30 National Geographic Photos That Look Fake But Are Actually Real

National Geographic photographers know how to capture a photo, and at the same time, capture the hearts and minds of travellers who want to book their next trip. The magazine has some of the best travel photographers in the business and they can take such stunning photos that your next trip could be booked because you saw one of their amazing photos in their magazine or online. And that isn’t a bad thing, as photographers have a way to capture the beauty of a tourist place and can find the real beauty in the landscape with their lens.

In this list, you’ll find 30 photos by National Geographic photographers. All of these places are places you can travel to and explore on your own. Let these photographers be your tour guide and get your mind thinking of where you want to be in the upcoming year. With such beauty in the world, it needs to be explored and experienced, so don’t just look at a bunch of photos and wish you were there, book the tickets and get on the plane and head out to capture that perfect photo of an amazing scenic view. There is no shame in letting National Geographic be your travel agent.

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30 Tbilisi, Georgia

via National Geographic

Known for their artist, chaotic, dynamic culture, Tbilisi is not bound by traditions. Tbilisi is the capital and largest city in Georgia and has a population of 1.5 million people. The city is also along the banks of Kura River in which it hits the crossroads of Europe and Asia. According to National Geographic, that Tbilisi, embraces pop culture change and that they are not afraid to move forward but keep their ancient history alive by telling the story of how their people first discovered this beautiful city.

29 Malmö, Sweden

via National Geographic Kids

Malmö is the largest city in Sweden county of Skane County. The metropolis is considered the gamma-minus world city and the third-largest city in Sweden. The city is home to the Oresund Bridge and contains many historical buildings and parks. According to National Geographic, the city of Malmö was once owned by Denmark in the 15th century and in the 16th century; the city was sold to Sweden and became one of the first cities in Scandinavia. Now more than 4 million people live in this historical city.

28 Tadami Line, Japan

Via National Geographic

This photo is of a train on the Tadami Line in Japan. According to National Geographic, the line is 84 miles long and stretches across Japan, but it is this location that is perhaps the most stunning, as the train crosses the bridge and overlooks a foggy river below. During the spring, National Geographic says the train passes by cherry blossoms, autumn leaves and snow in the winter, making for an amazing sight. If you want to see all of Japan in a unique way, get on the Tadami Line and see what natural wonder Japan has to offer.

27 Lake Baikal, Siberia

Via National Geographic

If you’re not worried about a little cold, then head to Lake Baikal in Siberia, which according to National Geographic, is the deepest lake in the world at 5,387 feet. It holds more water than all the Great Lakes combined, but what is cool about the lake is that due to the arctic temperatures, it can freeze one to four feet thick, creating these caves of ice that allow you to explore inside. It’s definitely a unique experience to have and if you can brave to cold, you can grab a cool photo like this.

26 Lake Bled, Slovenia

Via National Geographic

This winter wonderland photo is from Lake Bled in Slovenia and could literally be out of a fairytale. According to National Geographic, the structure on the island in the middle of Lake Bled is actually a church, and it actually is a functioning church as well. Known as the Assumption of Mary church, it was built in the 17th century, and is a frequent spot for weddings. Who wouldn’t want to hop on a plane and head here for a destination wedding? Just get in a boat and sail across to start your new life.

25 Scala dei Turchi

via National Geographic

This white cliff is off the coast of Sicily and is called Scala dei Turchi, or in English, the Turkish Steps. According to National Geographic, natural erosion has softened the limestone to make it look like a staircase to the water. Despite looking very high in this photo, the cliffs actually go down to the water, becoming a beachfront for people looking to swim in the southern Italian waters. Forget white sand on the beach when you can lay out for the day on this white rock formation.

24 Harar, Ethiopia

via Nat Geo Traveller India

Known for its ice cream-colored walls and sacred shrines, Harar, Ethiopia is a must go to. Harar has a population of 122,000, of whom 60,000 are male and 62,000 are female. The city has been listed as a World Heritage Site in recognition of its cultural heritage. According to National Geographic, the reason why the Harari people paint their houses in different colors depends on whether they have travelled long ways to get to Harar or to Mecca. Harar is the fourth scared city in Ethiopia.

23 Grand Staircase

via National Geographic

This amazing view from above of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument gives you a unique view of how the river cut through the rock to make this formation. According to National Geographic, this land is actually the most remote in the United States, and the last placed mapped in the mainland. It’s simply an amazing place to visit to see how the rocks were moved by the river and how vegetation thrives on the banks of the river that made this interesting snake-like pattern.

22 Shipwreck Beach

via National Geographic

On the Greek island of Zakynthos, there is an interesting beach that is only accessible by boat. Navagio Beach, known as shipwreck beach, has one of the best views of any beach you will find in the world, as it rests within a rock wall that circles the island. According to National Geographic, the reason it is called shipwreck beach is that on the beach itself is the shipwreck of the MV Panagiotis, a ship built in Scotland and which landed on the beach in 1980. It’s not a tourist attraction, and if you want an amazing view, you can take a walk above the rocks and get a great look down to the beach.

21 Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Via National Geographic

This photo is a stunning one of the city of Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia. Mecca is considered the holiest city in all of Islam. According to National Geographic, over 15 million people pilgrim to the site to worship. The complex pictured here is called the Abraj Al-Bait, and features the world’s largest clock face on the Makkah Royal Clock Tower. It’s simply an amazing site to be at, and in this photo, it truly looks like Mecca is the center of the world.

20 Nazaré, Portugal

Via National Geographic

This man got out just in time from the rock located around the beaches of Nazaré. He is crossing a slackline to get across the opening in the water. The beaches of Nazaré, according to National Geographic, are known for their extremely high waves, as they are influenced by the deep undersea canyon just off the coast. If you’re in surfing and wanting to catch a large wave, this could be the place for you. Located in Portugal, you know you are getting some beautiful beach weather and blue water.

19 Palace of Revelation, Vietnam

Via National Geographic

You would never guess that this photo is actually about the apocalypse, but this is from the Palace of Revelation in Vietnam, a hotel that is inspired by the Book of Revelation. According to National Geographic, the hotel was made to remind people of the tragic events of the tsunami in 2004 that hit many countries in the region. Despite the end-of-the-world reference, the hotel is in fact very colorful and welcoming to visitors, and to get into the hotel you have to walk on stars that lead you to the front door.

18 Seoraksan National Park, South Korean

via Damajority

This is perhaps the most visited national park in South Korea. It attracts many domestic and international tourist each year with its beautiful scenery. According to National Geographic, the National Park is just a fifteen-minute drive from Sokcho city. Also, the valley runs east to west with a paved road leading up to the park`s entrance gate. This rock valley contains many beautiful sites and is well worth a day visit. It’s interesting to think that with such beauty, this National park is also a World Heritage site and has been recognized for its biosphere reserves to the mountains.

17 Chongqing, China

Via National Geographic

Chongqing, China, the home of 30 million people, has a unique nickname, Fog City. That’s because, according to National Geographic, they get over 100 days of a year of fog. No surprise, its sister city is Seattle, Washington, another place used to fog. The city has plenty of historic World War 2 monuments, as it was one of the three headquarters for the Allies. So if you’re a World War 2 history lover, then don’t mind the fog, head to China and check out what’s beneath the thick layers of fog.

16 Dorset, England

Via National Geographic

Crop circle enthusiasts lie down as part of a ritual in Dorset, England. According to National Geographic, crop circle tourism is very high in this part of England, and it should come as no surprise that this community is located near the famous Stonehenge site. Some people think they are created by aliens and UFOs, while others believe it is the work of man and crop circles are just works of art, but who or what creates them doesn’t stop this group from getting out into those circles.

15 Arakurayama Sengen Park, Japan

Via National Geographic

If you had to pick out one beautiful part of this photo, it would be extremely difficult to do so. Especially with all the colors, scenery and history in one photo. This photo is of Arakurayama Sengen Park, and the five-storied pagoda that lives a beautiful view of Mount Fuji during the cherry blossom season in Japan. According to National Geographic, the peak times for climbing Mount Fuji is between July and August, but to see the cherry blossoms, head there in the spring to get the full perfect photo.

14 East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya

Via National Geographic

This photo comes from the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and what you see is the living root bridge. The key words here are living root because this bridge that these children are crossing is actually made by nature. Two trees are put on either side of the river bank and according to National Geographic, over the next 15 to 30 years, their roots will grow into a stable foundation for the bridge. Locals then connect the gaps with bamboo scaffolding to create the rest of the bridge and make it safe to cross.

13 Jujuy Province, Argentina

via National Geographic

Known for its beautiful scenery and indigenous culture, Jujuy is a province that is located in the extreme northwest of Argentina. Most tourists head for San Salvador de July first before exploring the rest of the province, which connects, to the border of Chile and Bolivia. According to National Geographic, apart from the fantastic contrast of land colours and formation, tourists are attracted to the indigenous roots in the culture of Jujuy. Most of the other tourists have the chance to explore the National Parks and jungles that come their way.

12 The Vatican

Via National Geographic

This photo is from the Vatican Museum and the view the man with the keys to the Vatican has when he opens the windows every morning. St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are in his view every single morning, making for one amazing job to have. According to National Geographic, the Vatican is the smallest country in the world by land size, it is located entirely within the city of Rome in Italy. Millions come every year to see the religious site and take in some of the greatest architecture you will see in the world.

11 Oman

Via National Geographic

This photo is a tradition Omani rider performing at the Bahla Horse Festival in Oman, a small country located on the Arabian Peninsula. According to National Geographic, the festival celebrates what horses have done for history, and how they have changed much of history. Nearly 100 different riders will participate in the horse festival, so if you are in love with these wonderful animals and want to see people celebrate what they have done, then head to Oman to take in this amazing festival that is full of history.

10 Sydney, Australia

via National Geographic

This city does not need any introduction as it's one of the most famous cities in the world. Sydney, Australia is home to the famous Sydney Harbour and dual icons the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera house. According to National Geographic, the city boasts some of the world's most beautiful beaches, along with well-appointed museums, botanical gardens and of course their famous zoo. You can't forget that this city is known for their world-renowned restaurants and countless landmarks of Sydney's rich cultural history.

9 Oaxaca, Mexico

via National Geographic

Oaxaca is known for its beloved rainbow colonial buildings and outstanding local cuisine. If you are thriving for a history lesson, the Oaxaca has you covered with close proximities to the Mexican ruins and excellent museums that will capture your minds. According to National Geographic, Oaxaca is also best known for their thriving bar scene and excellent local street food from the bustling local markets or shopping for hand-crafted items. They offer an immersive cultural experience from tradition, to beauty and history.

8 Vienna, Austria

via National Geographic

Vienna is known for its cultural and historical features in the European Union. Vienna is not only the capital but also the largest city in Austria. According to National Geographic, Vienna is considered a World Heritage Site for its protection of the 19th century Ringstrasse buildings that also form part of the multi-level underground city. Just off the path, Vienna has over 400,000 graves at one of the world`s largest cemeteries and it is no wonder that you`ll find the graves of Vienna`s son of music, Falco, amongst other famous city residents.

7 Jordan Trail

via National Geographic

A trip to the Jordan trail means a trip filled with ancient history, unexpected adventures and beautiful landscapes. The Jordan trail feels like a small country but with such a big heart. According to National Geographic, the ancient trail has an understanding of the deep history of how we as humans came to evolve. Not only do a million things happen on this historical trail but also you will see that with all the sand surrounding the long desert valleys you will come across olive trees that are slightly slanted. So why not take that adventurous self of yours and head to the Jordan trails?

6 Dublin, Ireland

via National Geographic

When you think of Dublin, Ireland, you think of the world of good tasting beer. However, have you ever wonder that is beyond that and what does Dublin have to offer? Although this fabulous city is known for being friendly and local breweries, it is also known for their delicious cuisine and beautiful architecture. According to National Geographic, the capital offers a complete sensory experience. So why not grab yourself a whiskey in a cozy Irish pub, explore the city`s literary history and discover the treasures of St-Patrick’s Cathedral.

5 Santiago, Chile

via National Geographic

Santiago, Chili has been known to be a chill and relaxed city, despite being the capital and the biggest and most populated city in Chile. According to National Geographic, the best time to travel to Santiago is between December to March when the weather is most ideal. During the colder months, the largest city in Chile is a great option to explore cultural activities, experience great food and visit wineries. The city also turns into a ski paradise from those who enjoy skiing and snowboarding.

4 Tétouan, Morocco

via Tourism Connection

Tétouan is located just north of Morocco. It lies along the Matil Valley and is one the two major ports of Morocco. According to National Geographic, Tétouan was deemed a World Heritage Site for its craft and folk art dating back to the 17th century. Tétouan is also known for its high education in technology that has a student body of 86,000. The economy of this city is based mainly on tourism and commerce. The cultural tourism has also been developed during recent years with historical sites and monument found within the city limits.

3 Rose Fields Of Buzovgrad

via National Geographic

These women are making garlands from rose petals in Bulgaria in what is Europe’s valley of roses, which according to National Geographic, are the pride of Bulgaria’s Balkan Mountains. Every year the area erupts with colorful roses across the 87-mile stretch. It is here where they produce rose oil, and it takes 3,180 pounds of roses to produce just one pound of rose oil. It’s no wonder this has been their symbol of pride and is definitely a place to visit.

2 Independence Square, Kiev

Via National Geographic

This photo is from Independence Square in the beautiful city of Kiev, Ukraine. It is here where if you want an awesome out-of-school experience, then you should come at the end of the school year because hundreds of students flock to the square to jump into the fountain. The monument in the center is the Independence Monument and according to National Geographic, it is over 200 feet tall and made out of 20 tons of cast bronze. Join in the fun and get on a plane at the end of the school year to join the local kids in celebrating the end of the year in Kiev.

1 Snake Island, Philippines

Via National Geographic

Unlike Snake Island in Brazil, that is filled with thousands of actual snakes, this island in the Philippines is actually one you can walk on and spend the day out, without worrying about something slithering up to you. According to National Geographic, over 7,000 islands make up the Philippines and this island is accessible by a sandbar that is only visible during low tide. As pictured here, you can pull a boat right up to the tail of the snake and enjoy a great day at the beach.

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