Whether you see it from above by helicopter, below by boat, or choose to tour its hiking trails by foot, Arizona’s Grand Canyon is one of North America’s most breathtaking sights. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how it came to be!
This one-way tour from Banff to Jasper takes you through some of the most spectacular mountain landscapes in North America. Following the spine of the Canadian Rockies, view a never-ending procession of mammoth mountains jagged peaks and glaciers.
Glide across a river of grass on a small airboat and experience the Florida Everglades without the crowds. Get up close to wildlife in their natural habitat, discover a landscape untouched for years and get spectacular panoramic views.
Escape San Francisco to enjoy California’s pristine nature on this half-day tour to Muir Woods National Forest. This tour features extended time inside the park, giving you plenty of time to marvel at the beautiful ancient redwood trees.
Experience the incredible scenery of Yosemite National Park and a Giant Sequoia Walk all in 1-day on this tour. You’ll have hours to explore, marvelling at the Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and amazing Giant Sequoia trees before returning to San Francisco.
Described by Marco Polo as a “gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks’ robes,” Bagan’s overgrown, forgotten temples are still as imposing as they were centuries ago, with over 2,000 temples scattered across the expansive dry landscape flanked by balloons hanging in the distance.
The “Rose City,” carved and built into pink sandstone cliffs, is part manmade, part natural wonder. Emerging after a deep narrow gorge, stumbling across Petra feels like entering another time and place, forgotten by civilization.
7. Borobudur, Java, Indonesia
Frank Douwes @ Flickr (CC by 2.0)
The stunning 1,000-year-old Buddhist temple is nestled in an idyllic landscape of rice-terraced hills framed by volcanoes. The grand structure seems to “emerge” – in all its grandeur – in the early morning wrapped in white shrouds of mist.
History’s greatest monument to undying love, the Taj Mahal’s architectural harmony is unmatched in scale and awe. Constructed out of pure, white marble and adorned with precious inlay jewels, it shines in the sun and sparkles in the moonlight.
5. Luang Prabang, Laos
Mills Baker @ Flickr (CC by 2.0)
The ancient town, a colorful mishmash of Lao and French architecture, sits sleepily at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan. Surrounded by verdant mountains, its an unmatched example of a town harmoniously joined with its stunning natural surroundings.
4. Paro Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan
Nagarjun Kandukuru @ Flickr (CC by 2.0)
Perched on the cliffs of the Himalayas in Bhutan, the complex was built in 1692 at the site of a cave where Guru Padmasambhava supposedly meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours. Ascending the mountainside, one passes thousands of prayer flags, crosses over steep waterfalls to finally stare down upon the Paro valley.
Japan’s highest mountain is a place of spiritual and national importance scaled by over 300,000 people a year. It forms a serene backdrop to the idyllic landscape outside of Tokyo best viewed and contemplated from afar.
Yodel-ay-he-hoo! The Alps are almost mythical: the ideal mix of rustic rural lifestyle and some of the world’s most stunning scenery. Even though just fourteen percent of the Alps are in Switzerland, 48 of its 82 “four-thousanders” (mountains over 4,000 meters high) are in located in the Alpine country. It’s hiking heaven here. For the most spectacular of views, the Kleine Scheidegg Walk offers the unbeatable views of the “Big Three.”
Overrated? Definitely not. The Grand Canyon is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, and, while technically not the widest or deepest canyon in the world, the Grand Canyon inspires with its breathtaking range of visual spectacle. The best way to see it is plunge into its depth on a hike or ride to the floor and immerse yourself in millions of years of natural history.
Desolate landscapes and welcoming oases of life: caravaning across the Sahara offers the chance to feel like spice traders of old, traversing between oases and civilization. The rocky landscapes are stunning in their simplicity, contrast, and MASSIVE horizons. Stop over in a Bedouin town and travel back in time to a culture that has maintained its traditions over centuries.
4. Flying over Sugarloaf Mountain and the harbor at Rio de Janeiro
Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio
The harbor is another natural wonder of the world: Charles Darwin said it “surpasses in magnificence all that the European has ever beheld in his own country.” It’s the largest natural deep-water bay in the world, made up of 130 islands framed by massive granite monoliths. The truly adventurous can paraglide up in the sky, while the those looking for unbeatable selfies can take the incredible cable car to the top of Sugarloaf mountain.
Or the Aurora Borealis, is one of the most spectacular spectacles in nature. The effect is, literally, out of this world, as you watch the emissions of photos leaving the atmosphere. The best spots are in secluded nature, far outside of Reykjavik. The feeling one receives standing alone under a glowing sky will give even the least sentimental of people goosebumps!
The largest coral reef in the world is also the planet’s largest “living structure.” It’s made up of more than 3000 individual reef systems and hundreds of islands. If you go snorkeling or scuba diving here, you’ll immerse yourself in a whirlpool of millions of colorful organisms, living together in perfect harmony.
Traverse the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and explore Incan ruins up in the clouds. One of the most famous hikes in the world, it’s been called a “life-changing” experience by Lonely Planet. The path winds through the Urubamba Valley (also called the Sacred Valley), over impressive mountain slopes and through dense forests. Here you’ll feel like a god standing over the entire world!