But behind these headline acts lie other, more remote windows onto the world which are just as powerful, yet off the mainstream radar.
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To make matters more interesting, these horizons don’t necessarily stay the same but instead ebb and flow with the time of day, or the passing of the seasons. To make the most of them, you need to time it exactly right.
Come join us as we gallivant around the globe to some of the planet’s finest frontiers – cameras at the ready…
The sunset view: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The world’s largest salt plain is a handsome beast indeed, best appreciated as the sun heads west over the shimmering flats. Take a jeep to a remote spot by the shores and watch the horizon light up in a purple haze.
The spring view: cherry blossom season in Japan
Head to the quiet Tokyo neighbourhood of Nakameguro in spring, and you’ll find the canal in a bloom of cherry blossom. The show saves its trump card for the early evening, when the lowering sun casts a pink glow on the water, and pink champagne is served in nearby cafés.
The countryside view: the Sapa hills, Vietnam
Spools of terraced rice fields create a ravishing display in the northern valleys of Sapa, Vietnam. Take an overnight sleeper train from Hanoi to bask in this stunner of a view, with hazy peaks completing the theatrics.
The geothermal view: Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Geothermal majesty is delivered in spades at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s show-stopping thermal springs nestled in an 800-year-old lava field in the Reykjanes Peninsula. Best of all, you can wallow in the steamy plumes for a front-row seat to the action.
The island view: Bacuit archipelago, the Philippines
A maze of limestone karsts forms a hidden world of wonders in the Bacuit Archipelago, in the south-west Philippines. Zip around the tiny caves and coves by paraw boat to find idyllic tropical views of the kind that will leave your daydreams in the shade.
The desert view: Valle de la Luna, Chile
The Martian-style tapestry of Chile’s Valle de la Luna, aka Moon Valley, is quite unlike anywhere else on earth. Gaze upon this one-time NASA training ground and watch the dried-out valleys glow red and then gold. A sundowner glass of Chilean red provides the final flourish.
The wildlife view: Serengeti plains, Tanzania
The Serengeti – with its miles of grassy Savannah and acacia trees – is a sight not to be missed. Add the planet’s greatest creatures into the mix, and it becomes bucket-list gold. Watch lumbering elephants amble across the scrubby bush, against a backdrop of fiery African skies, for a vision you’ll never forget.
The sky view: Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland
You can’t predict when the ethereal Northern Lights come out to play but when they do, you’ll want a prime view. Head to the Arctic wilderness of Torassieppi in Finnish Lapland for the best vantage point, and see the skies flare up in flashing green streaks above an endless snow-capped Narnia.
The city view: Delhi in the evening sunset
For a Delhi panorama that’ll leave you dizzy with anticipation, head for the avenue leading up to the President’s Residence of Rashtrapati Bhavan at sundown. The entire realm turns a royal gold against a backdrop of evening promenaders, tuk-tuks and elegant architectural outlines.
The summit view: Rainbow Mountain, Peru
This particular view requires a demanding hike up through snowy Andean hills, not to mention an overnight camp at altitude (to beat the crowds). It’s all worth it when you see the summit emerge in a diaspora of turquoise, yellow and maroon sedimentary streaks. Stupendous.
The skyline view: twilight at Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janiero
With its crowning spot at the peak of Rio’s cityscape, Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) delivers moody drama when the evening sun sets in. Take a cable car right to the very top and order a caipirinha as you watch the lights come on. From iconic coastline to tropical parks and hillside favelas, this is Rio in all its magnetic diversity.
The river view: Japan’s Hozugawa in autumn
Snaking through a maze of woodland and riverside villages, the Hozugawa offers a tantalising glimpse into life in rural Japan. And it’s never finer than in autumn, when the banks light up in a blaze of russet and yellow. Sail away down the waterway for your fix of this enchanting wonderland.
The beach view: Marari sands, Kerala
Every beach has its own peculiar charm, of course, but Marari beach in Kerala may just be the most handsome of them all. Not only is this hideaway on the Malabar coast deliciously chilled (tick), it’s also home to miles of golden sands (tick, tick) framed by fruit trees, palms and glistening sea (a thousand ticks). Get thee there now.
The underwater view: Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Under the sea is where it’s all better, naturally, and the Goliath of views awaits in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The world’s oldest living organism off the eastern coast of Queensland is the amphitheatre of the natural world, offering a window onto colourful parrotfish, coral trout, maori wrasse and more.
The mountains view: Torres del Paine, Chile
It’s rare to find lakes with the kind of bell-like clarity seen in Chilean Patagonia these days, but this is your reward for hiking deep into the glacial wilderness. Torres del Paine National Park is a non-stop showstopper of immense landscapes such as these, where puffballs of cloud and snow-capped peaks are mirrored in the deep blue waters.
Images: Flash Pack and Shutterstock