Welcome to Travel Notes & Beyond, a collection of travel stories, photos and personal opinions focusing on less known travel destinations. This is where you can also learn about culture, history, food and more, and hopefully get inspired, informed and engaged. I am a Romanian-born award-winning travel writer and passionate photographer living in Southern California. Growing up, Read More
The world is filled with so many spectacular places that one lifetime would not be enough to visit all of them. Most of us will probably never be able to visit everything that this world has to offer, but it’s worth trying. If at least we can brag about seeing the some famous sites, we can consider ourselves more fortunate than 75% of the world population. Visiting these spectacular places can be a deeply moving and valuable experience. So get your bucket lists ready because here are 10 of the most spectacular places on our planet:
1. Great Barrier RiffIt is for a good reason that the Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the seven wanders of the world. It is the largest individual formation created by living organisms and supports one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The Great Barrier Reef includes over 900 islands and 2,900 separate reefs. The best way to experience the Great Barrier Reef and see some of the most vibrant fish, coral and marine life, is through the lens of an underwater mask, either by snorkeling or scuba diving.
2. NaPali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
Kawai’s Na Pali coast looks almost surreal. It is arguably the most amazing confluence of land and sea on earth: cascading waterfalls, sheer cliffs and water worn inlets. Na Pali can be hiked, seen from a helicopter, or from the boat. In my opinion, boating and hiking are the best ways to explore this 15-mile long pristine coast.
3. Grand Canyon, Arizona
Vast, magnificent and inarguably beautiful, the Grand Canyon is by far Arizona’s most recognizable landmark – and a natural wonder that you simply have to see. Measuring roughly 277 miles long and 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon offers plenty of outdoor activities for adventure junkies. From hiking, to zip-lining, horseback riding and whitewater rafting on the Colorado River you can do almost everything.
4. Ifuazú Falls, Argentina
There are not many things you’ll ever see that will make your jaw drop and your heart skip a beat, but the mighty falls of Iguazú is one of them. It is indeed beautiful, amazing and immense. “My poor Niagara!” said Eleanor Roosevelt when she first saw the waterfall. And that’s exactly the thought that comes to your mind when you first see the mighty falls of Iguazú.
5. Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Banff is like Paradise. But is Paradise? Did anybody ever see it? Most likely not, but fur us humans Paradise is the epitome of perfection, a place where you can find beauty and peace, where you instantly forget about your busy life and daily worries, a place where you can connect with your inner self, or with a higher power in the Universe. Such is the setting of Banff, Canada’s oldest national park in the Rocky Mountains.
6. Jungfraujoch, Switzerland
The Top of Europe, as it is also called, stands tall in the Bernese Alps at an elevation of 3,466 meters. No matter how impressive Jungfraujoch looks from a distance, it doesn’t compare to the feeling you get when you step out unto the viewing platform of the Sphinx Observatory, at 3,500 meters altitude. Standing amidst this world of glaciers and everlasting snow makes your heart skip a beat.
7. Yosemite National Park, California
National parks are by definition very beautiful places and each one of them is truly unique, but Yosemite is by far the most impressive one that I have ever seen. One of the best ways to experience Yosemite is by taking a hike. With over 750 miles of trails to explore, your options are endless!
8. Misty Fjords National Monument in Alaka
Alaska is one of those places that will blow your mind away. Everywhere you look there’s beauty. There is majesty, yet humbleness. There is mystery, yet serenity. Exploring the pristine Misty Fjords is a one-of-a-kind experience: huge granite cliffs rising straight up from the sea and the sheer beauty of the area around.
9. Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como is one of those places that seems surreal. A perfect mix of scenery, culture and seduction. Quaint villages, elegant villas and snow-capped mountains. It is hard not to fall in love with it.
10. Havasupai Canyon Waterfalls, Arizona
Hidden in the Grand Canyon and difficult to reach, this gorgeous spot is for those who can ride a horse or enjoy hiking of 8 miles or more. The Havasupai Reservation can be reached only by horse or by foot. The area consists of a plateau dissected with deep, scenic canyons and turquoise waters. The color of the water is the result of having been stored underground – in limestone caverns or aquifers for thousands of years.
Since beauty is so subjective, what makes a city attractive? Is it architecture, landmarks, cultural life? If you traveled long enough you probably discovered that the world is full of boring, colorless and uninspiring cities. And yet there are so many captivating ones that will steal your heart and lure you back on and on. For world travelers it’s easy to recognize a spectacular city. They are colorful and energetic They have beautiful squares and enough little backstreets where you can feel cozy.They are big and yet compact and orderly. They are diverse and have great cultural centers. And most importantly, they have very distinct personalities that can’t be replicated anywhere else. With so many remarkable European cities it’s easy to put together long lists of must-sees, but there will always be stunning places that get cut from lists like this. With that in mind, here are 10 fascinating European cities that you should visit at least once in your lifetime:
1. Florence, Italy
It’s easy to fall in love with Florence, the home of the Renaissance and the birthplace of our modern world. Its great history, magical gardens and abundance of art will steal your heart right away. Florence is home to more than one million works of Renaissance (among them Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus), as well as some of the world’s most famous attractions, including the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, and the Piazza della Signoria. The city is also the birthplace of fashion brands like Gucci, Pucci, and Roberto Cavalli. Return time and again and you still won’t see it all. Read More
On the island of Djurgården, just a short 30-minute walk from Stockholm’s city center, lies one of the world’s oldest open-air museums. Skansen was Arthur Hazelius’s dream to show the way of life in Sweden before the industrial era. Between 1833 and 1901 he purchased 150 historical Swedish buildings and relocated them to Stockholm’s Djurgården Island.
The buildings came from all over Sweden and were carefully reconstructed to give visitors a good idea of how people used to live some centuries ago. You can see a full range of Swedish life from a manor house to a farm, a glass blowing shop, a Read More