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The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Let these gorgeous destinations inspire you to travel more.

U.S. News & World Report

The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Most beautiful places in the world

(Getty Images)

From national parks to extraordinary beaches, these travel spots are sure to please.

Our planet is home to an endless number of gorgeous landscapes, ranging from scenic white sand beaches to jaw-dropping mountain ranges. Let this list of destinations inspire you to see more of the world in the new year and beyond.
Most beautiful places in the world

(Getty Images)

Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla

The tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla is shockingly gorgeous from coast to coast, but Rendezvous Bay and its stunning beach is easily the island's greatest asset. This bay, which is made up of a nearly empty white sand beach, boasts clear turquoise waters and a mountain backdrop with spectacular views of nearby St. Maarten in the distance.

From national parks to extraordinary beaches, these travel spots are sure to please.

Our planet is home to an endless number of gorgeous landscapes, ranging from scenic white sand beaches to jaw-dropping mountain ranges. Let this list of destinations inspire you to see more of the world in the new year and beyond.

Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla

The tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla is shockingly gorgeous from coast to coast, but Rendezvous Bay and its stunning beach is easily the island's greatest asset. This bay, which is made up of a nearly empty white sand beach, boasts clear turquoise waters and a mountain backdrop with spectacular views of nearby St. Maarten in the distance.

Yellowstone National Park: Wyoming

The world's first national park is brimming with marvels to behold, from waterfalls to jagged peaks as well as half of the world's hydrothermal features, including the famous Old Faithful. Visitors come here in droves year-round to scope out the wildlife as well, which include buffalo (Yellowstone is home to America's largest herd), grizzly bears, wolves, elk and more.

Ksamil, Albania

Ksamil, Albania, is a hidden gem along the Albanian Riviera known for its white sand beaches, hidden coves and flashy resorts. A popular cruise excursion from nearby Saranda, this tropical paradise is popular with day-trippers, snorkelers and families hoping to spend the day enjoying sand, sun and surf.

Glacier National Park: Montana

Montana's Glacier National Park includes more than 1 million acres of natural forestland and untouched wilderness. Head here to hike more than 700 miles of trails and see waterfalls, snow-capped mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes and plenty of unique plant and animal life.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands: Florida

These islands may be right off the coast of Florida, but a trip here can make you feel like you're worlds away. The Sanibel and Captiva islands boast 15 miles of beautiful white sand beaches and zero stoplights, making this destination truly feel like an oasis. Plus, with 50 different types of fish that call these local waters home, this area is no doubt a snorkeler's paradise.

Angel Falls: Canaima National Park, Venezuela

This famous waterfall can be found in the Guiana Highlands region in the southeastern part of Venezuela. This waterfall is not only beautiful, but it's also the tallest in the world, with water careening 3,212 feet from the top of Devil's Mountain into the abyss below.

Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu Archaeological Park, Peru

Machu Picchu is an extraordinary creation of giant walls and rock-based terraces built in a tropical mountain forest on top of a mountain in the Andes. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once part of the Inca civilization, but is now a tourist destination for hikers, history lovers and anyone who wants to be inspired.

Hever Castle: Kent, England

Hever Castle in Kent, England, is known for its storied history as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of the wives of Henry VIII. It's also incredibly stunning thanks to its romantic architecture and evergreen gardens. If you're curious about Tudor history, you can stay on the grounds in a historic bed-and-breakfast that offers rooms fit for a king or a queen.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary, is known for its eye-catching architecture, thermal baths and dramatic location along the Danube River. Stay in the elegant Castle District on the Buda side of the river for proximity to historic sites like Buda Castle and Matthias Church, along with impressive nighttime views of Pest.

Cliffs of Moher: Lislorkan North, County Clare, Ireland

Ireland is lush and green coast to coast but you can't visit the country without planning a stop to see the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Mother. One of Ireland's most visited tourist attractions, the cliffs rise more than 700 feet above the Atlantic Coast, are home to more than 20 species of seabirds and feature rare flora.

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is considered by many to be Japan's cultural center. The city is awash with stunning ancient temples and shrines, beautifully manicured gardens and important cultural festivals and celebrations. The best time travel here is during mid-March, when Japan's famous cherry blossoms are in full bloom and blanket the city.

The Botanical Gardens of Nevis: Nevis

The tiny island of Nevis sits near St. Kitts in the Caribbean and is known for its lush greenery and central mountain peak. The Botanical Gardens of Nevis are home to some of the most spectacular views on the island, plus flowering trees and shrubs, striking fountains, shaded orchid terraces and more.

Hanalei Bay: Kauai, Hawaii

Hanalei Bay is one of the most popular beaches in Kauai, an island in Hawaii. This beach boasts striking mountain views and a landmark pier that sits at the mouth of Hanalei River. Head to Hanalei Bay to view its towering palms and surf or float with a dramatic mountain backdrop.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

French Polynesia is known for its spectacular natural beauty, but the series of islands that make up Bora Bora may be its crown jewel. This tropical paradise boasts a unique interior lagoon with some of the clearest water in the world. You'll also find luxury resorts with overwater bungalows, all centered around stunning Mount Otemanu.

The Azores: Portugal

The Azores are a group of volcanic islands that sit off the coast of Portugal. These islands are known for their dramatic beauty, abundance of wildlife and myriad of hiking and scuba diving opportunities. Head to the Azores to enjoy rugged, natural beauty that's unlike anywhere else in Europe.

Flam, Norway

Flam, Norway, is a popular cruise port among the Norwegian fjords, known for its staggering cliffs, calm waters and hilltops flanked with quaint Norwegian villages. Flam is a great destination to enjoy Norwegian scenery whether you choose to hop on a train through the wilderness or begin a hike into the mountains and valleys nearby.

Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Al-Ula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the desert 200 miles north of Medina. Similar to Jordan's Petra, Al-Ula is a series of monumental tombs inexplicably built directly into the limestone cliffs this arid region of the world is known for.

Banff National Park: Canada

Canada's Banff National Park is notorious for its wondrous natural beauty and it's easy to see why. This Canadian Rockies gem boasts plenty of serene places to enjoy nature, towering, snow-capped mountains and Lake Louise – a vibrantly colored body of clear water known for its glacier views.

Boulders Beach: Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa's Boulders Beach is notorious for the many – you guessed it – boulders that flank its shores. While Boulders Beach is known for its rugged and unique shoreline, up to 60,000 visitors per year also explore the area and enjoy the antics of African penguins that call the beach home.

Canterbury, England

Canterbury, England, is charming to say the least thanks to its narrow village roads, striking Tudor architecture and scenic canal. This village is also home to the historic Canterbury Cathedral, which has provided local parishioners with an idyllic place to worship for more than 1,400 years.

Grand Canyon National Park: Arizona

Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park has inspired nature-lovers for decades with its magnificent beauty and sheer size. This canyon is 277 river miles long and up to 18 miles wide in some places, with dazzling layered rock formations that never cease to amaze.

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy, may be overrun with tourists more often than not, but travelers who visit during fall and winter may have more wiggle room to explore this Italian gem. Head to Venice to get lost in the narrow alleyways and neighborhoods that are entirely surrounded by bridges, water and unique Italian architecture you can't find anywhere else.

Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale, Turkey, may be slightly off the beaten path, but this destination is well worth a visit thanks to its travertine terraces filled with warm hot springs. Not only is the scenery shockingly beautiful, but you can take a dip in the mineral-rich waters as the Romans once did.

Krabi, Thailand

Krabi, Thailand is laid-back, relaxing and striking, making it ideal for a tropical escape any time of the year. While here, you'll be able to behold lush jungle landscapes, dramatic oceanside cliffs and white sand beaches that seemingly go on forever.

Glencoe, Scotland

Scotland's Glencoe region is popular with hikers and nature-lovers alike. Driving through Glencoe feels like an otherworldly experience thanks to its larger-than-life landscape, flanked by green mountains and valleys that were carved out centuries ago by glaciers and volcanic eruptions. During colder months, Glencoe is also a popular spot for skiing and snowboarding, so don't rule it out this winter.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Grindelwald, Switzerland, is a sleepy village in the Bernese Oberland area known for its hiking trails and lifts to the surrounding Swiss Alps. Summer is warm and the landscape is green (perfect for hiking and enjoying sweeping mountain views), while winter is ideal for winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and going on a toboggan run.

Fiordland National Park: New Zealand

New Zealand's Fiordland National Park is made up of nearly 3 million acres of mountains, scenic lakes, fiords and rainforests. The park is also home to plenty of wildlife, which are able to develop and grow thanks to the many habitats that see little human interference. Plan a visit here to take in the beauty and wonder of one of the least disturbed corners of the world.

Havasu Falls: Arizona

Arizona's Havasu Falls, which are part of the larger collection of waterfalls known as Havasupai Falls, is known for its spectacular beauty and vibrant blue and green waters. Day hiking to the falls is prohibited, but you can view this natural wonder if you book a four-day, three-night hiking and camping trip in Havasu Canyon.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The city of Dubai may not be a natural wonder, but its grandeur is a sight to behold. Dubai is known for housing the tallest building in the world and is home to stunning beaches that draw visitors in droves. Dubai also boasts a diverse culture (immigrants make up a high percentage of the population), providing a unique atmosphere for this cosmopolitan city.

Blue Ridge Mountains: United States

The Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountains that extend through parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. This iconic mountain range is home to lush green hills and valleys along with streams and three major rivers – the Roanoke, James and Potomac. Plan a trip here during fall when the leaves turn brilliant bright shades of red, yellow and orange.

Halong Bay: Vietnam

It would be hard to conjure up a more beautiful image than Vietnam's Halong Bay, with its lofty limestone peaks, jungle-covered islands and turquoise waters. You can visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site for the day, though many travelers choose to visit on a cruise and spend the night along the shores of this unique coastal gem.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia, which travelers will recognize as King's Landing from the popular "Game of Thrones" television series, is practically frozen in time. The walled Old Town looked just as it did when being built between the 11th and 17th centuries, complete with many of the same buildings. Its placement along the sparkling Adriatic Sea with views of nearby Lokrum only add to its beauty.

Bergen, Norway

Known as the main gateway to the Norwegian fjords, Bergen is worth a visit on its own. Not only is Bergen home to art galleries and museums, but it also features an inspiring waterfront, complete with colorful row houses. Here you can enjoy a history lesson, then soak in the scenery and the crisp, ocean air.

Seljalandsfoss: Iceland

Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland's most beautiful and iconic landmarks, as well as one of its most notorious waterfalls. You can check out this natural wonder from all angles, seeing water cascade from 200 feet into a naturally formed lake from the front, the side or behind.

Palm Beach: Noord, Aruba

Aruba's Palm Beach may be filled with high-rise hotels and resorts, but its turquoise waters are so strikingly clear that it's still one of the most beautiful places in the world. The white sand is soothing and powdery, plus you can snorkel and swim with sea turtles, tropical fish and stingrays directly from shore.

Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with world renowned Buddhist architecture and historical sites. Explore beautiful monasteries, temples and more while taking in frescoes, sculptures and other artwork from this city's ancient past. For the best views, book a ride on a hot air balloon, which has become a common symbol for the region.

Plitvice Lakes National Park: Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of Croatia's most popular tourist destinations, and it's easy to see why. This natural park features 16 lakes interconnected by a series of waterfalls. The water is so green and clear you can see all the way to the bottom.

Raja Ampat Islands: Indonesia

Indonesia's Raja Ampat Islands are barely touched by human activity, an integral part of this region's mysterious charm. These lush, green islands boast gorgeous views of turquoise waters, white sand beaches and caves perfect for exploration off the beaten path.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Most people may picture Tel Aviv as a towering metropolis brimming with business and tourism, but they forget this city sits along an alluring stretch of the Mediterranean Sea. Come to Tel Aviv for high-end dining and nightlife, but remember to check out its stunning beaches dotted with tall palms.

Loire Valley: France

The Loire Valley, one of the best places to visit in France, is made up of rolling green hills dotted with charming French villages and historical landmarks galore. You can ride in a hot air balloon, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants and taste some of the finest wines in the world. You should also plan to visit several famous castles, including Château de Chenonceau and Château de Chambord.

Jaipur, India

Jaipur's energetic streets and surrounding areas are full of life as bicycle rickshaws, camels and motorbikes consistently pass through. However, historical sites like Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Amber Fort and the Jal Mahal are the major draws.

Meteora: Kalabaka, Greece

The country of Greece is home to Meteora, a charming and mysterious region where monasteries seemingly float on air. In reality, several monasteries sit atop vertical cliffs in this region, creating beautiful scenery for monastery visitors and tourists down below. Check out Meteora for a journey back in time through 2,000 years of Christian Orthodox history.

Petra, Jordan

Petra's beauty is so captivating that it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Jordan's spellbinding landscape is made up of ancient caves that were carved into the mountains by the Nabataean Arabs. The stonework is so intricate that facades resemble actual buildings, even though the realistic architecture dates back to the first century A.D.

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy, is commonly considered the jewel of the Amalfi Coast thanks to its sky-high cliffs, charming streets and spectacular beachfront. Travelers flock here to enjoy the fresh local cuisine and explore the gorgeous coastline either by boat, via car or on foot along its many scenic hiking trails.

Platinum Coast: Barbados

The Platinum Coast of Barbados is home to an array of high-end resorts as well as some of the most stunning beaches in all of the Caribbean. Plan a trip here to immerse yourself in the island's culture, nosh on delicious local favorites like macaroni pie and fish cakes, and relax the days away on a white sand beach.

Guilin, China

Located in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin is frequently considered one of the most scenic and beautiful areas in all of China. Guilin is made up of more than 10,000 square miles of natural beauty, including towering green hills and mountains, with untouched wilderness that straddles lakes and rivers throughout.

Victoria Falls: Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls is frequently considered the largest waterfall in the world, and it's easily one of the most popular landmarks in all of Africa. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features falls that are more than 355 feet tall and 5,500 feet wide. Tourists come here to see cascading waters that can be heard from as far as 25 miles away.

Rothenburg, Germany

Rothenburg is a village in Germany's heartland that still looks very much like it did during the 13th century. Tourists plan trips to see this preserved medieval town with its quintessential German houses, buildings and fortified walls. What's more, Rothenburg is an excellent destination for the holidays if Christmas markets are high are on your agenda.

Lake Bled: Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled is famous for its incredibly scenic setting. Surrounded by lush green mountains, the lake features vibrant blue waters and a historic church that sits on an isolated island in the center. Travelers come here to scope out the natural beauty of the Slovenian hillsides and ride boats called "pletnas" to the island to visit the Assumption of Mary Church, which is known for granting wishes to those who climb the 99 stairs to the top and ring the church bell.

Giza, Egypt

While Egypt's Giza is surrounded by modern Cairo, the city's shadow doesn't take away from the beauty of the area or its landmarks. Giza is home to the famous Pyramids of Giza along with numerous tombs and burial complexes that hold the keys to ancient Egypt's hidden past.
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