Photograph by Kacper Kowalski, Panos Pictures
Fall colors blaze out in concentric rings from a lake in eastern Pomerania, Poland. The region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea is largely covered with farmland—and vast swaths of forest.
Metropol Parasol, Seville
Photograph by Dorothea Schmid, laif/Redux
The Metropol Parasol at the Plaza de la Encarnacíon in Seville, Spain, is the largest wooden structure in the world. Completed in 2011, the multifunctional landmark—home to a museum, restaurants and bars, and a farmers market—offers shade below and panoramic views from up top.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Photograph by Agnieszka Rayss, Anzenberger/Redux
Drinks blend with the landscape during a summer solstice midnight party in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Marking the beginning of the season, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, falling on June 20 or 21.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Photograph by Kevin Gorton, National Geographic Your Shot
The northern lights glow over the Lofoten Islands in this picture taken by Your Shot community member Kevin Gorton for our Travelogue assignment. “I shot this image of the aurora on my first trip to Arctic Norway in March 2013; a truly stunning place and the chance to see the aurora makes it irresistible,” he says. “Witnessing the aurora is so special and surreal.”
The Lofoten Islands, in Norway’s far north, are a peninsula-like chain of wild, craggy shards jutting into the Norwegian Sea above the Arctic Circle.
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Photograph by Ian Cumming, Corbis
Framed by the branches of baobab trees, safari jeeps stir up dust at sunset in northern Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park. Dry season in the thousand-square-mile park brings an array of wildlife—including dense elephant herds—drawn to the perennial Tarangire River.
Arctic Fox, Canada
Photograph by Norbert Rosing, National Geographic
Before dawn, a brilliant full moon illuminates the snowy landscape of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, home to an arctic fox. The fox’s coat changes color with the seasons; as the snow melts it begins to turn grayish brown.
Dead Sea, Israel
Photograph by George Steinmetz, National Geographic
Swimmers float effortlessly in the salt-laden waters of the Dead Sea near Ein Bokek, Israel. Ten times saltier than seawater, the lake is extremely buoyant and a popular destination for holidaymakers. It’s also Earth’s lowest point on land.
Mumbai Train Station
Photograph by Vivek Prakash, Reuters
A colorful sea of commuters flows through the Churchgate railway station in Mumbai, India. A melting pot of religions and cultures, Mumbai is India’s economic powerhouse and its most cosmopolitan metropolis.
Photograph by Gabriele Forzano, Reuters
A rare snow shower falls on Rome’s Colosseum, built 2,000 years ago to host gladiator duels, battle reenactments, and other public spectacles. Today the 50,000-seat amphitheater serves Rome in another capacity: as a major tourist attraction.
Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia
Photograph by Heiko Meyer, laif/Redux
Earth and sky are indistinguishable on the Salar de Uyuni, a vast salt flat in southwest Bolivia. A great lake covered this area 16,000 years ago. When it dried up, it left a 4,000-square-mile basin of salt, the world’s largest such deposit. It’s also one of Earth’s flattest places—relief varies by less than 16 inches.
Coral Reef, Maldives
Photograph by WaterFrame/Alamy
Sea anemones, anemonefish, and corals create a Technicolor scene at Ari Atoll in the Maldives. Cast across the Indian Ocean, the Asian nation consists of 16 major atolls, each a ring of reefs around a lagoon.
Photograph by Pronob Ghosh, National Geographic Your Shot
A Bangladeshi fisherman flings open a traditional blue net to catch tiny shrimp. His village, Gabura, is in southwestern Bangladesh and has been studied for the effects of climate change.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Photograph by LOOK/Alamy
The observation deck at the Burj Khalifa—the tallest building in the world at 2,716.5 feet—offers a panoramic view of the flat desert shores of sea-level Dubai. The building took seven years to build and holds a number of other records, including most number of stories, highest outdoor observation deck, and tallest service elevator.
Photograph by Cory Richards, National Geographic
A camp on Pumori offers a stunning view of neighboring Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth at 29,029 feet. Before being named Mount Everest by the British in 1865, the mountain had gone by many names in many languages over the centuries. Tibetans call it Chomolungma, often translated as “mother of the universe.”
Sala Regia, Vatican City
Photograph by Victor Boswell, National Geographic
Swiss Guards greet with salutes in the Sala Regia, a hall adjacent to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Also known as the Holy See, Vatican City is the world’s least populous country, located entirely within the city of Rome.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Photograph by Chris Rainier, National Geographic
Water rushes over Horseshoe Falls, one of the three falls that make up world-famous Niagara Falls. The waterfalls straddle the border between Canada and the United States; Horseshoe is on the Canadian side, in the province of Ontario. Every 60 seconds, six million cubic feet of water rushes over the falls—enough water to fill a million bathtubs each minute.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
Photograph by Richard Barnes, National Geographic
The Wave is the most famous landform in Arizona’s Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, a little-known 300,000 acres of rugged terrain. Flash floods carved this passage through petrified sand dunes, exposing the iron-rich bands.
Mother Tree, Russia
Photograph by Justin Jin, Redux
Symbol of eternity, a “mother tree” overlooking frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia is wrapped in cloth offerings. Pilgrims from throughout Central Asia come to trees like this one to offer tea, milk, vodka, and candy and to adorn them with the ceremonial scarves, called khadag.
Rio Celeste Waterfall, Tenorio Volcano National Park
Photograph by Tobias Hauser, laif/Redux
A Celeste River waterfall plunges into a blue pool in Tenorio Volcano National Park, a verdant oasis in northern Costa Rica. The river’s blue hue comes from volcanic sulfur and calcium carbonate.
Cherry Blossoms, Japan
Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, National Geographic
In Japan the nighttime viewing of cherry blossoms in spring, like these at Kyoto’s Hirano Shrine, is a special event. “The cherries’ only fault: the crowds that gather when they bloom,” wrote Saigyo, a 12th-century poet.
This photo appeared in the March 2013 National Geographic feature story, “Night Gardens.”
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Photograph by Jim Richardson, National Geographic
The craggy Cliffs of Moher wrap around the western coast of County Clare, providing a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean. The rocky cliffs reach 702 feet at their highest point and stretch nearly five miles across.
Lake Mckenzie, Australia
Photograph by Peter Harrison, Getty Images
Sugar white sand and windowpane water attract sunbathers to Lake McKenzie, one of dozens of lakes on Fraser Island in Queensland. The island is a big sandbar, more than 75 miles long, with dunes that can top 800 feet.
Vancouver Island, Canada
Photograph by Bronwyn Proven, Your Shot
The coastal rain forests of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, cast a spell on a visitor. “In the winter, everything is so misty and ethereal it feels like you’re in a different world,” photographer Bronwyn Proven says. “The island is like fairy country. It lulls you with its beauty, and once you’ve spent a few winters, it’s almost impossible to leave.”
Charles Bridge, Prague
Photograph by Profimedia, Alamy
Thirty baroque statues line Charles Bridge, a stone marvel that spans the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic. Construction of the bridge began in 1357 under King Charles IV.
Photograph by Tina Thuell, Your Shot
A herd of Icelandic horses crosses Lake Hóp in northern Iceland. This hardy breed of horse was developed on the island country for farmwork. The animals, smaller than most horse breeds, are also shown and raced.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Photograph by Aaron Reed, Tandem
Spanning the Golden Gate Strait—the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean—the world famous Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County to the north. The bridge first opened to traffic in 1937, and for nearly 30 years, its 4,200-foot-long suspension span was the longest in the world.
Photograph by Johnny Haglund, Your Shot
Basket umbrellas help keep women somewhat dry as they work in flooded fields in Mawsynram, India. An annual rainfall of more than 467 inches gives Mawsynram the title of “wettest place on Earth.”
Lake Mývatn, Iceland
Photograph by Jonas Bendiksen, National Geographic
“Pseudo craters” mark the land surrounding Lake Mývatn in Iceland. The southern part of the lake rests on a lava flow that was emitted 2,000 years ago. The pseudo craters are continually formed as water trapped beneath the Earth’s surface turns to steam and explodes through the layer above.
Lake Turkana, Kenya
Photograph by John Warburton-Lee Photography, Aurora
Men still fish with traditional handwoven nets along the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya’s northwest corner. The largest desert lake in the world, Turkana is an important stopping ground for migratory birds, and a breeding spot for hippos and Nile crocodiles, among other animals.
Photograph by Cheng Niu
Great Smoky Mountains is known for its synchronous fireflies each early summer. This year I spent three consecutive nights in early June staying in the mountain area trying to capture this phenomenon. I was so lucky to witness a spectacular light show on an actual rainstorm night. I left my camera there for an 1.5-hour exposure. There were tens of thousands of fireflies dancing around using their light to paint the scene in front of me, and I was the only witness. They are amazing artists of Mother Nature.
This photo and caption were submitted to the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.
Marine Drive, Mumbai
Photograph by Aditya Waikul, Your Shot
A couple steals a moment on Marine Drive, Mumbai’s famous bayside boulevard. The C-shaped avenue runs for nearly three miles along the Arabian Sea, providing ample spots for skyline watching, sunbathing, and solitude.
Photograph by Sabino Parente, National Geographic Your Shot
A girl runs through the lanes of Chefchaouen, a city in northwestern Morocco that’s noted for its blue-washed buildings and homes. Situated at the tip of Morroco, Chefchaouen is a popular tourist destination, especially for Spaniards—who are just nine miles away.
Havasu Falls, Arizona
Photograph by Tim Fitzharris, Corbis
The twin streams of Havasu Falls splash down the Grand Canyon into a pool on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, which lies just outside the national park. The pool’s bright blue color comes from high levels of magnesium in the water.
Photograph by Mathieu Dupuis, Your Shot
Snow quiets Rue St. Paul in Vieux Montreal, the oldest section of Montreal. Shops and restaurants line the road, much of which is still cobblestone.
Photograph by Zak Noyle, ZUMA/Alamy
“Anywhere far away from my job!” That was Pablo Cardemil’s response when we asked our Facebook fans to share their favorite summer destinations. So our editors chose a place that’s likely to be a good distance from your job—no matter where you work.
Here, a surfer lives the dream near the village of Teahupo’o on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti. Go for the spectacle—only the most capable of surfers venture to catch Teahupo’o waves. When not admiring their attempts, go diving in a lagoon, shop in the 155-year-old public market in Papeete, or relax in a spa.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Photograph by Mario Weigt, Anzenberger/Redux
In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest metropolis, modern buildings surround a 19th-century mainstay. Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral was built by French colonists—with materials imported from France—between 1863 and 1880.
Photograph by Ondrej Zaruba
A chameleon walks among baobab trees in Madagascar.
This photo was submitted to the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.
Lake Portage, Alaska
Photograph by Doug Demarest, National Geographic
Skiers and their canine companion traverse Portage Lake in Chugach National Forest, Alaska. The lake abuts Portage Glacier and is a popular winter spot for skiing, hiking, and other icy activities.
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
Photograph by Luis Filipe Catarino, 4See/Redux
Pisa’s famous Leaning Tower is one component in a lovely ensemble of medieval buildings, the Campo dei Miracoli. Begun in 1173, the cathedral campanile started to lean almost immediately, the result of weak sandy subsoil underpinning its foundations.
Photograph by Ken McCurdy, Your Shot
A massive rock anchors a creek in Johnston Canyon, a popular spot in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. The park spans a region of unparalleled mountain scenery and encompasses Banff, the country’s highest town.
Gardens at Versailles, France
Photograph by Emmanuel Lattes, Alamy
Orange trees outline a formal garden at Versailles, once the epicenter of French royal power. The Versailles gardens took 40 years to complete; Louis XIV valued them as much as the palace. During the winter, the fruit trees are moved inside.
Atacama Desert, Chile
Photograph by Richard Nowitz, National Geographic
The Atacama Desert covers 600 miles from Peru’s southern border into northern Chile. At its center, a place climatologists call absolute desert, is the driest place on Earth. There are stretches where rain has never been measured.
Photograph by Fritz Hoffmann, National Geographic
A view from the 94th-floor observatory at the Shanghai World Financial Center hints at the density of the world’s most populous city. In the picture’s foreground is the Lujiazui financial district, home of two of the city’s landmark buildings: the Oriental Pearl TV and Radio Tower at right and the 88-story Jin Mao Tower at center.
Morro dos Prazeres, Rio de Janeiro
Photograph by Christian Franz Tragni, Redux
Boys play Brazil’s national pastime on a soccer field in the Morro des Prazeres favela in Rio de Janeiro. The spot overlooks Pão de Açúca, or Sugarloaf Mountain, and Guanabara Bay.
San Alfonso del Mar, Chile
Photograph by Eliseo Fernandez, Reuters
The San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, Chile, is home to the largest swimming pool in the world. Stretching 3,323 feet and covering 20 acres, the pool is a saltwater lagoon, navigable by small boats.
Citadel in Amman, Jordan
Photograph by Ali Jarekji, Reuters
The silver light of a snowy day sharpens the Citadel in downtown Amman, Jordan. The ancient fortress and site of Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad ruins is a popular tourist attraction in the Hashemite Kingdom. Nearby is the small National Archaeological Museum.
Bosphorus Bridge, Istanbul
Photograph by Frank Heuer, laif/Redux
A vast suspension bridge crosses the Bosporus strait, connecting Asia and Europe in Istanbul, the cosmopolitan heart of Turkey—and the only city to span two continents. Aglow in the evening, a mosque in the Orkatoy neighborhood appears to anchor the European section of the city.
Deer Creek Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park
Photograph by Corey Rich, Aurora
Most of the nearly five million people who visit Grand Canyon National Park each year simply take in the stunning views from the rim. The more adventurous descend the canyon and get up close to rock that dates back 1.8 billion years. Here, hikers traverse Deer Creek Trail, an overnight trip that’s one of the most popular routes in the park.
Watatsumi Temple, Japan
Photograph by Xu Xiaolin, laif/Redux
A red torii welcomes the faithful to a Shinto shrine in Otsuchi, Iwate, Japan. The town was devastated by the March 2011 tsunami; most of its fishing fleet was wiped out. The shrine, dedicated to the town’s fishermen, was rebuilt after the deadly event.
Crater Lake, Oregon
Photograph by Justin Bailie, Aurora
A hiker in Crater Lake National Park looks out over the park’s deep blue namesake. Thanks to some of the cleanest air in the U.S., visitors can see more than a hundred miles from points along many of the park’s 90 miles of trails. The lake itself is 21 square miles of water so intensely blue it looks like ink.
How does Crater Lake stay healthy? Learn about new water conservation measures in the National Geographic Traveler cover story, “The Traveler 50: People, Places, and Ideas Changing the Way We Travel” >>