The 55 Most Beautiful Places in the World

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The world has a whole lot of jaw-dropping places but sometimes, it’s easy to get stuck in our own bubbles. With stunning fall foliage in New York, dazzling Florida beaches, plentiful swimming holes in northern California and charming small towns near Chicago, it’s not like you *need* too look up too often, right? We digress. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the 55 most beautiful places in the world. Icelandic waterfalls, Venetian canals, American national parks and the tropical climate of a Vietnamese mountain town all included. Banff? On here. The Bolivian salt flats? You bet. From Chile to Nambia, you should be warned: You’re about to be hit with an onslaught of wanderlust.

Feel Stuck? Astrocartography (aka Astrology of Place) Can Tell You Where in the World You’ll Thrive

most beautiful places in the world: Seljalandsfoss, Iceland waterfall
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1. Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

One of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland’s south region, Seljalandsfoss is a must-visit stop on any drive along the ring road.

most beautiful places in the world 2. Torres del Paine National ParkChile
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2. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Pro tip: Visit this protected land in the Patagonia region during Chile’s summer, which peaks from November to February. The sun doesn’t set on the soaring granite pillars until after 10 p.m.

most beautiful places in the world: li river, china
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3. Li River, China

Take a river cruise down the Li, which runs 85 kilometers (53 miles) through the region of Guangxi in southern China, for some of the country’s most incredible scenery.

most beautiful places in the world manarola italy
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4. Manarola, Italy

One of the quaint fishing villages that make up the colorful Cinque Terre, Manarola is rife with grapevines, lemon groves and medieval walls. You can only imagine the views from here.

most beautiful places in the world: Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
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5. Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

This national park and nature reserve occupies part of the Namib Desert. Wild game like mountain zebras, ostriches and kudus roam over the red sand dunes.

most beautiful places in the world: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California
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6. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California

Possibly the most scenic stop along Big Sur, the McWay Falls plunge 80 feet over a gorgeous sandy shore and into the Pacific Ocean.

most beautiful places in the world: Na Pali Coast State Park, Hawaii
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7. Na Pali Coast State Park, Hawaii

This state park comprises 17 miles of rugged Kauai coastline. Hikers can walk along the cliffs and valleys, while taking in panoramic views of the Pacific.

most beautiful places in the world Pamukkale Turkey
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8. Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle,” is a stack of white travertine mineral pools in southwest Turkey. The UNESCO World Heritage Site looks over the Byzantine-Roman city of Denizli.

most beautiful places in the world antelope canyon arizona
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9. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Visit in the early morning before the crowds pile in and you’ll see light beams gliding in and out of the slot canyon, making it seem like the walls are on fire.

most beautiful places in the world: lake louise, canada
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10. Lake Louise, Canada

Set inside Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise is a year-round resort destination. On a sunny day, the impossibly blue lake reflects the surrounding snowcapped mountains.

most beautiful places in the world: krabi thailand
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11. Krabi, Thailand

If we ever want to go off the grid, you’ll find us in this tropical Thai paradise. We don’t need much more in life than these mangrove forests and majestic blue waters framed by limestone cliffs.

most beautiful places in the world lake lugano switzerland
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12. Lake Lugano, Switzerland

This picture-perfect glacial lake is the Swiss equivalent of Italy’s Lake Como. Around it, the city of Lugano is a melting pot of Swiss and Mediterranean culture.

most beautiful places in the world table mountain south africa
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13. Table Mountain, South Africa

The most iconic landscape in South Africa, Table Mountain looks over Cape Town. You can see its flat peak from almost anywhere in the city, often surrounded by clouds.

most beautiful places in the world uyuni salt flats bolivia
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14. Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

The result of a prehistoric lake that dried up, this area in southwest Bolivia is now covered by bright-white salt formations that give the illusion of walking in the clouds.

most beautiful places in the world milford sound new zealand
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15. Milford Sound, New Zealand

Within Fiordland National Park you’ll find Milford Sound, the poster for New Zealand’s South Island. (You might recognize the landscape from The Lord of the Rings.)

most beautiful places in the world: Zhangjiajie National Forest, china
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16. Zhangjiajie National Forest, China

This national park in China’s Hunan province—featuring dozens of pillar-like mountains—was used as a model for the setting of the movie Avatar.

most beautiful places in the world Douro Valley portugal
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17. Douro Valley, Portugal

You’ve never seen a wine country like this before. Hundreds of vineyards—called quintas—grow grapes on the steep, undulating hills surrounding the Douro River.

most beautiful places in the world: mount fuji, japan
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18. Mount Fuji, Japan

This active volcano southwest of Tokyo is revered in Japanese culture, as it is believed to be the country’s holiest mountain. During springtime, cherry blossoms light up the five lakes surrounding it.

most beautiful places in the world grand teton national park wyoming
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19. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Visit Grand Teton National Park during any season and it will punch you in the gut (in the best way). The park includes the Teton mountain range and Jackson Hole valley—a fabulous ski paradise in the winter.

most beautiful places in the world bagan myanmar
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20. Bagan, Myanmar

This archeological area encompasses more than 2,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monuments that date back to the kingdom of Pagan in the ninth century.

most beautiful places in the world: Zhangye National Geopark, china
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21. Zhangye National Geopark, China

These gorgeous mountains are made up of layers of different-colored sandstone and minerals that have been pressed together for over 24 million years.

most beautiful places in the world reine norway
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22. Reine, Norway

This fishing village sits above the Arctic Circle in Norway’s Lofoten Islands and has a population of about 300. Just imagine the northern lights from here.

23. Twelve Apostles, Australia

We’d drive the 150-mile Great Ocean Road in Victoria just for a glimpse of these dreamy limestone stacks.

most beautiful places in the world: Iguazu Falls, argentina
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24. Iguazu Falls, Argentina

One of the seven new natural wonders of the world, these incredible waterfalls frame the Argentina-Brazil border. Together they make up the largest system of waterfalls in the world.

most beautiful places in the world: cliffs of moher, ireland
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25. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

These famous cliffs in County Clare have made several big-screen appearances in movies like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and The Princess Bride.

most beautiful places in the world Arashiyama Bamboo Forest japan
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26. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan

On the outskirts of Kyoto, this giant bamboo grove is filled with thick, green towering stalks that sway and creek to the rhythm of the wind.

most beautiful places in the world: socotra island, yemen
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27. Socotra, Yemen

Often described as the most alien-looking place on earth, this small island in the Arabian Sea is known for its unique dragon blood trees.

most beautiful places in the world Palawan Island philippines
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28. Palawan Island, Philippines

Remote and sparsely populated, Palawan just might be the most beautiful island in the world. It’s basically a long sliver of villages surrounded by crystal-clear water, lagoons and lush forest.

most beautiful places in the world chefchaouen morocco
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29. Chefchaouen, Morocco

Nicknamed the blue city, this locale in northern Morocco’s Rif Mountains is known for its blue-washed walls, serpentine cobblestone streets and Moorish architecture.

most beautiful places in the world Ipanema Beach brazil
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30. Ipanema Beach, Brazil

There’s a reason Rio de Janeiro’s famous coastline is one of the most photographed landscapes in the world. It’s always summer on the endless stretch of sand framed by the Two Brothers Mountain.

most beautiful places in the world champs elysees france
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31. Champs Élysées, France

Sure, gazing from the top of the Arc de Triomphe onto Paris’ main avenue is basically looking at a concrete jungle. But it’s the prettiest damn concrete jungle in the world.

most beautiful places in the world ronda spain
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32. Ronda, Spain

This Andalucían city stands atop El Tajo gorge, which the Guadalevín River flows through. A jaw-dropping bridge connects the 15th-century “new” town from the old city that dates back to Moorish rule.

most beautiful places in the world Reynisfjara Beach iceland
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33. Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland

Iceland could basically be on another planet. Just look at this black sand beach framed by basalt columns near the village of Vik on the country’s south coast.

most beautiful places in the world oia greece
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34. Oia, Greece

Santorini might be a cliché, but it’s a cliché for good reason. The island’s most famous village is Oia, where narrow, hilly streets lined with whitewashed houses and pink bougainvillea lead to the cobalt Aegean Sea.

most beautiful places in the world monteverde costa rica
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35. Monteverde, Costa Rica

Haven’t you always wanted to walk on the canopy of the rain forest? Well, in this Costa Rican mountain town, suspension bridges span thick cloud forests, coffee plantations and volcano peaks.

most beautiful places in the world maroon bells colorado
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36. The Maroon Bells, Colorado

The most photographed spot in Colorado, the Maroon Bells are twin peaks in Aspen’s Elk Mountains, separated by a glacial lake and surrounded by national forest. Swoon.

most beautiful places in the world white desert egypt
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37. White Desert, Egypt

Sahra al-Beida (called the “White Desert” in English) is a barren stretch of white rock spires and chalk towers. It’s located in Farafra, an area inhabited mostly by bedouins, who are nomadic animal herders.

most beautiful places in the world the pitons st. lucia
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38. The Pitons, Saint Lucia

Sure, there are plenty of stunning Caribbean destinations, but the view of the Piton Mountains overlooking the colorful town of Soufrière is something you must see for yourself.

most beautiful places in the world: etretat, france
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39. Cliffs of Êtretat, France

They were stunning enough for Monet to paint…so that’s reason enough for us. (Plus, the hit Netflix show, Lupin, films a harrowing scene in this stunning town.)

most beautiful places in the world munnar india
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40. Tea Plantations of Munnar, India

This town in India’s Kerala state sits at the intersection of three mountain streams. It’s best known for its sweeping hills covered in tea plantations and verdant forests.

most beautiful places in the world: Plitvice Lakes National Park, croatia
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41. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

There’s a reason Croatia is such a hotbed for tourism these days. This national park is complete with cascading waterfalls, cerulean lakes, hiking trails and limestone canyons.

most beautiful places in the world nuuk greenland
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42. Nuuk, Greenland

Humpback whales! Icebergs! The northern lights! Those are just a few of the things you’ll find in Greenland’s tiny capital city.

most beautiful places in the world: old man of storr, scotland
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43. The Storr, Scotland

Isle of Skye is pretty much a dream world. But no landscape is more iconic here than the Storr cliffs, a series of rocky pinnacles set before a backdrop of rolling green hills and coastline.

most beautiful places in the world: skeleton coast, namibia
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44. Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Dotted with shipwrecks and whale bones, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is a graveyard of sorts. But the barren stretch of land, where green sea meets sand dunes, is so stark it’s an eerie type of beautiful.

most beautiful places in the world varanasi india
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45. Varanasi, India

Considered to be the spiritual capital of India, this colorful city on the banks of the Ganges River dates back to the 11th century B.C.

most beautiful places in the world machu picchu peru
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46. Machu Picchu, Peru

Stand at the top of this 15th-century Incan citadel (almost 8,000 feet above sea level) and look at the river valley beneath you. You’re basically walking in the clouds.

most beautiful places in the world: tiger's nest monastery, bhutan
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47. Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan

Taktsang Palphug Monastery, nicknamed Tiger’s Nest, is a Buddhist temple and the most sacred site in Bhutan. It’s built into a steep cliff 3,000 feet above a valley in the Himalayas.

most beautiful places in the world Grand Prismatic Spring wyoming
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48. Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming

Of all of nature’s incredible work, this rainbow-ringed natural hot spring in Yellowstone National Park still manages to blow our minds.

most beautiful places in the world Keukenhof Park netherlands
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49. Keukenhof Park, The Netherlands

Located in Lisse in South Holland, Keukenhof is one of the world's largest flower gardens, featuring millions of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.

most beautiful places in the world: sa pa vietnam rice terraces
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50. Sa Pa, Vietnam

This stunning mountain town sits just below the Chinese border. And the view? Those are the vertical rice terraces of the Muong Hoa Valley.

most beautiful places in the world: venice, italy
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51. Venice, Italy

The best way to explore this floating Italian city is to hop on a gondola and glide along the series of canals. There is a ton of Renaissance art, architecture and history to be found here.

most beautiful places in the world: st. basil's cathedral, moscow, russia
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52. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Moscow has lots of beautiful must-see attractions, but St. Basil’s stands out from everything else with its intricate multi-colored facade and complex architecture.

most beautiful places in the world grand canyon arizona
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53. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

They don’t call this national park grand for nothing. This jaw-dropping natural beauty feels both familiar and otherworldly, evoking both Westerns and Martian vibes.

most beautiful places in the world: jodhpur, india
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54. Jodhpur, India

There's a lot to explore in Jodhpur, including many palaces, temples, and of course, the winding paths of blue buildings set within the Thar Desert.

most beautiful places in the world: barcelona spain
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55. Barcelona, Spain

Head to glorious Barcelona where you’ll find Dalí-esque buildings, tons of intricate mosaics and the best of architect Gaudí’s work, like the yet-unfinished Sagrada Família.

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Freelance PureWow Editor

From 2015-2017 Hannah Loewentheil held the role of Editor covering entertainment, food, travel and all things nyc.



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