No bucket list is complete without including a visit to one of the 10 most beautiful places in the world. Formed by mother nature or crafted by people centuries ago, their striking beauty will captivate and inspire you.
Without further ado, here are the 10 destinations that will take your breath away.
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Mount Fuji, Japan
Standing 3,776.24 metres tall, Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain, and its active volcano is one of the country’s most recognisable icons. The mountain is a UNESCO-recognised cultural site to which pilgrims of all sorts have streamed for millennia, and you should join them!
Some people visit Mount Fuji for religious reasons, while others go for artistic reasons. There also are visitors whose aim is to summit the mountain, which is the seventh highest mountain on an island. If you hope to hike its slopes, you will need to visit between mid-July and the end of August.
For the rest of the year, its summit is blanketed with snow. The most enchanting time to visit is during the few weeks of spring when the cherry trees blossom. If you view the mountain from Lake Kawaguchiko at that time of year, you will see it framed by the delicate pink flowers.
Mount Fuji is undoubtedly one of the 10 most beautiful places in the world no matter what the weather.
Banff National Park, Canada
Encompassing more than 6,600 square kilometres in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park is the oldest national park in Canada. The mountainous landscape features alpine areas, coniferous forests, ice fields, glaciers, and glacial lakes with pristine blue water.
The park is home to mammals such as the cougar, bighorn sheep, elk, grey wolf, grizzly bear, moose, and wolverine. In addition to going for drives or walks on which you might spot some of these magnificent creatures, you can enjoy various recreational activities too. You can stay in chalets or go camping, and you can go mountain biking, paddling, skiing or relax in the nearby hot springs. Banff National Park is one of the coolest places in the world that you’ll want to visit again and again.
Machu Picchu, Peru
The mountaintop Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the most fascinating historical sites in the world and it’s one of the most beautiful too. The citadel was built sometime around 1480, and it was abandoned during the Spanish conquest of Peru.
Machu Picchu is one of the most famous ruins in South America, and to reach it, you need to ascend a 2,430-metre-high mountain ridge. Even though the site is usually crawling with tourists, there’s a reason why reaching the peak is one of the most popular bucket list ideas – you cannot help feeling that you have just discovered a lost city.
While in Peru, make a point of seeing the Nazca Lines in the Nazca Desert in the southern part of the country, and of visiting Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, on Peruvian/Bolivian border. An adventurer’s dream, this is one destination that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetimes.
Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
The Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke That Thunders), is located on the Zambezi River that forms part of the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. At 1,708 metres wide, it’s one of the biggest waterfalls in the world. It’s also is one of the prettiest places in the world you could visit.
An incredible 500 million litres of water tumble over the 108-metre-high falls every minute, creating a thunderous roar that can be heard 40km away. The spray usually rises 400m above the falls, resulting in a permanent cloud of ‘smoke’. During the rainy season, the spray can reach twice that height.
The KAZA visa issued to visitors of Zambia and Zimbabwe allows you to see Victoria Falls from both sides. If an African safari is on your bucket list, you’ll also have the chance to tick that off your bucket list while in this part of the world.
Known to the ancient Greeks as Hierapolis, Pamukkale in Turkey is one of the most surreal places on the planet. The mineral-rich waters of hot springs drip, foam and cascade down Instagram-worthy terraced pools.
At the top of the mountain are the well-preserved ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman city. There, you will find a pool in which you can bathe; the same pool that was used by ancient visitors to the site.
Hierapolis is also where you can find a Ploutonion. The ancient temple of Pluto was believed to be one of the gateways to the underworld, but accessing its inner chambers is not possible, as they’re filled with deadly carbon emitted by water from the spring as it flows through a deep cleft in the rock. Hot air balloon rides are usually offered at sunrise, giving you the chance to get a bird’s eye view of one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Located in the Chilean Patagonia, the Torres del Paine National Park is famous for its rivers, lakes, grasslands, glaciers, and mountains such as the group known as the Cordillera del Paine. Not only a place of unbelievably beautiful scenery, the park also is home to pumas, llama-like guanacos and wild horses.
When visiting, you can stay in hotels in or near the park, or you can hike through it. There are several routes of varying length, along which are refugios where you can stay overnight. Whether you prefer a more luxurious trip or a real rugged adventure, you’ll find it all here.
Old Bagan, Myanmar
You need to see Old Bagan in person to believe it. Located in Myanmar’s Mandalay region, the ancient city was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom. At the height of the kingdom’s power more than 4,400 Buddhist temples, monasteries, and pagodas were built on the plains.
The ruins of more than 3,800 of those structures still populate the area and you can explore many of them on foot. However, the best way to appreciate the magnificence of Old Bagan is on a sunrise hot air balloon ride. One of those truly unbelievable life experiences, the view will take your breath away and you’ll feel a connection to the ancient world beneath you unlike any other.
Possibly one of the most photographed towns in Greece, Oia is located on the north-western tip of the island of Santorini. Perched on a cliff with amazing views of Thirassia island, Nea Kameni and the Palea volcano, the town is characterised by white-walled stone houses. The blue-domed monastery in the town has become a symbol of small-town Greece. It’s just one of the many elements that make Oia one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Make sure to take your walking shoes if you visit. The town may be small, but you will need to tackle a flight of 300 stairs to reach it from the harbour. The effort is worth it, but chances are you’ll be so entranced by the views along the way that you won’t even notice the climb.
Antelope Canyon, USA
Located on Navajo land to the east of Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is actually two separate slot canyons. The Navajo name for the upper canyon is Tsé bighánílíní (the Place Where Water Runs Through Rocks). The lower canyon is known as Hazdistazí (Spiral Rock Arches).
The canyons were formed by flash floods that eroded curved passages in the Navajo sandstone. The upper canyon is the easiest to access. Thanks to beams of sunlight that shine through the narrow gap at the top, it is better lit than the lower canyon, which makes it perfect for photographs.
The lower canyon is accessible via metal stairs. As the canyons still flood from time to time, you can visit them only as part of a guided tour. One of the most amazing places in the world, Antelope Canyon can be seen in films such as Broken Arrow and Samsara but seeing it in real life is even better.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is such an otherworldly landscape it was one of the locations used in the filming of Star Wars: the Last Jedi. It can also be seen in movies such as the Fall, Salt and Fire, and the Unseen. Its unique atmosphere is due to the fact that it is the largest salt flat in the world. It covers an incredible 10,000 square kilometres at 3,656 metres above sea level.
The snow-white salt crust is unbelievably flat and the mirages it conjures up are incredible. The averages variations in the elevation of the entire area of Salar de Uyuniare less than one metre. Thanks to the flatness of the area and the colour of the salt, the thin layer of water that formed by rainfall turns the salt flat into the largest mirror on the planet.
The reflection can be so picture-perfect that it can be difficult to discern the horizon. Incahuasi Island, a rocky outcrop that was an actual island when Salar de Uyuni was a lake approximately 40,000 years ago, is in the centre of the salt flat. You can climb to the summit of what was once a volcano and admire the centuries-old giant cacti that grow all over the island, before enjoying lunch at the local restaurant. Salayar de Uyuni is stark and strange, and that’s precisely why it is one of the most beautiful places in the world!
Ready to travel? Any one of these places around the world is a phenomenal choice.
Tom’s travel writings are a testament to his insatiable curiosity and love for the road less traveled. Eschewing the typical tourist spots, Tom has built a reputation for uncovering hidden gems known only to locals.
From secluded mountain villages in the Himalayas to untouched beaches in the South Pacific, his adventures have taken him to the world’s most undiscovered corners.