Most travelers circumnavigate the globe in an attempt to gather a wealth of experiences, but in the race to build an itinerary that accomplishes all their must-sees and must-dos on-time and under-budget, most travelers forget to take in the beauty of the places they visit.
No matter where you go, there is always a perfect place and time to take in your surroundings — and more likely than not, the views will take your breath away. Here are the most scenic spots around the world to inspire your next world tour.
Undoubtedly, you have seen hundreds of pictures of the iconic Eiffel Tower — but how many have you seen taken from the tower’s top? Most travelers are so overawed by the sprawling cityscape of Paris, with aerial views of other notable landmarks like Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre, that they forget to take a commemorative photograph. Besides, few images can capture the true beauty of the world’s cultural capital seen from above.
2. Hong Kong
At night, this bustling Chinese city explodes into colorful light. Most visitors vie for positions across Victoria Harbor to watch the city flicker to life, but savvy travelers will instead turn to nearby Victoria Peak — the highest hill on the mountain and the perfect spot to see surreal scenery. From your perch, you can marvel at the fundamental fengshui of this thoroughly modern city — or you can turn to take in the as yet natural landscapes on outlying islands.
London lacks the memorable skyline of many must-see cities, like New York City and Hong Kong, but the second-largest city in Europe more than makes up for it with its artfully winding streets and charmingly diverse architecture. There is no better place to take in the whole of this massive metropolitan area than the Shard, which rises high over other lookout points and offers 360-degree panoramas. A close second for London views is the London Eye, the city’s soaring Ferris wheel.
4. Niagara Falls
To be honest, any sight of the thundering waters of Niagara Falls is sure to take your breath away, and there are dozens of lookout points surrounding all three waterfalls each with its own merit. However, for a truly humbling experience of the Falls, you must travel to the top of Skylon Tower. As you marvel at the gorgeous natural wonder from a unique birds-eye perspective, you can appreciate the power and grace of the rushing Niagara river.
5. Grand Canyon
It took millennia for the Colorado River to carve deep into the rock to form the Grand Canyon, and it will likely take you just as long to grow tired of taking in its splendor. The colorful striations of rock are gorgeous from any angle, so it matters little whether you visit the North or South Rim, but if you want an unforgettable experience with your memorable view, you should hazard a trip across the Skywalk, a path leading directly over the canyon and supported by little more than glass.
6. Alps Mountains
Deep in the Austrian Alps, the Dachstein Glacier is a popular skier’s retreat, but visitors who look up from the powder will appreciate their trips even more. This snow-covered peak is surrounded by jutting spires of rock and deep valleys with pristine lakes, making the area spectacular to behold. Still, perhaps the best possible view of the Alps is form the nearby Dachstein Stairway, which leads around cliffs, over suspension bridges, and terminates in a small platform looking out onto the wild Alps range.
Few travelers will disagree that the Hawaiian Islands are paradise on Earth, but even fewer will speak up after seeing the islands from the Haiku Stairs. Often called the Stairway to Heaven, this long hiking trail follows the spine of the island’s Ko’olau Mountains, and every step takes you higher and provides even more magnificent views. However, it is important to note that traveling this path is exceedingly dangerous, and most authorities frown on visitors attempting the hike.
8. Sunset and Sunrise
Of course, any view can feel exhilarating and exclusive given the right ambiance. The magical times of dawn and dusk are beautiful nearly everywhere on Earth, so before the day ends, you should grab someone you love and find a nice place to take in the view.