Ultra Vistas: A Look at the World’s Greatest Views

Earth has a habit of making humans feel very small. When engulfed by natural and man-made beauty as far as the eye can see, we suddenly feel very insignificant–in the best way possible.  The world is simply teeming with breathtaking sights, mouth-dropping structures, and surreal scenery. From the top 30 Rockefeller Plaza to the shallow waters around Whitsunday Island, beauty really is everywhere.

Here are just a few of the world’s greatest views

HONG KONG

Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong is overwhelming, in both size and beauty. The city’s most famous view can be captured from the Peak, Hong Kong’s premiere tourist spot, which sits 1,085 feet above sea level. On a clear day, there’s no better view of the city.

WAIMEA CANYON

Kauai's Waimea Canyon

While most of Kauai’s postcards feature the island’s dramatic Napali Coast, its famed canyon is just as breathtaking. Waimea Canyon has been called the “Grand Canyon of the West” by Mark Twain and many others. And while not quite as grand, its waterfalls, red dirt, and lush forests collide to create an impossibly beautiful sight that bursts with color. Be sure to hike the Canyon Rim Trail to get the full experience.  Helicopter tours are also available for visitors.

RIO DE JANEIRO

Rio

Rio is home to one of the most dramatic cityscapes in the world. Head up to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue to get an elevated and frame-worthy panorama. Or simply lounge on the sands of Copacabana to take it all in from sea level.

MACHU PICCHU

Machu Picchu in Peru

Whether reached by trail or by train, Machu Picchu sits atop the must-see list for millions of travelers around the world. The Lost City served as a hidden refuge for the Incas. While the Spanish invaders never found the sacred trail that led to Machu Picchu, there’s a clear path waiting for modern explorers. Hike to the ruins at dawn to get a prized morning view, where you’ll catch the day’s first sun rays hit the tip of Machu’s pointed peak.

ANTELOPE CANYON

Antelope Canyon in Arizona

Arizona’s Antelope Canyon is a sight to behold. This ancient sandstone wonder was carved from wind and water. As visitors climb down to the base of the canyon, sand-dusted beams of light greet them, illuminating the towering walls. Navajo guides offer tours for visitors from around the world, all of whom appear awestruck by the canyon’s surreal mix of light, color, and shade.

ISLE OF SKYE

Skye

Scotland’s prized Isle of Skye is one of the crown jewels of Britain. The Isle, connected to Scotland’s rugged Northwest coast by bridge, boasts dramatic landscapes, medieval castles, and a rocky coastline of peninsulas and lochs. The Faerie Glen, seen above, is a popular destination on the island.

CINQUE TERRE

Cinque Terre, Italy

Italy’s Cinque Terre is a five-town seaside UNESCO World Heritage Site that features some of the most dramatic seaside views on Earth. And Manarola offers the best of them all. If you have the time and energy, skip the train and hike along the cliffs from town to town.

TEMPLES OF BAGAN

Temples of Bagan in Myanmar

Myanmar is a place of beauty and wonder. Much like the people of this great nation, the temples of Bagan live in unison with the land. It would be hard to find a more majestic place on the planet.

TAJ MAHAL

Taj Mahal in India

India’s famous Taj Mahal is one of the world’s greatest wonders. With beauty and majesty that brands the memory, it requires no introduction. Along with Machu Picchu, this ivory-white marble mausoleum is required visiting for all able citizens of the world.

GREAT WALL OF CHINA

View of the Great Wall of China

China’s Great Wall offers visitors a double dose of history and scenery.  The Great Wall of China stretches across northern China, passing over mountains, deserts, and flatlands. It eventually ends at China’s east coast. The Great Wall features many scenic sections, including the Great Wall of Badaling,  which was built during the Ming Dynasty and tops out at 3,282 feet.

WHITSUNDAY ISLAND

whitsunday island - whithaven beach

Australia’s Whitsunday Islands chain is comprised of mostly uninhabited continental islands stretching along the east coast of Australia between Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. The 74-island cluster features dense rain forests and some of the whitest sand beaches in the world.

THE CITY OF PRAGUE

Prague riverfront

Prague has long been one of the most popular tourist stops for Euro-trippers. The Czech capital is filled with Gothic style churches and Baroque structures. Prague’s famous Charles bridge traverses the Vltava River and provides ample photo opportunities.

IGUAZU FALLS

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

The Iguazu Falls feature 275 separate drops, the highest of which crashes down 279 feet. Iguazu is the largest system of waterfalls in the world and borders the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. Each side offers vastly different views. To experience the raw power of the falls, take a boat ride through the heart of it all.

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

First opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is an engineering marvel and an icon of American ingenuity. The international orange suspension bridge spans the Golden Gate strait, a one-mile-wide and three-mile-long channel that runs between the Pacific Ocean and the city’s beautiful bay.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

No trip to the United States is complete without a visit to New York … and an elevator ride to the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, also known as Top of the Rock. From there you will see expansive views of the city and its most iconic structure, the Empire State Building.

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