A list of the most inspiring places on earth could be very different for each individual. So many places are beautiful enough to make your jaw drop. The following five places, including three beautiful cities and two natural wonders, may be ones you have not yet considered.
Matera in Italy is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Honey-stoned houses perch above a ravine and beneath the surface is a labyrinth of monasteries, cave dwellings and churches that go back over 9000 years. The city has been restored from near ruin and now houses some of Italy’s most beautiful hotels, restaurants, and cultural hubs. Carlo Ricci who works for EssayOn-Time.co.uk has recently visited Matera and says “The city today is a place to stroll in the sun, eat wonderful food and appreciate the architecture. You can sleep in a cave that may once have been a pit of squalor but is now luxurious boutique accommodation”.
The greatest treasure of Matera is undoubtedly the ancient crypts and churches with their ingenious architecture and frescoes. One of these, the Crypt of the Original Sin, is located 7km to the south of the city and its eighth and ninth century Benedictine frescoes depict vivid Biblical scenes. In this tough, enduring city the best of old and new is combined. It has become one of Italy’s most fascinating destinations and what used to be its shame will be crowned in 2019 as the European City of Culture.
All the reasons that inspire travelers to make a long journey are found in Milford Sound located on the west coast of South Island. It was carved by glaciers in the ice ages. Cliffs rise vertically from the water and waterfalls plunge downwards from 1000 meters. In this corner of Fiordland, well-marked trails, cruises, and scenic roads make this a wonderful place to paddle, bike, hike, sail or fly. You can take a boat cruise – during the day or overnight – to see the spectacular natural features. If you’re more adventurous, you may prefer diving, sea kayaking or taking a flight.
Hike or trek along the Milford Track which begins at Lake Te Anau and winds through some of the most vivid wilderness in the world. At the end of the Milford Track, you can take a short ferry ride to Milford Sound village.
At the center of the Sound is 5,560 feet high Mitre Peak, which consists of five separate peaks clustered around a single summit. Not even the best photographs will do justice to the majesty of this landscape. It is possible to visit the Sound on a day trip from Queensland. If you want to stay over at the small village in Milton Sound, you will need to pre-book.
As Taiwan’s second largest city after Taipei, Kaohsiung shifts from ancient to contemporary culture with ease. This port city in southern Taiwan is home to many skyscrapers, such as the Tuntex Sky Tower. Lonely Planet rated Kaohsiung as one of the top cities to visit in 2018.
The city is known for its many parks, and its focal point is the Ai He (Love River) with cafes, restaurants and walking paths along its banks. On a night cruise down the Love River, you can take in the glittering cityscape and see impressive landmarks like the Holy Rosary Cathedral and Kaohsiung Bridge.
Visit the Fo Guang Shan monastery and see the hall of huge Buddhas. Go up to the roof of The Dream Mall, the largest in Taiwan, and you can take a ride on a Ferris wheel. Two night markets you should visit according to locals are Ruifeng and Zinjuejiang. Ruifeng night market offers local food delights, and Zinjuejiang market offers non-stop shopping.
General Carrera Lake in Chile has iridescent marble caves located near its west shore that many travel enthusiasts regard as the most beautiful in the world. Unique tunnels, caverns, and columns were carved by waves over thousands of years. Geologists say that finely ground glacial salt is responsible for the incredible shades. The color varies from turquoise to deep blue, depending on the weather and time of year.
By Nicolás Lara [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
The Marble Caves can be visited by small boats and kayaks. The water level and amount of light are constantly changing, making each visit different. Marble Chapel is usually the first stop on the trip, followed by the Marble Cathedral. You will experience going through narrow and wide corridors of water and see many different textures and colors on the cavern walls. The cave formations have been declared by Chile as Nature’s Sanctuary, one of the most protected categories available. Accommodation is available in the communities that surround the lake.
Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic. Famous for its many festivities and attractive sites, Prague is home to the largest castle complex in the world, which includes many large buildings, such as the presidential palace, the gothic St Vitus Cathedral, and other churches and museums. The Old Town Square is its historic heart with its colorful baroque buildings and medieval Astronomical Clock which gives an hourly animated show.
Each of the city’s districts has a unique atmosphere and distinctive charm. In the Lesser Town is the Church of St. Nicholas, the most beautiful baroque church and the gothic Charles Bridge. Cafes entice you to come and sit, and you can take a sight-seeing cruise on the Vltava.
Czechs consume more beer than any other country, and in the summer they have some great festivals with floating beer gardens and live music. Many other festivals are also held, including cheesecake ice-cream, veggie, and wine festivals.
Some of these natural attractions and fascinating cities may not yet have made your bucket list but including them will definitely be worthwhile. You will be inspired, intrigued and awestruck by each one of these beautiful places. Get up, plan and fly away!