The World's Most Photogenic Destinations
Published on: September 5th, 2017
Last modified: July 27th, 2023
But there's something about a travel photo that holds your attention for longer than it takes to click 'Like.' For travel photos that really stand out, you need to find that elusive special moment, the magical light or the spectacular angle.
We've rounded up our pick of the best places in the world for photography, alongside tips for capturing your memories.
If you find yourself at the infinity pool at Castello di Casole at sunset, the gentle Italian hills of Tuscany are exquisite in the evening light. The fading light glints off the golden mosaics in the dark blue pool, making it look like a tranquil lake. Nestled in the hills below is an old traditional village once popular with the actors of days gone by.
The beautiful Lake Como in the north of Italy is a multi-faceted photographic destination. It combines city life and nature, with towns and villages clustered on the banks between trees. And it also changes with the seasons, making for a variety of photographs through the year. It’s foggy and snowy during the winter, a riot of warm colours as the leaves fall in autumn, and all bright greens and blues during spring and summer.
With a magnificent coastline, seemingly-endless stretches of desert and crisp dunes, Namibia is a landscape photographer’s dream. The orange dunes, blue skies and stark black trees of Soussousvlei make for dramatic shots, while Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast are amazing for birdlife and marine mammal photography. Go in search of desert elephants at the Hoanib Riverbed.
If you’re fortunate, you may even have the opportunity to snap some desert lions. For truly spectacular images, head to Etosha National Park and zoom in on the white elephants. The massive beasts are literally white, thanks to mixture of white clay and calcite sand that dries on their skin after they bathe in mud.
Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan is particularly stunning in the early morning and late afternoon when the light is changing. Tigers glow as they laze in the yellow sunlight of the afternoon, leopards prowl and crocodile slink through the marshes. Scattered across the park are ancient ruins which provide attractive backdrops for wildlife photography.
Step into the world of the Rabari herdsmen with their iconic red turbans at Suján’s Jawai. Leopards roam free between lofty granite outcrops, through the bush and along sandy riverbeds in this untouched wilderness. Accompanied by experienced drivers and trackers you can head out to capture the wildlife on film.
The best of the rest
In central Java, the 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang, Borobudur, is one of the world’s greatest Buddhist monuments. The ornate temple with its domes, relief panels and statues is beautiful at any time of the day, but for truly magical photos, visit at sunrise. Have your camera ready and watch as the sky turns purple, the mist rises off the jungle and the volcanoes appear in the distance.
Head beyond the popular temples and ornate buildings in the busy city of Kathmandu and you’ll find yourself wandering down charming streets, and happening upon quiet, hidden-away corners where you’ll discover the true spirit of the town and its people. There’s plenty to ignite the imagination of photographers – from festive décor strung across tight alleyways, to the city’s residents going about their daily business.
Head to the top of the character-filled La Guarida in Havana for amazing views out over the city. Order a drink from the rooftop bar and have your camera ready as the sun begins to set. The fading light slides slowly across the jumble of houses and buildings in the foreground, with the sea glinting in the distance.
Torres del Paine National Park is beautiful on so many levels, from the imposing mountains to rare wildlife that roam through the grasslands. When the sun is shining the glacial lakes shine an amazing turquoise as dramatic clouds drift slowly overhead. At sunset, the grasslands (golden pampas) are painted a glorious yellow, with beautiful granite peaks creating a majestic backdrop.
Warm light shines through the swirls of powder-fine dust stirred up with silently lumbering elephants at Mana Pools National Park. The way the sunshine streams between the trees and catches on the disturbed dust makes for wonderfully atmospheric wildlife photographs.
9) South Africa
If you are wanting to focus your wildlife experience on big cats, Londolozi in Sabi Sands Game Reserve is the ideal location. Not only are they aware of exactly what a photographic safari entails, but they also have a photographic studio onsite where guests can rent professional gear, as well as edit and print their best shots between game drives.
Settle into an open-air hide beside the watering hole at Ol Donyo Lodge in Mbirikani Group Ranch and capture photographs of some of Africa’s last giant elephant bulls as they come to drink. On a clear day, you may even be able to snap Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. Set up your tripod in the “secret tunnel” at Ol Jogi, and you may be treated to a visit by some giraffes, and other animals, some of which are endangered or rare.
There are a variety of hides set up at Mashatu Game Reserve in the Northern Tuli game Reserve, but one of the most novel has to be the Matebole Elephant hide. This entire hide has been sunk into the ground giving you a water level view of the waterhole – a truly unique angle to photograph from. This waterhole is located in elephant habitat, so expect to spot a fair number of them, along with other animals as they come to drink. Factors like the angle of the sun, the background and the photographer’s viewpoint have all been considered to make for the best possible photographs. Professional wildlife photographers are on hand to tutor both beginner and experienced photographers in the hides.
In general Scotland is gorgeous, but if you want the opportunity to take off the beaten track photographs, head to Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the Highlands. The landscapes north of Inverness are particularly dramatic, and you’ll be joined by a private estate ranger who will guide you to the best places to photograph the wildlife, lochs, mountains and the dramatic sky.
Sometimes it’s worth a little physical exertion to get the perfect shot – and the view of the Acropolis from the top of Philopappos Hill is well worth the climb. The best time is around sunset when the sun is at your back and the Acropolis looks like it’s glowing calling to mind the legends of powerful Greek gods.
To truly capture the splendour of Darwin’s birdlife, spend some time with your camera in the hide at Bamurru Plains near Kakadu. The area is home to around 236 species of bird, many of which you may see at Bamurru. The hide stands among the trees six metres above the ground. Looking out over the Mary River floodplain, it’s perfectly positioned to spot birds and animals in the natural habitat.
The stark landscape of ice, snow and glaciers is stunning, even more so at sunrise or sunset. Pinks, purples and oranges reflect off the icy water as the sun dips towards the horizon. Sunrise is just as beautiful as the first rays brush the tops of grassy hills.