From national parks to extraordinary beaches, these travel spots are sure to please.
Our planet is home to an endless number of gorgeous landscapes, ranging from scenic white sand beaches to jaw-dropping mountain ranges. Let this list of destinations inspire you to see more of the world in the new year and beyond.
Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla
Yellowstone National Park: Wyoming
Glacier National Park: Montana
Sanibel and Captiva Islands: Florida
Angel Falls: Canaima National Park, Venezuela
This famous waterfall can be found in the Guiana Highlands region in the southeastern part of Venezuela. This waterfall is not only beautiful, but it’s also the tallest in the world, with water careening 3,212 feet from the top of Devil’s Mountain into the abyss below.
Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu Archaeological Park, Peru
Hever Castle: Kent, England
Hever Castle in Kent, England, is known for its storied history as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of the wives of Henry VIII. It’s also incredibly stunning thanks to its romantic architecture and evergreen gardens. If you’re curious about Tudor history, you can stay on the grounds in a historic bed-and-breakfast that offers rooms fit for a king or a queen.
Cliffs of Moher: Lislorkan North, County Clare, Ireland
The Botanical Gardens of Nevis: Nevis
Hanalei Bay: Kauai, Hawaii
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The Azores: Portugal
The Azores are a group of volcanic islands that sit off the coast of Portugal. These islands are known for their dramatic beauty, abundance of wildlife and myriad of hiking and scuba diving opportunities. Head to the Azores to enjoy rugged, natural beauty that’s unlike anywhere else in Europe.
Flam, Norway, is a popular cruise port among the Norwegian fjords, known for its staggering cliffs, calm waters and hilltops flanked with quaint Norwegian villages. Flam is a great destination to enjoy Norwegian scenery whether you choose to hop on a train through the wilderness or begin a hike into the mountains and valleys nearby.
Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the desert 200 miles north of Medina. Similar to Jordan’s Petra, Al-Ula is a series of monumental tombs inexplicably built directly into the limestone cliffs this arid region of the world is known for.
Banff National Park: Canada
Canada’s Banff National Park is notorious for its wondrous natural beauty and it’s easy to see why. This Canadian Rockies gem boasts plenty of serene places to enjoy nature, towering, snow-capped mountains and Lake Louise – a vibrantly colored body of clear water known for its glacier views.
Boulders Beach: Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa’s Boulders Beach is notorious for the many – you guessed it – boulders that flank its shores. While Boulders Beach is known for its rugged and unique shoreline, up to 60,000 visitors per year also explore the area and enjoy the antics of African penguins that call the beach home.
Canterbury, England, is charming to say the least thanks to its narrow village roads, striking Tudor architecture and scenic canal. This village is also home to the historic Canterbury Cathedral, which has provided local parishioners with an idyllic place to worship for more than 1,400 years.
Grand Canyon National Park: Arizona
Pamukkale, Turkey, may be slightly off the beaten path, but this destination is well worth a visit thanks to its travertine terraces filled with warm hot springs. Not only is the scenery shockingly beautiful, but you can take a dip in the mineral-rich waters as the Romans once did.
Grindelwald, Switzerland, is a sleepy village in the Bernese Oberland area known for its hiking trails and lifts to the surrounding Swiss Alps. Summer is warm and the landscape is green (perfect for hiking and enjoying sweeping mountain views), while winter is ideal for winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and going on a toboggan run.
Fiordland National Park: New Zealand
New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is made up of nearly 3 million acres of mountains, scenic lakes, fiords and rainforests. The park is also home to plenty of wildlife, which are able to develop and grow thanks to the many habitats that see little human interference. Plan a visit here to take in the beauty and wonder of one of the least disturbed corners of the world.
Havasu Falls: Arizona
Arizona’s Havasu Falls, which are part of the larger collection of waterfalls known as Havasupai Falls, is known for its spectacular beauty and vibrant blue and green waters. Day hiking to the falls is prohibited, but you can view this natural wonder if you book a four-day, three-night hiking and camping trip in Havasu Canyon.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Blue Ridge Mountains: United States
Halong Bay: Vietnam
It would be hard to conjure up a more beautiful image than Vietnam’s Halong Bay, with its lofty limestone peaks, jungle-covered islands and turquoise waters. You can visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site for the day, though many travelers choose to visit on a cruise and spend the night along the shores of this unique coastal gem.
Known as the main gateway to the Norwegian fjords, Bergen is worth a visit on its own. Not only is Bergen home to art galleries and museums, but it also features an inspiring waterfront, complete with colorful row houses. Here you can enjoy a history lesson, then soak in the scenery and the crisp, ocean air.
Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most beautiful and iconic landmarks, as well as one of its most notorious waterfalls. You can check out this natural wonder from all angles, seeing water cascade from 200 feet into a naturally formed lake from the front, the side or behind.
Palm Beach: Noord, Aruba
Bagan, Myanmar, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with world renowned Buddhist architecture and historical sites. Explore beautiful monasteries, temples and more while taking in frescoes, sculptures and other artwork from this city’s ancient past. For the best views, book a ride on a hot air balloon, which has become a common symbol for the region.
Plitvice Lakes National Park: Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s easy to see why. This natural park features 16 lakes interconnected by a series of waterfalls. The water is so green and clear you can see all the way to the bottom.
Raja Ampat Islands: Indonesia
Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Islands are barely touched by human activity, an integral part of this region’s mysterious charm. These lush, green islands boast gorgeous views of turquoise waters, white sand beaches and caves perfect for exploration off the beaten path.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Loire Valley: France
Jaipur’s energetic streets and surrounding areas are full of life as bicycle rickshaws, camels and motorbikes consistently pass through. However, historical sites like Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Amber Fort and the Jal Mahal are the major draws.
Meteora: Kalabaka, Greece
The country of Greece is home to Meteora, a charming and mysterious region where monasteries seemingly float on air. In reality, several monasteries sit atop vertical cliffs in this region, creating beautiful scenery for monastery visitors and tourists down below. Check out Meteora for a journey back in time through 2,000 years of Christian Orthodox history.
Petra’s beauty is so captivating that it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Jordan’s spellbinding landscape is made up of ancient caves that were carved into the mountains by the Nabataean Arabs. The stonework is so intricate that facades resemble actual buildings, even though the realistic architecture dates back to the first century A.D.
Platinum Coast: Barbados
Located in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin is frequently considered one of the most scenic and beautiful areas in all of China. Guilin is made up of more than 10,000 square miles of natural beauty, including towering green hills and mountains, with untouched wilderness that straddles lakes and rivers throughout.
Victoria Falls: Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls is frequently considered the largest waterfall in the world, and it’s easily one of the most popular landmarks in all of Africa. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features falls that are more than 355 feet tall and 5,500 feet wide. Tourists come here to see cascading waters that can be heard from as far as 25 miles away.
Rothenburg is a village in Germany’s heartland that still looks very much like it did during the 13th century. Tourists plan trips to see this preserved medieval town with its quintessential German houses, buildings and fortified walls. What’s more, Rothenburg is an excellent destination for the holidays if Christmas markets are high are on your agenda.
Lake Bled: Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled is famous for its incredibly scenic setting. Surrounded by lush green mountains, the lake features vibrant blue waters and a historic church that sits on an isolated island in the center. Travelers come here to scope out the natural beauty of the Slovenian hillsides and ride boats called “pletnas” to the island to visit the Assumption of Mary Church, which is known for granting wishes to those who climb the 99 stairs to the top and ring the church bell.
While Egypt’s Giza is surrounded by modern Cairo, the city’s shadow doesn’t take away from the beauty of the area or its landmarks. Giza is home to the famous Pyramids of Giza along with numerous tombs and burial complexes that hold the keys to ancient Egypt’s hidden past.