Here Are 30 Striking Photos Of The World’s Greatest Wonders

The world is so huge that it’s full of wonderful places we don’t even know exist. No matter their geographical location or their climatic conditions, each of the world’s 195 countries are full of surprising and unusual landmarks worth discovering and the best way to get to know them is by traveling, without fear of entering where others don’t dare. Visting the most beautiful places in the world may take more than a lifetime, but fortunately, these photographers have provided us with striking pictures of the world’s most magnificent sites. These photos are so amazing that just by looking at them, you’ll feel that you’re traveling already. So let’s take a look at these 30 mind-blowing pictures of some of the world’s greatest wonders. Start saving some money, because after going through this list, you’ll be dying to travel and explore these sites on your own! Don’t miss #22, #13 and #6, they are some of our favorites!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

#30. Tbilisi, Georgia

Located along the banks of Kura River where it hits the crossroads of Europe and Asia, this multicultural city is a must-visit. Tbilisi is the capital and largest city in Georgia and has a population of 1.5 million people. Strolling down the city you can enjoy some very picturesque architecture as well as a lively art and cultural scene. Besides, you’ll enjoy the dramatic landscape formed by the nearby Mout Mtatsminda and the swift Mtkvari River.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

If you’re interested in enjoying some culture and learning some history, but at the same time wish to avoid the hoards of tourists that swarm to most European capitals, then Tbilisi is the place for you. Apart from its medieval architecture, it has ancient and beautiful religious buildings of all kinds: from Georgian Orthodox, Gregorian Armenia, and Roman Catholic churches, to Synagogues, Mosques, and Zoroastrian Temples.

#29. Malmö, Sweden

Home to more than 4 million people, Malmö is the sixth-largest city in Scandinavia. The city contains many historic buildings and is also one of West Sweden’s main commercial centers. Don’t miss the showpiece squares of Stortorget and Lilla Torget in Old Town, nor the public promenades of Västra Hamnen’s redeveloped waterfront.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Malmö is also the ideal destination for nature lovers – in fact, it’s often called “The City of the Parks”. Besides, in the outskirts of the city you’ll come across a long sandy beach named Ribersborg, also called The Scandinavian Copacabana. If you’re up for a day trip, you should know that the Öresund Bridge takes you straight to Denmark and you’ll be there in no longer than half an hour.

#28. Tadami Line, Japan

If you visit Japan and want to be surrounded by the breathtaking sights of it’s most secluded regions, we recommend you to navigate your way to the Tadami Line, which happens to be considered as the most romantic train line in the world. Spanning 37 stations, the route has been run since 1942 and has a total length of about 135km. The route passes through valleys, mountains, forests, and rivers, you just can’t miss it!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Tadami Line was also ranked as one of the top five most scenic and picturesque lines in the world, allowing passengers to enjoy beautiful landscapes during the different seasons. The train passes through the cherry blossoms during spring, the lush greens of the summer, the multicolored leaves during autumn, and the thick piles of snow during winter. So no matter the season, this train ride will always be worth it!

#27. Lake Baikal, Siberia

This sublime picture was taken in Lake Baikal, one of Russia’s UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the oldest and deepest lake in the world at 5,387 feet and contains 20% of the world’s total unfrozen freshwater reserve. Intimidating, right? But if you happen to be wondering what’s so special about a lake, here are a couple of things you should know.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

It’s location and the surrounding geography can lead to fascinating phenomena in the winter, as the ferocious winds and cycles build and sculpt unique formations of ice. Furthermore, due to the arctic temperatures, the water can freeze up to one to four feet thick, creating these caves of ice that can be explored during winter. If you can stand the cold, I recommend you to book a tour and walk through these caves’ spacious halls and narrow passages.

#26. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Here comes another beautiful winter landscape! The alpine lake is home to Slovenia’s only island, and it’s famous for the breathtaking landscapes of the surrounding snow-topped mountains and the blue waters of Lake Bled.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

From this angle, we see what seems to be an old building in the middle of a small island amid Lake Bled. Can you guess what this building is? Well, it’s actually a functioning church, known as the Church of Maria of the Lake. Weddings are a regular occurrence here, and grooms traditionally carry their bride up the 99 steps to the church before ringing the wishing bell for good luck. Traditional Pletna boats, handed down through generations, take people from the mainland to the island.

#25. Scala Dei Turchi

Scala Dei Turchi, also known as the Turkish Steps, is a white rocky cliff off the coast of Sicily. This cliff has the shape of a staircase as a result of the erosion of its limestone rock formations. Nature and geography lovers, this is the place where you wanna go!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

This cliff rises amid two beautiful beaches of fine sand that are accessed only if you walk down the white stairs of the stone. There is no doubt it’s an astonishing place that will impress you even before you arrive since you can appreciate the landscape from the main road. Slide on to # 22 if you want to see another fantastic fairy-tale European beach!

#24. Harar, Ethiopia

Many people think that Harar is the most fascinating city in Ethiopia. This beautiful fortified city is located on a hilltop in the eastern part of the Ethiopian Highlands. It is also famous for the fact that many locals repaint the walls of the old town in bright, vibrant colors during the weeks before Ramadan.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its cultural heritage. It is the fourth holy city of Islam after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. It features an ancient historical center full of narrow alleyways, and just like Marrakech, the town is walled with five access doors which are four meters high. It was founded between the 6th and 10th centuries, becoming the most important Islamic hub in the Horn of Africa.

#23. Grand Staircase

Take a look at these striped layers of rock. Can you believe that they were created over 260 million years? The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument begins at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and rises 3500 feet to Bryce Canyon and Escalante River Canyon. It is actually one of the most remote lands in the United States.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Nobody can deny the arresting beauty of this photograph, as it depicts the power of nature in all its splendor. This amazing view from above shows how the river cuts through the rock to make this formation. For all the paleontology buffs out there, we recommend you to visit this iconic Utah site and see for yourself how the erosion caused by the river creates this snake-like pattern.

#22. Shipwreck Beach

Navagio Beach is located on the northwestern shores of Zakynthos, and this tiny cove features a stunning mix of white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters surrounded by towering white cliffs. It’s not so easy to get here, mainly because is only accessible by boat and the clifftop viewpoint is almost an hour by road from Zakynthos.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In 1983, a shipping vessel known as the Panagiotis crashed on the scenic shores of Novagio Beach, purportedly attempting to smuggle illegal contraband. From then on, it has also been called Shipwreck Beach and Smuggler’s Cove. Now, tell me… doesn’t that picture look like a painting?

#21. Mecca, Saudi Arabia

With more than 30 million inhabitants, Saudi Arabia is one of the most difficult places to visit, mainly because of all the travel restrictions. It is the birthplace and the spiritual headquarters of Islam, and it is thus home to several holy religious sites. Those who manage to enter the country can visit the greatest treasure of Arabia, Madain Saleh, a series of suggestive tombs carved into the rock in the desert. Other wonders include the footprints left by T. E. Lawrence on the Hijaz railroad as well as the adobe ruins of Dir’aiyah.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

This photo, however, portrays the city of Mecca, the holiest city according to Islam. The complex pictured here is called the Abraj Al-Bait, and its Makkah Royal Clock Tower happens to feature the world’s largest clock. Between mid-August and early September, over 15 million people pilgrim to this site to worship. If you’re a history lover, you’ll definitely appreciate the impact of its monuments.

#20. Nazaré, Portugal

Yes, it may be hard to believe it, but this man managed to escape from the rock just in time, right before being drowned by those enormous waves. When people talk about the biggest waves in the world, they usually think of the world’s most famous surf paradise spots like Teahupoo, Padang Padang or any beach in the Hawaiian North Shore. But today, big wave surfers from all over the world come to Nazare‘s Praia do Norte every year to heroically challenge one of the most superhuman versions of the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

But what makes the waves of Nazaré so special? The answer is found on the seabed, where a spectacular underwater canyon lies. With an extension of more than 200 kilometers and a depth of almost 5,000 meters, the Nazaré canyon is the largest submarine gorge in Europe. Its depth and its relative proximity to the coast is what causes the formation of such big waves.

#19. Palace Of Revelation, Vietnam

One might associate a palace with imposing constructions destined to be the residence of kings and aristocrats, but the Palace of Revelation in Vietnam is actually a hotel inspired by the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation is the last book in the New Testament and was written around 95 C.E. during the persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire. Is there a more beautiful Apocalypse-Inspired Palace than this one? I don’t think so!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Want to learn some facts about this hotel? Hotelier Son Bui was inspired by some symbols in the scripture and it was made to remind people of the tragic events of the tsunami in 2004 that hit many countries in the region. In a Christian-minority country, his goal was to share his spiritual vision with guests from around the world. The Palace of Revelation currently welcomes guests with air conditioning, karaoke, ocean views, and Biblical visions.

#18. Seoraksan National Park, South Korea

Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Seoraksan National Park features some of South Korea’s most beautiful sceneries. It is located near the Taebaek Mountain, the third-largest mountain in the country, and it features a variety of hiking trails, most of which take only a few hours to complete. The park’s scenery includes cliffs, waterfalls, and stunning natural beauty. What else can you ask for?

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The park is home to two Buddhist temples, the Baekdamsa, and Sinheungsa Temples, and the latter is believed to be the oldest Seon temple in the world. Besides, this park has been designated as a nature reserve in 1965, in part because it is home to many rare species of plants and animals.

#17. Chongqing, China

Chongqing is the largest municipality in southwest China. It’s a modern port city located at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers. Most of the days, a thick layer of fog and smog covers the city and the surrounding hills. Only when the sky is clear in the afternoon can you see the tall buildings and construction cranes, which extend as far as the eye can see.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

If you’re a World War 2 history lover, then don’t mind the fog. Chongqing served as the capital of the Republic of China for seven years during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and it was one of the three headquarters for the Allies. It was also the site of important events during the Chinese Civil War. The city is home to a few interesting museums which are worth the visit, especially for those wishing to gain insight into the town’s political history.

#16. Dorset, England

If you’re a crop circle enthusiast, you should visit the South of England. Many crop circles have been found near Avebury and Stonehenge, two mystical sites containing large stone monuments. Now, who creates crop circles? Some people claim they are the work of UFOs. Others say they are simply a strange natural phenomenon. However, others say they are elaborate hoaxes perpetrated by teams of circle makers.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In this picture, we see crop circle enthusiasts lying down as part of a ritual in Dorset, a county in South West England near the English Channel coast. I know, this all sounds very mystical, but you should know that people living close to these crop circles have had some strange physical and emotional reactions. Tourists come from around the world to see them and some farmers even charge admission to these mysterious attractions.

#15. Arakurayama Sengen Park, Japan

If #23 didn’t convince you enough to immediately book plane tickets to Japan, this picture will. This photo was taken inside the Arakurayama Sengen Park, famous for this five-storied pagoda built in 1962, which offers a stunning view of Mount Fuji. The combination of the pagoda, Mount Fuji, and the cherry blossoms has become one of Japan’s most iconic landscapes. We highly recommend you to visit the park around early April during the cherry blossom season.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The pagoda is surrounded by more than 300 cherry trees, and getting to the top requires a 398-step journey but the breathtaking view from the top is totally worth it. Arakurama Sengen Park’s cherry blossom festival also offers cultural stage shows and local food stalls where you will enjoy the local culture. If you can’t go on that date, the park is also very popular during autumn, when the park is surrounded by yellow and red leaves, offering a different yet equally beautiful view.

#14. East Khasi Hills Of Meghalaya

Meghalaya is well known for its heavy rainfall, subtropical forests and its hypnotizing biodiversity. Deep in the dense forest are some astonishing man-made natural wonders, such as these root bridges, built by the Khasi tribe from the roots of ancient rubber trees. There are two places where you can see the bridges: near Cherrapunji and Mawlynnong

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

It takes around 15 years for a new root bridge to become strong enough to bear the weight of people crossing it. However, it will continue to grow and strengthen even more over time. Some of the bridges are believed to be hundreds of years old, although no one knows their exact age. Their tangled roots are so incredibly eerie that they wouldn’t look out of place in a fantasy world.

#13. Jujuy, Argentina

Purmamarca is a small town located in the province of Jujuy, in the extreme northwest of Argentina. 14,000 feet above sea level and in the middle of the Argentinian highlands of Quebrada de Humahuaca, you can find the Serrania de Hornocal, otherwise known as the Fourteen-Colored Hill. These jagged peaks were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1983, along with the historic Inca road that runs through the region. Tourists have claimed to discern more than 33 colors in limestone, but you’ll have to count them for yourself!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Most tourists head for San Salvador de Jujuy first before exploring the rest of the province. There, the indigenous and rural communities organize tour packages, offering tourists the possibility of discovering the province’s natural landscapes, the people’s different cultural expressions, and their forms of organization and traditional productive activities.

#12. The Vatican

Located in the heart of Rome and ruled by the Pope, Vatican City is the smallest state in the world, both in population and territory. However, it is one of the most influential states in the world. To begin with, it is the center of political authority within the Roman Catholic Church. Can anyone guess where this picture was taken?

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The photo was taken inside the Vatican Museum, and even though the person in the photo seems like an ordinary man, he happens to be the one who keeps the keys to the Pope’s museums. Doesn’t it sound like a fantastic job? Every single morning, he opens the museum’s doors and windows, and each time he does that, the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel appear before his eyes. If you get a chance to visit the gorgeous Italian Renaissance church, pay attention to the intricate art hanging on the walls. They are actually mosaics made up of thousands of tiny tesserae, or little pieces of glass.

#11. Oman

On the southeastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula lies the country of Oman. Oman is known for its limestone mountains, blue fiords, limitless deserts, and unspoiled beaches. What’s not as known, however, is that it’s a surprisingly luxurious destination and one that’s simple to access. This photo shows a traditional Omani rider performing at the Bahla Horse Festival.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In Omani culture, horses symbolize integrity and pride. Because of the horse’s high status and appreciation by Muslims, Oman has been famous since ancient times for raising, breeding, acquiring and caring for horses. If you are in love with these wonderful animals and want to see people celebrate and honor their existence, then head to this exotic destination.

#10. Sydney, Australia

Sydney is Australia’s largest and most famous city. You’re probably familiar with the building depicted in the picture, right? It’s nothing less than the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, a structure famous for its ingenious shape which resembles billowing white sails. Have you had a chance to see the structure in person? If you have, then I’m sure that the blue waters of the harbor and the white sands and curling waves of Bondi Beach will also come to mind.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

This beautiful cosmopolitan city celebrates its cultural diversity as well as its passion for arts and sports through different festivals and shows. It’s also known for its world-renowned restaurants and countless historical landmarks. Foodies, you should bear in mind that October is the most appropriate month to visit this city.

Check the next slide for a wonderful picture of a unique Latin American landscape!

#9. Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca is one of the most famous and representative states of Mexico. It has known for its great cultural and ethnic diversity and the wide range of festivities express the people’s different folklores and traditions. In fact, it is the state home to the greatest number of ethnic groups. But this is not all!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Oaxaca is also famous because of its cuisine and spices, so foodies, beware! In addition, if you’re thriving to learn a bit of history, you should know that the state’s capital, Oaxaca de Juárez, is filled with fascinating museums, not to mention it’s stunning colonial architecture, majestic churches, and refined squares.

#8. Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the capital and the largest city of Austria. It is one of the oldest European capitals, so as you can imagine, it boasts a rich cultural and artistic heritage. Here’s an interesting fact: it is considered a World Heritage Site for the conservation of the 19th century Ringstrasse buildings, which also form part of the multi-level underground city.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The city suffered heavy damage in the last months of World War II, so some parts of the city were rebuilt during the late 40s and 50s. Nevertheless, the reconstruction and restoration projects carried out since then have been impressive. If you want to enjoy the city’s beauty, go for a walk along the Danube river, and enjoy views like the one in the picture.

#7. Petra

Petra is a captivating and world-famous archaeological site located in the southwestern desert of Jordan. Known as the Rose Red City, it is one of the world’s most astonishing architectural wonders, and its buildings date as far back as 400 B.C. when it served as a flourishing trading center. Can you believe that the tomb shown in the picture below is over 2000 years old?

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Due to its beauty and it’s rich archaeological value, Petra has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. But there’s much more to Petra other than the majestic tomb shown in the picture above: the site features several trails, and hiking all of them will take you three days.

#6. Dublin, Ireland

When Dublin is named in a conversation, most people imagine good tasting beer. But little do they know that this stupendous capital city also has a rich cultural heritage. It has a world-renowned literary history and has produced prestigious literary figures such as Oscar Wilde and Berard Shaw. Its two largest cathedrals are ancestral, imposing and fascinating. In addition, many museums house one of the largest and most dazzling gold collections in Europe. Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral or Dublin Castle are places that no traveler should miss!

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Walking through ancient neighborhoods like Temple Bar is pretty much like traveling through time. It’s packed with lively colorful houses, such as the ones seen in the picture above. I also suggest walking along O’Connell Street, especially if you’re into shopping, as it is full of craft shops. If you’re looking for a calm place to chill out, then head towards the Saint Stephen’s Green Park, where you can relax surrounded by nature. What else can you ask for?

#5. Santiago, Chile

Santiago, the capital and the largest city in Chile, is located in a valley surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. It is a multifaceted city that attracts tourists both in summer and winter. However, it is a great travel destination at any season of the year, as it is always full of interesting cultural activities, not to mention its top-notch restaurants and finest wineries.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

If you are a snow lover, during the winter season Santiago is home to one of the best ski slopes in South America. Only two hours by car separate the mountains from the Pacific Ocean, so enjoy some skiing and then taste some exquisite seafood on the Chilean coast! If you like high temperatures, we recommend you to cool off in the waters of the Pacific Ocean on beaches such as Viña del Mar or Reñaca. The hills of the port city of Valparaíso are ideal for an intense experience in colors and flavors.

#4. Tétouan, Morocco

Morocco is a country that beckons many travelers. With its vibrant colors, unique architecture, and fascinating culture, it’s impossible not wanting to visit. This photo shows a beautiful view of Tétouan, an ancient city surrounded by a breathtaking landscape. It has the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean sea on one side, the awe-inspiring Riff mountains on the other side, and clustered all around are groves of orange and almond trees.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The city itself is a collection of bright white buildings clustered on the side of a verdant hill, with the sparkling Martil river flowing through the valley below. It has a strong Andalucian influence, as it was founded by refugees seeking safety from the Iberian conflicts in the 15th century. If you’re looking for a lively place to visit, with plenty of sights to discover, then this city will do! Don’t miss the medina and the Royal Palace!

#3. Rose Fields Of Buzovgrad, Bulgaria

Dressing up in pink every May and June, Bulgaria’s Rose Valley­ stretches for about 87 miles across a narrow interval between the Balkan mountain range. It’s rather common to find people covered in rose garlands in this place, just like in the picture below. Rose-picking usually starts at sunrise and wraps up before noon. In this photo, these women are making garlands from rose petals. Did you know that this highly fragrant flower is idolized as Bulgaria’s national symbol of pride?

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

They even have a rose festival on the first weekend of June! The town Kazanlak is regarded as the heart of the Rose Valley. There, tourists may witness the traditional rose-picking, the distillation process, folk dances, and roses ensconced in cakes, soaps, jewelry, wine, and rakia, a strong regional fruit brandy. Believe it or not, they even produce rose oil. Here’s an interesting fact: it takes 3,180 pounds of roses to produce just one pound of rose oil.

#2. Independence Square, Kiev

This picture shows Maidan Nezalezhnosti in the central square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. Today it is lined with an impressive array of grandiose villas dating mostly from the 19th century, which were built when the city was amongst one of the most important ones in Russia. In this particular site, each year hundreds of students flock to the square to jump into the fountain at the end of the school year.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In the center of the square lies the Independence Monument which was built on the 10th Anniversary of the independence of Ukraine in 2001. Do you want to learn another curious fact? The statue is made of cast bronze and weighs about 20 tons. Furthermore, there is no doubt that Kiev offers a wide variety of artistic, historical and monumental treasures to discover.

#1. Snake Island, Philippines

In the northernmost portion of the Philippine island of Palawan, a small archipelago known as El Nido attracts divers, snorkelers and beach bums. El Nido is full of mind-blowing islands with white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, but one of the most unique ones is Snake Island. Its name might give the impression that it’s infested with snakes, but this is far from being true. Snake Island got its name from its incredible sandbar connecting it to mainland Palawan.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

This sandbar changes shape with the tides but often appears in an ‘S’ shape, hence appearing like a long snake! Can you imagine yourself completely surrounded by crystal clear and stunningly turquoise water? Well, you should go to this paradise and experience it yourself! Once you’re there be sure you’re all geared up with your aqua shoes or flip-flops before walking on the sandbar to avoid stepping on some nasty rockfish. You can swim in both sides of the sandbar and in the end, you can trek to the top to see the entire “snake” and the sea.

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