The world is so full of beautiful, breathtaking places that even the most avid travellers can’t hope to see them all. But whether they’re natural or man-made, some places just love the camera more than others, and are so uniquely dazzling that it takes a while for our brains to register that they’re real. And while some of these places are well-known, others have slipped under the radar.

So, from famously dazzling destinations, like the colourful souks of Marrakech, to lesser-known beauty spots like Scotland’s isolated Outer Hebrides, here are 12 of our top picks for the most photogenic travel destinations in the world.

1. Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound, New Zealand

New Zealand’s unique beauty is famous all around the world. After all, this is a country so photogenic that it doubled as the otherworldly Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings films. But no place is more naturally camera-ready than Fiordland National Park, on the west coast of the South Island – and, in particular, Milford Sound, which Rudyard Kipling famously dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Cruising through this fjord, past towering mist-wrapped mountains and cascading cliff-side waterfalls, is an awe-inspiring experience. There’s a sense of timelessness here, which isn’t surprising when you learn it’s looked pretty much the same for hundreds of millions of years – and often, the only sounds breaking the silence are the splashes of dolphins, seals, or penguins leaping from the tranquil waters.

2. Kotor Bay, Montenegro

Kotor Bay, Montenegro

Kotor Bay was one of Europe’s best-kept secrets for years, and while it’s not exactly a hidden gem anymore, it’s the undisputed jewel in Montenegro’s crown. Tucked between hulking mountains and fjord-like cliffs, this bay is so spectacular that you’ll struggle to find enough superlatives to describe it. It’s achingly atmospheric, jaw-droppingly beautiful, and pervaded with a unique charm and history.

Kotor town sits right on the edge of the cobalt-blue waters and is just as photogenic as the bay itself. The medieval Old Town is a maze of cafe-strewn squares, gravity-defying fortresses, Venetian palaces, and narrow, cobbled streets. At night, the old stone walls glow with lights, the streets buzz with live music, and the glassy waters sparkle under the moon. You won’t be able to put your camera away.

3. Jaipur, India

Jaipur, India

India is one of the most colourful countries in the world, and Rajasthan – the land of temples and tigers – is arguably its most captivatingly charismatic state. It’s certainly the most extravagant, and if you’re looking to be awed, nowhere is more brilliant than Jaipur. Also known as the Pink City due to its rosy-coloured buildings, Jaipur is Rajasthan’s creative beating heart, and it’s truly breathtaking.

While the city isn’t short of stunning architecture, it’s the pink-painted, honeycombed hive of Hawa Mahal – or Palace of the Winds – that’s most iconic. Built in 1799, the palace is five storeys and was built to allow royal ladies to watch life go by. Today, you can still enjoy incredible views, but the city’s bustling bazaars, mirror-like lakes, and gilded royal palaces are just as impressive from the ground.

4. Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Outer Hebrides, Scotland

The beauty of the Scottish Highlands may be known across the world, but its wild islands are just as lovely. Scattered along the country’s west coast, the Outer Hebrides are made up of 15 inhabited and over 50 uninhabited islands, and stretching for 130 miles, they’re one of the UK’s best-kept secrets. If you’re looking for soul-stirring adventures away from the crowds, there are few better places.

From the moment you land on these remote, wind-battered islands, you’ll feel like you’re in another world. The snow-white beaches and sparkling cerulean seas can look almost tropical – but you need to be made of stern stuff to brave these waters! Hike past mysterious standing stones, spot whales, seals, and dolphins while sea-kayaking, then warm up with a dram of local whiskey in a cosy pub.

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5. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town surely enjoys one of the most photogenic city settings in the world. The staggering beauty of the towering Table Mountain was acknowledged by the region’s pre-colonial Khoikhoi inhabitants, who called it ‘Hoerikwaggo’ – the Mountain in the Sea. It might be at the opposite end of the world, but this is a journey well worth the slog, and the sweeping vistas from the summit are remarkable.

But it isn’t just Table Mountain that makes Cape Town so special. Located on the False Bay Coastline, south of the city, Boulders Beach is just as scenic. The astonishingly blue waters here are home to adorable African penguins, so if you want to get up close to these friendly birds, this is where to do it. Plus, there are exceptional hiking trails that wind through Cape Point and the rolling Winelands.

6. Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam

Vietnam isn’t short of beautiful attractions or striking cities, but nowhere is more photogenic than Hoi An. Located on Vietnam’s central coast, this small and elegant riverside city is a photographer’s dream. The Old Town boasts countless ornate bridges, colourful colonial houses, and flower-filled courtyards, and the surrounding area is home to both emerald rice paddies and dreamy beaches.

During the day, the cobbled, lantern-lined streets buzz with life, and the cafes are the perfect place to sip Vietnamese coffee while watching the world go by. The riverside was made for lazy strolls, and the absence of motorbikes makes Hoi An a joy to explore by foot. The food scene is one of the best in the country, and you can enjoy alfresco dinners while watching lantern-lit boats glide along the river.

7. Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland

Iceland is one of the most dramatically beautiful countries in the world, so it’s no surprise it gets a place on this list. But while its national parks are home to lava-spewing volcanoes, gleaming glaciers, and ice-capped peaks, Reykjavík is equally striking. This colourful, charismatic city is a lovely contrast to the desolate landscape all around it, and its culture, history, and architecture are fascinating.

While certain sights in the capital, like the elaborate Hallgrimskirkja church, the bright-coloured buildings, and vibrant street art will inspire many a photographer, the attractions outside Reykjavík are also fabulously photogenic. The milky waters of the Blue Lagoon beg to be captured on camera, while the city’s forest, Heiðmörk Nature Reserve, boasts some truly unbelievable lava formations.

8. Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech, Morocco

Few cities are as famously photogenic as Marrakech. Exploring this colourful, kaleidoscopic city can feel like an assault on the senses (in a good way!), and the spirited sounds and tantalising smells can be just as overwhelming as the sights. Losing yourself in the labyrinth-like streets is pretty much a rite of passage, and you can’t turn a corner in the souks without wanting to get your camera out.

There’s much to keep you snapping – from jewel-coloured piles of spices in the bustling bazaars to the intricately painted ceilings and flamboyant tilework in the ornate buildings. Yves Saint Laurent’s cobalt-blue Jardin Majorelle is particularly photogenic, but if you’re looking for natural beauty, the nearby Atlas Mountains are strewn with canyons, ravines, and traditional Berber villages too.

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9. Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

The Caribbean is renowned for being one of the most idyllically beautiful places in the world – and if you’re drawn to the buzz of city life as well as gorgeous beaches, then no destination is more perfect than Cartagena. Located on Colombia’s Caribbean coastline, this historic city is considered to be one of the most striking in Latin America and will seduce you from the moment you hit the ground.

Circled by centuries-old stone walls, the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and here you’ll find some of the best-preserved colonial architecture in the world. Vibrant bougainvillaeas cascade from balconies, street food vendors trundle carts past colourful buildings, and grand plazas hum with Afro-Caribbean beats. Just outside the city, sugar-white beaches are lapped by warm turquoise seas.

10. Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is certainly no hidden gem. Millions of tourists flock to this small corner of Italy every year but, while it may get crowded, its beauty is unparalleled. John Steinbeck called this part of the world a “dream place that isn’t quite real when you’re there – and beckoningly real after you’ve gone”, and it won’t take you long to see why. The Amalfi Coast gets under your skin and stays there.

The whole region is astonishingly cinematic, and your camera will spend more time in your hand than in your bag. Snap pastel-coloured houses perched upon precipitous cliffs, pink and red flowers bursting from crumbling walls, and striped umbrellas lining pretty pebble beaches. Plus, sipping an aperitivo while watching the sun set into the sparkling blue sea is one of life’s unique joys.

11. The Swiss Alps

The Swiss Alps

No matter the time of year and no matter the weather, the Swiss Alps will always be one of the most astoundingly beautiful places in the world. In winter, the rugged mountains are cloaked in thick snow, while in spring and summer, the green valleys burst with brilliant wildflowers. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a scenic walking holiday, you won’t be disappointed.

The Swiss Alps may be best known for their natural panoramas, but the towns here are some of the most photogenic in Europe, too, and set beside a serene alpine lake, bordered by tree-lined peaks, medieval Lucerne is a real standout. As well as having some of the world’s best hiking trails, the Swiss Alps also boast some of the most remarkable rail routes in the world, so be prepared to be awed.

12. Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

While much of Japan has embraced futuristic innovation, Kyoto is a rare exception, and today, the old capital remains Japan’s cultural heart. Walking through this city is always a pleasure, particularly for keen photographers. You can relax under cherry trees in serene gardens, admire elaborate shrines in ancient temples, and glimpse Geishas as you make your way to golden pavilion food markets.

But things are just as photogenic on the outskirts of the city, and hidden in the hills of northeast Kyoto is the temple of Kinkaku-ji. Surrounded by maple trees and bonsai-style pines, this gold-leaf shrine is a sight to behold. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is also on the outskirts, and admiring the ethereal glow of the trees as you listen to the rustling leaves is a uniquely peaceful experience.

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Final thoughts…

Highlighting all of Mother Nature’s best bits could take a lifetime – and these are just 12 of our planet’s most photogenic wonders.

Whether you’re looking for a lazy beach holiday, a cultural city break, or an action-packed adventure, each of these destinations offers something very different – but all guarantee you some seriously stunning views, as well as plenty of unique charm.

While some of these places, like Italy’s Amalfi Coast, are celebrated all around the world for their staggering landscapes, others, like Montenegro’s Kotor Bay, are less known to tourists. So, if you’re looking for your new favourite travel destination, we hope this article has inspired you!

For more inspiration head over to the travel section of our website. Here, you can find top travel deals, as well as plenty more articles on everything from planning a midlife gap year to where to see the best wildlife.

Which places around the world do you think are the most photogenic? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.