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10 Most Iconic Places to Visit in the World

Added 10 Apr 2014
10 Most Iconic Places to Visit in the World
 

 

Northern Lights – Iceland
Northern lights
The Northern Lights have to be one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena. Between November and March each year, solar particles collide with atmospheric gases to create the most sensation natural light show on earth – lasting anything from a few minutes to a few days.

Wadi Rum – Jordan
Wadi rum
A hauntingly beautiful desert landscape, Wadi Rum is one of Jordan’s star attractions, not least for providing the ultimate desert adventure. From camel trekking, to rock climbing, scrambling or a four-wheel drive tour, whatever you choose, the sublime vistas will be a highlight of your trip.

Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania
Kilimanjaro
One of the most impressive sights in Africa, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain. With snow-capped peaks rising from a relatively flat plain, it is the largest free-standing mountain in the world, measuring 80 km by 40 km, and one of the Earth’s highest dormant volcanoes. Around 22,000 climbers attempt to get to the 5895 metre summit each year. Travel with Explore and you’ll benefit from our outstanding success rate of 95% (of customers reaching the summit). For many people, getting up before dawn on the final day to watch the sun rise from the summit of Uhuru Peak is one of Africa’s most satisfying achievements.

The Great Wall of China - China
Great wall
Stretching from the Yellow Sea to the edge of the Gobi Desert, some 2700 miles, the magnificent ramparts and watch towers of the Great Wall were built to protect China's northern frontier from raiding Mongol horsemen. For over 2000 years it has zigzagged over the mountains and rivers of China like a fabulous dragon. Concentrating on some of the most interesting and spectacular sections, this walk provides an insight into China 'off the beaten track'.

Taj Mahal – India
Taj mahal
Watching as the sun rises over this spectacular marble palace is an experience you’ll never forget. Built by the emperor Shah Jahan to honour the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal took a staggering 22 years to complete, using the labour of 20,000 men, and is estimated to have cost around 3 million rupees (or $70 million). This major Indian highlight is well worth experiencing in person.

Angkor Wat – Cambodia
Angkor wat
Ancient Cambodia produced one of the world’s greatest civilizations at Angkor. Renowned Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world - but is merely one temple lying at the heart of a thousand others. An enormous and elaborately detailed complex, this ancient temple city has remained the heart and soul of Cambodia for almost two millennia. Visitors also flock to jungle-clad Ta Prohm, where tentacle-like foliage entwined around the temple provides an insight into how the whole site must have looked when it was first explored by Western adventurers in the 19th century.

Inca Trail – Peru
Inca trail
Trekking the Inca Trail to the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu features on many must-do travel lists and it is little wonder why. Machu Picchu was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is the most familiar icon of the Inca world, with its spectacular mountain-top location in the Andes. You can visit Machu Picchu without trekking the Inca Trail, but most hikers would agree the trail is the perfect way to reach the site, building anticipation as the goal approaches.


Bagan - Burma
Bagan
On the banks of the Ayeyarwady River (or Irrawaddy River), Bagan (also written as Pagan) was first founded in 849 when the Bamar, today’s Burmese, migrated from Tibet to establish what would become a powerful kingdom. Thousands of Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas sprinkle across a sprawling scrubby plain, the world’s densest and largest concentration. Its beauty is in its setting, atmosphere and detail, from the intricate carvings and crimson bougainvillea that enliven the brown landscape, to the squirrels that play amongst the dusty ruins and the sublime silhouette of the delicate spires poking skywards at sunset.

Cappadocia – Turkey
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is widely known for its collection of ethereal rock formations and interesting things that lie beneath its surface – including thousands of subterranean dwellings and churches. Cappadocia was known to be the home of the Troglodytae, or cave dwellers, who made their homes in caves, living and worshipping underground to avoid persecution. With its enchanting valleys, 'fairy chimneys' and cave dwellings, Cappadocia is a must-visit for tourists to the region.

Namibia Desert
Namibia desert
One of the most sparsely populated countries in the world with only 1.8 million people occupying over 800,000 sq km, Namibia’s landscapes are not what you expect to find in Africa. Exposed to the mercy of the elements, it is dominated by the brooding Namib Desert, a vast expanse of unspoilt wilderness, where the world’s highest sand dunes march determinedly towards the sea in a dune field 300 km wide.