What a world we live in! From the South Pole to the North, and from the dizzying, jagged Himalayas to endless, otherworldly Salt Flats, our planet is as diverse as it is beautiful. There is actually a handful of varying Seven Wonders of the World lists, but the one we usually associate with the world’s best are the ‘new wonders’. We argue though, why limit the world’s most impressive sights to just seven?
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Just because those spots might be the most tourist-friendly and famous, it doesn’t mean that they’re the be-all and end-all of fascinating places worthy of our time. Let’s take a look at a few of the other spots that didn’t make the official list but certainly should have. (For reference, the current ‘New Wonders’ are The Great Wall of China, Chichén Itzá, Christ the Redeemer, the Colosseum, Machu Picchu, and the Taj Mahal.)
10 The Amazon
If its stunning biodiversity that you’re after, look no further than the largest tropical rainforest on the planet - the Amazon. Spanning across a huge chunk of South America, linking Brazil with Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and more, there’s around 5.5 million square km of unique wildlife and lush greenery in total.
Animal enthusiasts will have a field day when strolling through the vast rainforest, with well over 400 species of malls, 1,300 birds, and close to both reptiles and amphibians. Don’t forget that bug spray though, because you can all but guarantee some encounters with a few unsettling creepy-crawlies.
9 The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Speaking of unmatched biodiversity, we’re swinging over from the largest land rainforest over to the world’s largest and most impressive underwater ecosystem. Nestled off the coast of Far North Queensland, down under on the eastern side of Australia, there’s truly nothing that measures up to the allure and aesthetics of the Great Barrier Reef.
Sadly, due to a number of factors including global warming, over-tourism, and coral bleaching, some areas of the illustrious reef are withering away. So make sure to check it out sooner rather than later.
8 Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina
We’re continuing the water theme for a moment, however, we’re jetting back across the pacific over to the border of Argentina and Brazil, where we can say hello to some incredible cascading waterfalls, immersed within lush subtropical jungle. The impressive feat of nature stretches for 2.7 kilometers and reaches close to 100m in height.
The USA and Canada boast Niagara Falls, and while it’s still impressive, it just can’t compare to the mammoth, thundering Iguazu Falls. Iguazu is nearly twice as tall as Niagara, so that ought to provide an insight into its intimidating presence.
7 Trolltunga, Norway
If you become a little apprehensive when way up high, and if that cliche phrase “don’t look down” gives you unsettling goosebumps, then you might want to skip over this one. For everyone else, however, Trolltunga (Troll Tongue, in English) should sit sky-high on any bucket list!
Norway has no shortage of dazzling fjords but Trolltunga is certainly its most revered. The intimidating cliff sneaks out horizontally from the western edge of the Hardangervidda plateau, at a startling 1,100 meters above sea level. Not too many places on earth can provide this kind of natural thrill, that’s for sure.
6 Venice, Italy
Spanning across over 100 tiny islands, linked by photogenic bridges which traverse over countless Gondola-lined Canals, the infamous Italian city has an aura unlike any other locale on the planet.
Tourists flock to Venice year after year, and we can’t blame them - seriously, just take one look at the place and you’ll be picking your jaw up off the floor. Unfortunately, the crowds can become a little overwhelming at times, especially in the summer months. Subtract the hordes of tourists, however, and we’re left with one of the most beautiful places that our world has to offer.
5 Zhangjiajie, China
We know what you’re thinking but no, this isn’t a floating fictional world designed by James Cameron. However, if the resemblance to Avatar’s Pandora’s seems a little uncanny, that’s because it really is - the film actually drew inspiration from the Zhangjiajie National Park, filming some of its scenes down in the central Chinese region, with a little CGI superimposition, of course. With an abundance of spectacular landforms, monstrous monoliths and stunning vistas, this place is as naturally unique as it gets.
A stroll across the Glass Bridge isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you can stomach the dizzying heights, it provides all kinds of killer photo opportunities.
4 The Dead Sea, Israel/Jordan
Contrary to its name, the Dead Sea isn’t actually as morbid as it sounds. It does spell trouble for plants and animals, who can’t survive in the water due to its off-the-charts salt concentration - more than nine times the salt in the regular ocean - but it’s a huge hit for tourists. People flock from near and far to experience effortless floating and take advantage of the healing properties on offer.
The Dead Sea is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world, meaning that in addition to its saltiness, it also sits at Earth’s lowest land elevation point. If you’re traveling through Israel or Jordan, skip over this spot to your own detriment.
3 Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
While we’re on the topic of endless amounts of salt, let’s skip on over to Bolivia, home to the world’s largest and most dazzling, mystifying, sometimes confusing salt flat. Salar de Uyuni is close to 11,000 square kilometers of endless white. It’s a fully immersive environment that makes you feel like you’ve stepped onto another planet entirely.
With a touch of luck and a sprinkling of rain, some of the most incredible photo opportunities await. Before evaporating into the floor beneath it, the water sits on top of the salt and creates a mirror-like effect, welcoming creative snaps from the tourists venturing through the area.
2 Ciudad Perdida, Colombia
It might be a trek and a half to actually get to it, but once you’ve arrived at Colombia’s “lost city”, you’ll understand why it’s secured a spot on this list. While it might not have the same glowing reputation as ancient structures like Machu Picchu in Peru or Chichen Itza in Mexico, that doesn’t mean that it’s second-rate - not for a moment.
In actuality, Ciudad Perdida is said to have been founded about half a century before Machu Picchu - it’s just a little more tricky to get to, requiring 4 or 5 days of jungle hiking.
1 Mt Everest, Nepal
How is it possible that the world’s tallest peak, one which dares over-confident climbers to scale it time and time again, isn’t already on the list of world wonders? The entire Himalayan mountain range is equally stunning and intimidating, welcoming the adventurous-inclined from all over the world.
It’s not one-dimensional, however. Most people’s minds sway straight to hiking but that’s just the most famous method. Travelers can kick back and relax on a helicopter ride above the mountains, or set up shop in Kathmandu and enjoy the vistas from afar while getting a taste for local culture.