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20 of the World's Most Beautiful Places to Visit: Travel Ideas & Tips

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Hill Inlet at Whitehaven Beach, Australia

Hill Inlet at Whitehaven Beach. Photo courtesy of Tourism Whitsundays

The 20 most beautiful places in the world demonstrate how nature can shape culture and create an inescapable allure.

Whether finding endless rainbows in the mist framed by waterfalls or herds galloping across open grasslands, interested in walking to the base of granite towers or eager to see the traditional colors of homes carved into seaside cliffs, the majesty of the natural world offers glamorous vistas and customary communities, each providing a different type of ambiance.

Our list of 20 of the world’s most beautiful places shares breathtaking moments and opportunities for unforgettable memories, while enjoying new discoveries during your personalized trip.

  1. 1. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
  2. 2. Victoria Falls, Zambia
  3. 3. Whitehaven Beach, Australia
  4. 4. Machu Picchu, Peru
  5. 5. Kyoto, Japan
  6. 6. Halong Bay, Vietnam
  7. 7. Okavango Delta, Botswana
  8. 8. Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland
  9. 9. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Costa Rica
  10. 10. Cape Town, South Africa
  11. 11. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
  12. 12. Milford Sound, New Zealand
  13. 13. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
  14. 14. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
  15. 15. Cinque Terre, Italy
  16. 16. Lisbon, Portugal
  17. 17. Lake Como, Italy
  18. 18. Marrakech, Morocco
  19. 19. Glencoe, Scotland
  20. 20. Kerala, India
  21. Explore the World’s Most Beautiful Places

1. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers create the dramatic contours of Torres del Paine National Park, where the epic scale of nature provides the alluring possibility for discovery. The Patagonian steppe reaches the subpolar forests spread beneath the iconic granite towers crowning the Paine Massif.

Hiking trails weave along the edges of glacial waters, winding to open vistas revealing views of glistening ice formations, towering mountaintops, and herds of guanaco for a unique experience. Find the right way to explore Torres del Paine when exploring Zicasso’s Patagonia travel guide or our top things to do in Patagonia.

Highlights: Grey Glacier • Los Cuernos • Horseback riding • Grey Lake • Zapata Glacier

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

Learn more: Patagonia Tours & Vacations7 Patagonia Sample Trips

2. Victoria Falls, Zambia

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Victoria Falls straddles the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, creating a natural barrier that erupts with impressive views and turns thundering cascades into clouds of rising mist.

Natural grandeur sets the scene for one of the world’s most inspiring spectacles, where the series of waterfalls can reach over a mile wide and plunge nearly 380 feet deep, creating a wall of water.

Whether viewing the scenery from a helicopter, bridge, or boat, the remarkable scale of Victoria Falls is astounding. A Victoria Falls tour with African safari celebrates nature, with a broader picture of the world’s wonders on display.

Highlights: Devil’s Pool • Footpaths • Knife Edge Bridge • Livingstone Island • Sunset cruise

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

3. Whitehaven Beach, Australia

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays Islands, Australia

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays Islands. Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

Photogenic and pristine, Whitehaven Beach is a brushstroke of artistic nature displaying blinding white sands and water transitioning from turquoise and azure to aquamarine.

The majestic ambiance grows with the combination of swirling patterns shaped by the sea and sand against the backdrop of lush tropical foliage, unlike anywhere else in the world.

The largest of the Whitsunday Island chain, you can enjoy the marbled beauty from the sky, a hilltop, the sea, on a hiking trail, or a relaxing excursion to a panoramic lookout. Enjoy more gorgeous views and unique experiences when looking for the best places to visit in the South Pacific or when celebrating romance in search of the best beach honeymoon destinations.

Highlights: Hill Inlet • Walking trails • Beaches • Snorkeling • Tongue Point lookout • Rafting

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Learn more: Top 9 Things to Do in Australia12 Best Beaches to Visit in Australia

4. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

A Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu’s reputation establishes excellent expectations that are met and exceeded. Perched on a plateau dangling above the Urubamba River, the marvelous setting offers a bridge to the past, while providing a panorama of the Andes Mountains.

Shrouded in mystery and often covered in clouds, glowing with lush greenery and surrounded by soaring mountain peaks, the ruins and landscape of the historic Incan city tell a remarkable tale. Beyond its reputation, little compares to standing amongst the buildings or embracing the view from the neighboring peak as the clouds slowly part.

Highlights: Sun Gate • Huayna Picchu • Inca Bridge • Funerary Stone • Temple of the Sun

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Learn more: Machu Picchu Tours & Vacations

5. Kyoto, Japan

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan

Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is a celebration of the spiritual, when nature and culture combine to create a gorgeous ambiance immersed in the sublime. Tradition meets contemporary life, with temples designed as harmonious escapes from a modern pace and teahouses echoing the joys found in simple pleasures mixed with ritual.

The former residence of the Emperor, with a civil history spanning more than 1,100 years, Kyoto is a city of artisans and taste, cultural charms and otherworldly masterpieces. Discover heritage, witness feats of engineering, embrace fine art, and indulge in the finer attention to detail for an unparalleled experience. Our information on the best time to visit Japan can help you find the right month or season in which you can enjoy Kyoto and its surrounding splendor.

Highlights: Nijo Castle • Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine • Golden Pavilion • Kiyomizu-Dera Temple • Kyoto Imperial Palace

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Learn more: Japan Tours & VacationsJapan Travel Guide

6. Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay is less a destination in Vietnam and more an animation of a dreamscape, where emerald waters reflect towering limestone karsts.

The natural elements of wind, rain, and sun have eroded the landscape to create a wonderland of caves, beaches, and islands, resulting in a unique combination of land and sea that can resemble a treasure trove of discoveries in color and experience.

Grottoes, coves, tropical foliage, and colorful marine gardens bring fantasy into reality as sea turtles circle coastlines, hornbills swoop from the trees, and lizards bathe in the exotic sunlight, providing an exceptional display of the natural world. Zicasso’s Vietnam travel guide has more ways to experience the country and the bay, while our Vietnam tours bring you new ideas on the places you should visit, depending on how you want to discover the country.

Highlights: Cruise • Cat Ba Island • Bai Tu Long Bay • Snorkeling • Thien Cung cave

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

7. Okavango Delta, Botswana

Aerial sunset in Okavango Delta, Botswana

Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta is a place of extraordinary natural beauty, with wildlife blending into the majesty of the landscape. The drama of nature unfolds amidst a panoramic view of sprawling waterways, tall grass, and the edging desert that spreads to the horizon. As one of the most diverse ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa, Okavango Delta experiences are immersive and eye-opening.

Supporting the renowned Big Five, wild dogs, leopards, giraffes, and exceptional birdlife, you can wander through mopane forests and grasslands enjoying sparkling lagoons and pools for a one-of-a-kind view of the wilderness.

Viewing wildlife in its natural habitat is an unforgettable experience and our African safari travel guide provides more information on what you can expect.

Highlights: Mokoro ride • Motorboat safari • Bush walks • Big FIve

Recommended length of stay: 4-5 days

Learn more: Okavango Delta SafarisBotswana Safari Guide

8. Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon in Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland

Iceland is a stunning display of nature and its impact on local culture, displayed in the marvelous natural and civil history in Vatnajokull National Park. As a land of glaciers, the scenery glistens, with ice forming glossy formations across the landscape. As one of the best places to visit in Iceland, the park balances a dreamscape and a landscape protecting the past to celebrate its future.

Geothermal pools provide surprising comfort in a secluded caldera, while waterfalls create breathtaking examples of raw power. Things to do in Iceland offer a much broader perspective on how you can enjoy your experience no matter where you visit, but nature is treasured in Vatnajokull National Park, a source of mystery and inspiration in the combination of rivers, glacial ice, and volcanic activity that has shaped the scenery over millennia.

Highlights: Skaftafell • Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon • Ice caves • Glacier hikes • Horseback riding

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Learn more: Iceland Tours & VacationsIceland Travel Guide

9. Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Costa Rica

Hanging bridge in Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Costa Rica

Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, Costa Rica

Nature is immersive in Monteverde and the Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. The emerald trees and climbing mist feel inescapable, with unique plants and active wildlife surrounding you at every step.

The natural condensation in the air feeds the wilderness, sustaining the unique ecosystem in which colorful birds thrive, orchids texture the trees, and mammals such as howler monkeys or jaguars coexist with vibrant amphibians and cacophonous reptiles.

The Cloud Forest Biological Reserve has a stimulating ambiance in which visitors can witness organic farming and alternative energy sources as much as the unending beauty of a space local communities share with the protected landscape. Visiting the Cloud Forest is a wonderful example of a Costa Rica family vacation idea and can also demonstrate the exciting possibilities you can find when exploring our Costa Rica travel guide.

Highlights: Hiking • Wildlife viewing • Birding • Night hike • Hanging bridges • Ziplining

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Learn more: Costa Rica Tours & Vacation Packages

10. Cape Town, South Africa

Camps Bay in Cape Town, South Africa

Camps Bay in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is where natural grandeur, cultural history, and exciting excursions create the ultimate adventure. Nestled into the seductive setting between the Atlantic Ocean and slopes of Table Mountain, the city can feel like a window into nature or an immersion into South Africa’s cosmopolitan ambiance.

View the rugged coastline on scenic drives, lounge beneath the golden sun on one of the many white-sand beaches, visit nearby penguin colonies, and search for signs of whales or great white sharks off the coast during an essential Cape Town Vacation.

Whether eager to embrace the outdoors or interested in the essential luxuries found in the delicious cuisine and neighboring winelands, Cape Town is the culmination of South Africa’s beauty and magnificence. You can find more information on ways to explore, experience, and discover Cape Town as well as the wonders of the countryside with our South Africa Travel Guide.

Highlights: Table Mountain • Robben Island • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens • Camps Bay Beaches • Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Learn more: South Africa Tours and Vacations

11. Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Awe-inspiring and visceral, Iguazu Falls is a sensorial experience. The raw power of nature becomes the center of the world, with an endless roar caused by the chain of hundreds of waterfalls spanning nearly two miles and running across the Argentine and Brazilian borders.

The water and cascades open the rainforest, with the surrounding canopy teeming with colorful flora and vibrant wildlife. Trails weave through the protected landscape, opening to marvelous panoramas, the rising mist of the waterfalls providing unforgettable views and immersive walks into the roaring haze. All act as a reminder of why it is one of the best places to visit in Argentina. Find more experiences and places to discover with our Argentina travel guide.

Highlights: Devil’s Throat • Upper Circuit • Lower Circuit • San Martin Island • Birding

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Learn more: Argentina Tours & Vacations

12. Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound is sublime. The water shines indigo and cobalt beneath the fjord as the mountains sculpt the waterway with thin, steep cliffs, bare rocks crumbling beneath sprawling tree roots. Rain creates temporary waterfalls that trundle down the bluffs or curtain long stretches of open mountain face, before splashing into the sea, making this one of the most sought-after experiences to enjoy during a New Zealand tour.

Visions of dolphins, penguins, and whales veil surrounding human activity, allowing you to bask in the untouched beauty by boat, scuba diving, or kayaking, all crowned by the effortless floating-pyramid image of Mitre Peak. Milford Sound is an iconic place to visit and the embodiment of wonder when exploring South Pacific vacations and tours.

Highlights: Cruise • Kayaking • Scuba diving • Marine life • Waterfalls • Hiking

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Learn more: New Zealand Travel Guide

13. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

The 21 islands that shape the Fernando de Noronha archipelago are often described as heaven on Earth. The natural beauty captures the majesty of a tropical world where crystal-clear waters, lively marine life, emerald canopies, and white-sand beaches converge, and it’s easily enjoyed during a Brazil tour & vacation.

The perfect getaway for trekking along panoramic hiking routes or walking the sands of deserted beaches, diving into warm waters to follow local sea turtles or cruising around an island at sunset for a perfect view, Fernando de Noronha is a picture-perfect wonder of nature.

Spot humpback whales, find a private getaway, or enjoy access to a number of the country’s most sought-after coastlines while remaining clear of crowds for some of the best beach experiences in South America.

Highlights: Atalaia hike • Praia da Biboca • Boat tour • Scuba diving • Beaches • Snorkeling

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

Learn more: Brazil Travel Guide

14. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Over water bungalows in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora is often considered the most dreamlike island, allowing visitors to indulge in a tropical paradise where clear waters and white sands meet.

The beauty is nearly mesmerizing as you witness the shades of sapphire, turquoise, and indigo spreading across the lagoon and wrapping around the islets. Inland, the jungle terrain glows emerald and jade beneath the tropical sun, until broken by the basal mountain peaks.

As an icon of a South Pacific vacation, Bora Bora is more than just a getaway for honeymooners and couples looking for romance. The combination of adventure and star-studded night skies make for an enviable ambiance perfect for all types of travelers, including visitors eager to indulge in private islands or personalized spa treatments.

Highlights: Beaches • Hike Mount Otemanu • Snorkeling • Scuba diving • Bora Bora Turtle Center

Recommended length of stay: 3-4

Learn more: Bora Bora Vacations

15. Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre, Italy

The combination of natural seaside wonder with the colorful tower homes typical of the Ligurian fishing villages has turned Cinque Terre from a quiet collection of five villages into one of the most recognizable and sought-after places to visit in Italy. Paths weave and wind along the edges of the coastal cliffs, reflecting the historical tethers between the towns, while providing remarkable views of vineyards, citrus groves, houses, and the water.

Low stone walls add shape and dimension to the mountainscape, while also speaking to the quiet grandeur and scope of life and heritage overlooking the Ligurian Sea. Old-world charms meet the absorbing panoramas for an experience shared with preserved medieval towers, mouthwatering wines, and the herbaceous aroma of basil drifting through the cobblestone streets.

Highlights: Monterosso Beach • Wine tasting • Hiking trails • Sunset views • Boat tour

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Learn more: Cinque Terre Tours & VacationsItaly Tours & Vacations

16. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon reflects the wonder and charm of old-world Europe across the cobblestone alleyways and enchanting hillsides. White-domed cathedrals, ancient ruins, and the captivating sounds of cafes filled with chatting or singing locals in every corner of the city invite travelers to enjoy the beauty they can find on a Lisbon vacation & tour.

When visiting Lisbon, every month can feel like the best time to visit Portugal, as the city rises out of the banks of the River Tagus and leans into its history of navigation, while celebrating each day with vibrant color and warmth beneath the Iberian sunlight.

Lush gardens, waterside promenades, and impressive castle walls add to this unforgettable city's stunning ambiance and aesthetic.

Highlights: Castelo de Sao Jorge • Mosteiro dos Jeronimos • Museu Calouste Gulbenkian • Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga • Torre de Belem

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

Learn more: Portugal Tours & VacationsPortugal Travel Guide

17. Lake Como, Italy

Bellagio on Lake Como, Italy

Bellagio on Lake Como, Italy

Lakeside shores shaded with leafy trees, walking paths paved with stone, and Roman ruins emerging from the ancient grid amidst medieval churches and Romanesque walls scratch the surface of Lake Como’s renowned beauty. An accessible area to explore on a Northern Italy itinerary, you can embrace a panoramic lakefront promenade and docks from which boats set out across the placid alpine water.

An abundance of silk shops adds to the opulent ambiance, as historic villas thread the needle of luxurious history into the present. Connected to nearby charming towns and at the heart of the Lake District’s celebrated grandeur, Lake Como is festive and attractive, turning a simple cappuccino in the central square into a cinematic moment and treasured memory, further explored with our Northern Italy travel guide.

Highlights: Duomo • Boat tour • Basilica di Sant’Abbondio • Brunate • Bellagio

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Learn more: Lake Como Itineraries & Vacation Packages

18. Marrakech, Morocco

Djemaa El Fna Square in Marrakech, Morocco

Djemaa El Fna Square in Marrakech, Morocco

Part of Marrakech’s wonder and beauty rises from its captivating atmosphere, one that embodies the soul of Morocco.

The best places to visit in Marrakech are colorful, vibrant, and immersive, where souks glow with the ancient work of local artisans and the traditions preserved through the ages are found in pyramids of spices or the glint of woven shoes. As the gateway to the High Atlas Mountains, the edges of the city can give way to adventurous hiking trails or mountain-biking excursions, or lead to the echoing calls of storytellers and musicians performing in Djemaa El Fna Square, further explored with our Morocco travel guide.

With historic mansions offering views across the rooftops to the stunning Muslim designs featured in mosques and madrasas, Marrakech is a marvel of history and heritage.

Highlights: Souk • Medina • Djemaa El Fna Square • Koutoubia Mosque • Majorelle Gardens • Medersa Ben Youssef

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Learn more: Morocco Tours & Vacations

19. Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe in the highlands of Scotland

Glencoe, Scotland

Carved out of melted glaciers and volcanic eruptions, Glencoe is an inspiring mixture of deep valleys and towering mountains, interspersed with quiet villages that turn their remote setting into a cozy and welcoming environment.

The dramatic atmosphere and epic landscapes have cinematic qualities, while also providing access to active explorations, from snowboarding to mountain biking, kayaking to hiking.

Its seclusion is part of its charm, giving visitors the opportunity to explore or relax away from the bustle of a nearby city with an immersion into untouched beauty accentuated by winding streams, stoic lakes, and extraordinary mountain peaks.

Highlights: The Valley • Glencoe Village • Lochan • Hiking • Scenic drives • Signal Point

Recommended length of stay: 1-2 days

Learn more: Scotland Tours & VacationsScotland Travel Guide

20. Kerala, India

Tea plantations in Kerala, India

Tea plantations in Kerala, India

Serene, beautiful, and often overlooked for more famous destinations in India, Kerala has a quiet natural grandeur shaped by the tropical climate sweeping from the Arabian Sea to tea-covered hills.

Palm trees shade the famous canals weaving inland from the shoreline. Plantations grow spices that add tongue-tingling flavor to every regional dish.

Elephants and exotic birds roam wild and tea leaves add rows of emerald to the landscape. Illuminating ancient history, natural beauty, and wildlife reserves in which the wilderness is ferociously protected, Kerala is a delightful escape for a new perception of India’s past, present, and future. best experienced during an India tour & vacation.

Highlights: Canals • Alleppey • Plantation visit • Wildlife sanctuaries and parks • Waterfalls

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

Learn more: India Travel Guide

Explore the World’s Most Beautiful Places

Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

The most beautiful places to visit in the world possess stunning landmarks and inspiring vistas, revelations of traditions passed down for centuries and remarkable beaches framing the water and sunset. No matter how you experience wonder, these regions bring fantasy to life, while immersing you in picture-perfect experiences.

Our Travelers' top destinations can further inspire your next trip or you can explore more ideas with information from our Trips of a Lifetime travel guide as you learn more about your travel interests and goals.

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