23 Striking Aerial Views You Won’t Believe Are Real

 All of us know that planes and drones exist, but imagine if you could fly and see the landscape from above for yourself without any devices. Sounds good, right? In this article, we will show you 23 striking pictures taken by professional photographers, which feature amazing aerial views of different towns and cities. Let’s go over these impressive aerial pictures, while at the same time learning some interesting facts about each place. Who knows, maybe after reading this article you’ll want to participate in a photography contest!

#23. Sicily, Italy

Sicily is the largest of the Italian islands, and it’s famous because of its hills, mountains, and crystal-clear water. This picture was shot by a photographer with her drone. One of Sicily’s main attractions is Etna, Europe’s largest and most active volcano. This volcano has experienced many eruptions during the last hundreds of years, including explosions and voluminous lava flows.

Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

One of the latest eruptions took place in 2002, and it was so spectacular that movie director George Lucas sent a team to film the lava flows. The footage of the explosion was then integrated into the landscape of the Mustafar planet in the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III. Don’t worry, we won’t spoil anything about the film. The only thing we’ll say is that when Obi-Wan Kenobi fights with Anakin Skywalker, the background shows footage of Mt. Etna’s tremendous eruption.

#22. Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is located in east-central Turkey. It is not a city nor town, but a large region which covers the provinces of Aksaray, Nevsehir, Nigde, Kayseri, and Kirsehir. It is famous for its unusual rock formations and caves, which come in very bizarre shapes. If you wish to visit Cappadocia and see its deep canyons, valleys and fairy chimneys from the air, you must take an air balloon tour. But beware! Tours usually begin every day at sunrise, so you will have to wake up very early in the morning!

Photo: Courtesy of Cappadocia Tours

There is no doubt that the hot air balloon ride is an unforgettable experience. The photos you’ll be able to take will be amazing, and if you don’t believe me, take a look at this picture taken by a professional photographer. Now you want to be floating up into the air, right? But bear in mind that you will ascend 300 meters above the ground, so if you’re afraid of heights, maybe you should appreciating the landscape only from this photo!

#21. Transylvania, Romania

This breathtaking view shows a magnificent long road that appears to curve like a silk ribbon in a thick impenetrable forest. Can you guess where it was taken? I seriously doubt you’ll get it right! The picture shows the Cheia (DN1A) road, which crosses the region of Transylvania, Romania. Does the name Transylvania ring a bell? In case you’ve forgotten, this is the birthplace of the legendary Count Dracula.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Count Dracula is a fictional character inspired by one of the best-known figures of Romanian history, Vlad Dracula, nicknamed Vlad Tepes (which translates to Vlad the Impaler. He was the ruler of Walachia from 1456 to 1462. When Stoker wrote the famous novel Dracula, he included descriptions of many real-life locations that can still be visited nowadays. Some examples include the 14th-century town of Sighisoara, the Old Princely Court, and the Snagov Monastery, where legend has it that Vlad’s remains are buried.

#20. California, USA

This aerial picture shows some of the thousands of migratory birds which go every year to Northern California to seek shelter, generally between December and March. In other words, California becomes its annual winter home. These migratory birds include geese, bald eagles, warblers, swallows, egrets, ducks, and herons, among others. Early in the morning right before sunset is generally the time of the day in which the birds are most active.

Photo: Courtesy of Nature Conservancy

California is a great place for birdwatching during the winter, but remember that there is much more to see and do at this time of the year. From soaring peaks to a beautiful coastline, Northern California has many places that are worth visiting. A great Californian winter destination is San Francisco, a city with a fascinating cultural and artistic heritage. However, remember to take your coat with you at all times because it may be a bit windy!

#19. Saint-Julien-D’asse, France

This picture was taken in Valensole, a picturesque French town on the northern edge of the Verdon Regional Nature Park. With 300 days of sunshine a year, Valensole’s landscape features two main colors: lavender blue and wheaten gold. The Plateau of Valensole is one of the largest areas of the world devoted to growing lavender. The blooming period from mid-June to mid-July produces a boom of colors, and the plant’s lovely fragrance fills the region.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

This photographer must have needed quite a bit of patience to take this picture. “I knew this was harvest season, so I looked for tractors and waited patiently until some started to harvest in a pattern that would create a pleasing composition from above. I just had to start the drone engine and capture the photo against really strong wind,” said the photographer Jerome Courtial.

#18. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Taj and Akash are two boys from Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. But what are they doing? The answer is train surfing, which is a common form of transportation in Bangladesh. Even though it is dangerous and illegal – for instance, many people have suffered electrocution -, this does not stop these children from doing it.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The truth is that thousands of families don’t earn enough money to pay for transport. To make a living, Akash, Taj and their mother travel every day from station to station bagging. But since they can’t afford to pay the tickets each day, they usually hop on the steels that connect the wagons. Let’s hope that this picture raises awareness on the issue!

#17. Busan, South Korea

Who has taken this picture? Spiderman? Superman? No! Albert Dros! He must be a super brave man. He took this amazing picture from the highest residential building in Asia: The Zenith in Busan. He had to get official permission to access the top of the building. And as you may imagine, several safety measures were taken as well. This man had to hang himself over the edge to get this excellent shot. Luckily for us, he didn’t panic even a bit, and thus managed to take this amazing shot.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Busan, which is one of South Korea’s largest cities, is located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. There you can find mountains, cliffs, rivers, beaches, and sea. Busan’s weather is amazing since it never gets too hot or too cold. The Zenith is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. With its unique façade, this building is surrounded by the sea and offers a panoramic view of the entire city.

#16. Jujing, China

This photo was taken in Jujing, a small ancient village in China. Also known by the name Bagua Village, Jujing is considered the roundest village in the world. Its perfect circular shape makes it an attraction for tourists as well as photographers. The village was designed and built by the renowned Feng Shui master He Pu during the early Song Dynasty. In the last day of the Chinese New Year, the village has traditional dragon dancing activity.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

However, this is not the only weird and mysterious village in China. Another peculiar site often visited by tourists is the stone village of Baoshan, which was built on top of a giant mushroom-shaped rock. Another famous and peculiar town is the fossil village in southern Yunnan, also known as Laoxudian Cottage, where the houses were built with a type of fossil.

#15. Dixville Notch, New Hampshire

Manish Mamtani captured this beautiful moment with a drone in the city of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. The misty highway and the picturesque colors of the tree’s autumn leaves are a perfect combination. The shades of orange, green, yellow and red are so incredibly bright that the photo seems like a painting, doesn’t it?

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Many areas of New Hampshire are under forest cover. New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the nation and nearly 85% of its territory is covered by timberland. As you can imagine, these forests are home to hundreds of animal species, including the white-tailed deer, moose, beavers, black bears, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, foxes, and minks. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll love it!

#14. Rajasthan, India

Rajasthan, which is also known as the “Land of Maharajas”, is India’s largest state. Its majestic palaces, forts, museums, and monuments attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world each year. The photo below shows one of Rajasthan’s most beautiful and visited cities, Jodhpur.

Photo: Courtesy of Tour Radar

The city is famous for the Jodhpur Fort, one of the biggest ones in all India. It is located on a hilltop, so it overlooks the entire city. As you may imagine, the pictures taken from the top of the fort, such as the one shown above, offer the best views of the city. Jodhpur is also known as “Blue City“, and you can imagine way: there are thousands of houses that are painted in a soft light-blue color. Doesn’t it look fascinating?

#13. Hong Kong

This beautiful aerial view was taken in Hong Kong. Are you surprised as much as I am? It turns out that this city is not only about skyscrapers, but there are also several natural sites that are worth visiting. Far away from the city center, you’ll find marshes, secluded islands, wetlands, and even waterfalls. Three-Quarters of Hong Kong’s 1,108 square kilometers of land is rural. Not only that but some of the islands offer beautiful walks and hiking trails.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Besides, Hong Kong is home to several amazing beaches. One of our favorites is Ham Tin Wan Beach in Sai Kung, where the sand is powdery and the water is crystal-clear. Clearwater Bay is another good option since it offers a great view of the nearby mountains. The last great spot is Big Wave Bay, which despite its surfable waves, it tends to be quieter and cleaner compared to other beaches.

#12. Bogota, Colombia

This picture depicts Corobastos, which is not only Bogota’s biggest marketplace but also one of the most important markets in Latin America. It is comprised of storage warehouses, trading areas, and sales stands. Hours before sunrise, this place is already full of life and activity. Different kinds of fruits, vegetables, meats, and spices, among others, can be found here.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

After sunrise, the market features dozens of breakfast stands where you can get eggs, coffee, and juice at a very low price. There also meat markets full of skinned pigs and other animals. Mangosteens, tomatoes, peppers, onions, bunches of fresh basil and rosemary, butternut squashes, zucchinis, granadillas, and eggplants are items that are sold regularly, and which add to the streets’ lively colors.

#11. Majalengka, Indonesia

Majalengka is located around 70 km east of Bandung, the capital city of West Java. Majalengka has a coastal region which is home to amazing beaches, which are in turn surrounded by mystical mountains. If you climb some if its hills, you’ll come across stunning views such as the one shown in the picture. It’s kind of like an Indonesian version of Ha Long Bay, isn’t it?

Photo: Courtesy of Wallup

However, there is much more to this site other than the beaches. Majalengka is also famous for its stunning rice plantations. The most famous one is the Cipasung Tea plantation, located at CIpasung Village. Take a tour through these terraces and enjoy the beautiful green valley and the mountains packed with trees.

#10. Chefchaeoun, Morocco

The Moroccan city of Chefchaeoun is famous all over the world for its bright light blue houses. What is more, the city is surrounded by breathtaking mountains. So without a doubt, Chefchaeoun will ‘blue’ you away! Visit this magical city and get lost in its thousands of narrow passageways.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Moroccans also refer to Chefchaouen as Chaouen. This complicated name stems from the towering mountain tops that tower over the town, which by the way look like a goat’s horns. When you climb halfway up the mountain, however, you’ll see that this blue city has many other colors to show the world. Another interesting fact is that the city is known for the variety of handmade crafts made by artisans, such as woven blankets and woolen garments.

#9. Iceland

This shot was taken in the south of Iceland from a small plane. As you can see, South Iceland has a diverse and spectacular natural environment that attracts nature lovers from all over the world. What you probably didn’t know is that this country is a great tourist destination year-round, and not only in summer! Of course, as long as you’re willing to up with the freezing winter temperatures!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The south of Iceland has some of the country’s most unique environments and landscapes. Glaciers, volcanoes, black sands, vast meadows, marshes, lakes, highlands, and long black beaches are spread throughout the island’s territory. If you still don’t feel like traveling to Iceland after looking at the picture above, then I just don’t get you!

#8. Death Valley

This shot was taken in Death Valley National Park from a small plane. It is the hottest, driest and lowest National Park in the US. This valley offers park visitors many different landscapes to explore, from towering peaks frosted with winter snow to vast fields of wildflowers. The park was established on October 24, 1994, and it is located in both California and Nevada.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Did you know that some of the rocks move on their own at Death Valley? The site called Racetrack Playa is home to one of Death Valley’s most enduring mysteries. Reportedly, hundreds of rocks leave trails on the ground when they move. According to scientists, some of the rocks, which weigh up to 700 pounds, have traveled over 1,500 feet. Over the years, the reason for their movement has been a mystery even to geologists.

#7. Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong

The Kowloon Walled City was once the densest place on Earth. Originally, it was a Chinese military fort, but as the years went by, it was turned into a residential settlement. During the 1930s and 40s, Kowloon Walled City’s population fluctuated between zero and a few hundred, but it began growing steadily shortly after World War II. Three decades later, the population had reached 50,000. Believe it or not, 25,000 people once lived in each of the two acres that form the settlement!

Photo: Courtesy of Wikipedia

If you look at the picture above, you’ll notice that hundreds of houses are stacked one on top of the other. As a result, most people didn’t have access to any open space. Can you imagine how crammed they lived? In January 1987, the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish the city, which took place a couple of years later. A few of the people who lived in Kowloon Walled City have written about their experiences, such as Evangelist Jackie Pullinger and Martin Booth.

#6. Shiprock, New Mexico

This ancient rock formation is the leftover of a volcanic eruption of millions of years ago. The Shiprock Rock Formation stands tall at 1500 ft above ground and 7000 ft above sea level. This ancient rock is located in the tiny desert town of Shiprock, in northwestern New Mexico. This town was originally called Needles and was founded in 1903 as a center of the local tribal government. It served as such until 1938.

Photo: Courtesy of LiveAbout

The Shiprock formation was a very sacred place for the local Navajo people. They have named it Tsé Bitʼaʼí, which means “rock with wings” in Navajo. According to Navajo Indian mythology, the rock was once a giant bird that carried the Navajo from the cold northlands to the Four Corners region in New Mexico. If you look closely, when viewed from certain angles, the rock resembles a large sitting bird with folded wings.

#5. Afar Region, Ethiopia

The picture below was taken in the Afar region, which covers the northeastern part of Ethiopia. The tiny black figures are salt miners riding their camels. In the Afar region, salt miners still use the traditional camel caravan to carry loads of salt bricks, which are extracted from the vast salt flats just like in the past. However, an under-construction railway linking Djibouti and Ethiopia may soon render the camel caravan obsolete.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Much of Afar is below sea level and it is one of the hottest places on Earth with temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius in summer. So I don’t even want to imagine how much these men and women must be sweating! The Afar Region is also home to several touristic spots, such as the Erta Ale active volcano, the Awash National Park, and the Yangudi Rassa National Park. These parks are home to several animal species such as wild cats, cheetahs, and ostriches.

#4. Chichibu City, Japan

This photo was taken at Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Chichibu is famous for its seas of clouds which wrap the whole city. They often occur from midnight to morning due to thick fog. This place is also known for its impressive shrines and beautiful nature, including mountains and vast forests. The town’s biggest annual event is the Chichibu Night Festival which takes place every December.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Nowadays Chichibu attracts many visitors who wish to escape from the crowded metropolis. You can reach Chichibu in just 90 minutes by train from central Tokyo. Once you arrive at the train station, we suggest visiting Hitsujiyama Park. This site is famous for its beautiful pink fields that typically bloom around late April to early May. Don’t worry, because the park is just a 15 to 20-minute walk from Seibu-Chichibu Station.

#3. Spain

Spain is famous for its flamingos. There are many pictures in which you can see flocks of flamingos flying over the beautiful rivers and marshlands of Southern Spain. The photographer Aya O. was told that in drought times when feeding, the flamingos sometimes become stuck in the thick mud of the marshes, caking their feet. After knowing about this, she was determined to record this in a photograph.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Each time this happens, dozens of volunteers are sent to help the flamingos release themselves from the mud so that they can fly again. If you wish to visit these flocks of flamingos, we suggest visiting the striking Laguna de Fuente Piedra located near Malaga, in Andalucia. The lake is surrounded by stunning valleys and mountains, so it’s worth it!

#2. China

I’m pretty sure most of you are familiar with the structure shown in the picture below. It is, indeed, the Great Wall of China. Believe it or not, it is the longest man-made structure in the world, with a length of approximately 13,170.7 miles. Its construction began 2300 years ago during the Qin Dynasty, but overall it was built by over 6 different Chinese dynasties.

Photo: Courtesy of Air Piano

As you may imagine, there are hundreds of legends involving the wall. According to them, there was a helpful dragon who drew out the tracks for the construction of the wall, which the workers then followed. The most visited part of the wall is known as Badaling, near Beijing. This portion receives almost 60 million visitors each year.

#1.South Ari Atoll, Maldives

This beautiful picture was taken with a drone. That story-like landscape belongs to a site called Ari Atoll, which is one of the most beautiful natural atolls of the Maldives. It is one of the biggest atolls in the world and it is located in the west of the Maldives archipelago. This atoll is made up of more than 20 islands, and this zone has been designated for tourist development.

Photo: Courtesy of Destinology

But let’s talk a bit about the Maldives, one of the smallest and most fascinating countries in the world. It is an archipelago nation located right in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Just as most tropical countries, the Maldives enjoys a dry and a wet season. It is famous for its luxury underwater hotels and the iconic Vaadhoo Beach, one of the most extravagant beaches in the world. Each night, this beach glows a beautiful blue, as a result of the special type of phytoplankton that lives in its waters.

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