According to the dictionary, spectacular is an adjective that means ‘beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way’; synonyms of which are striking, picturesque, breathtaking, arresting, glorious, and my two favourites, sublime, and awesome. Awesome as in the Romantic poets’ meaning, not the Aussie-surfer meaning, by the way.
These are the criterion by which I have judged the 5 most spectacular places that I have ever visited. Places that literally made me stop and say ‘wow’
I have written about most of these places before, so I will link to any posts I have written where you can find more photographs.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland
I had to endure a 14-hour journey with a tour-guide who hated me to get here, but it was absolutely worth it.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
More ice. The most incredible thing about the Perito Moreno glacier is the sound: it moans, creaks and groans. And if you’re lucky you might hear the terrifying gunshot explosion of glacial calving.
Parque Tayrona, Colombia
I simply can’t think of any other time that a view has stopped me dead in my tracks the way that Parque Tayrona did. After a sweaty trek through humid jungle, we were afforded a tiny glimpse of the beach through the dense foliage and my imagination exploded; I was a cavewoman from thousands of years ago, I was a castaway stranded on a desert island, I was a movie-star on my own private island paradise…
Iguazu Falls, Brazil
This is another sound one. The vistas are glorious and the pictures speak louder than any words, but the sound is immeasurable. Standing by Iguazu Falls feeling the spray on your face and hearing the thunderous roar of the water is indescribable.
Arctic Circle, Sweden
Even more ice. I can’t help it. I love snow. I love untamed. I love the romanticism that comes with inhospitable landscapes—places that reject human interference. I love the fact that there are no souvenir shops, and few people. And I love the fact that nature only puts on her most amazing performance for the few who venture there. Where have you been that had the wow-factor? Tell me about it in the comments below. Or like me on FB and leave a picture there!
The place for me that has the biggest “wow” factor was Ko Samet – at least, the first time I visited the island in 2004. Probably because it was a lovely, sunny day and I was in need of a good beach after spending time in Pattaya. The white sand on Ko Samet was a treat for the eyes and I had such a good time on that day trip. I returned to Ko Samet the following two times I visited Thailand.
I have not yet been to Koh Samet, but I’m going to Thailand for Christmas so maybe I should check it out. Any recommendations for accommodation, restaurants etc…?
Unfortunately, I don’t have any specific recommendations for accommodation or restaurants per se as I haven’t been there in four years. However, I would recommend Hat Sai Kaew – it’s the portion of the island I stayed on. I do remember multiple options for accommodation existing there. And there were numerous (at least more than one) bars that were playing good dance music not far from where I was staying.
Isle of Iona, Scotland.
There’s definitely something about being on an actual island that changes things. The atmosphere on Iona palpably changes when the last ferry goes.
I can imagine. I loved Scotland when I went a few years back and would love to explore more of it. Will put Isle of Iona on the list!
Great post! I’m a huge fan of your blog! I’m in the planning stages of starting my own travel blog. Do you use mailchimp or aweber, or which do you recommend?
Hi, thank you so much for your comments.
I am such a terrible blogger that I am not organised enough to use anything like that. I really should, shouldn’t I?
That first photo definitely made me say, “Wow!”
I’m impressed by every new place I visit, though I’ll never forget the awestruck feeling when I visited Times Square in NYC for the first time. It seemed like the energy of the world was flowing from that very spot!
I really enjoyed Times Square too. In fact I was pretty awestruck the whole time I was in NYC. I felt like I was walking around a giant film-set.
Great post! We are planning on travelling to Iceland in Feb! Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is definitely on the list of places to visit 🙂
I am so jealous. Iceland is a place to which I am simply desperate to return.
If I can offer you one piece of advice it would be to hire a car while you are there. I made the mistake of using the tour buses and have regretted it ever since. They are convenient and they ‘do the job’ so to speak, but you will have a much better time doing it at your own speed. I only spent an hour at Jökulsárlón, but could have spent a week there. I would love to hang out there long enough to see the Aurora over the lagoon.
I hope you have a wonderful time.