Top Breathtaking Viewpoints Worldwide
Whether from the top of a snow-capped mountain or cascading waterfalls, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring places to grab a memorable view. Get up early, be adventurous, avoid the crowds, find a vantage point and appreciate the incredible beauty of this world.
Grand Canyon, Arizona (USA)
The iconic Grand Canyon has a number of viewpoints where you can gaze across the gaping crack in the earth or stare down to the Colorado River below. Named as one of the official seven natural wonders of the world, the canyon is a jaw-dropping 277 miles (445.7 kilometers) long and 18 miles (29 kilometers) at its widest. Hike the canyon or escape the crowds at the northern rim, which experiences much fewer guests but is no less impressive.
Puerto Moreno Glacier, Patagonia (Argentina)
The size, the colors and the noises of gentle cracking and occasional ice falling are hard to put into words. The incredible whites, blues, and greys of the ice are like nothing you’ve ever seen. The ice twists itself into amazing shapes, and if you’re lucky you’ll see calving (when the ice breaks away and falls), which thunders into the water below. The viewing platform is long, allowing you to get some peace to observe this stunning ice cathedral away from the madding crowd.
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
From the viewpoint on high, you can look down into the caldera, a crater of a long-extinct volcano with its glistening lake and abundant roaming animals. Next to the Serengeti National Park, the crater is a kind of Noah’s Arc with an incredible array of wildlife, and it’s said to have the highest density of big game in Africa.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil
There are waterfalls and then there’s Iguazu. It doesn’t break records for the highest or the most concentrated volume of water, but it’s the combination of the sheer number and range of the waterfalls, and your ability to get above them, under them or between them that makes it such an unforgettable place.
The falls span the Brazilian and Argentina border, and you should put aside a day to see them both as they require separate tickets and an easy border crossing.
The best viewpoint of the many vantage points is the panoramic Devil’s Throat, on the Argentinian side, where you get incredibly close to the pounding water that cascades around you.
Pão de Açúcar (or Sugarloaf Mountain), Rio de Janiero
When it comes to stunning vistas of this most eye-catching city, Sugarloaf Mountain is the sweetest. For selfies with the iconic Jesus statue, Christ the Redeemer is best, but for 360-panoramic views of Rio’s rainforest and the beaches of Guanabara Bay, Pão de Açúcar is king.
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Paris is the No. 1 most visited city in the world, and the Eiffel Tower is its biggest attraction. It can be seen from all over the city, but its real charm is experienced from 279 meters up at the highest observation public platform in the EU. Take the lift, and you’ll see the winding River Seine below you as well as the Champs Elysee, the Arc de Triomphe and a host of other iconic sites.
In the middle of Turkey stands one of the globe’s most distinctive landscapes, the moonlike, honeycomb-esque hills known as fairy chimneys. Inside these bizarre rock formations, there are incredible underground cities, cave churches and tiny houses carved into the rocks. You can’t get a bad view of Cappadocia, but perhaps the best is from one of the hot air balloons that take off in the early morning. Even if you don’t get in one, get out early and see the rocks change color as the sun rises.
Empire State Building, New York
The stellar views of Manhattan from the 102nd-floor observatory of the world’s most iconic city are most impressive at night as the city glows and the lights surge below you. By day, you can make out the green oasis of Central Park among the big apple’s towering skyscrapers.