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There is little to match the powerful sense of awe we feel when faced with immense natural beauty. For those who relish the chance to experience more of our planet’s jaw-dropping sights, we’ve shortlisted 10 of our favourite and less well-known natural wonders.
Whether you enjoy serene blue lakes, majestic mountain ranges, sun-baked canyons or glacier lagoons we’ve highlighted our top picks. There’s even an ancient rock fortress, wildlife-filled caldera and an underwater waterfall to add to your bucket list.
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of the Earth's most beautiful light shows. This natural phenomenon appears in the sky in early Autumn and dances in the sky above until early spring. The Northern Lights can be seen throughout the Arctic Circle we especially love seeing it in Lapland as seeking out the elusive Northern lights can be combined with exploring the captivating scenery of this wintry wonderland.
Known for white-sand beaches, beautiful blue lagoons, colourful coral reef and deep green rainforest, Mauritius also boasts an underwater waterfall. Take a helicopter or seaplane tour off the coast of Le Morne to witness this incredible underwater cascade. While it looks like the whole island is being sucked into a vast underwater sinkhole, this spectacular sight is actually an optical illusion caused by underwater currents pulling the sand and silt away from the volcanic plateau the islands are located on.
The vast white expanse of Bolivia's salt flats are beyond compare; especially from January to April when the rain creates a beautiful mirror effect. The clarity of the image and wide open plains make this a brilliant photo opportunity.
An adventure playground of cascading waterfalls, towering granite rock formations and sky-scraping ancient redwoods, this huge Californian park is an icon of natural beauty. Carved by glacial erosion over 30 million years, Yosemite Valley offers spectacular views of El Capitan, Half Dome, the Merced River and Yosemite Falls. Or make your way up to Glacier Point for jaw-dropping panoramic views. From hiking to climbing, riding to biking and rafting, there are activities to suit all ages and abilities.
Formed almost three million years ago, Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest inactive and intact caldera. The landscape is stunning and only rivalled by the spectacular concentration of wildlife found within the walls of this bowl-shaped hollow. Expect to see lion, leopard, elephant, wildebeest, buffalo, hyena, cheetah, zebra and even black rhino. Experience epic game drives, hike the crater rim and do not miss the spectacular sight of the sun rising and setting over this dramatically beautiful terrain.
Built as an impenetrable rock fortress in the 5th century by King Kassapa, Sigiriya Rock is an architectural marvel and feat of engineering. The climb to the top is well worth the effort to see the ancient ruins, palace and endless views of the surrounding countryside. Also known as Lion Rock, the entrance to the palace is flanked by huge stone carved lion paws. Highlights include some of the world’s oldest gardens and the 8th century graffiti on Mirror Wall.
The tranquil beauty of Halong Bay makes it one of the world’s most mesmerising seascapes. The sight of almost 2,000 limestone karsts and islands rising from the emerald green water is breathtaking. Floating fishing villages bob amid the limestone pillars, while the network of arches, caves and grottos add fairy tale charm to the glorious scenery. The best way to explore the karsts is on a short cruise or for a different and much closer perspective enjoy a kayak expedition.
The spellbinding beauty of the Himalayas is legendary. Full of spiritual significance, this mighty mountain range not only includes some of the world’s tallest peaks but is also the source of India’s holiest rivers. The birthplace of yoga, this dramatic scenery provides the ideal backdrop for trekking, exploring the network of ashrams, Buddhist temples and pilgrimage routes, along with visiting the atmospheric colonial hill stations such as Shimla and Darjeeling in the Himalayan foothills.
Located south of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull and formed naturally from melting ice, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is the jewel in Iceland’s crown. Deep blue in colour, the lagoon is filled with blocks of ice that have broken away from the glacier. These blocks melt and drift out to sea, often washing ashore as ice sculptures on nearby black beach where they glitter in the sun like diamonds. Explore by boat, visit an ice cave and marvel at the Northern Lights.
Nestled in the magnificent Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, the surreal beauty of Moraine Lake is one of the quintessential views of the Canadian Rockies. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and waterfalls, it is Moraine’s vivid turquoise waters that leave a lasting impression. The colour arises from the light bouncing off fine rock particles found in the glacier meltwater that feed the lake. Explore the range of trails or simply soak up the serenity of the view.
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