Photos of the Week: 5/2/2019: A wonderful collection of photos from CNN. It’s truly difficult to get a vote of the most beautiful places around the world, but, in celebration of Earth day, a week ago, This is what CNN thought would be their pick. What do you think?
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
China’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan Province is known for its towering sandstone pillars. Best explored on foot, its back trails make for an easy way to escape the crowds and find the best views. As the mists descend, it’s easy to see why this area has long been an inspiration for traditional Chinese paintings. Photo compliments of Getty Images
In the middle of the Arctic Ocean, between the North Pole and mainland Norway, the Svalbard Islands are the perfect destination for polar exploration. The thousands of polar bears make Svalbard one of the best places in the world to see these increasingly elusive creatures up close, while its dark wintry skies are regularly cloaked in the Northern Lights. Ride a snowmobile or take a husky ride across the monochrome snowscape. Photo by Getty Images
Lake District, UK
Dramatics mountains, moody weather and ancient lakes have all helped make the UNESCO-protected Lake District an inspiration for artists, dreamers and wanderers. Wordsworth and Coleridge’s poetry helped turn this stunning corner of England into a tourist hotspot, while the hand-drawn guide books and maps of rambler Alfred Wainwright have made it a Mecca for walkers and those looking to escape the bustle of the city. Photo by Shutterstock
Denali National Park, Alaska
Home to North America’s highest peak(20,320 feet), Denali National Park is one of the most tranquil places on Earth. Its six million acres of wild space make for the perfect escape, whether on a mountaineering adventure or a bus ride along the Denali Park Road. In September and October, look out for moose engaged in the annual “rut” — males battling for dominance, often in fights to the death. Grizzly bears can be seen throughout the year, too. Come in winter for a chance to catch sight of the Northern Lights. Photo by: Lance King / Getty Images
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
No river meander captures the imagination as much as Horseshoe Bend. Here, the Colorado river turns back on itself having spent thousands of years carving a route through the desert. Close to the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, it’s within easy walking distance of the nearest road, making it a breeze to grab a quick snap from the lookout above the outer edge of the bend. Photo by: Rhona Wise / AFP / Getty Images Samburu, Kenya
Thanks to its relative inaccessibility, Samburu, in the heart of Kenya, is a haven for some of Africa’s most beguiling wildlife. The grassland and acacia-dotted landscapes of its national reserve are home to the endangered reticulated giraffe and Grevy’s zebra, as well as the pioneering Elephant Watch Camp, run by conservationist Saba Douglas-Hamilton.
Mount Toubkal, Morocco
At 4,167 meters (13,671 feet), Mount Toubkal lays claim to the title of “the roof of North Africa.” The path to its summit zigzags across empty valleys, past holy shrines and up steep snowfields before emerging onto a ridge that falls away to give climbers unrivaled views across the Atlas Mountains. It’s a peaceful world away from the buzz of nearby Marrakech. Photo by Getty Images
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Its enduring popularity has made Ha Long Bay one of the hottest natural attractions in Southeast Asia. But that doesn’t stop it from being the most beautiful place in Vietnam. With 1,969 islets of hulking limestone and deep, green waters that are home to myriad floating villages, this is a place where time slows to a standstill. Sail on a junk boat or pick up a kayak, and get lost in the quieter reaches of this vast and fascinating corner of the South China Sea. Rotorua, New Zealand
With its otherworldly landscapes and close connections to native Maori culture, Rotorua is New Zealand’s crowning glory. Hot Water Beach, on the shores of Lake Tarawara, is the ideal place for a dip in the geothermal-heated waters. Hike through 60-meter-high California Redwoods in Whakarewarewa Forest and catch sight of the region’s lakes, the kind of view that feels as if it can never be matched when you’re taking it all in.
Kata Tjuta, Australia
Formerly known as the Olgas, Kata Tjuta, in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, is one of the most sacred sites in Aboriginal culture. The Anandu people, who have lived here for over 22,000 years, manage the land with Australian park authorities. The site’s stone domes are best explored as the light changes at sunrise and sunset — dedicated tours led by Anandu people explain the significance of the “Many Heads” and their place in their traditional myths, known as Dreamtime tales.
Atacama Desert, Chile
With the clearest skies on the planet, Chile’s Atacama Desert is the ultimate destination for stargazing. It’s earth’s driest desert, meaning cloud cover is nonexistent, so even without a telescope, you’ll get views of the night sky that’ll take your breath away. The landscape is stunning, too, with deep craters and smoldering volcanoes visible on the horizon as the sun goes down.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica
Shrouded in near permanent cloud, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica is the most magical corner of this tiny, biodiverse country. Its muggy, damp environment is a haven for a truly astonishing array of birds, big cats and insects. Keep a keen eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of Earth’s most beautiful birds. The winding trails through lush undergrowth make it easy to explore, too.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
The glistening blue water. The soaring backdrop of the Julian Alps. The famous church perched on an island at its center. It’s no surprise that Lake Bled has developed into one of the hottest destinations in Europe in recent years. That means big crowds in summer, but don’t be put off. Ripe for hiking and swimming adventures, this is a corner of Slovenia that demands to be explored.
Perched on Italy’s gorgeous Amalfi Coast, Positano is one of the most beautiful villages in Europe. Known for its killer boutiques and waterside restaurants, not to mention the Byzantine Church of Maria Assunta, it makes for the perfect summer getaway. Make sure to appreciate its full form by taking a boat out from the pebble beach for excellent sunset views
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