The World's Best Aerial Views

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Written by
Kit Wong, Kate Herz, Emily Hunter & Jane Dumble

There is nothing more refreshing than gaining a new perspective. If you're gazing down from thousands of feet high in the sky, everything looks different.

From the peaks of Bagan 's majestic temples to the aquamarine beauty of the Seychelles , the world can feel drastically different from above.

If your feet are so itchy they've got you flying, here's our round up of the world's best aerial views.

Desert landscape
Danakil Depression
Mighty waterfalls
Victoria Falls
The Great Migration
The Serengeti
Aerial view of Mahe coastline, Seychelles

1) Fregate Island, the Seychelles

If you love reaching heights but you’re also after some beachside bliss, the short fifteen-minute helicopter flight from Mahe Island to Fregate Island in Seychelles is sure to make your eyes pop.

helicopter fregate island seychelles

Flying over the glittering Indian Ocean from large, picture-perfect Mahe to private and tropical Fregate, you’ll pass palm-fringed shorelines, lush forests and oh-so tempting turquoise waters.

Great Migration Aerial Shot

2) The Great Migration across the Serengeti

The annual Great Wildebeest Migration is one of nature’s most enthralling spectacles from any stance, as hundreds of wildebeest and zebra crash across 150,000 square miles of woodland, water and open plains in search of fresh pasture.

However, watching the colossal herds thunder across the Serengeti from a hot air balloon adds the extra element of epic scale. This unique bird’s eye view lets you appreciate the grand size of not only the National Park, but also the immense game below.

Hot Air Balloons Bagan

3) Bagan (Pagan), Myanmar

While Table Mountain is a sightseer’s typical stop-off, Myanmar’s Bagan is only just back on the tourist trail. With a strikingly less amount of visitors, Bagan’s temple filled plains are a land of enigmatic majesty and religious splendour.

Balloons over Bagan, Myanmar

What’s more, hovering among the pagodas’ stupas on a hot air balloon is particularly mesmerising and if that’s not enough, take the ride at sunset to witness these stately monuments silhouetted against a fiery sky.

Bagan Temples Myanmar
Aerial View of the Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

4) The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

One of the lowest, hottest and driest places on earth, this surreal Ethiopian terrain features bubbling lava lakes, immense salt pans, hyper-saline lakes, sulphuric springs, sun-baked mountains and hydro-thermal fields in venomous greens, flaming yellows and vibrant reds. So inhospitable and alien is the climate that astrobiologists work here to understand how life may arise on other planets.

Danakil Depression, Ethiopia, Heli Tour

Undeniably, the best way to see this landscape is from the air, where you can take in panoramic views of the vast, extra-terrestrial desert. You will even see camel trains snaking through the heat haze, led by the unbelievably hardy Afar people who have managed to survive nomadically in this hostile environment for centuries.

Camels in the Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

5) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Few cityscapes are as dramatically panoramic as that of Brazil‘s Rio de Janeiro and Guanabara Bay, with its sweeping ocean view, slick of tumbling multi-storey rooftops and misty mountainous borders. Not to mention, as sunsets go, Rio’s is pretty spectacular.

Sugarloaf Mountain Cable Car, Rio de Janeiro

For unparalleled views of the whole region, including the hideaway coves and verdant slopes surrounding the city splashed with smaller Brazillian neighbourhoods, take the cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.


6) Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia

Africa‘s mighty Victoria Falls definitely deserves a mention. Rise above the spray and see this majestic sight from the luxurious vantage point of a scenic 25-minute helicopter flip over the plunging falls and down into the gorge. You can also take a canopy-tour of the falls, or hitch a thrilling microflight. However…


For a thrill-seeking alternative, try the hair-raising bungee jump at Victoria Falls Bridge, plunging down towards the rushing Zambezi River with the booming waterfall behind you. At 111 metres, this is one of the world’s highest jumps, while a micro-light tour cranks up the thrill notch even higher, promising an exhilarating vision over the crashing waters.

The Zambezi River and Victoria Falls
The Zambezi River and Victoria Falls
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

7) The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

It’s fun to get up close and personal with this vast coral reef through diving, snorkeling and boat trips, but at 2300km long, there’s really no better way to take in its immense size and biodiversity than from the air, with its hundreds of islands and beaches spread out below you.

Helicopter over the Great Barrier Reef.

The biggest coral reef system on the planet, this is considered one of the great natural wonders of the world. A jewel-like patchwork of turquoise and blue, seeing it from above is a bit like cloud-gazing in reverse: there’s even a heart-shaped reef to spot!

Biete Giyorgis, Church of Saint George, Labilela, Ethiopia

8) Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela is Ethiopia‘s holiest city and a site of pilgrimage for many Orthodox Christians. The 900-year-old church of Bet Giyorgis (Church of St. George) is the best known and best preserved, located on the western side of the cluster of 11 churches.

Biete Giyorgis, Church of Saint George, Labilela, Ethiopia

It was carved from a single piece of rock 40 feet into the ground in the shape of a Greek cross. This is a truly epic sight from the air. The surrounding landscapes are also starkly, astonishingly beautiful, making for a unique panoramic experience.

Tea Country in Sri Lanka

9) Tea Country, Sri Lanka

Take a scenic seaplane from Colombo down to Yala National Park, and you’ll fly over Sri Lanka‘s lush and verdant tea country. The first tea plantations were established in Kandy in the 1860s The first tea plantations were established in Kandy in the 1860s and now most of the scenic central region’s elevated slopes are covered in rows of painstakingly maintained plants.


Aerial views of these gorgeous mountainous slopes reveal colourful, interlocking patterns, swirling fields and contoured rows, giving the whole view a completely different, hypnotising look.

Nazca Lines, Aerial View, Peru, The Monkey

10) The Nazca Lines, Peru

Right outside Huacachina are clusters of historic Nazca Lines. They are one of the most beguiling mysteries left by the ancient civilisations of Peru. The best way to experience the impressive size and technique of these creations is by over-flights which can easily be arranged. Though the origin and meaning of these lines is still a mystery, many believe they were drawn as an offering to the gods.

Nazca Lines Peru

These symbolic pattern formations depict hands, trees and monkeys, and are believed to have been drawn by a pre-Inca civilization. In contrast to the nearby sand dunes, these lines are drawn in the hardened bedrock of vast, flat desert terrain, and because rainfall is so scarce in this area, the lines are remarkably well preserved.

Nazca Lines, Aerial View, Peru, The Monkey
Cape Town city view South Africa

11) Cape Town, South Africa

Arguably the most popular tourist sight to tick off in Cape Town is soaring up Table Mountain for those mind-blowing ‘Mother City’ panoramas. Despite the crowds, it does indeed live up to the hype. In your glass-walled cable car, with its 360 degree vistas, you ascend the mountain reaching high above the Atlantic.


For tip top scenes though, head up on a clear day or you may find yourself peeking through the legendary ‘tablecloth’ for a glimpse of the otherwise fabulous, sweeping views. Alternatively, active adventurers can hike to Lion’s Head Peak, or for the ultimate luxury you can hitch a heli-tour.


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