Whether you’re ready to hike in or Instagram the moment, odds are you’ll enjoy experiencing the scenery at a new destination, especially if it’s different from back home. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder
1. Gower Peninsula: Swansea, Wale Crabbing, surfing, bicycling, walking and bird-watching are favorite pastimes on the beaches of the Gower Peninsula, one of Great Britain’s designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rhossili Bay’s white sand, saltwater and freshwater marshes, towering cliffs and sparkling blue water attract summer visitors in droves. Come at sunset to hear the gulls, blackcaps, warblers and gold crests, and stay to watch the stars rise over the quiet beach.
2. Vestrahorn: Iceland Nearly 1,500 feet tall, Vestrahorn mountain towers above a lagoon and black sand beach so dramatically that some travelers refer to it as Batman Mountain. Remoteness is one of the sight’s greatest assets, so expect to walk after driving to the Stokksnes peninsula to get the most stunning views. On sunny days, reflections in the water lapping on the black sand shore accentuate the unusual peaks.
3. The Pitons: Soufriere, St. Lucia These lush twin peaks rising straight from the Caribbean Sea are St. Lucia‘s most famous sights. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons Management Area, the Pitons feature fumaroles, hot springs, petroglyphs and ample wildlife-viewing opportunities. At 2,619 feet, Gros Piton is the taller and easier of the two to climb, though Petit Piton looks nearly identical in height when seen from the north.
4. Halong Bay: Vietnam While many agree that Halong Bay’s (also Ha Long Bay) more than 1,600 monsoon-eroded islands are beautiful and deserving of a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, others warn that six million annual cruisers are ruining the environment and ambiance. The best way to view the area’s upright karst formations is on a licensed three-day cruise. These excursions include time to explore the bay and some of its more remote islands before and after visitors from Hanoi arrive.