There is widespread propaganda in the world that portrays the world as risky and dangerous. As travelers are all aware, this is far from the reality of cultures and places waiting to be explored out there. The world is open and hospitable.
Our world is filled with beautiful sights, charming villages, majestic waterfalls, scenic beaches, and ancient castles that look like they came out of a fairy tale. Places capable of captivating and inspiring even the greatest minds of writers and directors. So, if you’re ever traveling around the world thinking that a place looks too good to belong to this world and it looks like it came from a fairy tale, chances are, it probably did.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan
Arashiyama has many attractions, like the Togetsukye Bridge, small restaurants, and small shops, as well as bamboo groves and pleasure boats. It is most attractive in the beginning of April and in the middle of November with fall colors and cherry blossoms. December boasts lantern illumination with street lights.
The main street of Arashiyama, along with the famed Togetsu-kyo Bridge, which form the heart of Arashiyama, is nothing but a tourist circus. But, don’t despair. As quickly as you can, walk upriver to Kameyama-koen Park, or into Tenryu-ji Temple and on into the Bamboo Grove.
Kata Tjuta, Australia’s Red Centre
Australia’s Red Centre is home to natural wonder and cultural landmark, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). Hike around the soaring rock domes, which glow at sunrise and sunset. Located approximately 25 miles west of Uluru, the ochre-colored shapes are an intriguing and mesmerizing sight.
Choose from a number of walking trails that range from easy strolls to longer, more difficult tracks. At the end of the short walk to the Kata Tjuta dune viewing area you can sit and take in the magnificent panoramic view of the domes.
As the world’s only pedestrian city, Venice, Italy, is a charming and ancient canal-based archipelago on the country’s Northeastern coast. The grand displays of city wealth are found in everything from the architecture and massive palaces, to the art museums and waterfront osteries cooking up a gourmet feast on a single burner. Old world Italy is still quite intact in Venice, but the Venetians haven’t turned a blind eye to modernity either. Their dress boutiques are filled with bohemian-chic forward fashions and galleries with blown glass and contemporary paintings. Upon first arriving, one may think that Venice was built just for them.
Azores Islands, Portugal
This archipelago consists of nine volcanic islands, each offering an entirely different look and feel, but all with the same common thread of an unspoiled paradise newly discovered. The natural landscape is breathtaking and just when you think it couldn’t be more magical, you discover another awe-inspiring secret garden blanketed with wild birds or a lake so green, it looks hand painted by God himself. Spending time in the Azores is like no where I’ve ever experienced: a place so dreamy, one can’t help but feel overwhelmingly inspired and deeply connected.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
Venezuela overflows with natural wonders, including the world’s highest waterfall—the 3,200-foot cascades of Angel Falls, located in the UNESCO-protected Canaima National Park. Canaima is by far the country’s most popular attraction, and the falls stretch an astounding 19 times higher than Niagara Falls. Bonus: Pixar animators used the location as inspiration for Paradise Falls in Up — so you know it’s good.
Visiting the ancient city of Bagan is about the sunrises and sunsets. There are 2,000 temples and pagodas and a marvel of colors over the amazing landscape. Bagan was once the capital of the kingdom between the ninth and thirteenth centuries where there were more than 10,000 temples, monasteries, and pagodas.
Bagan is famous for its thousands of old pagodas and stupas stretching into the horizon. Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to the 13th centuries, a period in which some 50 Buddhist kings ruled the Pagan Dynasty. During that time, more than 10,000 temples were built on the plains surrounding the capital next to the Irrawaddy River. Now over 2000 monuments of various sizes remain, in varying states of repair.
In 2019 UNESCO inscribed Myanmar’s ancient capital of Bagan as a World Heritage Site, nearly a quarter of a century after the complex of Buddhist temples was first nominated for listing.
At the top of a mountain, enormous and imposing stone blocks joined without using mortar were combined to create one of the most important religious, political and cultural centers of the Inca empire: Machu Picchu.
Revealed to the world in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, this Inca city is divided into two large sectors: the agricultural sector, with an extensive network of terraces; and the urban sector, with fine structures including the Sun Temple. The intensely green terraces and the imposing mountains surrounding the site combine to create a stunning landscape which surpasses visitors’ expectations. Machu Picchu is a World Heritage Site and the pride of Peru.
For information on traveling specifically in the UK, refer to this article. There you’ll find details on the best modes of transportation, including chauffeur services and trains.