Updated May 29, 2020.
Some people travel for the food; some people travel for the people. Some people travel to find themselves; some people travel to find something greater than themselves. Some people travel for the architecture; some people travel for the history. We all travel for our own reasons, with our own preferences, and on our own terms.
There’s one thing, however, that can make even the most oblivious traveler stop in their tracks and stand in awe: epic landscapes. Here’s a short list of some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve come across in our travels. Take a look and start planning your own trip to your favorite!
Molokai’s Sea Cliffs, Hawaii, USA
Never heard of Molokai? You’re not alone. But I’ll warn you: once you catch a glimpse, you won’t be able to resist planning a trip to see it for yourself. Molokai is home to the tallest sea cliffs in the world, has zero stoplights, and a portion of the island was once a leper colony. There are still a few residents with Hansen’s disease who live here of their own accord, and ironically, they have the best view of the epic cliffs.
Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory, Australia
Uluru is sandstone inselberg (which means “island mountain”) in Australia’s iconic Red Centre. Its rusty red color comes from iron in the dirt (so, it’s literally rusted), and it’s the last remaining portion of a mountain range that used to stand here. It’s one of Australia’s most recognizable landmarks, rising up from the desert plains in the middle of Australia. We got to see it from several locations, including up-close as well as from the air, but no matter the vantage point, Uluru kept us amazed and inspired every moment of our trip.
Read on: My Australia Page
Whether it’s the thermal hot springs, the mountains, the black sand beaches, or the glaciers, Iceland never ceases to amaze! This Nordic island nation has experienced some over-tourism in recent years because everyone wants to see it for themselves. Everything about Iceland is dramatic, everywhere you look. The “Land of Fire and Ice” boasts glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, and truly epic hiking experiences.
Read on: My Iceland Page
Glaciers are an unbelievable shade of blue. I had the opportunity to fly onto a glacier in Alaska to go climbing after graduating college, and it’s an experience I will never, ever forget. It’s absolutely beautiful, and because so few people live in or visit that part of Alaska in late December, we had it all to ourselves!
Read on: 10 Reasons to Visit Alaska in Winter
Na’Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii, USA
I love an epic landscape, but the one that brought tears to my eyes was Kauai’s Na’Pali Coast. The word that kept coming to mind was “majestic.” You can only see the cliffs from the air or from the ocean; the hiking trail on the cliffs gives you stunning views, but not of the cliffs themselves. The beautiful greens, blues, and browns of the cliffs are absolutely stunning. We took a tiny plane for a scenic tour of the island, and it was the highlight of our trip. To this day, Kauai is still the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, and these cliffs are a tremendous reason why.
Read on: 10 Reasons to Visit Kauai
Sahara Desert, North Africa
I never really thought much about deserts. I figured they’re brown, they’re inhospitable, and I’d probably never go to one. But then everyone started going to the Sahara Desert in Morocco. It looked beautiful! And I have to admit, the dunes, the glow of the sand in the sun, the shifting sands—it all looked larger than life and almost never ending! In short, it was epic.
Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand
There’s a reason the Coromandel Peninsula and its Cathedral Cove have been used for movies like Chronicles of Narnia, and that reason is the other-worldly beauty. The Coromandel Peninsula boasts beautiful hiking, hot water beaches, and striking views that will make you want to stop and stare.
South Island, New Zealand
We took an 8-day road trip around New Zealand’s South Island, and just when we thought it couldn’t get more beautiful, more epic, or more unbelievable… it did. From incredible rock formations to snow-capped mountains to lakes with snaking shorelines, from fjords to glaciers to penguins and kiwis, the South Island was one of the most memorable, most epic places we’ve ever visited.
Switzerland is quite possibly one of the most scenic countries in Europe, and perhaps the world, but Zermatt is home to one of the world’s most iconic natural landmarks. The Matterhorn is not the tallest alp, but its crooked peak makes it one of the most unique and recognizable. We went during one of the snowiest winters on record (they actually closed the entire town before we arrived and again after we left!), but that only made the experience even more epic!
Read on: Snow Hiking in the Alps
Tumon Bay, Guam, USA
Guam is spectacularly beautiful, but its popular Tumon Bay is unlike anywhere else we’ve ever been. The water is incredibly clear. The coral close to the surface for several yards from the shoreline, which is what gives the water that gorgeous aquamarine color! The sand is soft and light golden here, adding to the clarity of the water above it. Take a look!
Read on: 10 Things to Do at Tumon Bay
Need more travel inspiration? Check out my Travel Tips Page!
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