These are the most wonderful views on Earth



Slide 1 of 30: Although travel is on hold right now for many people, we all know the world is packed with picture-postcard views. There are the parks, plains and wilderness areas that unfurl seemingly endlessly, and mountains, lakes and rivers so perfect they hardly seem real. Then there are the skylines and buildings that have sprung from human imaginations. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to look – so we recommend starting by gazing upon this stunning selection.
Slide 2 of 30: The Great Barrier Reef is famously so vast it can be viewed from space. It looks good both underwater and from dry land. It’s the world’s largest reef system, made up of nearly 3,000 reefs and encompassing more than 135,000 square miles (350,000sq km). It’s also home to whales, dolphins, sea turtles and thousands of species of fish. Even without all that, the dazzling, dappled expanse of blue is pretty lovely to look at.
Slide 3 of 30: Greece, and perhaps particularly its islands, is so blessed with natural and man-made beauty, it’s almost embarrassing. But it’s hard to think of a view that more succinctly sums up the country’s gorgeousness than the blue domes of Santorini island. The most famous whitewashed buildings are in Oia, a clifftop village perched (very) prettily by the Aegean Sea, whose azure hue perfectly matches those rooftops.
Slide 4 of 30: This classic view opens up from the summit of Mount Snowdon. The peak is worth staring at but it’s this lake that was voted the UK’s best view. The skinny, squiggly lake lies within Snowdonia National Park, cradled by emerald-green valleys and surrounded by mountains. It’s also linked to the legend of King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake.

Slide 5 of 30: This San Francisco icon is a classic for good reason: its beautifully bold, rust-red curves and lines are just mesmerizing to look at, and from pretty much every angle and distance. And, although the Golden Gate Bridge is a man-made, engineering marvel, it complements the city’s parks and beaches as effortlessly as it does the gleaming downtown skyline.
Slide 6 of 30: These surreal sculptures are part of the Gardens by the Bay, whose conservatories are filled with lush plants and blooms. The ‘trees’ tower between 82 and 164 feet (25 and 50m) and are illuminated at night, adding a new dimension – and extra lights – to the already sleek, shiny cityscape of Singapore.
Slide 7 of 30: There’s something mystical about the pinnacles and hoodoos that rise jaggedly across the landscape of this beguiling national park. Or perhaps that’s just if you stare at them for too long. The cream and apricot rock formations are certainly fascinating, especially the amphitheater seen from Inspiration Point (pictured). Now take a look at more of America's natural wonders.
Slide 8 of 30: This row of fat-bottomed baobab trees is as bizarre and beguiling as the island’s tangerine-eyed lemurs, and probably just as frequently photographed. The Avenue of the Baobabs, on a dirt road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina in western Madagascar, is made up of majestic centuries-old trees, reaching up to 100-feet (30m) tall. Now discover more of the world's beautiful trees.
Slide 9 of 30: Depending on the light and time of day, the surface of Moraine Lake, one of the most gorgeous sites in Banff National Park, can appear a soft teal, a shimmering icy blue or a milky turquoise color. The pristine nature of the glacially fed lake is framed by a backdrop of snow-dusted mountains and shores edged with pine trees. Ice forms in winter and early spring, with floes often floating under the water’s surface – adding an extra layer of beguiling beauty.

Slide 10 of 30: However you look at it, this huge, thundering waterfall on the Zambezi River is pretty incredible. Straddling Zimbabwe and Zambia, with cascades more than 5,500 feet (1,700m) wide and 355 feet (108m) tall, it’s one of the world’s largest and most iconic waterfalls. It’s also among the loudest, making such a racket and creating such a cloud of mist that the Kalolo-Lozi people named it Mosi-oa-Tunya, or 'The Smoke That Thunders'.
Slide 11 of 30: This fjord on the country’s South Island is surrounded in lush rainforest and waterfalls, and home to seals, penguins and dolphins. What more could you want in a view? Mountains, perhaps, like the much-photographed Mitre Peak, which dominates the shores. Even rain is a joy here, setting in motion a series of temporary waterfalls that cascade down the mountain slopes. Here are 50 more reasons to love New Zealand.
Slide 12 of 30: The rolling sand dunes of this vast national park in Tularosa Basin, New Mexico are so snow-white you might expect the ground to feel cold – especially when people sled down the slopes. Dunes curve and dip seemingly endlessly, although actually the desert covers 275 square miles (443sq km) between the San Andres and Sacramento mountain ranges.
Slide 13 of 30: London has a lion's share when it comes to iconic landmarks and a generous scattering of recognizable bridges spanning the River Thames too. But this Gothic Revival–style suspension bridge, built between 1886 and 1894, is one of the most famous – and most photographed – of them all. Tower Bridge's namesake two towers and pastel blue cables add a fairy-tale quality to the landscape.
Slide 14 of 30: Chicago is packed with incredible views, from the bold blue of Lake Michigan to the skyscrapers that make up the jagged skyline. Yet it’s a bean-shaped sculpture, by Sir Anish Kapoor, that steals the show. Cloud Gate – nicknamed The Bean – is a gleaming landmark in Millennium Park. It creates a striking image with a backdrop of some of Chicago's most recognizable buildings, while its mirrored surface captures the cityscape to perfection.

Slide 15 of 30: Barren doesn’t really cut it. Lunar-like, perhaps, or simply surreal. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, covering nearly 4,633 square miles (12,000sq km) with crackly, crunchy white salt and rock formations. It’s the result of a prehistoric lake that dried out, leaving behind the dazzling desert-like landscape.
Slide 16 of 30: In the north of this vast, fascinating country, Simien Mountains National Park has gaspingly gorgeous vistas at every turn. The green, undulating mountains are roamed by curved-horned wail ibex, Ethiopian wolves and – easiest to spot – endemic gelada monkeys, who gather in groups to preen and play in the meadows. Take a look at more of the world's best wildlife experiences here.
Slide 17 of 30: Some landscapes just have a way of putting things into perspective, or at least making you feel very small indeed. The Grand Canyon is the master at this and although there are really no bad views to be found in this vast national park, the South Rim is arguably the best for vistas. The rolling and undulating valley of jagged rust-red rock formations is washed with lilac and pink at sunrise.
Slide 18 of 30: Petra is so spellbinding it’s been given several nicknames, each of them delightful: Pink City, Rose City, Lost City… The first two are due to the blushing hue of its sandstone, while the latter refers to the fact it was unknown to the Western world until 1812. Arguably the best view is of intricately-carved Al Khazneh (the treasury), reached through a curving slot canyon, the Siq. Discover new secrets of the world's ancient wonders here.
Slide 19 of 30: Sometimes natural and man-made beauty conspire to create something truly wonderful. The vineyards of Portugal’s Douro Valley are a prime example. Etched into the hillsides, they perfectly demonstrate that practical can be very pretty indeed. The terraces are carved into the steep banks of the River Douro, taming the land to grow the grapes that produce the region’s renowned port and red wines.
Slide 20 of 30: From its apricot and honey-hued rooftops to its wide, marble roads, Dubrovnik’s 13th-century Old Town is almost too pretty to be true. It’s encased by thick stone walls that give clear views in every direction. If that wasn’t enough, it looms over the Adriatic Sea, with views of the sapphire water dotted with verdant islands.
Slide 21 of 30: Bright white and shimmering turquoise are a match made in hue heaven, and there are few places that demonstrate that more gorgeously than the thermal pools of Pamukkale, a town in western Turkey. The travertine terraces, whose staggered steps tumble down the mountainside, are the result of limestone deposited over millennia from the natural hot springs, which flow over and form milky-blue pools.
Slide 22 of 30: A church on an island on a teal lake – views don’t come much more picture-perfect than those over Lake Bled, in the Slovenian resort town of the same name. The islet, in the center of the lake, is dominated by the medieval Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary or ‘Lady of the Lake’, whose tower peeps through the trees. Throw in a dramatic backdrop of the Julian Alps and the Karawanks mountain range, and you have a fairy-tale scene.
Slide 23 of 30: The views from the world’s longest man-made structure – which stretches for more than 12,427 miles (20,000km) – certainly aren’t bad. But it’s the wall itself, snaking through forests, mountains and rivers, that really captures the imagination and makes you catch your breath. The series of fortresses was built between the 3rd century BC and the 17th century, and is so large that, like the Great Barrier Reef, it can be seen from space.
Slide 24 of 30: Some views are always on display, while others choose to reveal themselves only when they’re ready. Crater Lake is definitely in the latter category. The caldera basin – formed in a collapsed volcano and fed by rain and snowmelt – is America’s deepest lake, reaching depths of 1,963 feet (598m). It’s often shrouded in fog which only makes its bold blue beauty feel even more special when it clears.
Slide 25 of 30: Mexico’s Caribbean coast is rich in Mayan archaeological sites, but there’s something especially fascinating about those in Tulum. The ruins of the 13th-century walled city perch on a bluff overlooking the sea, creating a striking image against pale-sand beaches and turquoise waters.
Slide 26 of 30: Japan blooms and blossoms with so much beauty, it’s tough to narrow down the best views. But we reckon the most classic vista is the perfect peak of Mount Fuji, whose snow-capped dome appears almost symmetrical. It’s surrounded by stunners too, from Lake Ashi in Hakone to the city of Fujiyoshida, where the peak can be viewed from Chureito Pagoda. Take a look at the world's most incredible waterfalls.
Slide 27 of 30: When does a beautiful building become a beautiful view? When it’s as magnificent and iconic as the Taj Mahal, which stands elegantly on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the city of Agra. The white marble mausoleum is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, built between 1632 and 1648 as a tomb for an emperor’s wife. Its ivory domes, ornately carved details and minarets are surrounded by manicured gardens, with the beauty further enhanced by a long reflecting pool.
Slide 28 of 30: Few places capture the imagination like this archaeological site, a citadel built by the ancient Incas in the 15th century and mysteriously abandoned. Machu Picchu's network of dry-stone walls and agricultural terraces etch the mountaintop site, surrounded by Andean peaks. Throw in llamas and alpacas, who graze on grassy slopes nearby, and you have a winner.
Slide 29 of 30: Mist and mystery shroud this town of temples, the capital of the ancient Bagan Kingdom between the 11th and 13th centuries. The archaeological site sits on a bend of the Ayeyarwady River in Myanmar’s central plain, and it’s an incredible, museum-worthy collection of golden temples, monasteries and sculptures. The view is even more spectacular when hot air balloons drift over the ornate landscape at sunrise.
Slide 30 of 30: Japan has cherry blossom, the US states of New England have fall colors and Provence, in southern France, has endless swathes of lavender. Each summer, farms and fields bloom into a bright sea of lilac, violet and magenta, and infuse the air with delicate, floral perfume. Just gorgeous. Now take a look at the world's most stunning natural wonders.

Take a view

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Santorini’s blue rooftops, Greece

Greece, and perhaps particularly its islands, is so blessed with natural and man-made beauty, it’s almost embarrassing. But it’s hard to think of a view that more succinctly sums up the country’s gorgeousness than the blue domes of Santorini island. The most famous whitewashed buildings are in Oia, a clifftop village perched (very) prettily by the Aegean Sea, whose azure hue perfectly matches those rooftops.

Llyn Llydaw, Wales

This classic view opens up from the summit of Mount Snowdon. The peak is worth staring at but it’s this lake that was voted the UK’s best view. The skinny, squiggly lake lies within Snowdonia National Park, cradled by emerald-green valleys and surrounded by mountains. It’s also linked to the legend of King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake.

Golden Gate Bridge, California, USA

Supertree Grove, Singapore

These surreal sculptures are part of the Gardens by the Bay, whose conservatories are filled with lush plants and blooms. The ‘trees’ tower between 82 and 164 feet (25 and 50m) and are illuminated at night, adding a new dimension – and extra lights – to the already sleek, shiny cityscape of Singapore.

Bryce Canyon, Utah, USA

There’s something mystical about the pinnacles and hoodoos that rise jaggedly across the landscape of this beguiling national park. Or perhaps that’s just if you stare at them for too long. The cream and apricot rock formations are certainly fascinating, especially the amphitheater seen from Inspiration Point (pictured). Now take a look at more of America’s natural wonders.

Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

This row of fat-bottomed baobab trees is as bizarre and beguiling as the island’s tangerine-eyed lemurs, and probably just as frequently photographed. The Avenue of the Baobabs, on a dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in western Madagascar, is made up of majestic centuries-old trees, reaching up to 100-feet (30m) tall. Now discover more of the world’s beautiful trees.

Moraine Lake, Canada

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia

Milford Sound, New Zealand

This fjord on the country’s South Island is surrounded in lush rainforest and waterfalls, and home to seals, penguins and dolphins. What more could you want in a view? Mountains, perhaps, like the much-photographed Mitre Peak, which dominates the shores. Even rain is a joy here, setting in motion a series of temporary waterfalls that cascade down the mountain slopes. Here are 50 more reasons to love New Zealand.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA

Tower Bridge, England

London has a lion’s share when it comes to iconic landmarks and a generous scattering of recognizable bridges spanning the River Thames too. But this Gothic Revival–style suspension bridge, built between 1886 and 1894, is one of the most famous – and most photographed – of them all. Tower Bridge’s namesake two towers and pastel blue cables add a fairy-tale quality to the landscape.

Cloud Gate, Illinois, USA

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

In the north of this vast, fascinating country, Simien Mountains National Park has gaspingly gorgeous vistas at every turn. The green, undulating mountains are roamed by curved-horned wail ibex, Ethiopian wolves and – easiest to spot – endemic gelada monkeys, who gather in groups to preen and play in the meadows. Take a look at more of the world’s best wildlife experiences here.

Grand Canyon South Rim, Arizona, USA

Ancient city of Petra, Jordan

Petra is so spellbinding it’s been given several nicknames, each of them delightful: Pink City, Rose City, Lost City… The first two are due to the blushing hue of its sandstone, while the latter refers to the fact it was unknown to the Western world until 1812. Arguably the best view is of intricately-carved Al Khazneh (the treasury), reached through a curving slot canyon, the Siq. Discover new secrets of the world’s ancient wonders here.

Douro Valley, Portugal

Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia

From its apricot and honey-hued rooftops to its wide, marble roads, Dubrovnik’s 13th-century Old Town is almost too pretty to be true. It’s encased by thick stone walls that give clear views in every direction. If that wasn’t enough, it looms over the Adriatic Sea, with views of the sapphire water dotted with verdant islands.

Pamukkale’s thermal pools, Turkey

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Great Wall of China, China

Crater Lake, Oregon, USA

Tulum’s Mayan ruins, Mexico

Mount Fuji, Japan

Japan blooms and blossoms with so much beauty, it’s tough to narrow down the best views. But we reckon the most classic vista is the perfect peak of Mount Fuji, whose snow-capped dome appears almost symmetrical. It’s surrounded by stunners too, from Lake Ashi in Hakone to the city of Fujiyoshida, where the peak can be viewed from Chureito Pagoda. Take a look at the world’s most incredible waterfalls.

Taj Mahal, India

Machu Picchu, Peru

Bagan, Myanmar

Provence lavender fields, France

Japan has cherry blossom, the US states of New England have fall colors and Provence, in southern France, has endless swathes of lavender. Each summer, farms and fields bloom into a bright sea of lilac, violet and magenta, and infuse the air with delicate, floral perfume. Just gorgeous. Now take a look at the world’s most stunning natural wonders.

Source: Read Full Article