In a world as diverse and stunning as ours, it’s impossible to narrow down a list of the ten most beautiful spots. There are countless unknown treasures waiting to be explored within each mountain valley and around the bend of every forest trail. I’ve done my best, laboriously looking at thousands of amazing photos, to choose a variety of the most beautiful places in the world. But by no means is this list exhaustive! Here is our top 10:
Five Flower Lake, China
Tucked along the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, Five Flower Lake looks like something out of a fairytale. The multi-coloured lake is crystalline; the bottom crisscrossed with ancient fallen trees.A visit in autumn as the leaves change is truly remarkable. Who knew nature had such a colorful palette!
Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada
Hidden within the Pacific northwest coast of British Columbia, the Great Bear Rainforest is one of the last remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world. Lush with crawling moss, towering Western Red Cedar, and sprawling ferns, Great Bear is also home to the Kermode bears, also known as “Spirit Bears”. One out of ten of this subspecies of North American Black Bear has white or cream-coloured fur, due to recessive alleles common in the population. Definitely my spirit animal!
Whitehaven beach, Australia
With seven kilometres of 98% silica snow-white sand, Whitehaven beach in Australia looks like paradise on Earth. Accessible only by boat, it has been named both Australia’s cleanest beach (2008), and the world’s most eco-friendly beach (2010).
The rice terraces surrounding Sapa, nestled along the Chinese border in northern Vietnam, are as impressive as they are surreal. The picturesque mountainside is the perfect example of people physically shaping the land around them.
Seen here with the Northern Lights, Kirkjufell Mountain in western Iceland rises up as a pinnacle alongside the fjord. The surroundings are capped off with a rushing waterfall, cascading into a river flowing into the ocean water. A truly magical sight.
Keukenhof Gardens, the Netherlands
Known affectionately as the “Garden of Europe”, Keukenhof in the Netherlands is the largest floral garden in the world and is hands down of the most beautiful places. Each year, seven million flower bulbs are planted! That is nearly too much tulip to handle!
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Originally I had hoped to find another spot to showcase, but how can you deny the overwhelming beauty and diversity of the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef? It can be seen from outer space, AND is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. A diver’s ultimate fantasy.
Ta Prohm at Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The ancient Khmer temple Ta Prohm, located at the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia, is truly one of the most magnificent sights to see in the world! The tangle of silk-cotton tree roots melting over the temple walls is as beautiful as it is eerie. And it doesn’t hurt that “Tomb Raider” was filmed here.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
The streaming waterfalls of the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia are, in one word, ethereal! The clear azure water and emerald green foliage of the surrounding forest are almost too bright and brilliant to be real. It’s a real life Rivendell! Just with fewer elf ears.
The Gili Islands, Indonesia
Perfectly clear water with beautiful white sand beaches (if not a bit coral-ly), a heavenly night market (complete with massive fresh tuna steaks for $5 and the best saté in the world), and no motorized vehicles allowed! The Gili islands, only a short distance away from Bali, Indonesia, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. You’ll go for a few days, and end up staying for weeks!