Our planet is home to some amazing landscapes – from staggering mountain ranges to stretching red deserts. So, we think it’s time you put these 21 jaw-dropping spots on your travel list, spanning from the black sands of Iceland to the salt flats of Bolivia. These are officially the most beautiful places in the world…
1. Cinque Terre, Italy
A popular vacation spot for locals and tourists alike, Cinque Terre is worth the trip. Made up of five villages, this beautiful destination is accessible by car, train or boats. Cinque Terre is full of local Italian culture with authentic Italian food, cliffside hikes and coastal views.
2. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Japan
This bamboo forest is utterly breathtaking. Just a short bus ride to the outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is famous for its beauty, unique sounds and natural light. If you’re looking to connect to nature while travelling, this is an experience you cannot miss. Not only will you experience Japanese local culture, you’ll get to experience a very different pace of life, compared to the bigger cities such as Tokyo. Wake up extra early to capture this spot without any other tourists – it’s 100% one of the most beautiful places to visit ever.
3. Banff National Park, Canada
Although this amazing landscape includes the Rocky Mountains, it’s the lakes in this area that make Banff National Park extra special. Turquoise glacial waters with mirrored mountain views and tons of wildlife – you’ll find this at some of the area’s most famous lakes, such as Moraine Lake, Lake Louise and Lake Minnewanka. In the winter, this spot turns into a winter wonderland with powderpuff snow, making it a dream for anyone looking to hit the ski slopes.
4. Cappadocia, Turkey
Known for its cone-shaped rock formations and stunning hot air balloon displays, this Insta-worthy destination has quickly become a must-do on many travellers’ lists. At sunrise, take a hot air balloon over the area to enjoy a fairytale scene, making it one of the prettiest places in the world to visit.
5. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Ready to take in the crisp air and beautiful scenery of Ireland? The Cliffs of Moher has quickly become a popular, must visit destinations for all travellers’ visiting Ireland. These seaside cliffs are home to over 30,000 seabirds, dolphins and whales. The Atlantic Ocean and green grass on the cliffs make this spot worth the trip and will leave you with major Irish vibes.
6. Grand Canyon, United States of America
The scenic views of the Grand Canyon will take your breath away. It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is naturally formed. The Grand Canyon’s amazing landscape is composed of layered bands of red rock, making it one of the prettiest places in the world. You’ll enjoy seeing plunging canyons, wildlife and miles and miles of rock. If you have some extra time and want to experience yet more beautiful and natural sights, stop by Antelop Canyon and Monument Valley.
7. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
One of of the most beautiful places in the world can be found in Tanzania, Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro is not only Africa’s highest peak, it’s a dormant volcano and world’s tallest free-standing mountain. Its beauty comes from its landscape that is flat on either side of the peak and can be seen across several countries in Africa. Pair it with lions, giraffes and elephants and it’s the perfect backdrop for your next African safari.
8. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Bolivia is home to the largest salt flats in the world. The views of Salar de Uyuni are surreal, making it hard to believe that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world that actually exists. Over the years, the salt found in this lake has turned into a unique desert-like landscape that mirrors the sky. Put aside some extra time when you visit. You’ll end up having hours of fun because of the illusions, capturing some insta-worthy shots.
9. Reynisfjara, Iceland
Just a short drive away from Vik, Reynisfjara is one of the coolest places in the world to visit. Its unique black sand was created by lava that flowed into the ocean and instantly cooled. Paired with the basalt stacks, Reynisfjara is a beautiful landscape that captures the true nature of Iceland’s beauty.
10. Uluru, Australia
Head up to the Northern Territory of Australia for an outback adventure. Also known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is quite a sight to see! Made of sandstone, this massive rock is over 700 years old. The best time of visit and enjoy its red glow is at dawn or sunset. If you get lucky, you may even see the rock in some extra shades of gold and purple too!
11. Krabi, Thailand
The Krabi Thai islands are some of the most beautiful vacation spots in the country, attracting locals and tourists alike. Head to the famous Phi Phi islands for the white-sand beaches and limestone cliffs lined with mangrove forests. One of the best ways to experience the area is on a Thai longtail boat. Sail out to sea and enjoy the crystal blue waters, making for the perfect Thai vacation.
12. Isle of Skye, Scotland
Travel to Scotland and experience the beautiful landscape known as the Isle of Skye. Found on Scotland’s second largest islands, the area is filled with jagged mountain peaks and sea cliffs that tower over the Atlantic Ocean. Its vast landscape is the perfect spot for a road trip around the island to see Scottish castles, local beaches, fishing towns and plenty of wildlife (including eagles, whales and dolphins!).
13. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
One of the best places to visit in Chile is Torres del Paine National Park. You’ll find amazing landscapes full of mountain ranges and colourful glacial waters, but the main attraction in the area are three granite towers. Catch this view at sunrise and you’ll be in for a treat. Hike through the park to find beautiful nature such as endless valleys, rivers, lakes and glaciers. Maybe even a llama or two.
14. Santorini, Greece
This iconic landscape has become a popular vacation spots for travellers visiting Europe. The blue roofs and white buildings have become part of Greece’s local culture. In the 1930s, the Greek government mandated all buildings to be painted with white lime because of its antibacterial properties. Years later, Greeks added blue, aligning it with the Greece flag to create the postcard landscape we have all grown to love. What makes Santorini an extra special spot in Greece are its sunset views.
15. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Full of hiking trails and boardwalks, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must visit destination for anyone travelling to Croatia. In the park you’ll find endless trees, 16 terraced lakes and tons of adjoining waterfalls. The pools of water vary in colour throughout the park from emerald green to turquoise and deep blue. The pictures just don’t do it justice, so you’ll just have to experience it yourself.
16. Machu Picchu, Peru
This ancient Incan citadel is on every traveller’s bucket list, making it one of the most beautiful places to visit before you die. Its beauty is unlike no other and it is ranked as one of the seven wonders of the world. High up in the Andes Mountains, getting to the site can be tricky. Catch the train or hike the Inca Trail to reach the breathtaking heights of Machu Picchu, and we promise it will be worth it.
17. Zion National Park, United States of America
If you enjoy hiking, head to Zion National Park. With steep cliffs and high viewpoints, you’ll take in all this National Park has to offer. Its canyon rock formations paired with rivers, waterfalls and endless forest trails; make it one spot you shouldn’t miss.
18. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
This geothermal spa has become one of the most beautiful vacation spots to relax. The lagoon is man-made using the runoff from a nearby geothermal power plant. Its heat comes from the volcanic landscape native to Iceland. Book ahead to enjoy this beautiful landscape and you’ll have access to a mask bar, massage services, sauna and steam rooms. It’s milky-blue waters are refreshed every 48 hours, leaving visitors feeling restored. And if you visit at night, you may even catch the Northern Lights at the same time.
19. Giza, Egypt
Most people would agree that one of the most beautiful places in the world are the pyramids of Egypt. With so much history, travelling to Egypt is on most of our bucket lists. The vast desert landscapes are the perfect spot for you to soak up the sun and learn about the pharaohs from Ancient Egypt.
20. Halong Bay, Vietnam
This amazing landscape has become a popular spot in Vietnam. Known for its emerald waters and limestone karst landforms, Halong Bay is a great way to experience the local culture. What used to be a small fishing village has expanded into transport hub with people running local businesses along the shores. Join a junk boat tours or rent a sea kayak to experience the area from a different perspective.
21. Pamukkale, Turkey
Known for its snow-white limestone and blue waters, this thermal spring is one of the coolest places in the world to visit. The waters in this beautiful destination slowly drip along the mountainside, giving a new meaning to the word infinity pool.
Not only are these destinations popular vacation spots full of local culture, they are some of the most beautiful places in the world for any traveller to visit. With only so much vacation time, we think these breathtaking destinations should be bumped up a spot or two on your travel list. Ready to head off on your next vacation? Check out Contiki’s trips for some travel inspiration.