The world is a wonderful, diverse place and there are incredible vistas to be seen around every corner. Whether they’re natural wonders or man-made masterpieces, you’re sure to stumble across some jaw-dropping views and scenery wherever in the world you travel. We thought we’d pick out seven of the most iconic views from around the world. We hope you’ve got your cameras charged up…
Machu Picchu, Peru
Sandwiched between the Amazon Basin and the Andes Mountains, it’s hardly a surprise to hear that Machu Picchu will take your breath away. If you take away the spectacular Lost City of the Incas itself, the scenery is astonishing. With towering green peaks high amongst the clouds, this place would feature on many people’s bucket lists even if the ruins themselves didn’t exist! Then you throw in this ruined Emperor’s retreat. The city remained hidden from Peru’s marauding Spanish invaders for centuries and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Combine these two factors and you quickly understand why travellers flock here from around the world. Plus of course, those infamous alpaca selfies. If you decide to trek to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail or one of the many other routes to the citadel then you’ll see even more of this mind-blowing scenery.
Recommended tour: Amazon, Incas & Titicaca – 13 days
Turkey has numerous incredible views which we could have featured here. The Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul. The fairy-tale landscape of Cappadocia. The marble Roman ruins of Ephesus. But Pamukkale is the narrow victor. Translating to “cotton castle”, the white calcium terraces here are created by the area’s natural hot springs and look like they belong in Iceland, or Antarctica. There are even petrified waterfalls, frozen in time. Combine a dip in the hot springs with a visit to the ruined Roman spa town of Hierapolis and you’ll have plenty to look at!
Recommended tour: Turkey Unplugged – 10 days
Oia, Santorini, Greece
The pretty whitewashed town of Oia is about as typical Greek as you can get. Built into a hillside and dotted with blue-domed churches, it is a beautiful place to explore. But what sets this small town (and Santorini in general) apart from the rest of the country is its surrounding scenery. Watching the sun set over the azure Aegean Sea from the hilltop is the perfect place for a romantic evening (it’s popular for marriage proposals!). Plus, with the still smoking volcanic caldera to admire too, you’ll want to remember your camera for this one.
Recommended tour: Best of Greece – 10 days
The volcanic island of Iceland is home to all manner of jaw-dropping views. But the Reynisfjara lava beach is probably the pick of the bunch. Jet black sand contrasts with the lapping of the waves. And rock and black basalt columns protrude from the water. According to Icelandic legend, these columns were once trolls, who terrorized sailors, pulling their ships from the water. But trolls are famously stupid, and when venturing out in the sunlight, these trolls were turned to stone. In terms of your photography, the rock columns make prettier photos than lumbering trolls. Wildlife photographers are also in luck at Reynisfjara. It is one of the best places in Iceland to spot the charismatic puffin, with its distinctive beak of red, orange, and black.
Recommended tour: Land of the Northern Lights – 5 days
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe / Zambia
Straddling the border between two countries, Victoria Falls is perhaps the world’s greatest example of the brute power of nature, especially when you visit during the rainy season. Water from the Zambezi River thunders over these falls at an indescribable rate, and the waterfall stretches for nearly two kilometres. It is so powerful that clouds of spray are thrown hundreds of metres into the air. Capitalizing on the thousands of tourists which visit this natural wonder, the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments have built numerous viewpoints for travellers to get a good view of the falls. And it is even possible to take a helicopter tour for the best birds-eye view.
Recommended tour: Namibia, Botswana & Falls – 15 days
Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan
Known locally as Taktsang, it is hard to understand how the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan hasn’t slid down the mountainside into the valley below. Clinging improbably to the cliffside, this Buddhist monastery is located thousands of feet above the Paro Valley, reached by a strenuous trek. This makes the resulting views all the more worthwhile because you have to earn them! From the monastery itself you can see for miles over the lush countryside. If you can’t reach the monastery, then even just trekking partway will yield all manner of incredible views. Waterfalls, pretty stupas, and verdant forest make this corner of the world well worth a visit.
Recommended tour: Wonders of Bhutan – 7 days
Lake Kawaguchi, Japan
You didn’t expect us to write an article about the best views in the world without mentioning Japan, did you? Arguably the most beautiful country on Earth, Japan has it all. Thriving cities, ancient temples, pink cherry blossoms, golden autumn hues, frozen lands. The list goes on. But Japan’s most iconic landscape is undoubtedly Mount Fuji. The tallest peak in the country, Fuji is found on the main island of Honshu and attracts visitors by the thousand. The best views of Fuji are gleaned from Lake Kawaguchi, where the changing seasons paint a different picture of the mountain and it’s snow-capped peak. Trees turn from pink in spring to green and gold as winter sets in, complementing Fuji which stands tall and proud throughout the change. Whenever you visit Mount Fuji, it is sure to take your breath away.
Recommended tour: Land of the Samurai – 12 days
We could keep going with this article. It would be possible to pick out 50, 100, 200 incredible views from around the world. But we think these seven are particularly special. A stunning mixture of nature and mankind at their respective bests. How many have you visited? And which one is next on your bucket list?