Beyond the Bucket List: 20 Can’t-Miss Locations Around the Globe

From sand dunes to jungles, these far-flung wonders will take your breath away

20. Jeju Island,
South Korea

These electrifying yellow fields on a Korean island are stunning. Home to an inactive volcano, the landscape’s a beautiful contrast, from lush flowers to massive rock formations.

The Rape Flowers and the Haenyeos, 2004/2005 (From the collection of Jeju Provincial Self-governing Haenyeo Museum)

19. Maranhenses National Park,
Brazil

Maranhenses Park is a stretch of protected dunes and swollen lagoons. Incredibly, the area gets massive rainfall, but has no plant life, letting the sand and water intermix.

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park – State of Maranhão, Brazil (From the collection of HUMAN)

18. Burning Man Festival,
Black Rock Desert, Nevada

Burning Man is renowned for its bohemian spirit and majestic views. Adding to the magic is that it’s accessible only once a year before it evaporates, leaving only the pristine desert behind.

Burning Man Festival, Black Rock Desert – Nevada, USA (From the collection of HUMAN)

17. Couverville Island,
Antarctica

Couverville might look deserted, but the chilly island is a closely-watched home for Gentoo penguins. To the penguins, those icy cliffs are the best waterslide.

Couverville Island, Antarctica, January 1975, Eliot Porter (From the collection of Amon Carter Museum of American Art)

16. Amazon Rainforest,
South America

A timeless destination, the Amazon Rainforest is a home to exotic animals, lush vegetation, and rich culture. Plus, it’s just plain pretty.

Amazon Rainforest Trail, 360 Street View (Google Arts & Culture)

15. Mont Saint Michel Abbey and Salt Marshes,
Normandy, France

Mont Saint Michel is a mix of manmade and natural wonder. It’s a vast historic abbey surrounded by expansive salt marshes, where prized sheep graze on salty grasses.

14. Ngong Ping,
Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Ngong Ping represents serenity and nature hand in hand. Hidden in the area is a monastery, floating butterflies, and profound tranquility rounded off with lofty views.

Ngong Ping, 360 Street View (Google Arts & Culture)

13. Montreal Biosphere,
Montreal, Canada

A modern marvel, the biosphere is dedicated to environmental studies and climate change. Beautifully designed and made to do good, it is a remarkable combination.

A picture of the Montreal Biosphere in March of 2012, Alex Faris (From the collection of the Museum Folkwang)

12. Daigoji Temple,
Kyoto, Japan

Surrounded by cherry blossoms and with a tea house, Daigoji Temple has a little bit of everything, and the calm setting to enjoy it all in.

Daigoji Temple, 360 Street View (Google Arts & Culture)

11. Skeleton Coast,
Namibia, Africa

Eerily silent, the Skeleton Coast got its name from deserted whale bones and the skeletal shipwrecks that once littered the shores. It’s bleak, but beautiful.

Skeleton Coast, George Silk, 1971-08 (From the LIFE Photo Collection)

10. Machu Picchu,
Peru

Perched high above sea level, Machu Picchu was the stuff of myth until it was rediscovered in 1911. It’s one of the most gorgeous hidden cities, with amazing stonework and endless views stretching to the sky.

Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu Casa de los Nobles, 360 Street View (Google Arts and Culture)

9. Agua Azul Waterfalls,
Chiapas, Mexico

Thanks to a high mineral content, the Agua Azul waters leave behind limestone, and look brilliantly blue as they rush over the rocks.

8. Castle Geyser,
Yellowstone, Wyoming

Set against the natural beauty of Yellowstone, even the Castle Geyser stands out. Named in part for the rock formation around its base that resembles a castle, it’s a spurting show-stopper.

Castle Geyser silhouetted against sun, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA (From the collection of Getty Images)

7. Grand Canyon,
Arizona

One of the classic sights, the Grand Canyon’s towering orange rocks look over winding pools. No matter how tall you are, it’ll make you feel small.

Grand Canyon, National Trust for Historic Preservation (From the collection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)

6. Dover Castle,
England

Dover Castle’s an enduring wonder. Even cooler, there’s a lighthouse dating from Roman times on the ground, so it’s a truly momentous historic link.

Aerial view, Dover Castle (From the collection of English Heritage)

5. Kinderdijk Windmills,
Netherlands

Revealing how skillfully man and nature intersect, the Kinderdijk windmills glide smoothly against the soothing Netherlands.

Windmills at sunrise, Sara Winter, 2010-04-08 (From the collection of Getty Images)

4. Sataniv,
Ukraine

The rolling hills of Sataniv are gorgeously green. They also represent generations of caring, as nearby residents tend carefully to the area’s pristine fields.

Sataniv (Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine), 1990s (From the collection of Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center)

3. Scott’s Hut,
Antarctica

Showing nature’s frozen power, Antarctica is challenging even for the few species that manage to live there. Still, it’s tough to beat the expanses of powdery snow and biting frost.

Antarctica, 360 Google Street View (Google Arts and Culture)

2. Birdoswald Roman Fort,
United Kingdom

Nestling neatly into the landscape, the Birdoswald Fort was once a great monument, and has now receded into history. But set against the fog and trees, it remains a glorious site.

Birdoswald Roman Fort (From the collection of English Heritage)

1. Bryce Canyon National Park,
Utah

One of the tightest rocky squeezes in the country, Bryce Canyon is a twisting, tricky ride. Called one of the most beautiful places in the world, this breathtaking view alone is worth the jumpy horseback ride.

Written by Jesse Aylen
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