There’s a great big world out there — and no shortage of gorgeous places to visit. Whatever you’re after: sweeping vistas, bottomless waters, or dose of ancient history, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite beautiful places around the globe (and what makes them so incredible). Read on to see what you’ll need to add to your bucket list.
Explore an underwater world at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

1. Snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef

Northern Queensland is world-famous for its beaches: think pristine white sands and brilliant blue ocean. But it’s underwater where the real magic happens, at the Great Barrier Reef. The Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef — so big it’s even visible from space! It’s home to countless exotic species of fish, dolphins, turtles, starfish, and more. Strap on a snorkeling mask or a scuba tank and discover a wonderful world underwater.

Meet the locals at Cape Peninsula

2. See nature’s splendor in Cape Town

Whatever your taste in scenery, South Africa’s capital has a vista that’s sure to appeal. This vibrant city has a wealth of natural riches just a stone’s throw away from its bustling streets. Discover the dramatic scenery of the Cape Peninsula, and meet the penguins that make the cape their home. Indulge your sense of adventure with a safari in the stunning Inverdoorn Reserve. Or simply sip on a fine South African Cabernet in the rolling green hills of South African wine country.

Experience this natural phenomenon in Tromsø

3. Go aurora-gazing in Tromsø

Tromsø is a charming city in the north of Norway, but for the real spectacle, you’ll need to look up. That’s because Tromsø is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis or Northern Lights: a stunning, multi-color natural light display only visible in high-latitude regions. Watching the aurora streak across the sky is a once-in-a-lifetime experience — and one you’ll never forget.

Visit this ancient Incan citadel

4. Discover Machu Picchu’s ancient past

It sounds like something out of an adventure movie: a mythical ancient city, hidden by the overgrown tropical jungle, discovered by intrepid explorers. Step inside your own real-life adventure when you journey to Machu Picchu, Peru. This ancient Incan citadel was concealed by lush rainforest for centuries. Now, it’s open to visitors and the occasional stray llama. Our tip? Enter through the Sun Gate: your first glimpse of the ruined city will take your breath away.

Cruise across Lake Wakatipu

5. Cruise through Queenstown

Nature lovers will find themselves spoiled for choice in Queenstown. This small city in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island is nestled between the crystal clear waters of Lake Wakatipu and the dramatic mountains of the Southern Alps. The best way to take in the awe-inspiring scenery? A leisurely cruise across Lake Wakatipu that offers panoramic views whichever way you turn.

The Iguazu Falls straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil

6. Get soaked at Iguazu Falls

Sometimes Mother Nature can be a bit of a show-off, but we’re not complaining! Especially not when it comes to the spectacle of the Iguazu Falls. Situated on the border of Argentina and Brazil, the Iguazu Falls are the largest waterfall system in the world. Made up of more than 275 waterfalls in total, the largest one is a whopping 165 feet (78 m) high. It’s impossible to grasp the sheer scale of these falls without seeing them for yourself — preferably with a tour that takes you up close with Iguazu’s cataracts and canyons. You might get splashed, but it’ll be worth it.

Swim, paddle, and explore caves at Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay

7. Do it all at Ha Long Bay

Underwater caves, steep cliffs, towering limestone islands topped with rainforest  — the scenery in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay is like nothing you’ve ever seen. And to soak it up fully, we suggest a relaxed cruise, with plenty of time to go swimming, island-hopping, rock-climbing, and cave-exploring…or just to watch the traditional Vietnamese junk boats as they weave lazily through the stunning waters.

Torres del Paine is a national park located in Chile’s Patagonia region

8. Trek through Torres del Paine

Picture this: condors soaring overhead, snowcapped mountains, sublime glaciers, and waterfalls that flow into pristine lakes. Boasting all these and more, it’s no wonder Torres del Paine National Park has been declared one of the world’s eight natural wonders. Everyday life will feel a million miles away when you lose yourself on a stunning day trip through the rugged terrain of Chile’s most beautiful national park.

Pamukkale is known for the mineral-rich thermal that flow down hillside terraces

9. Bathe like a Roman in Pamukkale

Yes, this is a list of the most beautiful destinations on earth. But, real talk: taking a trip to the travertine terraces of Pamukkale in Turkey is like touching down on another planet. Mineral springs in brilliant jewel-toned blue flow down the bright white naturally-formed cliffside terraces. Swim in the refreshing waters just like the ancient Romans used to (and don’t forget to snap a few photos for Instagram — #nofilter, naturally).

Victoria Falls pours into the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe

10. Visit the Victoria Falls

Cycling along the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe might just prove a little more exciting than your daily bike ride. Here, you can expect to see elephants, buffalo, and impalas, along with misty African rainforest, baobab trees, and, if you time it right — breathtaking sunsets. What more could you want? Well, how about one of the world’s most awesome waterfalls? Victoria Falls transforms the placid Zambezi into a curtain of falling water that has to be seen to be believed.