The Giant’s Causeway is a magnificent basalt rock formation located on Ireland’s northeast coast. The tops of the incredible hexagonal basalt columns form stepping stones to the ocean. The Giant’s Causeway is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Nature Reserve in Ireland. Visitors to the area can also enjoy a ride on the historic Giant’s Causeway Tramway, a railway originally built in 1883. The nearest town to the Giant’s Causeway is the tiny community of Bushmills, only 3km (2 miles) north. The slightly larger towns of Ballycastle and Coleraine are also nearby. Belfast, the largest city and capital of Northern Ireland, is 95km (59 miles) to the south.
Peru is home to one of the most visited ancient ruins today, Machu Picchu. Literally meaning “Old Mountain”, Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca site that was built around 1400 CE. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sees around half a million visitors each year. In January 2010 Machu Piccu was in the news worldwide when heavy rains washed away access roads to the site, trapping over 2,000 tourists and 2,000 locals who then had to be evacuated. Machu Piccu reopened to the public on April 1st, 2010. Most visitors to Machu Piccu stay in the nearby town of Cusco where all manner of accommodation can be found.
The Patagonian Perito Moreno Glacier, located in the Los Glaciares National Park of Argentina, is part of the Andes system and is one of the major tourist attractions in Patagonia due to its ease of accessibility and impressive size. The glacier is 5 km (3 miles) wide and has an average above-water height of 74 meters (240 feet). Perito Moreno Glacier sees daily bus tours as it’s just a 2 hour bus ride from the small town of El Calafate. Visitors can walk around the glacier to see it from a few different angles, or take a short trek on the glacier itself.
The massive Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a sandstone rock formation in central Australia. Officially located in the Northern Territory, Uluru is an inselberg (literally “island mountain”) which is a leftover section of a mountain range after erosion has removed the original mountain range. The formation is home to ancient wall paintings, springs, and caves. Uluru stands 348 meters (1,142 ft) tall. It is popular with photographers during sunset when it appears to glow red. Many visitors opt to enjoy a steep hour-long climb to the top of Uluru. Uluru is located inside the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park and visitors must pay a $25 fee to enter the area. There is a nearby airport for those interested in a short and easy visit to Uluru. Visitors wishing to stay longer can find accommodation in the nearby town of Alice Springs.
The incredible moonscape hills and the impossibly beautiful cities of Turkey’s Cappadocia region are a sight to behold. Located in the center of Turkey, the Cappadocia region includes the towns of Avanos, Göreme, Nevsehir, Ortahisar, Uçhisar, and Ürgüp. Popular activities in the region include visits to the underground cities, viewing the ancient Christian cave art, exploring numerous hiking trails and volcanos, seeing the “fairy chimney” rock formations, and taking sunrise hot air balloon rides for a view of the breathtaking landscape from above.
Built between 802 CE and 1220 CE, the stunning Angkor Wat temple complex includes hundreds of temples stretching over an area of 400 square kilometers (249 square miles). The most popular temples are Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Phrom (setting of the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider movie). Recommended activites include exploring the temples, watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat, watching the sunset at one of the west-facing temples, and for those more adventurous types: getting in a hot air balloon or a helicopter for a breathtaking view of Angkor Wat from above. Visitors to the temples are required to buy a 1 day ($20), 3 day ($40), or 7 day ($60) temple pass. In the last decade Angkor Wat has exploded onto the tourist scene. 15 years ago the nearby town of Siem Reap had only 1 hotel, now there are hundreds.
Ah, Venice, a favorite destination for romantics for centuries, this Italian town is known for its canals, gondolas, and Saint Mark’s Basilica. The city is so amazing it’s even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Venetian sights not to be missed include the Grand Canal, Saint Mark’s Basilica and Square, Academia, and the Rialto Bridge. Venice is a good sized town with a population of over 270,000. All ranges of accommodation and any dish you desire can be found in this enchanting town. So grab your amore and visit beautiful Venice!
The stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park lies in the Lika region of Croatia. The park is surrounded by the mountains Plješevica, Mala Kapela, and Medveđak, which are part of the Dinaric Alps. The 16 blue-green Plitvice Lakes, which are separated by natural dams of travertine, are situated on the Plitvice plateau. Waterfalls connect the lakes, and the tallest waterfall is Veliki Slap at 70 meters (230 feet) tall. The Plitvice lakes area boasts a large variety of interesting and colorful flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy walking and hiking the many pathways and trails, or exploring the lakes by boat. The park itself has 3 hotels and a campsite, otherwise visitors can find accommodation at any of the number of villages and cities nearby.