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Travel writers pick the most beautiful places on earth


You have seen the photos: The Eiffel Tower lit up in bright colors. There are no tourists at the Taj Mahal. Lakes that have perfectly mirrored mountains reflections. 

The photos are often altered. Photographs that have been filled, blurred or blurred can make it difficult for many places to live up to their expectations. This can make travelers feel dissatisfied when they view the photos. famous sites in real life

But the splendor of some places can’t be fully captured in a photo — edited or not. CNBC Travel’s contributors identified destinations that exceeded their expectations.

Siberia’s stillness and Iceland’s.

Iceland is one the rare countries where it looks even better than what you see on postcards. The beauty of Iceland is extraordinary. Its beauty is unsurpassed.

Morgan Awyong at Lake Baikal, Russian Siberia.

Morgan Awyong

Also, the stunning Siberia Lake Baikal is jaw-dropping. It’s almost impossible to imagine that this area could be ever touristy. As you stand upon the lake’s marbled ice, time seems to slow — even stop.

—Morgan Awyong, Singapore

Paris’ lights

For centuries, artists have tried to recreate the Parisian light onto canvas. The Impressionists got there closest but no artist has ever succeeded.

Paris is best known for its iconic black and white photos. This doesn’t reflect the city’s vibrant, rich colors. 

—Christian Barker, Australia

Chile, Patagonia and the vastness of Chile

There is only one road between Punta Arenas, a small Patagonian city and Puerto Natales. It’s the path to the Torres del Paine National Park — a place of indescribable beauty and grandeur.

The towers, also known as the “torres” in English are three granite peaks which are set among snow-capped mountains, crystalline lakes, and glaciers. This is a rare place on earth.

Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park.

Kevin Cox

It is located in a small part of Patagonia and can only be accessed by trekkers, climbers, and adventurers. It spans Chile, Argentina, in an area of South America called the Southern Cone. This is the end of the road at the very bottom of South America.

It is breathtaking. The very sight of it made me want to conquer it in ways I hadn’t anticipated — maybe I CouldClimb the mountains, kayak the fiords and traverse the glacier crevasses.

Then, I felt a chill in my skin and jumped back into my car.

—Kevin Cox, United States

Slovenia is diverse

I was amazed at the beauty and grandeur of Slovenia’s landscapes, even though it is a small country. The combination of Mediterranean, Balkan, and Alpine views as well as the diverse cuisines makes it an unforgettable escape.

Slovenia’s Lake Bled

Chris Dwyer

The rolling, vineyard-covered hills on the Italian border, the elegant and eco-friendly capital city of Ljubljana, the perfect tranquility of Lake Bled, the snowy valleys in Triglav National Park and the warm waters along the Adriatic coastline — the nation definitely punches way above its weight.

—Chris Dwyer, United Kingdom

Sedona is full of energy

Sedona cannot be captured in pictures or words. The first photos I saw of Sedona made me want to visit it. It was amazing, and the beauty of it was beyond my imagination. 

Sheryl Nance-Nash, near Sedona in Arizona.

Sheryl Nance-Nash

Red Rock State Park’s babbling streams and forests soothed me. These massive, majestic red rocks make for a fascinating and beautiful backdrop.

Even better is to visit one of the Vortexes located in the vicinity, thought to be energy fields. A vibration came over me as I walked towards the mountains from my car. As I rose higher up the mountain, power and peace enveloped my body.

—Sheryl Nance-Nash, United States

Rural Japan is tranquil

The photos that I take don’t capture the right details in my situation. The Tohoku Region’s east coast, where the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 devastated the region, is a perfect example.

Over the years I have been there several times, including visiting Hachinohe’s markets, going on boat rides in Yamada Bay, and taking part in walking portions of the Michinoku Coastal Trail. The place has a beautiful calmness and rugged beauty. It’s hard to capture the experience of being there in a photo.

—Rob Goss, United Kingdom  

Zamami, Japan’s second-largest Kerama Island is located in Japan.

Duncan Forgan

Thailand is home to many paradise-like islands. But a short break to the Japanese island of Zamami — a short ferry ride from Naha, the capital of Okinawa — more than exceeded my expectations.

The island was a paradise for those who love to hike its quiet mountain trails. They also enjoy the evenings spent at the excellent izakayas, enjoying delicious seafood. The beaches! These beaches at Zamami’s Furuzamami, Ama and Zamami are spectacular. 

—Duncan Forgan, United Kingdom

Southern Africa’s silence

Africa has always been a favorite of mine. This love was rekindled by a canoeing trip down the Zambezi River.

In the warm breeze, the lush reeds danced on numerous river islands. For hours, the sounds of the water splashing against the canoe from a white heron and the soaring of hippos was all that could be heard. No cell phones, car horns or human bickering disturbed the experience — just silence, occasionally interrupted by the sounds of nature.

Petra Loho stated that the Zambezi River area is well-known for having large populations of elephants, crocodiles, and hippo.

Petra Loho

Paddling along the smooth water makes the sun’s reflections look like dancing diamants as you paddle down. The river changes from a light golden hue to a bright orange at sunset before turning to a rich purple.  

—Petra Loho, Austria