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  • Post published:11/07/2021
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In 2020, many of us found comfort in the outdoors, from visits to faraway national parks to exploring leafy neighborhoods in our own cities. Now that international travel is starting to pick up once more, we asked our trusted A-List travel advisors about the world’s most impressive natural wonders, so you can start planning your bucket-list trip today.

Namibia’s Deserts and Coasts

“Namibia is other worldly. The northerly Kunene region is one of the most remote areas on the planet, vistas are never ending and the landscape is lunar-esque. The Skeleton Coast is raw, desolate and eerily beautiful. A raging sea meets an angry coastline, plus there are myriad species of desert adapted wildlife. The Namib desert is the oldest in the world and home to the highest sand dunes— this majestic region is a photographer’s dream.” Darren Humphreys, Travel Sommelier

Scenic view of Huangshan yellow mountain cliffs in China from lift cable car and a lot of the mist in the winter season,

The Huangshan yellow mountains in China.
| Credit: Getty Images

China’s Huangshan Mountains

“People often think of China as an urban setting and rarely consider that it’s the fourth largest country in the world with many natural wonders, from the southwest jungles to the Gobi desert in the northwest. People visiting China will often include outdoor travel within the context of a larger, heritage-based trip. In the Huangshan area, you can walk along the ridges of the stunning Yellow Mountains one day and then on the next day they can bike or trek past bamboo forests through verdant rice valleys to an assortment of picturesque villages. — Guy Rubin, Imperial Tours

Related: 9 Best Waterfall Hikes in the World

Croatia’s Lakes and Islands

“I have to start with Plitvice lakes in Croatia, along with sleeping in the plush new treehouses near the National Park. I would also suggest a five-to-seven day cruise around Kornati islands with a visit to Telašćica Nature Park and, of course, island Mljet—which is often overlooked and provides one of the most pristine settings in the Mediterranean. Mljet is considered the mythical island of Ogygia where, according to Homer, Caliope held Odyseuss prisoner.” — Mina Agnos, Travelive

The Grand Canyon (With A Side of Vegas)

Book a 6-day rafting trip through the heart of the Grand Canyon via the Colorado River. These outfitters have been running the trips for 20 or more years, and the guides really know the history of the canyon. The food is great, and you’ll marvel at being a mile down in a canyon, camping on the banks at night, and roaring through the rapids from Crystal to Lava Falls. At the end, escape nature by helicoptering out to Las Vegas for a show. Kids love it (but it’s best if they are 10 and above.) — Betsy Donley, Camelback Travel

Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera, formed when a volcano erupted and then collapsed inward almost three million years ago. Now it’s a 12 mile wide hole in the earth’s crust with mesmerizing 2,000 foot vertical walls. The cinematic light with the vertical backdrops are the things a photographer’s dreams are made of. The crater boasts the densest concentration of iconic wildlife in Africa: seven prides of lion, tons of endangered black rhino, huge herds of zebra and wildebeest, and leopards, giraffes, ostrich, warthogs, and jackals roam the open grasslands, dense forests, and lakes full of pink flamingos. Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is dramatically perched on the edge of the crater rim with perhaps the most breathtaking view in all of Africa. Proximate to the crater is Africa’s other greatest natural wonder, the Great Migration, and a great combination trip. Mark Lakin—The Legacy Untold

Gentoo penguins on snow of Danco Coast in Antarctica

Credit: Getty Images

Antarctica’s Frozen Wonderland

“What better place to get away from the crowds than on a polar adventure? Antarctica offers stunning vistas, plentiful penguins, playful whales and a variety of adventures including zodiac cruises, kayaking, camping, and even paddle boarding. There are few things more peaceful than floating amongst icebergs on your kayak as you take in the grandeur of the Antarctic continent. The Arctic, similarly, offers breathtaking ice in the form of glaciers, ice bergs and fjords. Polar bears lumber along the ice floes looking for seals and dive gracefully through the crystalline blue waters.— Mary Curry, Adventure-Life

Italy’s Adriatic Coast

“The Italian regions of Marche and Abruzzo on the east coast of Italy, facing former Yugoslavia, are little-known gems which offers amazing outdoor activities in breathtaking natural landscapes. Explore one of the biggest underground caves in the world, Grotte Di Frasassi, hike through the mountains of Abruzzo National Park where you will meet bears and wolves, and dine in a traditional fishing hut hanging over the Adriatic sea.” — Matteo Della Grazia & Daniela Mencarelli, Discover Your Italy

Camels in the Sahara desert

Credit: Getty Images

Morocco’s Sand Dunes

“I recommend clients take the time to travel to the dunes of the Sahara. Spending a night on the dunes in a tented encampment is a memorable way to enjoy nature in Morocco. On a clear night, the African sky will present an endless field of starts. There is nothing better than sitting around a campfire in the evening in this distant corner of southern Morocco.” —Michael Diamond, Cobblestone Private Travel

Norway’s Wolves

“Combine natural wonders with a chance to see special animals at the Wolf Lodge in Norway. You will stay in a luxurious chalet surrounded by wolves in a large polar park and interact with the wolves with trainers. You can see the Northern lights, with snow up to your waist, as you listen to the wolves howl. They even come up to sniff you and, at times, will gently touch you with their mouths. You must be very still and kneeling—it is an incredible encounter.” — Ellison Poe, Poe Travel

Montenegro’s National Parks

“Though undeniably beautiful, Croatia’s lakes and parks are more well known, so consider an off-beat option in neighboring Montenegro. Visit the glacier-formed Durmitor National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Tara River Canyon, which has the deepest gorges in Europe.” — Jay Ternavan, JayWay Travel

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