Some say Molokai is what the Hawaiian Islands looked like 50 years ago; others say this is what the world should strive to look like in the future. Untouched by mass development, this 10-mile-wide island has over a hundred miles of shoreline, hidden waterfalls, ancient ruins, and the proud native heritage of Hawaii. What it doesn’t have? Even a single traffic light.
Mount Roraima, Venezuela
Early European explorers declared Mount Roraima – an ancient anvil-shaped peak rising out of the rain forest where Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela meet – inaccessible. But climb it you can, and the reward from the top is thick clouds parting to reveal a panorama of other mesas and savanna pastures.
Jasper National Park,
The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is wild in every sense of the word. The striking cornflower blue water of the Athabasca River runs through this stretch of wilderness in far western Alberta, carving a path between rugged canyons and inviting explorers, hikers, and photographers.
Engadine Valley, Switzerland
The special ‘diamond dust light’ of the mighty Engadine Valley has been drawing visitors to this part of Switzerland for more than three centuries. The dazzling atmospheric display is created on cold winter days by innumerable many-faceted ice crystals lingering in the atmosphere and glittering in the sun. A snow-covered St. Moritz, pictured here, sparkles in the winter.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
Tucked away at the bottom of a mountain-enclosed inlet, a grass-roofed village occupies a mystical, moody realm in Denmark’s Faroe Islands. This island, Streymoy, is just one of 18 that make up the windblown and remote archipelago that sits about 200 miles off the coast of Scotland.
Eerie blue ‘stars’ light up a cave known as the Glowworm Grotto along the Waitomo River on New Zealand’s North Island. A tourist attraction since the 1880s, the grotto and other caves remain a source of wonderment for visitors. The otherworldly glow comes from larval fungus gnats found only in parts of New Zealand and Australia.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
A parade of dramatic rocks marches through Utah’s Canyonlands, where you can view the entire park as one dramatic sculpture. It’s a three-dimensional playground of smooth rock, twin rivers, narrow canyons, wildflower gardens, hidden meadows, and otherworldly colours.
Bohol Island Chocolate Hills, Philippines
The conical Chocolate Hills of Bohol Island in the Philippines are a mystery of nature. The estimated 1,776 grass-covered, coral limestone karst domes are nearly uniform in shape. And though lush foliage paints the mounds a vibrant green much of the year, in the driest months the rain-starved landscape resembles row after row of giant chocolate drops.
Davit Gareja Caves, Georgia
High in the cliffs of eastern Georgia’s rugged and remote border with Azerbaijan, Davit Gareja is a complex of 19 medieval cave monasteries. Considered masterpieces of Georgian art, the caves once housed nearly 5,000 monk cells. One cave is still functioning as a monastery, and monks can sometimes be heard chanting in the eerie silence of the deserted steppe.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Deep in central Croatia’s dark, primordial Dinaric Alps, water and rock create the shimmering ‘land of the falling lakes’, as Plitvice National Park is known. A network of trails and wooden boardwalks entices more than a million visitors a year to explore waterfalls, streams, caves, and interconnected lakes.