Mother Nature has blessed us with picturesque sights and places that are too awe-inspiring even in only photographs. Mountains covered in snow so white or vegetation so green, bodies and waters so clear and blue (sometimes red or white) they sparkle, and so the list goes on.
With so many beautiful places on the planet to go to, here is a shortlist of where you can prioritize going to in the near future.
1. Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
This road stretch is home to a grove of Grandidier’s Baobabs, the biggest in its species. Imposing and unusual, these endemic trees carry in their almost 100 ft height a legacy that spans almost 3,000 years, from when dense forests thrived in Madagascar to the present in which their species are endangered, threatened by the growing population and their needs.
2. Disko Bay, Greenland
Disko Bay is the perfect illustration of the icy and mysterious Greenland. In fact, there’s a huge chance that you’ve never heard of this place yet. Located on the west side of Greenland, right next to the sea, this place is certainly underrated, that’s for sure. With its amazing icebergs, alluring coastal settlements, and some pretty common sightings of humpback whales, Disko Bay is the perfect winter wonderland.
3. Faroe Islands
This autonomous archipelago made up of 18 volcanic islands in Denmark showcases houses with roofs of grass, rocky coastlines and cliffs, and an abundance of adorable puffins. The entire region basically screams for a location shoot but its most famous hit is the Mulafossur Waterfall, a river cascading over the cliffs in Vagar Island directly into the ocean below and surrounded by the green Gásadalur village hills.
4. Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Not all water wonders sparkle in turquoise blue, some of them bleed red. Laguna Colorada doesn’t bleed but is deep red because of all the algae in it that thrive in the heat. This salt lake looks best from December to April when the water is full and the flamingos are breeding, and especially at its reddest when the sunsets.
5. Namib Desert, Namibia
If you would like a glimpse of what Mars could possibly look like, the out-of-this-world landscapes, pun intended, of southwest Africa with their red sand dunes and skeletal trees will be a sight. Plus the possible sightings of herds of rhinos, giraffes, and elephants and the isolated luxury lodges are enough to make this travel worthwhile.
6. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
What makes this continental peak different from other striking mountains is that it drops downs to Tanzania’s wide plains all around. For miles, this 19,000-foot ancient stratovolcano is the only summit amidst the vast, flat topography. If you’re a big fan of adventure, you’re going to love this place. Whether you’re a first-time hiker or an experienced one, there’s something here for you.
7. Pamukkale, Turkey
Enjoy 95-degree-Fahrenheit or hotter hot springs in the 17-tiered travertine terrace formations of Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle” in Turkish. And looking at it, it does look like a real castle made of cotton. The best part of it all? It’s actually completely natural. It was created when mineral basins found in nature were formed among deposits of calcium bicarbonate. The result is this snow-white stack of pools that looks picture-perfect in contrast with the sapphire sky.
8. Wulingyuan Scenic Area, China
The skyscrapers in major urban cities that are now becoming tourist spots obviously pale in comparison to the captivating natural skyscrapers in Hunan, China. The more than 3,000 quartzite sandstone pillars are beautified with green ravines and so many stunning streams, rivers, pools, lakes, and waterfalls. The historical scenic area also features some 40 caves, and two large natural bridges, the Xianrenqiao, which means “Bridge of the Immortals,” and the Tianqiashengkong, which means “Bridge Across the Sky.” So take your pick between the four national parks and the over 560 attraction sights of the area.
9. Uluru, Australia
Ready for an outback adventure? The Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a classic Mother Earth appreciation hotspot. The name comes from the Pitjantjatjara language, which is a language spoken by people of the same name who live in Central Australia. One look and you can’t miss this place. It features a gigantic red rock made out of sandstone that has been there for hundreds of millions of years. You can view it via a motorcycle ride across the desert, onboard a hot air balloon, a hike at the base during the majestic sunset, or all of the above.
10. Socotra, Yemen
The dragon’s blood trees growing on the rocky mountains of Socotra are so unique and so strange, you’ll feel like you’ve teleported into a different life-supporting planet galaxy away. With extraordinary biodiversity, more than a third of their local plant species are endemic, Socotra is perfect for an adventurous and nature-loving trip. Unfortunately, Yemen is currently embroiled in a civil war so the ecotourism trip would have to wait.
A lifetime is too short to see all these wonders in person so at the very least, you should aim to go to 10 of the most otherworldly places in the whole, wide world.