Travel

The Most Beautiful Places in the World

Of course, it is impossible to narrow this list down to 15 entries, but we believe the following to be a fair selection.

That the world is one beautiful place is no secret, however, the world’s beauty is constantly facing challenges of modernization and globalization. This situation notwithstanding, there still exists some beautiful places, most in their natural form and free from unnecessary pollution. The attractions on this list include some of the most beautiful places as rated by tourists, and sources like tourism bodies and agencies including UNESCO. The beauty of these breathtaking attractions includes water in their purest forms, beautiful sceneries, and unique wildlife.

15. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

#15 Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a mountainous forest reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Croatia covering 113.9 square miles. This park is beautiful because of its chain of several rivers and 16 stepped turquoise lakes joined by several spectacular waterfalls, all of which sometimes freeze during winter. The park has crystal clear waters and a delicate ecosystem that include brown bears, wild cats, eagles, lynxes, owls, turtles, green moss, bacteria and over 75 different endemic plant species. From time to time, the sixteen lakes appear to change colors ranging from blue, turquoise, green, and aquamarine. There were approximately 1,367,304 visitors to the park in 2015, and yet, since its establishment in the 1940s, most of the ecosystem has remained with no human interference at all. For visitors, there are hotels, campsites, and nature trails.

14. Moraine Lake, Canada

#14 Moraine Lake, Canada

Elevated at 6,183 feet, Moraine Lake is a glacial lake located in the valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park. This lake is one of the most photographed and visited sites in Canada with tourists enjoying nature trails, fishing, canoeing, and even skiing near the lake. The lake covers a surface area of 120 acres and the deepest point is 46 feet. One of the wonders of the lake is that, when full, the rocks on the floor refract a shade of turquoise to the surface making it amazingly beautiful. Here, wildlife includes squirrels, chipmunks, pikas, marmots, and bears.

13. Chefchaouen, Morocco

#13 Chefchaouen, Morocco

Chefchaouen, or Chaouen, is an old city in the northern part of Morocco within the Rif mountain valley near the Mediterranean Sea. What makes this city amazing is not only its rich history, but also the fact that it is almost entirely blue. Chefchaouen means “watch two horns” and, since 1471, the city has been a fortress to refugees including Jews who, in the 1930s, painted the walls and streets blue as a reminder of God’s power. With approximately 200 hotels, visitors enjoy local cuisines like the Baissara, as well as the city's beauty and history. This city is home to creative craft products like leather wallets, shoes, and satchels.

12. Lavender Fields of Provence, France

#12 Lavender Fields of Provence, France

In France, the words “lavender” and “Provence” are almost synonymous. Provence has the largest fields of lavender flowers to an extent that, during the summer lavender season, the color and scent of the plant encapsulates most parts of Apt, Gordes, Mount Ventoux, and Sault in Provence. For tourists, the best time to maximize the experience is between June and August. Together with the fields, there are lavender farms, distilleries, and festivals, as well as a lavender museum.

11. Yosemite National Park, United States

#11 Yosemite National Park, United States

Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains is one of the oldest parks in the US, and covers an area of 747,956 acres with an estimated 5 million visitors annually. The park has 50% of California’s 7,000 plant species within its range of vegetation. Some of the attractions at this UNESCO World Heritage Site are the Half Dome and the El Capitan granite cliffs, Mirror Lake, Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls, as well as glaciers and crystal-clear streams.

10. Milford Sound, New Zealand

#10 Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound is one of the few places on earth that is more enjoyable during rain than calm weather. Located in New Zealand’s South Island, this place has magnificent rainforests, thousands of waterfalls, and breathtaking cliffs. The average annual 275.59 inches of rainfall across 183 days creates a 20 foot-layer of fresh water on top of the ocean, additionally, the ocean appears black because rain washes tannin from the forest into the lake. This site is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an Important Bird Area (IBA Site), and records approximately 1 million visitors yearly who have the option of engaging in canoeing, backpacking, and ocean cruising, among other activities. There are also plenty of penguins, dolphins, seals, whales, and a wide variety of birds.

9. Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines

#9 Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines

Filipinos refer to the 2,000-year-old Banaue, or Banawe Rice Terraces as the eighth wonder of the world. Looking at the terraces, it is clear that native Filipinos, with their hand-made tools, were creative engineers judging on how they managed to curve them into the Ifugao mountains complete with an irrigation system that taps water from the adjacent forest. Though there is little rice farming on the terraces, tourism is booming as thousands of people visit to see the site, as well as interact with the unique Ifugao culture.

8. Zhangjiajie Wulingyuan National Park, China

#8 Zhangjiajie Wulingyuan National Park, China

Zhangjiajie National Park is part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area in China’s Hunan Province, the birthplace of Mao Zedong. The park is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and UNESCO Global Geopark, and offers a variety of attractions including caves, cliffs, pools, waterfalls, and wildlife. Wildlife includes over 3,000 plant species, wild monkeys, and endangered species like the Chinese giant salamander, clouded leopard, and Chinese water deer among others. This park has an artistic history as, before the invention of photographs, Chinese painters and artists engraved some of the rocks. There are 854 hotels offering ethnic cuisines to the over 30 million annual visitors. In addition, there is one of the biggest glass elevators to provide scenic views, as well as world’s longest cable car ride in the nearby Zhangjiajie city.

7. Santorini, Greece

#7 Santorini, Greece

Santorini is a group of five active volcanic islands, of which the crater remains submerged, and are part of the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea. In total, Santorini is 35 square miles in area with at least 15 thousand inhabitants and, due to unavailability of fresh water and little rain, wine is in abundance for people to quench their thirsts. Buildings on the island depict rich Greek architecture in magnificent white cubic buildings with blue roofs representing the Greek flag (purity, sky, and sea). There are over 500 castles on the island, more churches than houses, and more donkeys than men.

6. Patagonia, Chile/Argentina

#6 Patagonia, Chile/Argentina

Patagonia is a region of diverse ecosystem ranging from grasslands, deserts, rivers, pampas, and the Andes mountains spanning across the borders of Chile and Argentina. Patagonia also has two coasts, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Some of the most visited attractions within the region include the Valdés Peninsula, Ushuaia, and the Argentine Lake District. There are also marine, desert and forest flora and fauna species, abundant birds, and eco-friendly facilities.

5. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

#5 Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls, locally called Mosi-oa-Tunya, "The Smoke that Thunders", is on River Zambezi along the Zambia-Zimbabwe border. Within the geographical area of the falls there are two national parks providing the ecosystem with unique wildlife including endemic species. Arguably one of the largest falls in the world, the falls spray River Zambezi forest thus giving it “rainfall” 24 hours a day. During the full moon at sunset, the moon’s reflection on the water forms a rainbow (“moonbow”). Among the seven natural wonders of the world, this is one beautiful place.

4. Fan Lakes, Tajikistan

#4 Fan Lakes, Tajikistan

The Fan Mountains, part of the Pamir-Alay mountain system in Tajikistan, has more than thirty beautiful lakes within them, including Kulikalon, Alaudin, Chapdara, Turbid, Piala, and Iskanderkul. These lakes differ in size, depth, purity, and accessibility as some are within narrow gorges. One of the things that make the lakes unique is that they come in varied colors, from dark purple to green. From an elevation, a combination of the sky, intersecting mountains, and the lakes gives the area a beautiful panoramic view.

3. Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

#3 Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland

The Dark Hedges is an avenue of 150 beautifully lined opposing beach trees planted on both sides of Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland making a continuous tunnel-like environment over the narrow road. The Stuart family planted the trees in the eighteenth century, and today their bent trunks and branches give the avenue an otherworldly supernatural feel to an extent that the popular TV series, The Game of Thrones, used the location for filming.

2. Machu Picchu, Peru

#2 Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, meaning “old Mountain” is an Inca fortress built in the 15th century in the Machupicchu District of Peru above the Sacred Valley. The fortress has three unique structures: the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana, and the Room of the Three Windows. During the winter solstice, the Intihuatana ritual stone points directly to the sun. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the architecture fits seamlessly with the mountains, and has close to 200 buildings built parallel to the terraces. Being some of the best masons of their time, the Incas mostly used dry stones that weighed over 50 tons.

1. Kuang Si Falls, Laos

#1 Kuang Si Falls, Laos

Kuang Si (Xi) Falls is a series of three falls running about 18 miles in Luang Prabang, Laos. The main water waterfall is 200 feet high against a yellow stone. To access the venue, there are different trails through the evergreen vegetation and along the pure turquoise streams and pools. Tourists can also visit the nearby villages rich with traditional artefacts or swim in the numerous turquoise water ponds. This place is not only beautiful but very affordable for international tourists as a person can access the place for as little as $10 inclusive of transport.

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