They say a picture says a thousand words, but for some places in the world, photos aren’t enough. Photos can’t capture the feeling of being there or the knowledge that you’re getting to see something with your own eyes after a lifetime of waiting.
Some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world are the hardest to get to. Others are often overlooked in favor of tourist-preferred locations. Some magical places in the world are changing, and will cease to exist someday.
Here are five unexpected and astonishing landscapes that you’ll want to see with your own eyes in 2019.
Majorca (also known as Mallorca) is one of the oft-overlooked areas of Spain. While most travelers prefer to head to more well-known areas, like Madrid or Barcelona, Majorca is an incredibly scenic island in the Mediterranean with beautiful beaches, ancient castles and cathedrals, mysterious caverns and breathtaking cliffs.
If your favorite travel activity is lounging in luxury, check out Majorca Villas from Luxury Retreats and take your pick of one of the many retreats offering infinity pools and stunning vistas overlooking the sea. For those with an adventurous spirit, take a tour of the Drach Caves, and interconnected cave system that spans nearly three miles in distance and reaches depths of 75 feet.
Take in the view from the peak of Cap de Formator, and spend the afternoon gazing over the turquoise water of the nearby beach. For a viewing experience unlike any other, hop on the Tren Soller, a traditional train from the early 1900s that takes the scenic route through Majorca and hits many of the popular tourist attractions.
When people think about some of the most scenic places in the world, Greece often comes to mind. However, the iconic white stone and blue roofs overlooking the water in Santorini often overshadows the numerous other islands that make Greece such a stunning place to explore.
Mykonos offers one of the most astonishing and unexpected landscapes in the world. With much of the same architecture as Santorini, this quaint Aegean island is equal parts a peaceful fishing town and a hidden party destination with a lively nightlife culture. Some nightclubs are open all night.
In addition to the picturesque white buildings against the stunning turquoise sea, Mykonos is also home to the ancient Delos ruins, a sacred site that still houses statues and structures dating back to the days of the Greek mythos. For those looking for more historical splendor, the Aegean Maritime Museum dives into ancient exploration on the high seas.
High on the cliffs overlooking Mykonos are the Kato Mili windmills. These three structures are over 500 years old with roofs made of wood and straw and are one of the most iconic features of the island.
The Golden Circle, Iceland
Iceland is world-renowned for its beauty and contrasting landscapes, earning it the name “The Land of Ice and Fire.” What’s surprising to many who venture to Iceland is the diverse landscapes you can see without venturing too far from the capital.
The Golden Circle is the small route around the interior of the country, as opposed to the larger Ring Road that takes travelers around the outside and to the north. Those traveling the Golden Circle can do so in a matter of days, whereas the larger Ring Road can take weeks to navigate.
Along the Golden Circle, you’ll find numerous waterfalls of varying shapes and sizes, a geothermal field and geyser that shoots turquoise water thirty feet into the air, the Blue Lagoon thermal pool filled with opaque, sky-blue water and silica mud deposits that create a natural spa, black sand beaches and towering basalt columns, and the place where two continental plates meet above the ground. All of this under the dancing spectacle of the Northern lights.
If you travel to Iceland in the summer, you can take advantage of free camping almost anywhere in the country and over 20 hours of sunlight to help you travel safer. In the winter, the minimal daylight hours create an atmosphere of eternal twilight, and the Northern lights are far more visible
Cappadocia & Pamukkale, Turkey
Turkey, like Iceland, is home to a few astonishing landscapes, though not as easy to navigate. However, if you decide to make the trip to one, it’s worth making the trek to the other.
Cappadocia is an ancient landscape in the heart of Turkey, in which there are still remnants of primordial housing in natural caves where cavemen dwelled millions of years ago. The stark expanse is punctuated by towering rock structures, called “Fairy Chimneys” by the locals. While the sun rising over the natural structures is enough to take your breath away, the sense of whimsy and otherworldliness is enhanced by the hundreds of hot air balloons that drift loftily through the sky every day.
Pamukkale is another beautiful sight to behold in Turkey that can be reached by an overnight bus trip or a day spent in a car. Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish, and the name fits the atmosphere. This natural site is home to a series of geothermal pools that flow down white stone terraces. Next door is the ancient Roman city, Hierapolis, where you can swim above the sunken remnants of ancient Roman columns.
Patagonia, Argentina & Chile
While many avid hikers and adventurers are familiar with the Patagonia brand name, many travelers are unaware of its existence and often mistake Chile and Argentina as hot countries due to their location in South America. On the contrary, both countries share ownership of Patagonia, where glacial formations and cool caverns contrast the deserts and rainforests for which South America is known.
The Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina is the epitome of Patagonia. Standing 240 feet above the water and over 3 miles wide, this mountain of ice is one of the few in the world that’s growing rather than shrinking.
On the Chilean side of the Perito Moreno National Park is the Marble Cathedral, a series of marbled caverns through which you can kayak and view the natural discoloration of the stone caused by minerals from the surrounding glaciers.
When it comes to the most beautiful places in the world, some are easier to travel to than others, but each offers an incredible experience that’s well worth the effort. Add these five locations to your travel bucket list for 2019, and go where your adventurous spirit takes you.
About the Author: Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.
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Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman aka Coleman Concierge. In a nutshell, we are a Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our stories of amazing adventures through activity-driven transformational and experiential travel.