If you’re feeling a bit jaded and world-weary you may be in need of an uplift. Head somewhere fresh, unusual and uplifting in order to re-fill that well of creativity or simply revitalise yourself . Whether you’re looking to connect with nature or just want to have fun exploring a new place, this list of unique and uplifting locations can help you find your next dream destination.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand
The Glowworm Caves on New Zealand’s North Island are a truly unforgettable sight (first image). Take a boat ride through this magnificent cave system and gaze up at the glowing ceiling, which looks like it’s home to thousands of tiny stars! The true inhabitants of these caves are tiny luminescent creatures, glowworms, from which the caves get their name.
Most people think of Paris or Rome when they choose to visit a foreign city – but Havana has a lot to be said for it. It is a vibrant, exciting place, rich in culture and history. Walking through these streets will make you feel like you’re journeying through time – the city’s colonial-era architecture is contrasted by antique cars parked outside, and only a few smatterings of modernity remind you that it’s still present day. It’s a great place to go dancing too, Cuban music being world-famous for its irresistible and uplifting beats.
Mendenhall Ice Caves of Juneau, Alaska
These ice caves are part of the Mendenhall glacier, and they are a truly unique place. These glimmering palaces of ice and water look like they belong in a fairy tale. The caves are not easily accessible, and you must be willing to kayak and then hike over the glacier to get inside. But they are worth it – especially as global warming is causing the glacier to retreat, and we may one day lose this beautiful natural wonder.
Mt. Olympus, Greece
You may remember from school that the Greek gods lived on Mt. Olympus. They weren’t the only ones, however – this beautiful mountain is also home to a number of monasteries, which are accessible on foot. Book a room at the beautiful and picturesque town of Katerini at the foot of the mountain, and take a two-day hike to the top of Olympus to see Zeus’ abode in person. It may not be the most famous travel destination in the world, but that is one of its advantages – there are relatively few tourists here. The atmosphere of this place is both uplifting and unforgettable. You will want to return again and again.
Bamboo Groves of Arashiyama, Japan
The Japanese have a concept called “forest bathing” – a walk in the woods is said to restore the spirit and uplift the soul. And what better place to do that than in this beautiful park? Walk through a forest of towering bamboo and be awed by the forces of life and nature on display. It is considered one of Japan’s greatest “soundscapes”, so take a moment to listen to the rush of the wind through the bamboo. The forest is also home to the Tenryu-ji temple, featuring one of Japan’s most beautiful zen gardens.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
If you like to snorkel or dive, this is the place to come. One of the true wonders of the natural worlds, the Great Barrier Reef is home to over 1,500 species of fish alone! Each reef is an individual eco system, with its own unique inhabitants and daily rhythms. A place far away from civilization which is nonetheless teeming with life, it will inspire you with its diversity and energy.
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
The Antelope Canyon is a stunning formation, located on Navajo lands in Arizona. The sensual, picturesque curves of its rocks make it the most photographed canyon of its kind in the world. In the summer, beams of light filter through into the depths of the formation, while winter light lends gorgeous rich colors to the rock walls.
Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
The largest waterfall in the world stands on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Described by a local tribe as “the smoke that thunders,” the rush of the great curtain of water into the gorge below is a truly unforgettable sight. The noise and spray of the water can be heard and seen from a distance of 40 kilometers away. This natural wonder can be viewed from a multitude of vantage points, so hire a local guide to show you around.
Honokohau Falls, Maui, Hawaii
If you’re looking for a truly out-of-this-world location, this may be just the place. These beautiful falls are so evocative of a land before time that they featured in “Jurassic Park.” The tallest waterfall on the island of Maui, Honokohau Falls stands at 341 meters tall. Unfortunately, this place is so remote that it is inaccessible to hikers. But luckily, there are many tour companies providing helicopter rides to the area – just be sure to book in advance. If riding in a copter is something on your bucket list, then this is surely the perfect place to do it.