Traveling the world in search of the perfect photo is becoming more and more common; our news feeds are flooded with images of epic sunsets, brightly coloured houses and charming streets of old towns. With so many photos being taken each day, it’s hard to compete and feel like we’re capable of capturing a jaw dropping photo like the ones we are constantly exposed to.
There are some places in the world that make this quite a bit easier - you don’t need to be a professional photographer to get a stunning picture when the location is doing half the work for you (but it helps). If you want to travel the world and share it’s hidden beauties but aren’t sure where to start there a few simple steps you can take. Online photography courses or Youtube tutorials are abundant and if you’re willing to dedicate the time you can learn how to make the most of your camera settings, even if you’re not shooting on the latest and greatest DSLR. Finding unique spots in your hometown to get comfortable with your camera, and maybe using a friend to model for you in order to add a unique element to the photo, will make it that much easier when you finally go abroad and need to work quickly to capture your desired image.
These 30 places are breathtakingly beautiful and will definitely enhance your social media accounts. A mixture of natural wonders and interesting urban aesthetics, you’ll definitely want to keep your camera ready when you visit.
30 Bay Of Fires, Tasmania, Australia
Located on the northeastern coast of Tasmania, Australia, the Bay of Fires was named for the fires of Aboriginal peoples spotted here in 1773 according to Discovertasmania.com.
Binalong Bay is the closest town with a white sand beach and blue waters to attract visitors. The orange rocks lining the coast are what truly sets this destination apart from other coastal wonders. Once you’re satisfied with your photos, embark on an eco-tour of the Bay of Fires to enjoy the view from the boat and watch for marine life.
29 Chefchaouen, Morocco
Chefchaouen, Morocco or “The Blue City” is like something out of a fairytale. Different shades of blue, paint a very pretty picture and make the perfect backdrop for all your travel photos.
Not as easy to get to as some other cities in Morocco, with no airport you’ll have to make the trek across land. The easiest way is on the CTM bus from Fes to Chefchaouen which takes about 4.5 hours. The bus will drop you a short taxi ride away from the blue city.
28 Taj Mahal, India
One of the new seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal is a sight to behold and cannot be overlooked if you’re traveling to India. An easy day trip from Delhi via train, you can purchase tickets to enter the building for 1050 rupees ($19.66 CAD) which includes shoe covers.
Security is tightly enforced so don’t plan on bringing a large bag with you; only the bare essentials like phone, camera and wallet will be permitted inside, though photography is not allowed inside the mausoleum. A lot of the most impressive photos on Instagram these days are taken from outside the Taj Mahal, so if that’s the shot you’re after, you may not even need to go inside.
27 Gardens By The Bay, Singapore
If you've seen Crazy Rich Asians, you instantly recognized this location, and you’ve probably been longing for this gorgeous infusion of nature meets urban infrastructure ever since.
Admission isn’t cheap with the indoor conservatories and skyway coming in around $36.00 USD. Open from 9 AM-9 PM, daily, the outdoor gardens are open longer from 5 AM- 2 AM. To catch the trees lit up at night, the music and lights show can be seen at Supertree Grove each night at 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM, according to Littledayout.com.
26 Shibazakura Festival, Japan
Shibazakura or “moss phlox” are the shockingly vibrant pink flowers that blossom fervently in the Fuji Five Lakes area, Japan each spring. According to Shibazakura.jp, 800, 000 Shibazakura bloom at the time of the festival from April to May each year, and with Mount Fuji in the background you couldn’t hope for a more spectacular photo op.
It is recommended you visit in the morning to avoid crowds, so you can arrive as early as 8:00 AM. The admission fee is 600 yen, just $7.03 CAD.
25 Pena - Palace, Sintra, Portugal
With stunning colours that can be seen from Lisbon when skies are clear, this romantic castle is a day trip anyone visiting Portugal should add to their list. Hop-on-hop-off bus tours make it easy to access the site, but remember your sensible walking shoes because as with most of Europe, cobbled streets will make for tired feet.
Entry to the palace costs 14 euros ($21.02 CAD) and the grounds open at 9:30 AM in summer months, 10:00 AM in winter. This is a tourist hotspot so if you’re hoping for some photos that don’t contain strangers, arrive well before opening and try to wrap your photos up before the heavy tourist streams pour in around 10:30 and 11:00 AM.
24 Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland
This mountain in the Swiss Alps, right between Switzerland and Italy, has challenged climbers for years. Unless you have a lot of trekking and climbing experience, you’re better off staying at sea level with your camera instead.
Skiing is, understandably, a favourite activity amongst tourists in Zermatt, and with plenty of sunny days, the fresh air will leave you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed. There are plenty of snowshoeing trails as well, or you can take a ride on the Glacier Express through the scenic route of the Swiss Alps.
23 Eltz Castle, Germany
The iconic Eltz Castle bridge photo is all over the internet, but if you want one too, you’ll have to get up at the crack of dawn. The castle opens at 9:30 AM, but in order to take the perfect picture without a bunch of tourists in the background, you’ll definitely want to give yourself an earlier arrival time.
It’s open from April to November, but if you come in the off season you can still take photos on the bridge, you just won’t be able to tour inside or enjoy a meal in one of the castle’s two restaurants.
22 Pura Lempuyang, Bali Indonesia
Located in the East of Bali, Pura Lempuyang, translating to “Light of God” is a temple known as the Gateway To Heaven. Surrounded by many other temples, this striking structure is one that photographers will travel hours outside of Ubud to see.
You have to be willing to work for this snap shot, with 1700 steps standing between you and the top of the sacred temple, according to Bali.com. It’s important to remember that this is one of the most sacred sites in Bali, so approach the hike and your pictures with respect and dignity. Do not disturb the serenity that has been created here.
21 Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Located on the south island of New Zealand, the small town of Lake Tekapo is approximately 3.5 hours away (by car) from Queenstown and Christchurch.
Images of milky blue waters and vibrant lupines have taken Instagram by storm, sparking interest from more and more travellers. The Church of The Good Shepherd is another spot that’s popular for photos as this quaint stone structure overlooks the lake’s waters. Water like this is reminiscent of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, and in this case, the colour comes from deposits off of glaciers.
20 Cherry Blossom Avenue, Bonn, Germany
Though Germany may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of Cherry Blossoms, trees planted here in the 1980s have created a unique street in Nordstadt, Bonn.
Your visit will be over awfully quickly if you’re only coming for a quick photo of the street, but luckily Bonn, located in the west of Germany, actually has other attractions offer. Beethoven, the famous composer, was born here and his home is a museum that can be visited year round. Altes Rathaus, the town hall, is also a photogenic building with ornate finishes and Bonn Minster, a grand Roman Cathedral, is one of the oldest in the country.
19 Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Kyoto, Japan
The industrial aesthetic of this shrine is one that photographers and travel influencers are coming from all over to capture on camera. There are 5000 of the orange torii (gates) leading to the shrine of Inari, the God of rice and sake.
Visitors can embark on a 2-3 hour hike up a mountain at the Shrine as well, continuing through more torii, until a look out point over Kyoto about 45 minutes in. According to Japan-guide.com, the torii have been donated to the shrine by companies whose names are engraved on the gate they paid for.
18 Nine Arches Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka
The train ride from Kandy to Ella in Sri Lanka is known as one of the bucket list items for visiting the country. But did you know that the Nine Arches Bridge in Ella is a great photo spot on it’s own as well?
If you’re hoping to get a train in the photo, they come through once each hour though times can vary. It is possible to find accommodation right near the bridge at places like Nine Arch Lodge Ella, which is only a 10 minute walk from where you’ll want to take your pictures.
17 Central Park, New York
Sprawling across 843 acres, this massive park is the heart of New York City. A quiet place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Central Park is perhaps the most widely anticipated stop on a trip to New York City, second only to Times Square.
The two most spectacular times of year to visit and take your pictures are spring and autumn. From April to May, two species of cherry blossoms can be seen in bloom, their pale pink petals transforming the park into a magical place. Visiting in September and October is another striking change of colour with leaves turning to magnificent orange and crimson, creating otherworldly canopies overtop of the walking paths.
16 Kirkjufell, Iceland
Pretty much anywhere in Iceland is a good spot for a photo but if you want to take it to the next level, Kirkjufell is your place. Located approximately two hours away from Reykjavik in the west of the country, this stunning mountain rises from the green and grey landscape dramatically against the clouds.
One side of the mountain offers a lake foreground while the other stuns with the waterfalls. In addition to snapping your photos, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula offers beautiful hiking so be sure to take your time and enjoy the scenery without a lens as well.
15 Pamukkale Pools, Turkey
Like many places in Turkey, it’s hard to believe Pamukkale exists on this earth. Meaning “Cotton Castle”, this UNESCO World Heritage site attracts upwards of two million visitors each year.
Also the site of the remains of Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa, bathing in the tepid mineral waters is a collision of the ancient and modern world. Staying in Pamukkale village will allow you to explore and take pictures before the rush of tourists in the morning so that when the heat sets in midday, you can just relax as you paddle amidst the travertines.
14 Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Bali Indonesia
A breathtaking way to enjoy sunrise in Indonesia is a stroll through this rice terrace. Bring a friend to model for you and get your camera ready to capture one of the most stunning places Bali has to offer.
You can travel from the heart of Ubud by scooter or by hiring a driver (which costs roughly $10 USD) and it takes about 25 minutes according to Littlegreybox.com. If you’re going for the sunrise you’ll not only capture magic hour but you’ll also beat the intense midday heat. There is an entrance fee of 10 000 IDR per person ($ 0.91 CAD), so be sure to have the correct change on you.
13 Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
If you go to South America you absolutely must visit the Salt Flats in Bolivia. The perfectly flat, smooth glassy surface stretches as far as the eye can see and will truly put into perspective just how small we are in this giant world.
Optical illusion photos are becoming popular with tourists visiting the flats because the seemingly endless smooth ground lends itself to tricks with depth perception.
Most commonly, you can arrive in Uyuni via overnight bus or small plane from La Paz, but it is also possible to arrive from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.
12 The Wave, Arizona
Even if you didn’t know what it was called, you’ve definitely seen images of The Wave, Arizona before. Located in Coyote Buttes North, this is considered to be an area sensitive to damage if too many tourists are allowed to trek through it. As such, only 20 people are allowed to enter The Wave each day, and must have a permit in order to do so.
Yes, getting the perfect photo here will require some advanced planning on your part, but it will be worth the work. There’s an application fee of $5.00, and you’ll apply to the Paria Canyon permit lottery (online) four months before the date of your intended hike. Lottery is drawn on the first of the month, three months before the hiking date (i.e. for hikes in May, lottery is drawn February 1st). Of the 20 people entering each day, 10 have obtained permits via lottery and 10 hope for walk - in permits on arrival at The Wave.
11 Lake Manyara, Tanzania
Sealed with the stamp of approval from Ernest Hemingway, Lake Manyara lies in East Africa. Known for its brightly coloured flocks of flamingos and grazing zebras, there’s an abundance of wildlife for photographers looking to get their National Geographic moment.
High season is from January to March during the hot, dry months, so if you’re looking for a discounted stay consider visiting from April - December. There are varying levels of accommodations when visiting Lake Manyara National Park, ranging from canvas tents and communal dining to luxury cabins built high above the ground. Safari tours in the park ensure you’ll get a real glimpse of African wildlife with everything from lions to elephants to ostriches roaming in these parts.
10 Petra, Jordan
Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to monasteries, temples and archaeological sites. Though a popular spot, you can beat the crowds by arriving early and staying for sunset as most tourists come in on day trips, arriving around 10:30 AM from Amman.
The nearby town of Wadi Musa offers airbnb accommodations as low as $ 15.00 CAD per night, and the chance to see sunrise and sunset in Petra which is the absolute best time to take the photo you came for.
9 London, United Kingdom
London is a spectacular photo backdrop because of it’s beautiful architecture and pops of colour. Some of the most popular spots for Instagrammers include the London Eye, Tower Bridge or the Palace of Westminster.
Classic telephone booth photos are on every first time visitor’s bucket list as well, but if you’re looking for a lesser known location for your shoot, Neal’s Yard provides cobbled streets and brightly coloured buildings for you to pose with.
While you’re here, don’t forget to tick fish and chips, bangers and mash and cottage pie off the list of traditional British foods you need to try!
8 Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
The second smallest town in Cinque Terre, this is the beauty of northern Italy. The hamlet of Groppo is the perfect place to try authentic Cinque Terre wine, and of course you’ll want to take photos of the gothic architecture of the Church of San Lorenzo. The colourful buildings lining the coast may be what immediately jumps to your mind, but there is another gem of Manarola that only comes out in winter.
The largest Nativity scene in the world is put up in Manarola every year from December 8th to around January 31st. This artistic endeavour is growing each year since its inception in 2007.
7 Giethoorn, Netherlands
Located in the northeastern province of Overijssel, Giethoorn is known as the Venice of the Netherlands. With no streets for cars, locals travel by boat through the romantic canals that connect the town.
It’s an extremely peaceful location that does not pull the large crowds that Venice and Amsterdam do. To explore here you’ll want to rent a boat, but you can also rent a transparent inflatable ball that allows you to walk on the waterways. This may seem strange, but it's an incredibly unique way to experience this tranquil gem of the Netherlands.
6 Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
This well known bridge extends from San Francisco to Marin County and you can travel by bus from downtown San Francisco to the bridge for only $2.50 USD. From the busy tourist town of Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s also possible to bike to the bridge in just 23 minutes, which is definitely a more picturesque trip than taking the bus.
For pedestrians to cross the bridge safely they must use the east sidewalk, which does have specific hours of operation (5:00 AM - 9:00 PM March - November and 5:00AM to 6:00 PM November - March).
5 Aurora Village, Northwest Territories, Canada
A village created for prime Aurora Borealis viewing in Yellowknife, Canada, Aurora Village is the perfect place to put your photography skills to the test.
In order to capture this phenomenon, you’ll need a DSLR with a wide-angle lens, high ISO setting and a tripod. Researching the proper camera settings ahead of time is a necessity if you want to take a photo you’ll be proud of. It is possible to capture the lights using an iPhone as well if you know what you’re doing. To be able to select the exposure time (essential to photographing northern lights) try apps like Long Expo Pro or NorthernLights App.
Recommending that you try to view the northern lights for three consecutive nights to ensure you see them, Aurora Village also offers day tours for snowshoeing and exploring Yellowknife.
4 La Mer, Dubai, UAE
Undoubtedly you’ve seen some La Mer photos on your Instagram feed, even if you haven’t realized it. Bright colours make this a great place for standout pictures, be it in the city streets or at the beach.
Perfect for shopping or soaking in the sun this urban spot in the United Arab Emirates is drawing a young crowd with its cool aesthetic. Boasting a cinema and over 130 restaurants and cafés, there’s no shortage of things to do here. True to its’ name, La Mer also has some delicious seafood.
3 Mưng Hoa Valley, Sa Pa, Vietnam
Overlooking rice field terraces in the north west of the country, Sa Pa is a photographer’s dream. All you have to do is walk through the rice fields for a great photo, but hopefully you’re interested in more than just the pictures.
You can spend a full day hiking Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam, or if trekking isn’t your thing spend some time with the Hmong people in the Cat Cat Village. The Hmong, along with the Tay and Dao people, make up most of the population here.
2 Azulik Hotel, Tulum, Mexico
Instagram influencers are coming from far and wide to experience the views and food at Azulik Hotel, Tulum. A lot of the best spots for photos in this town are at hotels, but it’s important to note that professional photography is not always greeted warmly here. Ask before taking photos at an establishment that you are not actually staying at.
Stunning beachside villas built of rustic wood with an open concept layout create an immediate sense of calm. Water is provided from a Cenote, and you can swim in the Caribbean Sea just a few steps outside your room. The hotel is lit by candlelight, so it’s also the perfect place for a romantic evening.
1 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road is on every Australian travel bucket list, and the 12 apostles certainly won’t be the only epic photo opportunity along the way. There are only 8 of these limestone rocks still standing so the sooner you can visit, the better.
A four hour drive from Melbourne, you can do the 12 Apostles as a day trip, or endeavour to drive the entire Great Ocean Road during your time in the land down under, if you’re feeling adventurous. There’s also the Great Ocean Walk, which will begin in Apollo Bay and end at the 12 Apostles, is 100 km long and will take you on a trail with cliff side views and wildlife. There is accommodation along the path for nightly rest stops; this option is for the true trekkers who want to experience all that wild Australia has to offer.
References: Vogue.com, Tripadvisor.ca, Travellingtheworldsolo.com, Bali.com, Azulik.com, Incinqueterre.com, Europeforvisitors.com, Airbnb.ca, Mylifesamovie.com, Tripsavvy.com, Telegraph.co.uk, Planetware.com, Littledayout.com