The 5 Most Unexpected and Astonishing Landscapes to See in 2019
By Ashley Lipman
The world is filled with incredible places. Today’s travelers are blessed to have access to the internet to help them discover exotic locales that would never have heard of otherwise. With diverse cultural experiences and breathtaking landscapes, a true traveler lives for the thrill of the unexpected.
As the world changes, it’s important to live for today and visit as many astonishing landscapes as possible. Here are five unexpected and astonishing landscapes to see in 2019.
Hawaii has long topped tourists’ travel lists and is renowned for its otherworldly beauty. However, this famous archipelago often gets reduced to the beautiful beaches on the Big Island when discussed among tourist circles. While staying in an accommodation on Big Island is a fantastic base camp for adventuring, this isolated paradise in the Pacific is so much more than big waves on the beach.
There’s nothing as mesmerizing and exhilarating than taking a helicopter tour of the Hawaiian lava fields to witness something as beautiful as it is destructive. The Kilauea “Lava Lake” at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park boils at over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and seeps into the ocean, creating new ecosystems in its wake. While the lava lake isn’t a walk in the park, HVNP does have hiking trails in less treacherous areas for those who want to see the land up close.
While in Hawaii, don’t forget to visit the lush island of Kauai. Often referred to as the Garden Isle, this island is nearly untouched. This often rainy island is left unvisited by tourists, who miss out on cultural delights and empty beaches surrounded by incredible rainforests.
Peru is the home to the world wonder Machu Picchu and is often depicted by images of this incredible ancient wonder. Like Hawaii, this South American gem has so much more to offer. In Peru, you can visit the Paracas nature reserve and take a boat out to the Ballestas Islands, where thousands of penguins frolic in the waves. Stop over in Huacachina, a desert oasis surrounded by mountains of sand from which you can watch the sunset or sled.
From there, journey down to Nazca in the desert where gargantuan ancient drawings from thousands of years ago still rest in the sand. Journey through the winding roads of the Andes and view the Rainbow Mountains. Then watch as the sand turns to beautiful, lush rainforests and farmlands. Yes, Machu Picchu is an incredible site, rife with history, but it’s the rest of the country that makes it one of the most unexpectedly beautiful places on earth.
Beauty is not synonymous with warmth, and Norway can prove it. This often overlooked Scandinavian paradise echoes with the memories of Viking exploration and the discovery of new land. With miles of untouched natural surroundings, Norway is home to unforgettable landscapes from sea to sky.
Take a boat up the Geiranger Fjord, a waterway seemingly carved through the mountains and surrounded by towering cliffs. Change your point of view and hike up to Pulpit Rock, where you can view the Lysefjorden fjord from 1800 feet above. Stay in the colorful town of Trondheim on the shores of the Nidelva River, kayaking along the town under the gaze of an 11th-century Gothic cathedral.
Plan your trip for the colder seasons and witness the prolonged night. Curl up in furs under the stars and watch the Aurora Borealis light up the darkness. No matter where you go in Norway, regardless of the time of year or time of day, there’s always something astonishing to behold.
Asia is a huge continent with plenty of incredible countries filled with both ancient and modern wonders. Vietnam is a place that has defied the tests of time and offers a versatile landscape that will appeal to both city lovers and those who like to venture from the beaten path.
The rice fields of Mu Cang Chai are mountains that resemble lush, green, staircases. This terrace setup is an agricultural wonder, allowing for the proper water flow and irrigation to generate healthy rice crops. These fields span over 2200 hectares of land. Stay in one of the small villages and interact with locals for the cultural experience of a lifetime.
While in Vietnam, explore the world’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong. This three-million-year-old cave was only discovered in 1990 and opened for guided tours in 2013. Some sections reach 600 feet tall and 450 feet wide, big enough for skyscrapers and city streets.
City lovers will enjoy the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Like so many breathtaking travel destinations, Vietnam also offers exquisite beaches and waterways on which to lounge and explore.
Venice, Italy is one of the many places that travelers should strive to see before it’s too late. Changing water levels have scientists estimating that Venice will be underwater within the next 75 years. This one-of-a-kind city is like something out of a storybook of old, with boats instead of cars and ancient Gothic architecture overlooking the watery streets.
While the fan-favorite gondola ride is a must while in Venice, there are many astonishing sights to be seen. Take in the architectural wonder that is Saint Mark’s Basilica, and watch the hustle and bustle of the morning commute along the Canale Grande. Hop over to Lido, a separate island that rests between Venice proper and the breathtaking Adriatic sea.
While Italy itself is filled with unforgettable destinations --Rome, Sicily, and Tuscany to name a few-- Venice is unlike any other place on earth.
While traveling to these five astonishing landscapes, remember that pictures will never do them justice. Look with your eyes, be present in the moment, and cherish the memories you make.
Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion in providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches.