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Top 20 Most Beautiful Places in the World

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Aaron Cameron and Nick Spake
If these places don't inspire you to travel, nothing will! For this list, we'll be looking at the most gorgeous locations the natural world has to offer. Our countdown includes Palawan Island, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Bora Bora, Iguazú Falls, Moraine Lake, and more!
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Top 20 Most Beautiful Places in the World


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 20 Most Beautiful Places in the World.


For this list, we’ll be looking at the most gorgeous locations the natural world has to offer.


Which of these environments is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!


#20: Torres del Paine

Patagonia, Chile

This national park has no shortage of remarkable landmarks. It hosts several attractive lakes, including the Pehoé, Dickson, and Grey. Speaking of which, the Grey Glacier is just one of several ice giants bound to leave your jaw agape. The area is a hiker or mountain climber’s dream, and the highlight, by far, is the Torres del Paine. Comprised of three granite peaks, these columns stretch 8,000 vertically from a glacial lake. With so much to see, there’s not a bad vantage point to be found. The park is also home to some majestic wildlife with deer, foxes, and guanaco roaming free, only adding to the beauty.




#19: Palawan Island

Philippines
Picture a place where the most intensely unnatural colors are real, where jagged rock formations seemingly drip into hopelessly clear water, surrounded by rich lagoons and richer forest, and you’ve pictured Palawan. Largely untouched by man, it’s been voted the world’s most beautiful island more than once, with its beach El Nido also topping lists. Cartoonishly colorful and psychedelically vivid, this hidden gem is accessible by plane or boat and is home to unique wildlife, including the Philippine mouse-deer and purple crabs.



#18: Namib Desert

Namibia, Africa
When people think of lovely scenery, deserts typically aren’t the first landscapes that leap to mind. The Namib is a barren beauty, however, with splendor in its sandy simplicity. Extending over 1,200 miles, Namib naturally translates to “vast place.” The trek through this coastal desert may be long, but the breathtaking sights make every step worth it. Southern Namib is perhaps best known for its sand seas, comprised of enormous dunes that vary in color. These dunes are wonders to behold, attracting geologists who wish to better understand their unusual nature. The land is also one of the most significant places for diamond mining, although The Namib itself is the true diamond in the rough.




#17: Seljalandsfoss

Iceland
These falls are among the best known in Iceland and rank among the most beautiful in the world. Part of the Seljalands River, the falls and their 197-foot or 60-meter drop are fed by waters from the volcanic glacier Eyjafjallajökull. A land of seemingly never-ending rainbows, Seljalandsfoss has the added bonus of a cave behind the falls’ aquatic curtain, allowing visitors a surreal viewpoint. Best still, the location itself is relatively easy to access and can be seen from a nearby, well used ring road.



#16: Valensole Plateau

Provence, France


If purple is your favorite color, consider booking a trip to Provence during the summertime. With the blooming season taking place between June and August, this area is rich with eye-popping flowers. For tourists wishing to stroll through the lavender fields, a particular hotspot is the Valensole Plateau. In addition to the various lavender festivals, you’ll also want to drop by Sénanque Abbey, an ideal place for a picnic, where the flowers make an already picturesque spot even more dazzling. Above all else, it reminds us to take a break and smell the lavender.


#15: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Croatia
One of Southeastern Europe’s oldest national parks, and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park has over 73,000 acres or 297 square kilometers of something for everyone. Overflowing with waterfalls, cascades, hiking trails and limestone canyons, it’s hard to know where to look. But the lakes, and their vivid colors, are the park’s main dish. Plitvice actually features 16 interconnecting lakes – all of which change color thanks to minerals, organisms and a trick of the sun.




#14: Redwood National Park

California, USA

The Redwood National and State Parks are best known for their towering trees, which skyrocket into the foggy heavens above. Home of the planet’s tallest tree species, this forest will leave hikers and campers feeling as if they’ve been shrunk down to the size of ants. As mighty, and even intimidating, as the coast redwood might be, it’s also an endangered flora. These four California parks have managed to preserve 45% of the remaining old-growth redwood forests. The relative rarity of these trees further contributes to their inspiring nature. The redwoods aren’t the only reason to visit either, as the prairie grasslands, rivers, and misty atmosphere draw in numerous awe-struck spectators.




#13: Algar de Benagil

Portugal
Located on Portugal’s southern coast, this seaside gem was once a fishing-based region, but today the Benagil Sea Cave draws visitors based on looks alone. It’s best accessed by water – by kayak, boat, or swimming – but your efforts will be rewarded with unfathomable beauty. Like a vast cathedral of divine handiwork, this natural grotto – with its rocky walls, silky sand and weathered skylight – is enough to make you feel small and insignificant, and yet protected against everything else the world has to offer.



#12: Isle of Skye

Scotland, UK

The Isle of Skye – the second you hear that name, you might picture a landscape right out of a fairytale. And this magical Scottish island doesn’t disappoint, with its grand hills and bodies of water that practically call out to visitors. Those who enjoy walking and climbing will notably be drawn to the Cuillin mountain range, which consists of 15 peaks that reach beyond 3,000 feet. Scottish mountaineer Malcolm Slesser cheekily summed up the area best, saying that it “sticks out of the west coast of northern Scotland like a lobster's claw ready to snap.”




#11: Cliffs of Moher

Ireland
Dismantled during the Napoleonic wars, today the only reminder of the fort for which these gorgeous cliffs were named is an old watchtower. Rising 390 feet or 120 meters at Hag’s Head to a height of 702 feet or 214 meters down the coast, the cliffs are home to 30,000 birds from 20 different species, including adorable puffins. A look in any direction provides a view of other Irish dreamscapes, including the Twelve Pins mountain range, the Aran Islands and the Maumturks mountains.


#10: Rainbow Mountains

Zhangye Danxia, China

The Zhangye National Geopark looks like something out of a surreal painting, or even a Skittles commercial, showcasing distinctive rock formations created over thousands of years, through the effects of rain and wind. With various stripes of colors spreading across the land, it’s as if a rainbow is reflecting onto the earth. It has also drawn comparison to a layer cake, serving up some of the most appetizing sites on the planet’s menu. It’s actually hard to believe that these multicolored mountains are real, but you can trust your eyes!




#9: The Great Barrier Reef & Whitehaven Beach

Queensland, Australia
The world’s largest structure made by living organisms, the Great Barrier Reef was constructed by coral. It’s home to diverse aquatic species, from whales, dolphins and clownfish, to leatherback turtles and nine kinds of seahorse. What’s more, the nearby Whitehaven Beach is considered one of the planet’s most beautiful – and eco-friendly – beaches. The coast is lined with glorious white, 98% pure silica sand, which doesn’t retain heat, meaning you can walk the shore ‘til your heart’s content and never burn your feet.




#8: Bora Bora

French Polynesia

If you’re looking for a romantic honeymoon spot, or just a relaxing place to get away, you can’t go wrong with Bora Bora. Located in the Pacific Ocean, this group of French Polynesian islands has virtually everything we associate with paradise, including palm trees, green mountains, sandy beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. With a sparkling lagoon surrounding the main island and an extinct volcano at the heart of it all, the whole area is as pretty as a postcard. While numerous resorts have sprouted up throughout Bora Bora, they fortunately haven’t taken away from the land’s natural beauty, which overflows with tropical tranquility.


#7: Antelope Canyon

Arizona, USA
Known to the Navajo as “the place where water runs through rocks,” Antelope Canyon is more majestic than its name suggests. It’s the product of millennia of rainfall and floods eroding and smoothly carving deep corridors into the Navajo Sandstone. But the canyon walls are only part of the attraction: the rest is sunlight, sneaking its way through the canyons and creating the appearance of fire. Naturally, summer’s the best time to visit, as the light beams are more plentiful and more interesting.



#6: Ashikaga Flower Park

Ashikaga, Japan

Draped in the color violet, Ashikaga Flower Park competes with the aforementioned Lavender Fields for purple supremacy. This flower park not only consists of the country’s oldest wisteria, but the largest as well. Still standing, at almost 150 years old, one particular wisteria tree covers thousands of feet. While wisteria is the park’s most prominent plant, it’s not the only species of flower on display. Throughout the year, visitors are treated to a variety of different floral displays that change with the seasons. Between this flower park and Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest, Japan simply blooms with extraordinary plantlife.




#5: Iguazú Falls

Argentina / Brazil
One of the modern natural wonders of the world, this staggering waterfall system – the largest of its kind – sits on the Argentina-Brazil border. Meaning “big water” in native languages, this natural attraction is unique in that it can easily be accessed from three countries, given its additional proximity to Paraguay – because something this beautiful needs to be shared. Effectively a chain of mini-waterfalls, the lion’s share of the river passes over a U-shaped chasm known as the Devil’s Throat.



#4: Santorini

Greece

From an architectural perspective, Santorini is one of the most striking islands you’ll ever visit, with terraced whitewashed houses sprinkled throughout. Even if you took all the manmade structures out of the mix, it would still be a natural nirvana unlike any other. With luxurious beaches and charming trails, the island provides the perfect backdrop for activities such as sailing, hiking, and horseback riding. What makes Santorini’s calming scenery and sentiment so interesting is that the island’s archipelago was the site of the Minoan volcanic eruption of the 17th century, which left behind a volcanic crater. From this devastating disaster, though, one of earth’s most stunning locales would go on to change and thrive.



#3: Moraine Lake

Alberta, Canada
Situated just 9 miles or 14 kilometers outside the village of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, in view of the Rocky Mountains, is Moraine Lake. Fed by glaciers, this rock-flour-blue lake was once featured on the Canadian $20, earning one view the moniker the “Twenty Dollar View.” Among the country’s most photographed locations, the lake is, unsurprisingly, popular with hikers. It crests in late-June, but visitors can take in the Rockies or their reflection on Moraine Lake nearly year-round.



#2: Lofoten

Nordland, Norway

If you’re looking for a natural environment to paint, Lofoten is easily one of the most gorgeous sights that could possibly inspire your empty canvas. Whether you prefer climbing up the stunning mountain peak of Higravstinden, biking down a trail, or going for a surf in one of the archipelago’s many bays, Lofoten has a scenic activity for everybody. Visitors can even attempt to gaze up into the night sky to try and catch a glimpse of the famed Northern Lights. As awe-inspiring as this Arctic destination can be, Lofoten is ultimately a humble slice of heaven that invites visitors to bask in its welcoming grandeur.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.


- Wulingyuan
China

-Valle de Cocora
Colombia

Raja Ampat Islands,
Indonesia

Victoria Falls,
Zambia/Zimbabwe

Milford Sound
New Zealand





#1: Salar de Uyuni

Bolivia
Resembling a vast, unending mirror, these are the world’s largest salt flats, covering a roughly 4,100-square mile or 10,000-square kilometer area. Once a proper lake in prehistoric times, today the flats are made of a 10 billion ton layer of salt, under which sits between 50-70% of the world’s lithium reserves. Sparse in terms of vegetation and wildlife, the almost unnaturally level flats are also packed with chemicals like magnesium, potassium and borax. But, more importantly, they’re eerily beautiful.
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