Illinois Tourism & Travel

Crazy About Travel

Travel writers pick the most beautiful places on earth

You’ve got seen the pics: The Eiffel Tower with sky ablaze in fantastic coloration. The Taj Mahal with no vacationers. Lakes with perfectly mirrored mountain reflections. 

However, the photographs often have been doctored. Quite a few sites cannot dwell up to the expectations set by pictures that has been stuffed, brushed, blurred, and balanced to a flawless complete. It can go away vacationers emotion upset when they see renowned sites in serious lifetime.

But the splendor of some spots can not be thoroughly captured in a photograph — edited or not. Listed here, CNBC Travel contributors detect the locations that vastly exceeded their expectations.

The stillness of Iceland and Siberia

Iceland is just one of the few countries that looks improved in authentic existence than in postcards. Its attractiveness is unearthly. A stroll along any of its coastlines is so picturesque, you anticipate a soundtrack to start at any moment.

Morgan Awyong on Lake Baikal in the Russian location of Siberia.

Courtesy of Morgan Awyong

Siberia’s Lake Baikal is also jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The region is so isolated that it is really nearly impossible to feel it could ever be touristy. As you stand on the lake’s marbled ice, time seems to sluggish — even stop.

—Morgan Awyong, Singapore

The lights of Paris

Artists have tried to seize the Parisian mild on canvas for generations. The Impressionists arrived closest, but however, no painter has very succeeded.

The most iconic pics of Paris are in black and white, which only won’t do the city’s loaded, creamy colours justice. 

—Christian Barker, Australia

The vastness of Patagonia, Chile

1 street lies in between the smaller Patagonian port city of Punta Arenas and the town of Puerto Natales. It truly is the path to the Torres del Paine Nationwide Park — a position of indescribable magnificence and grandeur.

The “torres,” or towers in English, are three granite peaks that are surrounded by snow-capped mountains and crystalline lakes and glaciers. There are few areas like it on the world.

Patagonia’s Torres del Paine Nationwide Park.

Courtesy of Kevin Cox

The park occupies just a little aspect of Patagonia, most of which is obtainable only to trekkers, climbers and adventurers. It spans Chile and Argentina in the place of South The united states recognised as the Southern Cone, which stretches to the literal conclude of the road, at the bottom of the continent.

It is attractive past evaluate. The pretty sight of it designed me want to conquer it in techniques I hadn’t expected — probably I could climb the mountains, paddle the fiords or traverse the glacier crevasses.

Then a frigid wind swept within my open up jacket, and I lunged back again into the sanctuary of my motor vehicle.

—Kevin Cox, United States

The diversity of Slovenia

For a nation the exact same dimension as Massachusetts, I was blown absent by the range and majesty of the landscapes in Slovenia. A combine of Balkan, Mediterranean and Alpine vistas and cuisines make it a certainly unforgettable escape.

Slovenia’s Lake Bled.

Courtesy of Chris Dwyer

The rolling, winery-lined hills on the Italian border, the sophisticated and eco-helpful capital town of Ljubljana, the excellent tranquility of Lake Bled, the snowy valleys in Triglav Countrywide Park and the heat waters together the Adriatic shoreline — the country surely punches way over its excess weight.

—Chris Dwyer, United Kingdom

The vitality of Sedona

With Sedona, no text or pictures do it justice. When I initially saw images of it, I desired to make my way there. When I lastly did in 2019, it was surreal, the natural beauty other-worldly. 

Sheryl Nance-Nash near the Arizona desert city of Sedona.

Courtesy of Sheryl Nance-Nash

A hike as a result of Purple Rock Point out Park, with its babbling creeks and woods, soothed my soul. The huge pink rocks are mysterious and majestic.

Superior even now is a go to to a single of the area’s vortexes, thought by some to be electricity fields. As I bought out of the vehicle and approached the mountains, I felt a vibration. Ability and peace thoroughly enveloped me the increased I climbed.

—Sheryl Nance-Nash, United States

The quiet of rural Japan

In my case, the images I consider hardly ever adequately seize nearly anything! But that is particularly the circumstance with the east coastline of Japan’s Tohoku region, the spot devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

I have been a number of occasions over the very last handful of years, traveling to the markets in the city of Hachinohe, taking boat outings in Yamada Bay and going for walks sections of the Michinoku Coastal Path. It truly is obtained a charming calmness coupled with rugged attractiveness. A image just won’t be able to express the experience of being there.

—Rob Goss, United Kingdom  

The island of Zamami is the second biggest of Japan’s Kerama Islands.

Courtesy of Duncan Forgan

In Thailand, the place I’m centered, we are spoiled for paradise-like islands. But a small crack to the Japanese island of Zamami — a short ferry experience from Naha, the cash of Okinawa — a lot more than exceeded my expectations.

Days put in mountaineering the island’s peaceful mountain paths have been followed by evenings scoffing seafood at great izakayas. And the shorelines? The crystalline waters of Zamami’s Furuzamami and Ama beaches are as spectacular as any I have ever witnessed. 

—Duncan Forgan, United Kingdom

The silence of southern Africa

I have constantly had a comfortable location for Africa. A canoeing safari down the Zambezi river reignited that appreciate.

On the many river islands, lush reeds swayed in the balmy breeze. The flapping of a white heron’s wings splashing drinking water in opposition to the canoe, and the all-consuming symphony of hippos were being the only appears heard for hrs. No mobile telephones, vehicle horns or human bickering disturbed the expertise — just silence, from time to time interrupted by the seems of character.

The place all around the Zambezi River is renowned for its substantial hippo, crocodile and elephant populations, claimed Petra Loho.

Courtesy of Petra Loho

When paddling down the mild drinking water, the daylight reflections on the blue ripples of the Zambezi River search like dancing diamonds. At sunset, the river takes on a smooth golden hue, which adjustments to brilliant orange in advance of deepening to loaded purple.  

—Petra Loho, Austria