Once you’ve traveled to places far & beyond it’s hard not to start comparing. Disappointment starts kicking in when you discover that what some call a magnificent view is pretty much the same like something you’ve seen before. It’s harder to get that wow feeling and you’re not that often impressed anymore.
That’s why I have compiled this list of truly magical places. Natural wonders of our planet. Places where you will be amazed and surprised how handsome and overwhelmingly impressive nature can be. Where afterwards you will be amazed by the amount of pictures you have taken.
- Atacama + Uyuni
I had to adopt my idea of a desert after witnessing the beauty of Atacama. San Pedro offers enough things to keep you busy for a few days. Afterwards you can easily head to Uyuni with a 3 day excursion. You will spend the night in rather basic accommodation but the experience makes up for the lack of comfort.
The first 2 days are spend with stops that offer you a good idea of how beautiful the area is you’re driving through. You will see lot’s of lagoons, geysers, flamingos, ostriches and much more… If the views are not enough the trip itself is also a worthwhile experience. It seems there’re no roads at all and your driver just heads left or right based on the position of the sun. But all this is just to warm you up for the magic you will experience on the third day. On the third day, early morning, you will be rushed to the Uyuni Salt Flat to witness the breathtaking views of sunrise on this moon landscape.
Uyuni is one of the most extraordinary landscapes I have witnessed so far, and of course you will make one of these crazy pictures when you’re there.
It’s not the easiest place to reach but that’s probably part of the charm Antarctica has to offer. Most often your journey will start in Ushuaia which means on your first day you will be crossing the Drake Passage. Depending on the weather this can be a quiet spectacular first part of your trip but then off course the next day you will be hugely rewarded as you see the landscape when you awake.
On a typical Antarctic cruise you will be spending 6 days in Antarctica and you will make 1 or 2 daily landings with Zodiac’s at different places. You also use the Zodiac’s to get closer to the icebergs. Some of them are real pieces or art!
Ask your Zodiac driver to head of to a quiet place and turn off the engine for a while. Then just relax and soak up the surroundings around you. I’ve never felt more happy than at that moment.
3. Iguazu falls
Waterfalls come with all kinds of records but none of the previous falls I’ve visited managed to impress me for a full 2 days. Iguazu falls is the biggest complex of falls. They’re situated at the border between Argentina and Brazil and can be visited from both sides.
I would recommend to do so as the view on both sides is different. On the Argentinian side you can get real close (and wet) which is off course impressive. To witness the true grandeur of the falls you’re however better off at the Brazilian side which offers more views on the falls from farther away.
The visit on the Brazilian side starts with a bus ride. The bus will drop you off at the start of walk. From the moment you start the walk you will see the falls and the views will only get more impressive as you continue hiking. It gave us a good impression of the immense size of these falls.
The walk takes you to the devil’s throat, the most impressive part of the falls. The devil’s throat is however even more impressive when you visit it at the Argentinian side where a walkway takes you right alongside this part of the falls.
4. Halong Bay
Halong Bay featured in many films. Tomorrow Never Dies is one of them but today there’s still controversy going on if the movie is really filmed here or in a similar looking bay in Thailand. There’re however plenty of other movies where you can be sure you’re really looking at Halong Bay. Pan & Kong: Skull Island are two recent movies that feature Halong Bay. The classic Indochine was the first movie to be filmed here.
I would recommend to take a two day cruise on a junk boat. I can assure you that you will not be alone, it’s a pretty touristy place and you will see lot’s of boats but still I found the place to be charming. The boat itself does not take too much people so you don’t have that crowded feeling.
As I said there’re many boats, most of them offer a similar trip but make sure to compare as you have the choice.
We enjoyed a luxurious room, good food and very attentive service. But of course most of all we enjoyed the many beautiful views on this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Alaska’s wilderness
Alaska managed to impress us 3 years ago. In Denali National Park we were lucky enough to view moose and bears. We spotted a family of killer whales during whale spotting in Seward and out of Palmer we took a helicopter flight and landed on a glacier. Last but not least we saw the deep-blue colors of a glacier with a kayaking excursion in Valdez.
And all this is just a selection of activities cause we only had 2 weeks. Alaska has so much to offer for the adventurous and sportive traveler that you could easily spend 4 weeks and more.
Additionally the scenery in Alaska is never boring. Going from one place to the other we often stopped along the route to enjoy the scenery.
A fantastic place we will certainly visit again in the future.