Singapore

Singapore

Credit: Jim Boud

With a population of over 5 million people, the tiny island country of Singapore is the second most densely populated country in the world. A bustling center of commerce and a melting pot of cultures, the country is known for its legendary food, highly organized transportation systems, high achieving students, ease of doing business, and incredibly low crime rate. Despite its small size, Singapore has an impressively diverse population. Its inhabitants are a mixture of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and expats from many countries that have immigrated to Singapore for business. Singapore is one of the safest major cities in the world, as long as you follow the rules. There are severe penalties imposed for many infractions of the law, including a mandatory death sentence for many drug offenses, caning for overstaying your visa or entering illegally, and fines for everything from chewing gum to spitting. Since Singapore the city is so well developed, getting there, getting around, and finding a place to stay couldn’t be easier. See more pictures of Singapore

Cook Islands

Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands

Credit: Stefan Heinrich

The stunning Cook Islands are a tropical paradise located deep in the South Pacific Ocean. The Cook Islands are self-governing and are in free association with New Zealand which lies to the southwest. Also nearby are French Polynesia (including the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora) and American Samoa. Within the Cook Islands are 15 major islands divided into two groups: the Northern Cook Islands and the Southern Cook Islands. The Northern Cook Islands consist of six coral atolls. The capital of the Cook Islands is the city of Avarua, on the most populous island Rarotonga. The island of Aitutaki is also a popular destination for tourists. Visitors to the Cook Islands can enjoy swimming in the crystal blue ocean waters, sunbathing on the spectacular white sand beaches, or snorkeling over the fertile reef. The Cook Islands are also popular for weddings and honeymoons. See more pictures of Cook Islands

Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Credit: Patrik Pangerl

Landmannalaugar is a region in southern Iceland that is home to strange and beautiful geological formations. The multicolored rhyolite mountains in particular are breathtaking to behold. Visitors to this area enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and hot springs. Popular hikes include a trip up the peak of Bláhnúkur, a walk through the ice caves of Hrafntinnusker, or an extended multi-day hike along the Laugavegurinn trail. Tourists can visit Landmannalaugar between June and late September. Accommodations are sparse, consisting of only an austere mountain lodge that has room for 78 people total. Landmannalaugar can be accessed by car or by daily bus service from Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. See more pictures of Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Cordillera del Paine, Patagonia, Chile

Torres del Paine is a national park located in south Patagonia, Chile. The park is known for its immense rock towers and peaks, part of the Andes mountain range. The name Torres del Paine means Towers of Blue (Paine is an indigenous name for the color blue). The most famous peaks in the park are Cordillera del Paine, a set of stark peaks, and the Cuernos del Paine (Horns of Blue), a set of jagged, horn-like mountain tops. Also in the park are a glacier, a lake, and rivers. The most popular activity in the park are the multi day hikes, especially the Base Of Las Torres trek. Tourists can reach the national park via dailiy bus service from the city of Puerto Natales. Accommodations in the park consist of basic lodgings called “Refugios” and camping. See more pictures of Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

Moriane Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Nestled quietly within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, is the incredibly beautiful Moriane Lake. This glacially-fed lake is rather small, with a surface area of only 0.5 square kilometers (0.19 square miles). Lake Moriane is a striking blue-green color, caused by the presence of glacial rock flour that refracts sunlight. The alpine lake is located at an elevation of 1,885 meters (6,183 feet), and is surrounded by stark mountain peaks. Visitors to this picturesque lake can enjoy hiking in the area, and also check out the other amazing aspects of Banff National Park, such as the lovely Lake Louise. See more pictures of Moriane Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

When you arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland, the castle is one of the most striking features. Apparently growing out of the rock itself, the plug of basalt that was once the tip of volcano was left standing as a glacier removed the softer rock around it. Not surprisingly the rock has had a castle on for well over a thousand years and was a royal palace since David I in the 12th century. In the intervening years the castle has had a central role in many of the great episodes in Scottish history. See more pictures of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

London, England

Tower Bridge, London, England

London, the iconic capital city of England, is the largest metropolitan area in the European Union, with an estimated population of around 14 million people. Once the most populous city in the world, London is now a hotbed of cultural and historical richness, with countless museums, galleries, libraries, and important sites. Some popular tourist stops include the British Museum, the National Gallery, Tate Modern, the Natural History Museum, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Big Ben, Kew Gardens, Palace of Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, the historic settlement of Greenwich, and much more. Important historical religious sites include Westminster Abbey, St Margaret’s Church, and St Paul’s Cathedral. London is also home to the oldest underground railway network in the world, known as the London Underground. London is a major air transportation hub so getting there is a breeze. The city is also a major tourist destination, so finding a place to stay and things to do is even easier! See more pictures of London, England

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California, USA

Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, the Ansel Adams Wilderness is a wilderness area encompassing 937 square kilometers (362 square miles or 231,533 acres). Within the Ansel Adams Wilderness are glaciated mountains including Mount Ritter, Banner Peak, and the Minarets, all of which are part of the Ritter Range. The wilderness area is also home to many lakes, including Shadow Lake, Thousand Island Lake, Lake Ediza, and Garnet Lake. A popular feature located in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is Devils Postpile National Monument, an unusually symmetrical formation of columnar basalt. Visitors to the wilderness area can enjoy 562 kilometers (349 miles) of hiking trails, opportunities for technical rock climbing on the Minarets, and cross-country skiing at Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain in the winter. See more pictures of Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California, USA