11 Most Beautiful Places in the World

It seems silly to try to rank the most beautiful places in the world, as there are so many how could I possibly begin? Unlike a top  list based on mathematical data, my top 11 most beautiful places in the world are entirely relative to my tastes. I’m sure it seems sacrilege that I haven’t included the usual staples you find on “Most Beautiful” lists, like Hawaiian beaches and Mount Everest, but this is my list and it’s just how I do things. However, if you think I’ve gotten something completely wrong or mixed up my order, let me know.

Without further ado or disclaimers, we begin with…

© Wikimedia Commons

11. Le Puy-en-Valay, France

Le Puy-en-Valay, France

There’s something about France that encapsulates the beauty of history. Most people think of Paris when France is mentioned and I think that’s a real shame. France has a beautiful countryside with small towns that date back hundreds of years. Le Puy-en-Valay’s main sights are Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe, Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy, and the large iron statue of Notre-Dame de France that overlooks the city.

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Photo Credit: Wivoelke

10. Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan

Sagano-Bamboo-Forest, Kyoto

Just outside of Kyoto, there’s a relaxing path that winds through Sagano Bamboo Forest with bamboo that towers nearly a hundred feet above your head. The road you follow throughout the forest is lined with dry bamboo that has fallen from the top. Cherry blossoms may be a staple of Japan tourism, but the bamboo transcends the tourist experience. It is said that the sound the wind makes when it blows through the bamboo is considered one of the “one hundred must-be-preserved sounds of Japan” by the Japanese government.

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9. Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Off the coast of Australia is the largest system of coral reef spanning over 2,900 individual reefs. Labeled as one of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure made by living organisms and can even be seen from space. However, it is also one of the most beautiful regions, mixing thousands of different life forms, from sea turtles to stingrays to hundreds of fish types. With all the various coral, the Great Barrier Reef is also one of the most colorful places on Earth.

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8. Zhangye Danxia landform in Gansu, China

Zhangye Danxia Landform, China

Because of China’s size and varying landscapes, this list could easily include several from China, but I decided to limit myself to the most interesting of the bunch: the Zhangye Danxia landform. Spanning several provinces, and unique only to southeastern China, the landform is made up of red sandstone and steep cliffs. Several of these cliffs have been worn down by erosion, creating nature-made works of art.

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Photo Credit: Evgeni Zotov via Compfight cc

7. Volcan Arenal, Costa Rica

Volcan Arenal, Costa Rica

Beaches are the most common attraction for tourists visiting Costa Rica, but the volcanoes and the hot springs they create are especially beautiful. Arenal volcano is an unavoidable presence, able to be seen from all over the northern parts of Costa Rica. There isn’t a shortage of national parks either, with cloud forests and rivers at the volcano’s base.

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6. Zion National Park, United States

Zion National Park, U.S.

Nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Nevada desert is Zion Canyon, stretching over 15 miles long and half a mile deep. Zion Canyon is made up of nine geologic formations known as the Grand Staircase. In these formations is over 150 million years of sedimentation and history, dating back to the Mesozoic Era.

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5. Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Africa

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia

Victoria Falls sits on the Zambezi river in southern Africa and because of its large width and height, it produces the largest sheet of falling water, making it twice the height of Niagara Falls. From the top of the falls, the river flows into a series of six gorges, traversing back and forth across the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

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4. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

I knew that I needed to have at least one large city on my list of most beautiful places in the world and Prague seemed like an obvious choice. Known as the city of a thousand spires, Prague is home to several monuments and structures that date back hundreds of years through history. With its cobblestone streets, open squares, art, and bridges, there are few cities that rival the beauty of Prague.

© Doug Perrine/Barcroft Media /Landov

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3. Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island, Maldives

It may look like a trick of the eyes, a reflection of the stars onto the sea, but instead the Sea of Stars is actually composed of phytoplankton whose cell membranes emit a blue light. Visitors to Vaadho island leave their mark in the water by moving the phytoplankton about to create shapes and patterns in the shoreline.

© Wikimedia Commons

2. Shangrila Resort, Pakistan

shangrila

Shangrila Resort in Skardu is also known as “Heaven on Earth.” It is nestled among some of the world’s highest peaks, and it encircles the heart-shaped Kachura Lake. If you visit, you’ll find yourself surrounded by fruit-laden orchards and flower-filled gardens.

Shangrila Resort, Pakistan — Credit: norbakshi world (via Flickr)

 

1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat was originally dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu, and is the largest religious monument in the world. The five peaks of Angkor Wat are meant to symbolize the mythical Mount Meru. The temple structure spans over 150 square miles and is surrounded by forests and water reservoirs. In 1992, UNESCO declared Angkor Archaeological Park a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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