From candy-colored mountains to palm leaf-shaped islands, the world as we know it looks completely different when viewed from the clouds. While hidden wonders exist all around the world, here’s our list of 23 places that totally transform when viewed from above:
Built in the heart of Copenhagen’s Quarter of Mimersgade, Superkilen Park encourages physical activity and community gathering with rad features like swings, monkey bars, a boxing ring, slides, skateboard ramps, and bicycle lanes.
Rod Fai Market (Train Market) in Bangkok is a huge, sprawling open-air bazaar located just outside of downtown Bangkok. Combine vintage collectables, high-end fashion, and furniture with cool restaurants, bars and snack stands. Best enjoyed from sunset to midnight, Thursday to Sunday.
Plan a visit to the Netherlands during tulip season and prepared to be smacked in the face with so much color. Rows and rows of vibrant tulips pop up from mid April to mid May. The best places to spot them (and take some sick Insta pics) are Noordoostpolder, Lisse, and at the Tulip Festival in Keukenhof Gardens, just outside of Amsterdam.
After studying the city and its residents, architect Ildefons Cerdà proposed to build Barcelona’s Eixample as a grid pattern of equally sized cubes. This cool detail provides air circulation in the streets and higher visibility around corners. Plus, each block is oriented in a NW/SE direction so that every household receives ample amounts of natural light daily.
Nicknamed the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Dubai’s Palm Islands are both the largest manmade islands and the most impressive: each beautifully and carefully shaped like a real life palm leaf. The Palm Islands are home to 5,000 waterfront apartments, 4,000 residential villas, 1,000 water homes and 60 luxury hotels as well as a handful of marinas, health spas, shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas, sports facilities and secret dive sites.
Niagra Falls, New York
Tucked between the border of Ontario and New York State sits Niagara Falls: three thundering waterfalls located at the end of Niagara River. Combined, the falls have the “highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America.” Famous for it’s beautify and it’s power (it’s been used for hydroelectric power since 1759!), this wonder is best explored by boat or, our preferred method, by sky.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Heart Reef is a super sweet composition of coral that’s naturally formed into the shape of a heart (duh). Because the region is strictly protected, snorkeling and diving is banned, so Heart Reef is best seen from above by rented helicopter or seaplane.
While the view is unbelievable from above, the best way to explore Transylvania (AKA, Dracula’s hometown) is actually by car. But be wary, the winding road of the Transfagarasan Highway is filled with endless curves, dramatic drops, wandering sheep, and almost no barrier protection. You’ve been warned.
Mù Cang Chải, Vietnam
Mù Cang Chải is a rural district in the Northeast region of Vietnam. While small in size, this spot has a big reputation for it’s breathtaking rice terrace fields, stretching across 2,200 hectares of mountainside. The best time to visit is in the beginning of October when the rice harvest begins.
Tokyo’s iconic intersection is best enjoyed from the sky. The sprawling scramble intersection just outside Shibuya Station is an embodiment of Tokyo itself: action in all directions. For a view above the madness, visit Magnet by Shibuya 109, the 25th floor of the Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu, or L’Occitane Café.
Impressive from the ground (and insane from above), Fort Bourtange is a star-shaped man-made wonder in Bourtange, Netherlands. Built in the 15th century, this fort’s main purpose was to control the only road between Germany and Groningen, which was controlled by the Spaniards during the time of the Eighty Years’ War. Today, the property’s museum and gardens are open to the public and provides a sweet mix of history and natural beauty.
Inle Lake, Myanmar
With no roads or sidewalks, Inle Lake locals and tourists get around in one-person-wide wooden boats, slowly maneuvering through floating shops, hotels, and villages.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
Lake Natron in Tanzania is one of the most serene lakes in Africa, but also the one of the most deadly. “The alkaline water in Lake Natron has a pH as high as 10.5 and is so caustic it can burn the skin and eyes of animals that aren’t adapted to it.” After the temp heats up, the bacteria present inside the pond exude a red pigment, resulting in a stunning deep pink color.
Mallorca (Majorca), one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, is known for swanky beach resorts and sheltered hidden coves. On the coast, visitors and locals can bask in around 300 days of sunshine per year, resulting in beaches covered in colorful umbrellas and fruit-filled drinks.
Zhangye National Geopark‘s candy-colored mountains are true magic (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 2009). How were they formed? Layers of multi-colored sandstone and minerals were pressed together over millions of years. To view, walk to one of the site’s four viewing platforms, or take a bus and explore the whole park.
Port Gregory, Australia
After a visit to Hutt Lagoon in Australia, you’ll be thinking “algae never looked so good!” The town of Port Gregory was once a small fishing village, but now is a holiday hotspot for fishing and diving. Depending on the time of year and weather, the algae in Hutt Lagoon cause the water to transform from a red to pink to purple. The best time of day to visit is typically mid-morning or sunset.
Victory Monument is one of the busiest transportation hubs in all of Bangkok— and a popular hangout spot for Thai locals. There are two malls surrounding the monument and a night market that opens from dusk til dawn. From above, the hub forms an eye, lit up by zooming cars and street lights.
One of the largest (and most expensive) man-made developments in the Middle East, the Pearl-Qatar sits on millions of dollars of reclaimed land, roughly 350 meters from the shore of Doha. The property’s pearl-like shape offers 360 views of the ocean and the city. On land, Doha offers luxury shopping, swanky hotels, and unbelievable local cuisine.
Fun fact: Morocco is the world’s fourth largest olive oil producer! Olive trees thrive in the Mediterranean climate with yearly temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius, rainy winters followed by sunny springs, and hot summers.
Take a drive in North Iceland and you’ll find Kolugil Farm, which stands beside the Víðidalsá river. Just below the farm, a waterfall fills the famous Kolugljúfur gorge. As you drive, you’ll follow a series of breathtaking falls. Visit in the winter to see the farm (and road) painted in white.
New York, New York
Arguably the most famous park in the world, Central Park is a manmade wonder in the heart of New York City. While inside, get lost in 840 acres of ponds, parks, and streams. From above, view the perfect rectangle of green surrounded by skyscrapers and city streets.
A bright, welcoming pop of color in a drab Soviet-era cityscape, Kyiv’s Comfort Town was purposefully designed to awaken the senses and create community. Where the Soviet system was built on the sea of state-owned public property (it was available to everyone), Comfort Town is decidedly private and inward-facing, with community gardens, courtyards and gathering spaces tucked carefully inside.
Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam
Hạ Long Bay in northeast Vietnam is known for its crisp emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Hop in a junk boat or kayak and cruise aimlessly amongst the endless maze of floating villages and markets.