Looking to get an eyeful of something that will wow you? Want to become intimately acquainted with the meaning of the word “breathtaking”? These 10 places will not let you down. By wide consensus, they are the most scenic places in the world.
The wondrous Fjords of Norway were formed by glaciers over hundreds of thousands of years. Long, narrow inlets with steep sides plunging 1,300 meters below sea level and rising more than 1,000 meters in sheer cliffs, they wind through a country dotted with quaint Norwegian villages and jaw droppingly beautiful scenery. Penetrating more than 205 kilometers inland, they terminate in a mountain range rising over 2,000 meters and covered in Europe’s largest glacier, a fitting exclamation point to a stirring narrative.
At 108 meters in height and 1,700 meters in width, Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe in southern Africa is among the highest and widest waterfalls in the world. The waters of the Zambezi River plunge over the precipice in a single vertical drop, forming individual flutes that are spaced one from another with remarkable regularity. As they enter the basin, they raise a plume of floating mist that drifts into the surrounding savannah, home to elephants, zebras and giraffes. It is nature at its finest. (Image from spagdali on Flickr)
The Grand Canyon in the western US, formed by the unrelenting erosion of the Colorado River over the course of 6 million years, is a geologic rift of astounding intricacy and complexity. 18 miles wide, 277 miles long and one mile deep, the canyon walls reveal ancient rock layers that turn many shades of gold and red as the sun travels it trajectory through the sky. Far below, the silver thread of the Colorado River can be glimpsed, snaking its way through the recesses of the canyon, continuing its relentless work into the next millennium.
Home to 1,500 species of fish, 400 different kinds of coral, 215 bird species and more than 2,000 species of plants, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is one of the most vibrant and flourishing ecosystems on earth. Extending over 2,500 kilometers, the 2,900 reefs and 900 islands that make up the system are eye candy for scuba divers and snorkelers. The achingly beautiful deep blue waters of the reef are a treat in themselves but break the surface and discover an otherworldly realm of color and complexity. Simply stunning.
The wonders of man are rarely seen to better effect than in the Pyramids of Egypt. Sited on the west side of the Nile near Cairo, they are grouped together in several pyramid fields, the most dramatic of which is at Giza where The Great Pyramid is located, as well as the Sphinx. The immensity of the pyramids and their stoic dignity have struck observers with awe for centuries. The precision of their geometry and the beauty of their presence have moved poets to tears. Made by man, the pyramids are for the ages.
Never has one man done more to express his love for one woman than the Indian emperor Shah Jahan when he built the Taj Mahal as a memorial for his deceased wife. The white domed marble mausoleum is perhaps the most striking man made structure on earth. Rising to a height of 35 meters, the onion dome surmounts an octagon of vaulted archways and is surrounded by four towering minarets. Seen from the end of a long reflecting pool, the structure seems to rise organically from the earth, resplendent.
Also rising from the earth, to peaks as high as 13,000 feet, the Canadian Rockies are perhaps the most dramatic mountain range in the world. At almost any point along their nearly 1,500 kilometer length, their sheer might and majesty is awe inspiring. Gray peaks rise precipitously, ascending to jagged points draped in mantles of snow. The mountains often surround U-shaped valleys graced with alpine lakes mirroring their majesty. Taken together, they are the very definition of magnificence.
When it comes to dramatic landscapes, few places are the equal of the Sahara Desert. Nearly the size of the United States, the desert, the hottest and driest on earth, stretches more than 9 million square kilometers. A shifting tableau of graceful dunes sculpted into picturesque shapes painted by the sun, the Sahara is like a beautiful piece of art that never stops charging. The pristine swales and crests of unbroken sand beguile the eye with sensuous plays of shadow and light. Few settings are as ominous or moving.
Regarded at the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, Igazu Falls on the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay dazzles the eye with a panorama of unequaled splendor. Islands along the 2.7 kilometer wide precipice divide the plunging river into more than 250 separate cataracts, some of which plunge straight down into the gorge, others of which break themselves on ledges, throwing up rainbowed clouds of mist, before plunging into the forest below. The word Igazu means “great waters”. This is apt.
Whether it is the art and engineering of human endeavor or the tireless hand of nature that is behind them, these ten places stand out as some of our picks for “the most scenic locations in the world”. If you want to know the meaning of the word “breathtaking”, you will want to make an effort to see them if you can. There are many many wonderful scenic locations around the World and it is hard to pick them all, we would love your help with suggestions of your picks for the most scenic places you have visited, simply write a comment below with what you think we missed, thanks.Write a Comment
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