So, when we sat down to compile our list of most breath-taking views in the world, we had a problem. The list never stopped. We’ve all been to places that made our breath swiftly exit our bodies for different reasons. So, to curb our enthusiasm (just a little) we’ve decided to orientate our list towards the destinations we think you should put on your travel bucket list for 2016.
Northern Lights, Scandinavia
The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) is one of the world’s most magical and mesmerising natural spectacles that we should all try and see at least once in our lifetime. The best views of the lights are in Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland; this could also be a great opportunity to explore the incredible cities found in these countries. These cities include Kakslauttanen (Finland), Svalbard (Norway), Jukkasjärvi (Sweden) and one of Rough Guides’ Top 10 Cities of 2016: Reykjavik (Iceland).
Waitomo Glow Worm Cave, New Zealand
Imagine a starry night sky, but instead of outside you’re in a cave and instead of balls of gas millions of light years away twinkling, glow worms are lighting you way. Yes, glow worms: these creatures give off the most beautiful luminescent iridescence that will leave you dragging your jaw along. You’ll also enjoy a magical boat ride through these ancient, geographically astounding caves!
Grand Canynon, Arizona, USA
Spanning over 277 miles the Grand Canyon is showcases visitors almost 2billion years of Earth’s history! Besides being a breath-taking sight, the Canyon is also an opportunity to go on exciting treks or test your nerves by rafting on the rapids of the Colorado River. Arizona is also home to the incredible Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Gardens amongst other intriguing experiences.
Ha Long Bay – Vietnam
Peaceful, emerald waters and classic Vietnamese junk boats are an incredibly, breathtaking sight to see when you encounter Ha Long Bay. This area is a prominently featured, favourite destination of those who have visited this country and should definitely be on your list of things to do, especially if you plan on exploring South East Asia this year. This area has been designated as a World Heritage site since 1994 and it’s cool mystic waters and an air of the ethereal to your visit.
Zhangye Danxia, China
In the Gansu Province lies the Zhangye Danxia colourful mountain formation; years of tectonic plate movement, wind, rain and all things natural helped form this breathtaking sight making a true representation of the power of nature. Walk through the mountains on the winding paths through these mountains and climb to the top to take in this enthralling sight.
Meteora is a rocky, mountainous area in Thessaly, Greece; besides being a evidently one of the most breathtaking sights you will ever behold, it has one other incredible feature: the monasteries so precariously perched upon a needle like rock formation. These monasteries look as though they were built one with the formation, and we think our photographer has captured this astounding sight just perfectly. This is a great destination for culture-seekers and hikers alike!
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Known as the world’s largest mirror, Salar de Uyuni is over 4,000 square miles of salt flats; the white salts with the pool of brine delicately balanced on top gives the area its mirrored appearance. Quite possibly one of the most breathtaking areas to behold, owing to its sheer size and mysticism, we highly recommend you visit this place. (By the way, this is our favourite place for a photograph!).
Tianzi Mountains, China
As one of the largest countries in the world, there is no surprise that China has made our list again, this time in the form of the Tianzi Mountains. These needle like mountains are around 380 million years old and rose out of the ground as plates shifted and oceans changed over the periods of time. Visitors can weave amongst these mountains by taking a ride high above the ground in the cable cars; it really is a breathtaking; the lush greenery and geological formations make it appear out of this world. In fact, it inspired many iconic scenes from the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar; so much so that there is a statue dedicated to the movie in the area!
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is a man-made phenomenon; it is a World UNESCO Heritage site and shows the remains of a once great empire: the Incas. Located over 2,000-metres above sea level, this abandoned city is believed to be one of the most amazing creations of the Incas. A trip to Machu Picchu also presents to the opportunity to embark upon a much-loved trek up the Peruvian Andes; so if you’re looking for your next nature-filled adventure this could be it.
Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Last, but most definitely not least is Yosemite National Park in California; as you can see from the image above (check out other images from this incredible photographer) it is quite a sight to behold. Tucked into the Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite is a great destination for hiking and getting up close and personal with nature.
Naica Mine, Cueva de los Cristales, Mexico
Deep below the surface of the Mexican State of Chihuahua is a magnificent cave full of enormous selenite crystals; a trip into these mines is like walking on the intricate surface of a snowflake. Our adventurous photographer looks minuscule surrounded by these giant blades of crystal. We think a trip to Cueva de los Cristales is a must-do-trip for any adventurer willing to take their experience to the next level. Make sure you take a look at the other photographs in the photographers collection for added inspiration!