Maldives, No. 1
With its pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, and lush tropical woods full of palm trees, the Maldives is the epitome of a far-flung vacation destination. The Indian Ocean archipelago is home to a rich and diverse culture that draws from the customs of its numerous neighbouring countries. Plus, beneath the clear blue surface, you’ll find a teeming ecosystem of coral reefs and exotic marine life.
A Second Example:
About half a million species call Costa Rica’s misty river valleys, picture-perfect beaches, and unique grasslands home. The native flora and animals have been given a safe haven, and the area has become ecologically stunning, thanks to the conservation of over a quarter of its territory. Travellers to this Central American country can unwind after a day of exploration at one of the many five-star spas or restaurants.
No. 3: Tanzania
Tanzania has an incredible abundance of natural resources. Every year, more than a million wildebeest undertake a journey known as the Great Migration across the Serengeti, a protected plain in the country’s north. On the Ngorongoro Crater’s short-grass plains, you can find rhinos mingling with zebras. In addition, there are beautiful white sand beaches and scenic vistas along Tanzania’s coast that face the Indian Ocean.
The United States is unparalleled in its diversity, both geographically and culturally. Natural wonders can be found practically anywhere in the United States, from the snowy peaks of Mount Rainier National Park to the verdant shores of Hawaii’s Napali Coast. Cities of all sizes are also home to some of the world’s most impressive historic and contemporary buildings.
The Inca citadel at Machu Picchu has attracted worldwide attention, but that is only one of Peru’s many beauties. Huacachina is a small community and oasis in the middle of the Ica desert where visitors can spend the day exploring the surrounding sand dunes and retire for the night. Vinicunca, a mountain with a kaleidoscope of colours, is located not far from Machu Picchu’s green top. Lima, the capital city, is a must-see on every trip to Peru because of its abundance of pre-Columbian art and Colonial-era buildings.
Japan is the only country where city life and quiet countryside coexist so harmoniously. In Kyoto, visitors can find solace in the city’s fragrant cherry blossoms and the Arashiyama bamboo forest, and by night, the city comes alive with visitors cramming into restaurants to sample culinary masterworks. Ancient temples and shrines from all throughout the country can teach visitors about local culture and history. Meanwhile, Tokyo keeps proving itself to be an innovative frontrunner.
Iceland, No. 7
Iceland is home to some of the world’s most spectacular and unusual scenery, including subterranean ice caves, towering volcanoes, and black sand beaches. With its gorgeous vistas of the Blue Lagoon, its cutting-edge culinary scene, and its amazing art museum devoted to Icelandic creatives, Reykjavik makes for a perfect landing spot. The luxurious hot springs and glacier valleys are only a half-hour drive from the city. Travelling the 828 kilometres of Ring Road that round the island by car is the best way to experience all that Iceland has to offer.
The East African country is well-known for its vast savanna grasslands and unique biodiversity. Kenya, however, has a lot more to offer in terms of scenic splendour. At Mount Kenya’s base, you’ll find glacial lakes; in the Mau Forest Complex, you’ll find thriving indigenous forests; and along the coast, you’ll find dazzling blue waters. Nairobi, the country’s capital and largest city, is home to innumerable craftsmen, from the woodworkers and weavers at Masai Market to the skillful glass producers who have propelled Kitengela Hot Glass onto the international design arena.
Thailand offers a diverse selection of attractions across its almost 1,430 islands, from the chaos of Bangkok to the tranquilly of Koh Kood’s mangrove beaches and lush jungle. Chiang Mai is the ideal place for urbanites because it combines the excitement of a modern metropolis with the charm and historical significance of its golden temples, busy markets, and emerging culinary scene. The Krabi province’s curved coastline is home to picture-perfect white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and striking geometric rock formations. The bustling nation’s capital is home to award-winning eateries and street vendors serving up both traditional Thai fare and innovative takes on the national cuisine.
Namibia’s huge natural beauty is unparalleled, with its amber sand dunes, boundless golden meadows, and emerald-blue lagoons. More than 1,200 miles in length, the Namib desert (the oldest in the world) is home to striking dead-tree valleys at Sossusvlei and sand dunes that extend to Sandwich Harbour. Namibia’s wetlands and savannas are home to a wide variety of animals. The Zannier Reserve by N/a’an ku sê on the Khomas Hochland plateau is a natural habitat for hundreds of injured animals, and it also welcomes people to the reserve’s resort, Omaanda, to learn about conservation while sleeping in comfort.
The Greek islands and islets are replete with whimsy and magic. Many visitors feel compelled to see both the distinctive blue domes and whitewashed facades of Oia and the ancient temples and ruins of Athens. The unique attractions of Greece, like the thermal baths of Evia and the art exhibits of Nisyros, are where you’ll find the most magic. Naxos is a must-visit for any visitor to the Mediterranean nation in search of delicious seafood.
Number Twelve: New Zealand
New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most captivating landscapes, including 9,000 kilometres of windswept coastline and turquoise lakes slicing through mountains. With its bright blue glacial waters and seemingly endless fields of pink and purple lupins, Lake Tekapo is arguably one of the world’s most colourful locations. New Zealand also has an abundance of museums and galleries that help shape the country’s unique personality. Te Papa Tongarewa, the New Zealand Museum, celebrates the Maori people and their significant role in shaping New Zealand’s history and culture.
Chile’s long, skinny design allows it to encompass a wide variety of landscapes and temperatures, from the Patagonia’s glacial fjords to the Elqui Valley’s rolling vineyards. Free-roaming alpacas, pumas, flamingos, and foxes can be found in the Andean biosphere reserve that is Lauca National Park. The park spans an area of 303,342 acres. Chungará Lake, where unusual flora and animals number in the hundreds are also located there. While Santiago is the capital and largest city, the coastal gem of Valparaiso is a hotbed of bohemian bliss and originality.
It’s hard to know where to begin praising Italy and its beauty, what with its delicious food, lovely pastel villages, and enduring appreciation for the arts. Rome is the home of Western civilisation, and city dwellers and history aficionados alike can explore various historical ruins here. Vernazza, one of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre, is a great place for couples to take a stroll around the brightly coloured streets and then relax by the harbour. Vineyards stretch as far as the eye can view in Tuscany, making for a picturesque day trip for anybody visiting Italy.
The Fifteenth: Vietnam
Vietnam has risen to the top of every traveler’s list in recent years because to its dynamic cities, verdant mountains, and picture-perfect shorelines. The rich history and cultural significance of this Asian country are illuminated by its impressive temples and heritage monuments like the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and the Complex of Hué Monuments. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are examples of how Vietnam is becoming into a fashion and design hub. Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s crown jewels; it is made up of 1,600 islands and islets and features stunning limestone pillars and wave-eroded grottos.
Switzerland, No. 16
Switzerland’s reputation as a winter wonderland stems from the country’s picturesque landscape, which features snow-capped mountains and refreshingly cool air. Zermatt, a little village in the Swiss Alps, is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. In contrast, the summer months in Switzerland are equally as beautiful, because to the country’s verdant valley forges and emerald lakes. Some of the finest specimens of Mediaeval and Renaissance architecture in the world may be seen in Bern, a city in Switzerland.
Canada, as the world’s second-largest country, is home to a wide array of people and ecosystems. The Bay of Fundy is a one-of-a-kind natural wonder on the eastern side of the country because to its lush coastline and cliffs. Visit French-speaking Québec, where cities like Montréal and Québec City have all the charisma of European capitals. Banff, Alberta, is located on the western border of Canada, and it is known for its tranquilly and breathtaking views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and Lake Louise.
Oman is located on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, which would lead you to believe that it is entirely desert. While it is true that this maritime nation is dominated by towering mountains, it also boasts sandy coastlines and striking urban centres. Muscat, on Oman’s coast, is home to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, widely considered to be one of the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the world. The capital city also has a burgeoning food culture, with restaurants serving modern takes on classic Omani fare. Get out of the city and head to the Jabal Akhdar highlands for lush green olive and apricot trees and pleasant hiking trails.