The Sistine Chapel in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, bright white buildings topped with blue roofs that dot the island of Santorini, Greece. These are just a few sensational destinations that every seasoned traveler has visited. But the world is full of natural wonders that merit a visit, especially for the traveler who’s looking to go beyond top cities like London and New York. Natural beauty covers this planet, and the following are four examples of places you have to see to believe really exist.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Along the northern coast of Vietnam lies a bay where limestone karsts jut out of the water like rocky skyscrapers, dripping with green and jungle. Spend a day or two cruising around the bay on a traditional junk boat, stopping often to explore caves and kayak through the karsts.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Peru is slowly becoming the must-visit destination of the southern hemisphere. From trendy beaches like Mancora to a delicious food scene, companies like Kuoda Personlized Travel, know that travelers are flocking to this South American country. But the jewel of Peru is without a doubt the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, a complex of stone houses, temples, and plazas tucked away in the Andes Mountains. Tourists can visit the city by bus, but for the more adventurous traveler, nothing compares to hiking the legendary Inca Trail by foot, the same path the ancients used to reach the complex.
Zhangye Danxia, China
Located in north-central China, it’s no wonder the world hasn’t heard of the rainbow mountains. Traces of iron and other minerals have left this mountain range striped with brightly colored layers of rock, making them look like something straight out of an otherworldly painting. Getting to this remote geological park takes some effort and planning, but those who persevere will be rewarded with amazing views of one of Earth’s coolest natural wonders.
Picture a vast landscape, temple spires erupting from the trees and the early morning mist, seen from above over the edge of a hot air balloon. The temples of Bagan, Myanmar provide this magical experience, for those willing to go off the beaten path and venture into a country with little tourist infrastructure.
The world is full of interesting and beautiful places, many of which will never make the bucket lists of the average traveler. But perhaps that’s what makes these places so special; they’re remote, they take significant effort to visit, and their natural beauty is simply stunning. Next time you’re planning a trip, don’t overlook these four destinations for the more popular sights in Europe. Your determination to discover these unusual beauties will be rewarded.