You’ve thought of Paris, the Great Wall of China and the Amazon rainforest. We’ve thought of the not-so-typical yet completely remarkable places to book your next picture-perfect getaway.
The Inspiration: “There are times when we stop. We sit still … We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.” — James Carroll
The Reason to Go: The sounds of rustling leaves or falling snow will make you glad to unplug from your buzzing, beeping iEverything. Plus, if you’re lucky you can end the night with a view of the aurora borealis, or “Northern Lights.”
The Inspiration: “Growth only come[s] from adversity and from challenge—from stepping away from what’s comfortable and familiar and stepping out into the unknown.” — Ben Saunders
The Place: Ice Caves; Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
The Reason to Go: Every winter, tour guides in the local area set out to find new trails and caves to explore with adventure seekers. Since the glacial ice is still active, the natural wonder changes shapes and locations throughout the year, which gives you the possibility of being the first and last person to visit that exact spot again.
The Inspiration: “The purpose of life, after all, is to love it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
The Place: Devil’s Pool; Livingstone Island, Zambia
The Reason to Go: Because watching The Amazing Race doesn’t count as “experiencing new things.” Truly step outside your comfort zone—by stepping into the natural pool located on the edge of the 355-feet-high Victoria Falls.
The Inspiration: “It is not really rest or even leisure we chase. We strain to renew our capacity for wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again.” — Shana Alexander
The Place: Petra, Jordan
The Reason to Go: This ancient city was built straight into the sandstone at the edge of the Arabian desert and was “lost” to the Western world until 1812. Today, still much of the city lies underground and has yet to be discovered. But for now, the rock-cut architecture, rose-colored cliffs and vast desert views are enough to be completely enamored by.
The Inspiration: “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
The Place: Salar de Uyuni; Southwest Bolivia
The Reason to Go: If you ever wished you could stroll through the clouds, the world’s largest salt flat is the closest you’ll get to making that wish come true. During the rainy season, a thin layer of water develops on the 4,633-square-mile flat and reflects the sky above—leaving you to enjoy your own optical-illusion-esque dreamland.
The Inspiration: “I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my sense put in tune once more.” — John Burroughs
The Place: Antelope Canyon; Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona
The Reason to Go: A single ray of light has the ability to transform this already-majestic slot canyon. When the sun reaches its highest point of the day, beams pierce through the cracks of the ceiling and fill the space with an array of different colors that illuminate the wavelike texture of the sandstone.
The Inspiration: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” — James Beard
The Place: Singapore
The Reason to Go: Singapore’s thriving street-food culture makes it easy (and affordable) to connect with the foreign city—and with other travelers—by way of your taste buds.
The Inspiration: “I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you can see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” — Kurt Vonnegut
The Place: Hanging Monastery; Shanxi Province, China
The Reason to Go: For more than 1,500 years, the ancient shrine has supported itself on the west cliff of Mount Hengshan by only wooden beams and the mountain itself. The temple, which hangs 15 stories above the ground, has withstood centuries of damaging storms and is still able to hold thousands of visitors that walk through its doors every year.
The Inspiration: “One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” — Henry Miller
The Place: Capilano Suspension Bridge; Vancouver, Canada
The Reason to Go: Gain a new perspective of the world when you walk across the 450-feet-long footbridge that’s 230-feet above the Capilano River.
The Inspiration: “At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.” — Toni Morrison
The Place: Marble Caves; Patagonia, Chile
The Reason to Go: Located in the center of Lake General Carrera, the extraordinary blue caves are accessible only by boats that leave from a few remote Chilean towns. The unique landscape was formed by years of waves washing up against the marble and the swirling colors come from the reflection of the glacial water below. And the best part? You’ll be able to take in the sights in peace and quiet.