoctorEgg/Getty Images
Mount Fuji in Japan is not only an active volcano but also one of the world's most magnificent sights. Whether you hike to its summit or admire it from the surrounding areas, Mount Fuji is a truly awe-inspiring sight. The Five Lakes region, including the spa town of Hakone, offers stunning views of the mountain, especially when paired with relaxing hot springs.
Photo by Oia, Santorini
Santorini in Greece is a destination that lives up to its reputation as a beautiful place. It is often regarded as one of the most romantic places in the world. The hillside town of Oia, with its iconic blue domes and bells, offers some of the best views of the bright blue Aegean Sea. Staying in a luxury cave hotel in Oia is a dream come true for many travelers. Santorini is the star among the Greek Islands for its stunning beauty and unique charm.
As I sat in the infinity pool overlooking the caldera, I felt as though there was no other place that epitomizes paradise as much as Santorini, Greece.
Oia, Santorini, Greece
Photo by Berlin Harald Braun/Getty Images
Oia, a hillside town in Santorini, Greece, offers some of the best views of the bright blue Aegean Sea. The iconic blue domes and bells of Oia are a must-see sight that adds to the allure of this beautiful destination.
Photo by Meteora, Greece
Meteora in Greece is an awe-inspiring sight that deserves a place on any "beautiful places to visit" list. The monasteries of Meteora date back to the 9th century and are perched atop giant pillars that rise out of the lush valley. This unique landscape, formed over thousands of years, has a mystical quality. It is no wonder that it served as the setting for the city in the clouds in the hit TV show Game of Thrones.
Milford Sound, New Zealand
Photo by Milford Sound, New Zealand
Milford Sound in New Zealand's Fjordland National Park offers some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world. The towering sea cliffs, rising 1,200 meters above the water, create a majestic scene. Taking a cruise of Milford Sound is a highly recommended experience and one of the top things to do in New Zealand. The sheer rock faces, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque skies make this a truly breathtaking destination.
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Photo by Rolf Hicker/Getty Images
Fiordland National Park in New Zealand is known for its diverse and stunning landscapes. Every turn offers a striking scene in this South Island gem. One of the highlights of the park is the Lupins, which bloom in vibrant purple fields starting in late November. For Lupin-spotting, Fiordland National Park, including Milford Sound, is a beautiful spot.
Photo by Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia in Turkey is famous for its stunning landscape, particularly its fairy chimneys. Taking a hot air balloon ride over the surreal landscape is a must-do experience. Cappadocia is also known for its historical significance and is considered one of the best historical places in the world. Staying in a cave hotel in Cappadocia adds to the enchanting experience.
Seeing the hot air balloons soar above the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia feels like a dream come true. This destination is truly a hidden gem among the beautiful places in the world.
Don't forget to explore the ancient ruins of Cappadocia, which date back thousands of years and add to the rich history of this incredible place.
Photo Credit: [@saharrr/DepositPhotos]
Pamukkale in southwestern Turkey is a truly breathtaking place to visit. This stunning landscape is known for its cascading white terraces created by mineral-rich natural springs. The terraced basins filled with thermal water have formed over time, resembling a small fortress made of billowing cotton. You can relax in the thermal waters or explore the ancient Roman spa at Hierapolis, which was built alongside Pamukkale thousands of years ago.
Redwood National Park, California
Photo by Bruce Shippee/Getty Images
Redwood National Park, located north of San Francisco, is home to the world's tallest trees. These old-growth redwoods, some reaching heights of 370 feet, are protected within the park. With over 200 miles of trails, the park is ideal for camping, hiking, and horseback riding. It is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
From the rugged cliffs of Moher in Ireland to the exotic beauty of the Maldives, our world is truly filled with wonders that will take your breath away. Whether you're standing in awe of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or cruising through the stunning Hạ Long Bay in Vietnam, the best scenic beauty destinations offer us a glimpse into nature's unrivaled artistry. So pack your bags and let these incredible landscapes ignite your sense of adventure, because there's a whole world out there waiting to be explored.
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