In this article, we discuss the 35 most beautiful places in the world. If you want to skip our analysis of the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, go directly to the 5 Most Beautiful Places In The World.
Travel and tourism are one of the most significant and largest services industries in the world. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 10% of global employment was accounted for by the industry and it covered approximately 10.4% of the global GDP.
The COVID-19 pandemic was disastrous for the travel industry. Due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, it was one of the industries that experienced almost a complete shutdown in the early days of the pandemic. Globally, almost $8.9 trillion was being spent on travel activities before the pandemic which declined to $2.3 trillion in 2020. On top of that, approximately 62 million jobs in the travel and tourism industry were lost. The president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, Roger Dow, said:
“The impact on travel is six or seven times greater than the 9/11 attacks.”
In 2020, the travel industry accounted for only 5.3% of the global GDP. According to a Deloitte report, the travel industry started to show improvement in 2021. In the same year, the industry covered 6.1% of the global GDP.
Another industry that was most affected by the pandemic which is closely related to the travel and tourism industry was the hospitality industry. In 2020, hotels around the world had an average occupancy of 40%. The hotel gross profits were down 122.8% in the United States, 131.9% in Europe, and 124.1% in Asia Pacific.
Travel and Tourism Industry Forecast
Despite the challenges faced by the industry, the global travel industry is expected to show improvement in the coming future. China is one of the major countries that contribute to the travel and tourism industry and its lockdown restrictions didn’t completely ease up till the beginning of 2023. The country finally removed its quarantine on-arrival requirements on January 8, 2023.
Despite the recent and upcoming challenges, the global travel and tourism industry is still expected to recover and grow in the years ahead. According to an Industry Arc report, the global travel and tourism industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.1% between 2021 and 2026 and hit the $8.9 trillion mark by the end of the forecasted period. In another report by Allied Market Research, the global business travel market is expected to grow from $695 billion in 2020 to $2 trillion by 2028 at a CAGR of 13.2% between the forecasted period.
Hospitality Industry Forecast
Post-pandemic, the hospitality industry has recovered better than the travel industry. After the pandemic, remote working has become a fast-growing trend that also allows consumers to work from their homes as well as their favorite hotels and resorts. According to a Deloitte survey, one out of five travelers showed their intention to work (at least partially) on their longest summer trips. Furthermore, October 2022 was the fourth consecutive month where the hotels in the US reported 100% or more of 2019 occupancy levels.
According to the FNF Research report, the global hospitality market was worth $3.95 trillion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.24% to $6.7 trillion by 2028.
As the hospitality market shows remarkable recovery and growth, some of the stocks that investors should keep an eye on are Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HLT), Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE:H), and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:WH). You can see hedge funds' top hotel stock picks here. My favorite hotel stock is Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT) as the stock doubled its revenue in 2022 compared to 2020 and still have a lot of room to grow.
For this article, we searched for the most beautiful places in the world and chose the 35 most beautiful according to their popularity. The sources we used were CNET, Harper’s Bazaar, CNtraveler, and several other websites. We assigned scores to each item based on the number of mentions--that means every time an item was mentioned it was assigned a score of 1. So the higher the number of mentions/recommendations the higher the score and rank in our article. We should note that these types of lists of the most beautiful places in the world are always subjective and fail to include places that should be at or near the top of this list.
35 Most Beautiful Places In The World
35. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
Victoria Falls is a waterfall situated between the Zimbabwean and Zambian border. It is found somewhere in the middle of the Zambezi river. The waterfall’s depth and width are twice as much as the North American Niagra Falls. It was nicknamed ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ by the Kololo tribe that lived in the area around the 1800s.
To visit the place one has to apply for a KAZA UNIVISA that allows travel between both the countries Zimbabwe and Zambia. The visa costs $50. Additionally, you can book a stay near Victoria Falls in mid of April for as low as $34 at the Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge.
34. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Japan
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto, Japan’s most famous sights. It is a bamboo forest with a walkway for tourists to enjoy its beauty. It used to be less crowded in the earlier years but to enjoy the serenity of the grove, it is suggested to visit the place during low travel season as the place is often very crowded. It is situated at the north end of another Japanese sight, the Tenryu-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple famous for its beautiful gardens and mountainous views.
A stay near Arashiyama can cost visitors as low as $48 at Petit Hotel Kyoto around mid of April.
33. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world’s largest coral reef and it is one of the things that can be seen from space. It stretches across 133,000 square miles, composed of nearly 900 Islands. The Great Barrier reef is also a great place to visit for snorkelers and divers. The best vacation spots suggested to enjoy the beauty of the reef are the Whitsunday Islands, home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Whitsunday Islands offers a stay at a low of $338 Whitsunday Apartments Hamilton Island near mid of April.
32. Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
Vaadhoo Island ranks high on our list of the most beautiful places in the world because of the bioluminescence plankton present in the waters, giving it the name “Sea of the Stars”. The glowing waters phenomenon appears in the late summer, the most appropriate months to visit would be between June to August. Tourists who visit the island enjoy kayaking, and scuba diving to witness the coral reef around the island, relaxing through spa treatments, and more.
Travelers who want to opt for luxury on their trip should check out SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton owned by Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HLT) where they can book a room for around $280 in summer.
31. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
The canyon is a work of nature as its formation is owed to wind and water erosion over millions of years. The canyon is a part of the land of the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation hence only certain companies are allowed to take tourists there. The tours are for both the Upper Canyon and Lower Canyon separately and together and the tickets start from around $61 and go up to $170.
30. Lake Como, Italy
One of the most famous and sightly destinations in all of Italy is its third largest lake, Lake Como. It deserves a spot on our list of the 35 most beautiful places in the world because of its tourist-packed beaches, trails in the woods, historic villas, blooming gardens, and boat tours. To fully the popular sites of Como, Bellagio, and Varenna, low season is recommended i.e. from October to March.
Often heralded for luxury, we recommend staying at one of many hotels by Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR), starting from as low as $115. The 175 private homes and villas by Marriott Bonvoy at Lake Como are suited for travelers looking for a more personalized stay.
29. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Located in Pahang, the highlands have several activities to facilitate numerous days’ worth of trips. The tea plantations are what Cameron Highlands are known for but there is a lot more to do. Tourists spend their days on honeybee farms, butterfly gardens, lavender fields, Thompson Falls, local markets, museums, and strawberry farms.
28. Los Cabos, Mexico
The backdrop of the Sea of Cortez is not the only reason that Los Cabos is on our list of most beautiful places in the world. Divided into the two cities of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, the municipality has numerous tourist activities, both on land and sea. Tourists flank to the region to swim with dolphins and whale sharks, kayak, visit Lovers Beach, golf, and more. More than 3 million tourists visit the area and 70% of them are repeated travelers.
The Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort by Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HLT) is located right beside one of the few swimmable beaches in the municipality. The luxury resort has boutiques and shops and the room rates start at around $550 per night.
27. Big Sur, California
Appearing on our list of the most beautiful places in the world is one of the most scenic coastlines of the U.S., the Big Sur. The often foggy central coastline is defined by the nearby cliffs, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, the ever-twisting roads, and the numerous beaches. The number of tourists visiting the area every year rivals that of Yosemite National Park, an estimated number of 4.5 million to 7 million.
Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort by Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE:H) is a 160 acres resort with 59 suites. It is one of the most luxurious accommodations in the region and was included in the Top 12 Resorts in Northern California by Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2022.
26. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is well-known in the world as a cultural hub and often takes one of the top spots on the UN World Happiness City Index. The capital city has one of the most beautiful coasts in the world and one of the most popular ways to enjoy the city is to travel on the designated bike routes that are used by almost 49% of the locals every day.
As the center of upcoming Nordic cuisine, food tours, and 14 Michelin-star restaurants are enjoyed by visitors. We recommend signing up for Copenhagen Card which gives travelers free access to famous tourist attractions ad public transportation and can be availed starting from $67.
25. Joshua Tree National Park, USA
Every year, around 2 million people visit the national park where the two deserts of Colorado and Mojave meet. The breathtaking landscape is dotted with Joshua trees and other flora and has a variety of desert wildlife. The park is open every day of the year and there is no cost for visitors.
For the convenience of the millions of visitors, the 320,805-hectare park has many camping grounds, picnic spots, and trails for hiking. The park offers much more than what meets the eye, visitors are recommended to pay a visit to the Joshua Tree National Park museum to learn more about the history of people that inhabited the region, dating back 5,000 years.
24. La Digue, Seychelles
La Digue is one of the most attractive islands because of its crystal clear waters and white beaches. The 10 square kilometers island is said to be one of the islands that appear in uncountable photographs with Anse Source d’Argent being an awe-worthy beach.
La Digue is included in our list because of its wildlife, bike culture (the island only has 60 cars), and impactful culture. Birdwatchers frequent the island to see the rare but magnificent Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher bird species that are native to the island.
Out of the 115 islands of Seychelles, La Digue is unique and loved by travelers from all over the world because of Veuve Nature Reserve, coral reefs, coves, and more.
23. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is not only the legislative capital but also the oldest city in the region. Home to a UNESCO Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site, Table Mountain, the Mother City won many awards between 2021 and 2022, like Number 1 Destination in the Middle East and Africa by Travel + Leisure, Africa’s Leading City Destination and World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination by World Travel Awards, etc.
Between 2021 and 2022, Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) received 3.1 million passengers and the majority of them were from the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. The top 6 points of attraction for tourists are Table Mountain, Groot Constantia, Cape Point Nature Reserve, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, and Victoria & Albert Waterfront.
22. Machu Picchu, Peru
One of the most significant UNESCO World Heritage sites, Machu Picchu is an Inca citadel and is regarded as one of the most important historic ruins of the world. The architectural marvel has 196 tourist highlights, including The Sacred Rock, The Temple of Condor, Intihuatana, The Temple of Sun, etc.
The archeological site is revered in the travel community which is why, in 2022, the limit on the number of visitors per day was extended to allow 5,044 visitors per day, up from 4,044 people per day.
21. Shark Bay, Western Australia
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shark Bay is one of the most magnificent and fascinating tourist spots on our list. The bay is home to wondrous natural phenomena like the largest sea-grass beds and its sea cow population, stromatolites, the white salt mountain at Useless Loop, and the land of Shell Beach covered with billions of cockle shells.
It is the largest bay on the continent and is home to 5 endangered mammal species, 35% of the continent’s bird species, and numerous species of fauna. We recommend travelers to go to the coastal town of Denham, enjoy marine life at the Monkey Mia, witness the rare sight of the meeting point of red sand meeting white sand at the Francois Peron National Park, and dive headlong into various sports at Dirk Hartog Island.
20. Mount Fuji, Japan
Mount Fuji is one of the highest peaks on the island and is a cultural and religious symbol in Japan. One of the Three Holy Mountains and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the mountain sees thousands of climbers and is a point of attraction for many more. The active volcano and the surrounding area of Fuji Five Lakes and the natural hot springs in Hakone provide visitors with days’ worth of activities.
19. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
One of the few manmade tourist spots on our list, Blue Lagoon is the result of the water coming from the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power station. People from all over Iceland and the world eagerly visit the lagoon not only for its aqua-blue waters but also for the rejuvenating properties of the water due to the presence of silica and sulfur. Visitors use the mud as clay masks to remedy skin ailments and more.
18. Tamil Nadu, India
The emerging tourist destination, Tamil Nadu, is a South Indian state that is steeped in history, religion, food, dance, etc. Tourists are bewitched by the swirling colors of the temples, especially the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. In the 2,500-year-old holy city of Madurai, the Meenakshi Temple is a huge complex and the architecture alone is picture-perfect. The fourth biggest state of the country has various visitor-worthy sites including Pamban Island, Kanyakumari, and Chennai.
17. Marrakesh, Morocco
Located beside the famed Casablanca, the region’s capital is popular with tourists from all over the world who visit it to experience the culture, aroma of spices, and bustling community of the 11th-century city. The medina of the city is a UNESCO site and boasts sights such as the Bahia Palace, Kotoubia Mosque, and Saadian Tombs.
16. Banff National Park, Canada
It is the first national park of Canada and dazzles visitors with its glacial lakes including Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and glacial Lake Minnewanka. Apart from its 31 lakes, the park has an abundance of wildlife and hot springs that invite around 4 million tourists every year. The Valley of the Ten Peaks, the mountain town of Banff, and the dense forests make it one of the most beautiful national parks in the world.
15. Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, New Zealand
The natural fjord is a picturesque spot with outstanding cliffs and waterfalls as tall as 1000 meters. Tourists travel to the Milford Sound to kayak to Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls. Many choose boat cruises to witness marine life at the observatory located underwater near Harrison Cove. To fully experience the fjord, we recommend hiking as well as snorkeling.
14. Provence, France
Tourists are spoiled for sightseeing options when it comes to Provence. With Sainte-Victoire Mountain in the background, purple lavender fields meet the eye and fill the air with their fragrance. Tourists prefer spending their time exploring the winding paths of the fields and taking pictures. It is one of the best places to take tours of distilleries that work with harvested lavender and use it in perfume, pastries, and more.
13. Li River, China
One of the crown jewels of the Guangxi Province, the Li River connects the towns of Guilin and Yangshuo. The best way to experience the heavily photographed Yellow Cloth Shoal and other spots is to cruise down the river itself. Many tourists looking for luxury book luxury cruises while others who want an authentic experience choose to get on a bamboo raft.
12. Angel Falls, Venezuela
Part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, Angel Falls is the world’s tallest waterfall with a height of 979 meters. Located in the Canaima National Park, tourists know the waterfall to be one of the inspirations behind the famous movie, ‘Up’. The national park bustling with wildlife is the most attractive aspect for tourists and many choose the rainy season to visit the waterfall as that is when the flow is full.
11. Grand Canal, Venice
Pictured in many films and novels, the Grand Canal in Venice is one of the most romantic spots on our list. The canal is almost 4 km long and splits Venice into two parts. Tourists who prefer to see Venice on foot choose to travel over the canal via one of the bridges, Rialto Bridge being the oldest. Others opt to take in all of the canal by traveling on it by riding a traghetto, a water bus. The often recommended route to take is Line 1 to see Ca’ d’Oro Palazzo, Gallerie dell'Accademia, and more.
10. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
The Hwange National Park is the largest reserve in Zimbabwe and is the size of Belgium. It is the home and sanctuary of many animals like elephants, Cape buffalos, wildebeests, zebras, etc. Wildlife lovers take benefit of the many day or camping trips that cost anywhere from $230 to $2,500.
9. Seven Sisters Country Park, UK
The 280 hectares of the park boasts one of the best walking trails in the U.K. and a series of majestic chalk cliffs, the Seven Sisters. The limestone cliffs entrance visitors as they appeared in several movies and the park itself offers sights of rare animal species and migratory birds. The park can be covered on foot but other interesting ways to do it are on horseback and by bike.
8. Fairy Meadows National Park, Pakistan
Located at the foot of Nanga Parbat, the grassland of Fairy Meadows is 3,300 meters above sea level and is famous for trekkers and enthusiasts looking to climb Nanga Parbat. Tourists enjoy the meadows at the camping ground called Raikot Serai. The grassland is surrounded by alpine forests and animals like brown bears, musk deer, etc. are spotted nearby.
7. Pamukkale, Turkey
Pamukkale is one more UNESCO World Heritage site that has been around since Roman times. The breathtaking travertine terraces pooled with mineral-rich thermal spring water. Located near the ancient city of Hierapolis, tourists take day trips to the Greek city and soak into the thermal springs to rejuvenate their spirits.
6. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
The archipelago is made up of six islands Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Banque, Santa Carolina, and Shell. The archipelago’s tropical climate, more than 100 species of birds, rich sea life present in the clear blue waters, and white beaches are what puts it on our list and make it one of the most astonishing places on the planet. Our recommendation is to visit the Bazaruto National Park and Bazaruto Lighthouse.
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Disclosure. None. 35 Most Beautiful Places In The World is originally published on Insider Monkey.