Text by Hannah Jones
It’s been quite a while since many of us have been able to travel abroad, so why not do the next best thing? Indulge in a little wanderlust! To celebrate Earth Day, we’re taking a look at some of the most beautiful places on our planet, from vistas of the northern lights to lesser-known locations you may never have heard of. Take a breather and come explore with us!
Banff National Park
Canada’s oldest national park, Banff is nestled in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and features turquoise-hued lakes, snow-capped mountains, gorgeous forests, and unbelievable wildlife.
Avenue of the Baobabs
The entire island of Madagascar is a must-visit destination, but the Avenue of the Baobabs might just be its most scenic area. Some of these generations-old trees have a base circumference of more than 150 feet, making for an absolutely stunning landscape.
Iguazu Falls make up the largest waterfall in the entire world, creating an inlet in the Iguazu River. The unique staircase formation of the falls combined with the surrounding lush greenery and abundance of individual water streams makes this South American spot truly remarkable.
Cliffs of Moher
These vertical cliffs are iconic in their own right, reaching just over 700 feet and spanning 9 miles of the Irish coastline.
Zhangye National Geopark
No, you’re not looking at a picture of another planet! The badlands of the Zhangye National Geopark in China contain streaked multicolored rocks, nicknamed the Rainbow Mountains, which were formed by centuries of mineral deposits.
These aptly named hot springs (pamukkale translates to “cotton castle” in Turkish), were formed atop travertine stone, which gives the water its gorgeous aqua blue hue. The astonishing formation, creating a natural infinity pool, is what stuns guests time and time again.
This stretch of land might run right along the coastline of South America, but it’s the driest nonpolar desert in the world. In fact, the area is more similar to parts of Mars than anywhere on Earth and has been used for space expedition simulations.
Isle of Skye
This area in the Scottish Highlands is not only rich in history but also packed with geographical phenomenons and beauties that include mountains, waterfalls, and lochs. Bonus: you’ll probably recognize quite a few locations from your favorite movies and TV shows.
Wulingyuan Scenic Area
You’ll most likely recognize the iconic sandstone pillars of this Chinese destination, but it’s a life-changing experience to actually see them and take in their full majesty in person.
The deepest and one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, Lake Baikal is ancient, dating back 25 to 30 million years, and contains 22% of the world’s fresh water. The coastline is diverse, featuring cliffs, beaches, and mountains, and the water is some of the clearest in the entire world.
Nicknamed Norway’s untamed islands, Lofoten’s landscape is varied and breathtaking, including fjords, mountains, beaches, and incredible wilderness. In August through October, you can even view the northern lights.
These volcanic plugs are impossible to miss on the tropical island paradise of St. Lucia. Surrounded by water lush with coral reefs, these two spires are covered with overflowing flora and fauna.
Torres del Paine National Park
This Chilean national park showcases the beauty of the Patagonia region, featuring glaciers, lakes, rivers, mountains, and plenty of botanical beauty, but you can’t miss the three granite peaks for which the park is named.
Grand Canyon National Park
And finally, we’re coming back to the beautiful USA to celebrate one of our national treasures: Grand Canyon National Park. This massive rock formation has been evolving over 2 billion years to create the awesome site we know and love today.