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Our Favourite Landscapes from Around the World

  • whl.travel
  • 23 April 2012

“Where’s the place you feel most at home in nature?”

This is the question we posed to our network of local travel experts all around the world. They came back with responses about incredible landscapes that make their corners of the earth special. In honour of Earth Day and our focus this month on ecotourism, we’ve compiled their thoughts about some of the best landscapes from around the world.

lunahuana peru

Lunahuanâ, near Lima, Peru, is where you "can get in touch with nature, adventure and the way of life that its people have preserved." Photo courtesy of Sara Linares

Lunahuaná near Lima, Peru

Lunahuaná, two hours from the city of Lima, Peru, is a natural paradise where the sun shines for most of the year. It is a mixed landscape situated between the coast and the highlands of Lima, Whether you are looking to chill out in a natural environment, set off on a hiking adventure, go for a swim or practice rafting in its rivers, you will find that lots of outdoor activities are possible in Lunahuaná.

In your downtime, be sure to visit the vineyards, where you’ll find more than three types of grapes. Lunahuaná locals are warm and friendly people, noted for their production of Pisco (Peru’s distilled national liquor made of grapes), as well as for the cuisine with tasty river shrimps as the star ingredient. Around town are comfortable and cosy accommodations to suit different budgets. Some hotels and guesthouses also offer horse riding, and motorcycles and bicycles for rent. Lunahuaná lets travellers can get in touch with nature, adventure and the way of life that its people have preserved!
~ Sara Linares, the whl.travel local connection in Lima, Peru

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Agios Gordis in Corfu, Greece

My absolute favourite spot on Corfu is the beach in Agios Gordis at sunset. Here you are in perfect contact with all the elements of nature any time of the year. Imagine feeling the sand beneath your feet and the wind on your skin, while listening to the sound of the waves and gazing at the sun, still warming you, as it slowly disappears below the horizon, casting the most beautiful colours into the sky. This is a landscape I never grow tired of as nature paints different shades for each sunset.
~ Sandra Broedner, the whl.travel local connection in Corfu, Greece

favorite landscapes- kate webb tea estates malawi

In Malawi, "as soon as the tea estates come into sight, our shoulders drop, we breathe deep and relax." Photo courtesy of Kate Webb

Tea Estates in Malawi

Just 30 minutes from Malawi’s commercial capital of Blantyre is the country’s southern tea-estate region. With Mount Mulanje as a backdrop, it is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Friday night, heading away from the office, we hit the road. As soon as the tea estates come into sight, our shoulders drop, we breathe deep and relax. A stay at one of these tea estate lodges makes the perfect weekend break.
~ Kate Webb, the whl.travel local connection in Malawi

favorite landscapes - Kerrie Kennedy Arnavon Island Solomon Islands

On the remote Arnavon Islands of the Solomon Islands, "Visitors have a very high chance of seeing hawksbill turtle hatchlings emerge from their nests." Photo courtesy of Kerrie Kennedy

Arnavon Islands, Santa Ysabel (Solomon Islands)

As a protected area, the Arnavon Islands support marine life in numbers and variety rarely seen anywhere else in the Solomon Islands. The surrounding reefs and islands provide magnificent snorkelling and diving opportunities, with healthy populations of giant clams and huge bumphead parrotfish. This is also the world’s most significant breeding ground of the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle. Visitors have a very high chance of seeing hawksbill turtle hatchlings emerge from their nests and begin their journey to the sea.

Getting to the Arnavon Islands is not easy, but the effort is worth it and you will be one of a small number of people in the world who has actually experienced this wonderful place.
~ Kerrie Kennedy, the whl.travel local connection in the Solomon Islands

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Dzūkija National Park in Lithuania

I have more than one favourite natural landscape in Lithuania, among which are Pavilniai Regional Park, Dzūkija National Park and the Curonian Spit. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Curonian Spit is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, but there are so many places in Lithuanian nature that offer travellers human-free environments. One would need at least two weeks to take it all in.
~ Kestas Lukoskinas, the whl.travel local connection in Lithuania

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West Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam

West Lake (Hồ Tây) is the largest lake of Hanoi, Vietnam , with an area of about 5.5 square kilometres and a shore length of 17 kilometres. A vast and beautiful romantic place, it’s considered to be “the lung of Hanoi,” a favourite location for many people to take a walk in fresh air, enjoy the morning fog or watch a beautiful sunset. West Lake is also famous for its beautiful lotus gardens surrounded by bicycle alleys.
~ Hoang Xuan Bach, the whl.travel local partner in Hanoi, Vietnam

favorite landscapes - trudy allen white beach boracay

At White Beach in Boracay, Philippines, "The sands is white and so soft it feels like you are walking on talcum powder." Photo courtesy of Trudy Allen

White Beach in Boracay, Philippines

Boracay is famed for its White Beach, which is consistently voted one of the world’s top 10 beaches in various magazines and online polls. The sand is white and so soft it feels like you are walking on talcum powder. There are various theories regarding how Boracay got its name, but my personal favourite is that it comes from the word ‘borac,’ which means white cotton. This perfectly sums up the texture and colour of the stunning White Beach!
~ Trudy Allen, the whl.travel local partner in Boracay

favorite landscapes - tina soqotra island yemen

"If you want to see a real pearl of nature, come to Soqotra Island." Photo courtesy of Tina Zorman

Soqotra Island, Yemen

My favourite landscape in Yemen is pristine Soqotra Island, lying 400 kilometres south of the Arabian Peninsula, where the waters of the Arabian Sea meet those of the Indian Ocean. Millions of years of isolation, varied geology and topography, large seasonal and regional climate variability and sustainable land practices have all helped Soqotra preserve its rich flora and fauna. Its endemism is one of the highest in the world.

From amazing beaches with clear waters and coral reefs to the rough Hagghar Mountains, mountain plateaus, deep valleys and desert dunes, the variety of landscapes is sure to excite. If you want to see a real pearl of nature, come to Soqotra Island.
~ Tina Zorman, local travel specialist in Yemen

favorite landscapes - helen atanacio volcanoes philippines

"Mayon is recognisable for its perfect cone as it has a near symmetrical shape that meets everyone's idea of a picturesque volcano." Photo courtesy of Helen Atanacio

The Volcanoes of the Philippines

The Philippines has many stunning and breathtaking landscapes, but to me the volcanoes are beyond comparison and truly remind me of the power of nature. There are 37 volcanoes of which 18 are still active. Many are easily accessible and make interesting day trips. The challenge of climbing them is obvious, but the landscape and the views are really worth the effort. I never thought I would say this (the Stairmaster being the object that I loathe most in the gym), but I have become a fan of scaling volcanoes. They never cease to amaze me!

At the top of my ‘easy three’ list is Mayon, which is in Bicol and easily reached from Legaspi airport or via bus from Manila. This volcano has had 50 recorded eruptions, the latest of which was in 2010. It reached the top of my top volcano list, though, for its beauty as it appears to rise from the flatlands somewhat like Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) in Australia’s Northern Territory. Mayon is recognisable for its perfect cone as it has a near symmetrical shape that meets everyone’s idea of a picturesque volcano!
~ Helen Atanacio, the whl.travel local connection in the Philippines

favorite landscapes - cindy fan van vieng laos

Vang Vieng's magnificent limestone mountains are good for spending "countless sunsets on the banks of the Nam Song River gazing at them." Photo courtesy of Cindy Fan

The Limestone Mountains of Laos

Peace, tranquillity and relief are all words that describe how I feel in the presence of Vang Vieng‘s magnificent limestone mountains in Laos. I’ve spent countless sunsets on the banks of the Nam Song River gazing at them, captivated by their size and beauty.
~ Cindy Fan, the whl.travel local connection in Laos

favorite landscapes - Daphne Klumpers gozo malta

On the island of Gozo in Malta, "The bay of the Azure Window is a magical location at which to have a picnic, take a swim or go diving". Photo courtesy of Daphne Klumpers

The Azure Window in Malta

The Azure Window is a natural arch located near the village of Dwejra on the Maltese island of Gozo. This breathtaking landmark was created thousands of years ago when two limestone caves collapsed. When visiting Malta, the bay of the Azure Window is a magical location at which to have a picnic, take a swim or go diving.”
~ Daphne Klumpers, the whl.travel local connection in Malta

favorite landscapes - Jim jaco islands timor leste

Jaco Island of Timor Leste has "crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches." Photo courtesy of wikimedia/Hpgrumpe

Jaco Island in Timor Leste

Off Timor Leste’s most eastern shore is Jaco Island, which lies entirely within the borders of Nino Konis Santana National Park. Considered holy by the indigenous population of Timor Leste, Jaco island is uninhabited. It is surrounded by crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches, so it is ideal for swimming and snorkelling and one of the most popular tourism destination in the country.
~ Jim Richards, the whl.travel local connection in Timor Leste

favorite landscapes - Ia Kverghelidze Mt. Ushba in Georgia

At Mt. Ushba in Georgia, the "double-summit shape," is capped in snow and shrouded in unimaginable tranquillity. Photo courtesy of Ia Kverghelidze

Mt. Ushba in Georgia

Mamuka Burduli (Founder and Director of Adventure Club Jomardi) names Mt. Ushba as his most favourite natural landscape in Georgia. It is located in Svaneti, northwestern Georgia. Towering at an altitude of 4690 metres above sea level, Ushba is often associated with a saddle given its double-summit shape, capped in snow and shrouded in unimaginable tranquillity. The surrounding areas play host to the Ushba waterfalls and foothills covered in colourful flowers. Here one can find pure intimacy with the nature.
~ Ia Kverghelidze, the former whl.travel local connection in Georgia

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Kravice Waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Have you ever felt at one with nature? I just love that feeling, and the closest I have come is at the Kravice Waterfalls, near Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here, you can feel the sand underfoot as you walk by the water. Find a patch of grassy field where you can lay down and soak in the sun. The water is sweet and so clean. While you swim you can open your eyes to the fish and other freshwater species. You can enjoy a natural shower by standing under the falls, feeling the pressure of the water on your shoulders.
~ Zana R-Bilal, the whl.travel local connection in Medjugorje

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Morne Seychelles National Park, Mission Lodge, Seychelles

Vens town! This is the place that the slaves chose when they were freed. It is located at about 400 metres above sea level in the middle of what is now known as Morne Seychellois National Park. Seychelles is well known for pristine beautiful beaches, so I don’t know why the slaves (and the missionaries that accompanied them) would chose to stay on a mountaintop, when 200 years ago this place would have been a dense tropical rainforest with limited access.

Vens town is now called Mission Lodge after the missionaries that lived there educating the slaves. It is readily accessible by bus from the Sans Soucis road. Once you have arrived, the magic of the place takes over. On a clear day you can see all five of the bays of the west coast of Mahe island. With the bright sunshine, the sea reflects more green than blue. To experience this place, next time you are in the Seychelles go there. It’s 0.5 euro by bus from Victoria.
~ Pascal Esparon, the whl.travel local connection in Seychelles

favorite landscape- oshin chin pinnacles of Mulu, Borneo Malaysia

A favorite climb in Borneo's Mulu National Park is the "Mulu Pinnacles, razor sharp limestone formations jutting 45 metres high." Photo courtesy of Flickr/thinkofacolour

Mulu National Park in Borneo, Malaysia

Mulu National Park attracts many foreign visitors to its lush rain forest, beautiful waterfalls and hidden lakes. The star attraction, however, is the park’s enormous limestone caves. In 2000, this national treasure was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Covering 52,865 hectares of primary rain forest, Mulu National Park is home to a number of the world’s record-breaking caves. The pride of Borneo is Sarawak Chamber, the world’s largest underground chamber. It has been said that this enormous chamber could accommodate 40 Boeing 747 jets without overlapping their wings!

The ground above is covered in rich primary rain forest and offers a whole
range of nature-based activities. There are excellent jungle treks and mountain hikes. A favorite climb is to the Mulu Pinnacles, razor sharp limestone formations jutting 45 metres high.
~ Oshin Chin, the whl.travel local connection in Borneo, Malaysia

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whl.travel is one of the largest global online travel-booking networks catering to independent travelers headed off the beaten path, often in the developing world. The extensive whl.travel network today taps into the strengths of local tourism experts who, alone, are local leaders, but together have become a forceful planet-wide presence for the right kind of tourism, bringing to major markets all the local opportunities that can have such a positive impact on hosts and visitors. Visit the whl.travel website.
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beaches, Bosnia and Herzegovina, forests & jungles, Georgia, Greece, islands, Laos, Lithuania, Malawi, Malta, mountains, national parks, Peru, Philippines, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Vietnam, waterfalls, whl.travel,

5 Responses to “Our Favourite Landscapes from Around the World”

  1. Lee Sheridan says:

    What a great collection!

  2. Get A Trip says:

    Thanks for sharing these amazing landscapes and videos from your favorite spots around-the-world. They look like paradise. Cheers! Roman T.

  3. I want to go to each of these landscapes- instead i will sit in my office in Malawi and dream! Thank you for these wonderful contributions- a great start to the week! Kate

  4. What an interesting article and amazing photos! Thanks to the team of The Travel Word!

  5. Jim Richards says:

    Wow, I wish I was not so fare away in Asia (East Timor / Timor Leste) as the video of Kravice Waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina looks like a really great place to visit.

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