Get fired up for 2017 and check out these breathtaking destinations – then book a flight and get traveling!
Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA
The gorgeous red and orange rock formations of Antelope Canyon were formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, mostly due to flash flooding. Visitors to the site are allowed exclusively by tour since 1997, when the Navajo Tribe made it a Navajo Tribal Park. The canyon is known in two different sections: Upper Antelope Canyon & Lower Antelope Canyon. The Upper section is known more for the “beams” you’ll see in photos like this, where the light peaks through the cracks and lights up the rock beneath. Best time to catch them: between March 20th – Oct 7th every year.
Columbia River Gorge, USA
The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon up to 4,000 feet (1,200 m) deep, stretching for over 80 miles (130 km) as the river moves west through the Cascade Range. This forms the boundary between the State of Washington to the north and Oregon to the south. The gorge holds federally protected status as a National Scenic Area and is a popular recreational destination for explorers!
Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada
Moraine Lake is only half the size of its nearby neighbour Lake Louise, but perhaps even more scenic. It’s glacier-fed lake situated in the beautiful Valley Of The Ten Peaks in Banff National Park.
When the road first opens in late May or early June, don’t expect to see the turquoise glacier water that Moraine Lake is famous for. At a high elevation of 1883 meters the lake does not start to thaw until June, the water level usually crests by late June!
Mont St. Michel, France
The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in the mesmerizing bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances.
The staggering location has long inspired awe and the imagination. The story of how the mount turned into a great place of Christian pilgrimage is colourful. Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches early in the 8th century, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea!
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
Would you like to find yourself in a place where little multicoloured houses climb the steep rocks, slopes are covered with vineyards and underneath there are emerald-green sea waves? Where there are no cars, but many boats? Where you can ramble through narrow streets for a long time? So there is such a place as Natural Reserve of the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) that is situated on the Ligurian shore in Italy.
Five Lands refer to five tiny towns: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Each of them has its own recognisable appearance and doesn’t look like each other.
Sólheimajökull Glacier, Iceland
Glacier walk is a great glacier adventure where you can try for yourself how it feels to walk on ice. The walk is on Sólheimajökull glacier (a part of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier) on the south coast of Iceland. After safety briefing and a lesson in ice walking you will head onto the glacier to experience this unique environment with some amazing terrain with crevasse, sink holes and ice ridges.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle is a nineteenth-century castle located in Bavaria, Germany. Since its opening to the public, more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer. The palace has appeared prominently in several movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape and serves as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle!
Salar de Uyuni, Argentina
Salar de Uyuni, amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat. It’s the legacy of a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desertlike, 11,000-sq.-km. landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands. Its otherworldly expanse can be observed from central Incahuasi Island. Though wildlife is rare in this unique ecosystem, it does harbor many pink flamingos.
Rainbow Mountains, Peru
Are they even real? Visit the stunning ‘Rainbow Mountains’ in Cusco, Peru? 17,000 feet above sea level, this is one of the more challenging hikes in the Cusco area, but well worth the visit. Called the Rainbow Mountains due to their multicolored appearance, giving them a unique, stripey rainbow pattern!
Hang Sơn Đoòng, Vietnam
At more than 200m high, 150m wide and 5km long, the Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam is so big it has its own river, jungle and climate. Australian photographer John Spies, 59, spent a week photographing the natural wonder of the cave system. “With ceilings towering over 200 metres high in places, the cave is a humbling and belittling experience,” said John, who has lived in Thailand since 1977 and runs the Cave Lodge guesthouse!
The Giant Buddha of Leshan (aka Dafo) is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world. It was the idea of a Chinese monk named Haitong, who hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels travelling down the river. His plans were not just supernatural – the enormous amount of rubble carved away from the cliff would be deposited in the river, altering the currents and calming the waters.
Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Mount Bromo which stands tall at 2329 m is the most iconic and the most hiked mountain in Indonesia. It beckons majestically despite having the entire top blown off and with a crater inside that keeps spewing off white sulphurous smoke. Mount Bromo is still one of the most active volcanoes in the world and there are areas that are blocked off from tourists due to its imminent danger.
Pamukkale travertine terraces is one of the top tourist attractions in Turkey. Every year over 1.5 million tourists visit this paradise. It is often referred as the 8th Wonder of World and once you get Pamukkale, you’ll understand why! It’s a spectacular sight that looks made out of snow or cotton. The literal meaning of Pamukkale in Turkish is “Cotton Castle”. Pamukkale terraces are right next to ancient Roman city Hierapolis which to be a center of health and healing in ancient times. It is still visited for both travel and health purposes.
Petra is a famous archaeological site in Jordan’s southwestern desert. Dating to around 300 B.C., it was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom. Accessed via a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the “Rose City.” Perhaps its most famous structure is Al Khazneh, a temple with an ornate, Greek-style facade.
Sossusvlei, Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert. The name “Sossusvlei” is of mixed origin and roughly means “dead-end marsh”. Sossusvlei owes this name to the fact that it is an endorheic drainage basin (i.e., a drainage basin without outflows) for the ephemeral Tsauchab River.
Giraffe Manor, Kenya
Spend your vacation in Nairobi, Kenya sleeping alongside gentle giants at Giraffe Manor. Watch out, they might keep you awake, as giraffes only spend between 10 minutes and two hours asleep per day, making them one of the shortest sleeping mammals in the world!
Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia
Whitehaven Beach is a 7 km stretch along Whitsunday Island, Australia. The island is accessible by boat from the mainland tourist ports of Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour, as well as Hamilton Island. It looks almost unreal where the vivid white sands meet the coral blue ocean! You can also catch lots of local wildlife here, so keep your eyes open 😉
What do you think? How many of these places have you been to? Let us know in the comments!
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