30 Breathtaking Photos of Natural Wonders You Have to See
When you’re stuck in the daily grind from working in the office to getting right back to family matters, you might find yourself dreaming about the perfect vacation. Perhaps the local beach is where you want to go — or if you’re someone who’s into snow sports, the mountains. But if you’re willing to think bigger, there’s an entire world of natural wonders out there that you probably had no idea existed.
Here are the most beautiful natural sights in the world that you need to see for yourself.
1. Angel Falls, Venezuela
There are many beautiful waterfalls in the world, but few are as awe-inspiring as the Angel Falls in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. Beautiful World notes it’s the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, and most of the world didn’t even know it existed until the ’60s.
Nowadays, if you’re looking to see the Angel Falls, you’ll have to take a flight, as the UNESCO World Heritage Site can only be accessed by air. Once you’re in the park, however, you can reach the falls by boat — and also admire the beautiful tropical atmosphere around the falls, too.
Next: If you like the sea, you’ll have to see this.
2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
You’ve certainly seen photos of this unique natural wonder before, but it’s absolutely worth making a trip for. It’s the world’s largest coral reef, boasting over 3,000 reef systems and hundreds of tropical islands with beautiful beaches. The Great Barrier Reef is also the only living thing on earth that you can see from space.
In terms of tourism, it’s the perfect place to plan a vacation around as well. Not only can you check out the reef, but you can also snorkel, scuba dive, sail, cruise, whale watch, or swim with dolphins.
Next: It may be difficult to see, but it’s beautiful when you do.
3. Aurora Borealis, Alaska and northern Canada
Better known as the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis is truly a wonder that many won’t get to see in their lifetime. Aurora Service explains the dancing lights occur when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the earth’s atmosphere and mix with natural gases present on our planet. This creates the brilliant blues, greens, reds, and purples you’ll see in the sky.
You can actually view the lights from multiple countries depending on the time of year and day, but the best places to see them are in Alaska and northern Canada.
Next: You probably never knew a salt flat could be so beautiful.
4. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
National Geographic explains Salar de Uyuni is known as one of the world’s most remarkable salt flats. It spans over 4,050 square miles and was created by prehistoric lakes that have since evaporated. And though the flat is amazing to look at when it’s dry, it becomes an even more sensational wonder when nearby lakes overflow on to it. Then, a thin layer of water rests over the flat and reflects the sky perfectly.
If you’re interested in visiting Salar de Uyuni but are concerned about accommodations, don’t worry — you can stay at the world’s first salt hotel.
Next: It’s well worth a visit to Argentina just to see these falls.
5. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
You may think the Iguazu Falls are just another waterfall to mark off the bucket list, but they’re truly an amazing sight. CNN notes the entire landscape here is made up of falls both huge and dainty — and it extends as far as the eye can see. The whole system is made up of 275 waterfalls or cataracts and extends over a mile and a half in length. When Eleanor Roosevelt saw them, she reportedly was so taken aback that she said, “Poor Niagra.”
Next: If you’re taking a trip east, make sure to stop in this beautiful country.
6. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Vietnam is well known for its beautiful landscapes, and Ha Long Bay is one area that can’t be missed. Lonely Planet explains the bay is known for its impressive limestone pillars and small islands that populate it. And of course, the waters are gorgeous, as they shine a beautiful emerald color. Ha Long Bay has been a World Heritage Site since 1994, and it stands as one of the biggest tourist hubs in Vietnam.
Next: You never knew you needed to see a giant rock until now.
7. Uluru, Australia
If you’re taking a trip down under, you definitely don’t want to miss seeing the gigantic sandstone monolith known as Uluru. Located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Uluru stands 348 meters above the plain, which is taller than the Eiffel Tower or the Chrysler Building. As far as width is concerned, this huge rock is around 5.8 miles.
If you go to visit Uluru, you also won’t miss the incredible wildlife and Kata Tjuta, the tallest dome.
Next: You should see this before climate change takes it away for good.
8. The Amazon rainforest, Brazil
Plant enthusiasts need to take a trip to see this rainforest in their lifetime. Right in the heart of Brazil, the Amazon covers seven square miles of landscape. Not only it is a huge asset to the environment by providing oxygen and consuming carbon dioxide, but the sheer volume of plant life and various species of animals is absolutely breathtaking.
Surprisingly, it’s not as big of a tourist destination as you think. It’s recommended that you hire a trained guide who can help you navigate the rainforest.
Next: You need to see this volcano.
9. Mount Bromo, Indonesia
It may be one of the most active volcanoes in the world, but that doesn’t mean you should miss an opportunity to see Mount Bromo for yourself. Tourists love to hike the mountain, which is nearly a mile and a half. At the top, you’ll see the white smoke flowing freely from the crater covering an ethereal and desolate landscape below.
And don’t worry too much about it being an active volcano. Due to its status, certain areas of Mount Bromo are blocked off as to put you out of danger.
Next: This landlocked salt lake is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
10. The Dead Sea, southwestern Asia
Located between Israel and Jordan in southwestern Asia, the Dead Sea is known for its high salt content. Encyclopedia Brittanica explains it also stands as the lowest body of water on earth — and because it sits in the middle of the desert, it doesn’t get much help from rainwater. In any case, this truly unique sea is an exquisite sight and a completely rare phenomenon that tourists love visiting. Go for a few days to bask in its beauty, cover yourself in mineral-rich mud, and float effortlessly in the salty water.
Next: If you’re looking to stay in the U.S., head here.
11. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Millions of people visit Yellowstone every year — and it’s no wonder why. Known as the world’s first national park, it’s known for its unique geological features and one of the world’s largest calderas. It also houses over 300 geysers, 10,000 thermal features, over 290 waterfalls, and plenty of unique wildlife you’d be hardpressed to find anywhere else.
Yellowstone is extremely tourist-friendly — and if you’re so inclined, you can even camp on one of the 12 campgrounds available.
Next: This fjord is one of the most beautiful in the world.
12. Geirangerfjord, Norway
If bodies of water between cliffs intrigue you, then the Geirangerfjord in Norway is an absolute must-see. Fjord Tours notes this one stands as a hugely popular one with tourists, as it includes several beautiful waterfalls, quaint abandoned farms, and high mountains. You’ll be most astonished by the striking blues of the water in contrast with the mountains when you go hiking, kayaking, or rafting in the fjord area. For nature lovers, it’s an absolute must-see.
Next: Egypt’s most famous structure is truly magnificent.
13. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
They may not stand as the most “natural” on the list, but these ancient monuments fit so perfectly with the surrounding atmosphere that they barely look manmade. The giant Sphinx seemingly oversees a landscape populated with ancient tombs in the desert, providing an awe-inspiring glimpse of the past for visitors. PlanetWare notes the pyramids are a great reminder of Egypt’s pharaohs who once ruled.
The tourism in Egypt has taken a hit over the years, but if you so choose, there are fantastic tours that will take you all around the pyramids.
Next: Those looking for a peaceful place on earth will need to see this.
14. Tegallalang rice terrace, Indonesia
If Bali is on your bucket list, make sure you add the Tegallalang rice terraces on your trip, too. The gorgeous landscapes here offer a serene look into life in Indonesia. Hotels.com says there’s even a local elderly farmer who offers his famous green coconut drink to visitors as they pass through.
In addition to the views, there’s also a small, local village where you can view carvings, woodworking, and sculptures from the locals. It’s truly a tropical paradise you can’t miss.
Next: It may not seem like much of a destination, but if you’re headed to Africa, you must go.
15. Sahara Desert, Africa
The desert certainly isn’t a thriving metropolis, but when it comes to pure beauty, the Sahara can’t be beat. The majestic sand dunes offer a quiet, calming atmosphere to tour — and you don’t even have to do it on foot. Take a camel trek for a totally unique experience you can’t get anywhere else. Or, you can even opt for eight-day excursions that will take you to local villages, valleys, and everywhere you had no idea you needed to see.
Next: These caves are some of the most fabulous in the world.
16. Marble Caves, Chile
You may not see the Marble Caves on every tourism website for Chile, and that’s because they’re not the easiest to access. Judging from the beauty of the caves, though, they’re certainly worth it. Atlas Obscura notes they’re located on a marble peninsula in a remote glacial lake near the Chile-Argentina border.
Since the caves are on a lake, you can only reach them by boat. Luckily, there are ferries that will take you to the caves — and certain tours will even take you through them.
Next: This Scottish landscape looks like it was taken from a children’s book.
17. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland
These natural pools look as majestic as they sound. Atlas Obscura explains the Fairy Pools are a series of small waterfalls that are accessible only if you walk through the Glen Brittle forest. For adventurous travelers who do make the trek, they’re rewarded with turquoise pools surrounded by moss-covered mountains. Many note it looks like something straight out of The Lord of the Rings.
Next: There’s no better place in the world for a photo op.
18. Kjeragbolten, Norway
Want one of the best photographs ever? You’ll have to head to one specific boulder in Norway to get it. Fjord Norway notes roughly a half mile above Lysefjord lies a gigantic boulder wedged between two huge mountain rocks.
Many choose to hike up the mountain just to get to this boulder, as it’s a unique spot for photos and sightseeing. It’s also a common spot for BASE jumping if you’re in for an even bolder adventure. Otherwise, for the more conservative traveler, there’s a marked trail you can follow to find your way there.
Next: This “cotton castle” looks like layers of clouds instead of a town.
19. Pamukkale, Turkey
It’s part natural, part manmade, and completely awe-inspiring (it’s no wonder it’s Turkey’s top destination). Pamukkale is known for its bright white limestone terraces and warm mineral pools — and its even nicknamed the “cotton castle” thanks to its looks. The Telegraph notes it also holds the ruins of the Greek-Roman city Hierapolis, which is extremely well-preserved.
Because it’s a popular tourist spot, it’s wise to spend the night in Pamukkale village and get a head-start on the travelers by visiting the sights in the morning.
Next: These black-sand beaches are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
20. Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland
Iceland is known for its gorgeous and unique landscapes, but you’ll have to head out of the city center to experience this specific phenomenon. Reynisfjara Beach is located near the fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal. While it’s not a super common tourist destination, you’re well-advised to get out there to see the black-sand beaches and surrounding basalt stacks at Reynisfjara. Guide to Iceland notes if you plan on touring the south coast of the country, it’s the perfect opportunity to stop here.
Next: This bay is one of the most impressive and groundbreaking in the world.
21. Guanabara Bay at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is an impressive natural wonder anyone traveling to Brazil should seek out. And while you’re in the area, make sure to take in the sights around the Guanabara Bay. Culture Trip explains the bay is the result of thousands of years’ worth of erosion from the Atlantic, which also helped shape Rio de Janeiro’s famous Sugarloaf Mountain. Overall, the bay holds around 100 islands and is known for giving this seaside city its gorgeous look.
Next: You won’t believe how blue the sea is in this cave.
22. Blue Grotto, Italy
The Italian island of Capri is home to one of the most gorgeous sea caves in the world. The Blue Grotto is nearly 200 feet long and 80 feet wide — but to get inside, you have to squeeze through a cave opening that’s a mere 6 feet wide and 3 feet high. For this reason, visitors must enter via small rowboats that only bring four people in at a time.
It’s surely worth it, though. The blue water is just as gorgeous in real life as it is in photos.
Next: Disney loved this mountain so much that they named a ride after it.
23. Matterhorn, Switzerland
When it comes to gorgeous Swiss mountains, there are few as iconic as the Matterhorn. Today, expert mountaineers still attempt to ascend this behemoth of a natural wonder — but for the rest of us, we’re content staring up at it from the ground or funicular. It’s supposedly the most photographed mountain the world thanks to its signature shape.
If you want to visit the Matterhorn, you can do so by boarding the aerial cable car in Zermatt, which is the highest cable car station in the Alps.
Next: Head to China to see this unique geological landform.
24. Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China
If geological landforms are what interest you most in the natural world, you have to get yourself to the Zhangye Danxia Landford Geological Park. Travel China Guide explains you can see the colorful Danxia landforms best here, which look like mountains that have been layered with multicolored rock over the years. In reality, they were formed from billions of years’ worth of weathering and erosion with the help of climate change, wind, and other factors. They’re known as China’s “Rainbow Mountain” due to their unique beauty.
Next: These falls are one of the greatest attractions in all of Africa.
25. Victoria Falls, Zambia
The Victoria Falls are absolutely massive, as they form the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Zambia Tourism notes. You can see them from miles away, too, as over 500 million cubic meters of water plummets to the ground per minute from this fall. It’s not only impressive in sheer size, either, as it’s also surrounded by basalt cliffs to make for an even more dramatic view. Like the other falls on the list, Niagara just can’t compare.
Next: U.S. citizens know this next site.
26. Grand Canyon, Arizona
Those in the U.S. are lucky to have so many natural wonders right in their own country, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona certainly stands as one of them. Thanks to the Colorado River’s erosion over the years, there’s a seriously huge and gorgeous hole in the ground. Live Science notes this canyon is 277 miles long and spans 18 miles wide in some areas. Additionally, it’s over a mile deep. This canyon is extremely tourist-friendly, too, so feel free to visit.
Next: You’ll probably never be in this icy country, but this phenomenon is gorgeous.
27. Ice Canyon, Greenland
There aren’t too many tourists who choose to take a trip to Greenland, as it’s barely habitable. Even so, it’s home to the Ice Canyon, which Travel Corner calls “the Grand Canyon of Greenland.”
The canyon itself has yet to receive an official name, as it was discovered by scientists more recently. But it is clear that’s huge, icy, and showcases beautiful blue water in the center, making it stand apart from the rest of the barren landscape. It’s also the longest canyon on earth at over 460 miles.
Next: The cliffs in Greece have been put to good use.
28. Cliffs of Meteora, Greece
The Greek Orthodox Church put these gorgeous cliffs to good use. Atlas Obscura notes these sandstone rock pillars in central Greece extend 1,300 feet above the ground, creating a gorgeous landscape. And now, you can find six Eastern Orthodox monasteries sitting on top of them — and they’re open to visitors, too.
Steps and bridges were added in the ’20s for visitors, but it can still be a challenge to ascend. Even so, if you can get yourself to the Great Meteron Monastery, which stands as the highest and oldest, you won’t be disappointed.
Next: Traveling to Peru? You need to see this iconic site.
29. Machu Picchu, Peru
There’s a reason Machu Picchu is one of Peru’s top tourist destinations. Not only does this site offer breathtaking views of the Andes and the Urubamba River below, but it’s also rich in history. Machu Picchu was originally a 15th-century Inca location, and it has been excellently preserved through the years, Live Science notes.
The most beautiful aspect of Machu Picchu is the mixture of natural wonder and manmade temples. If you pay it a visit, make sure to see the Temple of the Sun.
Next: Many mountain climbers have died trying to ascend this monster of a natural wonder.
30. Mount Everest, Tibet and Nepal
No natural wonder list would be complete without Everest. You may never see the top of this mountain (very few have), but it offers incredible views from below as well. It stands as the highest mountain in the world at over five miles above sea level and borders both Tibet and Nepal. And thanks to the rise of technology, Google was also able to put the surrounding area of Everest on Google Street View — so feel free to explore that way.
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