The Most Beautiful Places In The World (by Forbes)
The Lau Archipelago, Fiji : "Most people define beauty by sunsets. In this incredible group of islands, it's the sunrises as well," notes Greenberg of this remote collection of 50-plus atolls and islands located 200 miles from the mainland of Fiji. The region sees few tourists, but those who make it are rewarded with a mind-blowing array of marine life and a gentle, carefree vibe. "No phones, no Blackberries, no TVs—just the intoxicating sounds of a cappella harmonies sung by the islanders each morning and each evening,"
Fjordlands National Park, South Island, New Zealand : Says Patricia Schultz: "Think fjords, and one usually thinks Norway, or even Chile. But visit Milford Sound—one of the 15 fjords that make up New Zealand's largest national park—and you'll see why Rudyard Kipling claimed it as the Eighth Wonder of the World." Both North and South Islands stood in for Middle Earth during the filming of Tolkien's Lord of the Ring series. Watch the movie and you'll find an impressive array of landscape ranging from snow-capped mountain ranges to vast marshes. The South Island is the less inhabited of the country's two islands, meaning lots more open areas of astonishing beauty to yourself.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil "Rio is possibly the most beautifully sited city on the globe," Schultz says. "Head up to the statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado for a take-your-breath-away view of la Cidade Maravilhosa (the Marvelous City). It is a unique city in many ways—where nature collides with a thrumming metropolis, the elegant with the seedy, and the rich with the poor." The spot's proximity to the water makes for arresting views.
City by the beachside- Rio De Janerio
Midway Island Located about halfway between the United States and Asia, this stunning atoll is a U.S. territory known for the Battle of Midway, which played a major role in World War II; today it's home to massive albatross population, and is a designated National Wildlife Refuge. "History lives here," says Greenberg. "The site of the most decisive naval battle in world history, Midway is where I go to think, to write without interruption. If you're looking for footprints in the sand, just look behind you, because the only ones are the ones you made."
Okavango Delta, Botswana "A tributary of the mighty Zambezi, the Okavango River creates a unique 'water in the desert' ecosystem - considered the world's largest inland oasis and a magnet for wildlife," notes Schultz. "Explore it by dug-out canoe (makoros), jeep, by foot or on elephant-back—a safari here promises birdlife second to none." Add to that: legions of elephants, zebras, buffaloes, giraffes and hippos.
Bordeaux, France "Truly a beautiful location, and a wine connoisseur's delight," says Friedman of this historic and fertile region. It's studded with more than 7,000 wineries and bursts with sweeping vineyards, mighty rivers, gorgeous beaches and picturesque villages and the stunning city itself, which has earned Bordeaux a place in the collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mount Everest, Nepal "Mount Everest is perhaps nature's most magnificent creation – certainly it is the raison d'etre in the climbing world," offer the travel planners at Geographic Expeditions. Part of the Mahalangur Himal—a link in the Himalayan chain—Everest, soaring to 26,035 feet, is the highest mountain on Earth. "The Tibetan word for Everest is Chomolungma, which means 'Mother of the Universe,' and the Nepalese, Sagarmatha means 'Goddess of the Sky.' Both are perfectly fitting, as there is no other mountain as grand as Everest." Friedman of Unique Travel also has a soft spot for Everest—along with Himal Chuli, Manaslu, Pabil and the many other peaks dominating the spectacular views from Kathmandu. "Looking out at some of the tallest mountains in the world," he says, "you ponder the reality of how small we truly are."
Fire Island, New York "This might seem a surprising choice, but imagine a 32-mile long barrier island—and National Seashore—just 50 miles east of Manhattan. No cars, just bicycles and wagons and bare feet. Fire Island is the Hamptons without the attitude," says Greenberg, who has lived there, at least part-time, since infanthood. Accessible via ferry, the island is home to 17 different resort communities, a massive white-tailed deer population, plus extraordinary stretches of sand dune–edged beaches. "It is a place I return to every year in April, May, June, and again in September (the most magical month), where I can relive my youth, my freedom and my innocence."
Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile "Looking across the lake from the Explora Lodge you see one of the most magnificent mountainscapes in the world," says Friedman, citing his favorite spot from which to take in this, one of the newest and grandest parks in South America, and a UNESCO World Heritage Reserve. The 598,000-acre park, tucked at the far south end of the Andes, offers stunning mix of landscapes and fauna, making it a gem. Say the folks at Geographic Expeditions (who had it on their shortlist, too): "Paine's unique physical attributes of glaciers, lakes, gnarled Magellanic trees, and dramatic mountains offer some of the most awe-inspiring hiking in the world."
the Shangri-La Boracay in the Philippines. To reach the 219-room, 36-villa exotic wonderland with 3,800 feet of secluded beach, guests must first fly into Manila, then take a hopper flight 45 minutes south to Caticlan airport, from where another 30 minutes of land and sea transfers launch. Once you hit the sand, however, the Boracay enclave sets out to envelop you in 5-star luxury with one of the Philippines' largest free-form swimming pools, activity pavilions, and the peace of a surrounding nature preserve.
The Shangri-La Boracay Island resort in the Philippines. To reach the 219-room, 36-villa exotic wonderland with 3,800 feet of secluded beach, guests must first fly into Manila, then take a hopper flight 45 minutes south to Caticlan airport, from where another 30 minutes of land and sea transfers launch. Once you hit the sand, however, the Boracay enclave sets out to envelop you in 5-star luxury with one of the Philippines' largest free-form swimming pools, activity pavilions, and the peace of a surrounding nature preserve.
Scenic Tuscany countryside of Italy
Beautiful Sunflower fields of Tuscany