Our world is full of amazing, mind-blowing and beautiful places to visit. From the man-made, futuristic cityscapes of Tokyo to the remote, wind-sculpted dunes of the Sahara desert and everything in-between, there are places that we should all make the time and save the money to see with our own eyes. Here are six that we’ve singled out to put on your bucket list.
Located high in the Peruvian Andes, this stunning 15th-century citadel has become the most enduring symbol of the Incan civilization. It attracts countless tourists annually, is a UNESCO world heritage site, and has been named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Believed to have been built as a palace for the Incan Emperor Pachacuti, its remote location and historical intrigue (tales of rituals and human sacrifice abound) coupled with its staggeringly beautiful location make it a must-visit for many travelers.
Bordering the USA and Canada, these three iconic waterfalls along the forbidding Niagara river are famous not just for their natural beauty, but also as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. As they attract large amounts of visitors a year there are numerous packages available to tour and explore this glorious and powerful set of waterfalls – and to see the surrounding region. The falls themselves may be etched into our collective consciousness through movies, photographs and daring (or idiotic) crossing attempts, but nothing beats seeing (and feeling) them up close.
Aurora borealis, known more commonly as the Northern Lights, is a natural phenomenon which can be seen from northern territories such as Alaska, Canada or Scandinavia (although some displays may just about reach the very north of the British Isles). This supernatural looking display is actually the result of magnetic disturbances caused by solar winds – the results of which can vary greatly in color and shape.
Once experienced, this otherworldly display of beauty will never be forgotten, so it’s worth togging up snuggly and heading north!
Patagonia comprises the southernmost regions of Chile and Argentina, divided by the imposing Andes mountains, and its range of beauty and mystery has attracted explorers, adventurers, artists and writers.
The Chilean side boasts glacial fjords and temperate rainforests, whilst the Argentine side has a more ‘Wild West’ feel, with arid grasslands and steppes, as well as areas of desert. Visit Los Glaciares National Park (now a UNESCO Heritage site) to see and hear the immense and extraordinary glacial activity.
Down by the coasts, there are opportunities for whale watching and penguin spotting – you can even follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, and send your loved ones a postcard from the very end of the world! These are just a handful of things to do in this vast, varied and beautiful region.
High in the Cascades mountain range in Oregon lies Crater Lake, formed nearly 8,000 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. It is the deepest lake in the USA, and 9th deepest worldwide.
Iconic for its deep, entrancing blue color and small islands (Wizard Island and Phantom Ship) it is a draw for more adventurous tourists. There are plenty of trails to walk around the lake and the area, as well as areas to camp and even a hotel, Crater Lake Lodge, built in 1915, with commanding views all year round. Cruises are available on the lake, and they are a great way to take in the scale and beauty of this natural wonder.
No list would be complete without the mention of the Pyramids at Giza. These imposing structures, rising from the hot dust of the desert strike awe into all who see them first hand. Built as tombs and monuments to the great Pharaohs, they stand just outside the city of Gaza, a short distance from Cairo.
Nearby lies the Sphinx, a huge carving of a mythical beast with the body of a lion and the head of a human. For structures that were built almost 3,000 years ago they are remarkably well preserved, and another must for any world traveler worth their salt.
Of course, this list could be ten times as long. Our world is full of beautiful places, whether they’ve been carved by nature, conjured as if by magic from space or built by human hands, the world is full of places which are fascinating in their histories, breathtaking in their locations and spectacular when you come face-to-face with them.