Because everyone deserves a little eye candy now and then, we’ve gathered some of the most spectacular panoramas of breathtaking locations from across the globe. With the proliferation of drones and modern camera technology, expansive viewpoints from virtually any point on or above the earth are now available at the touch of a button or tap of the screen.
While your smartphone may have a panorama option, you’ve never seen images like these. There’s nothing quite like the magic that results when a skilled photographer meets advanced hardware in some of the most beautiful places on earth!
1. Downtown Dubai
The most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and a burgeoning financial capital of the world, Dubai rose out of the desert in an incredibly fast time, reaching for the sky with an array of increasingly astounding buildings. Home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the city also houses a man-made island chain shaped like a map of the world.
2. Angel Falls, Venezuela
Angel Falls, in Venezuala, is the tallest waterfall on earth, with a height of 3,212 feet. The original name, Kerepakupai Vená, means “waterfall of the deepest place.” The falls, part of the Gauja River, are part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
3. Barcelona, Spain
The capital of Spain, Barcelona appears positively psychedelic when viewed from far above. The parallel streets and geometric precision with which the old city is laid out are dotted with astounding bursts of color and unique architecture.
4. Victoria Falls, Zambia
Situated on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is the largest continuous sheet of falling water. While neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it’s considered the largest, because of its width of 5,604 feet and height of 354 feet.
5. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Iguazu Falls is located at the point where the Iguazu River falls off the Paraná Plateau, at the border between the Argentina province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. A unique outcropping, seen at center, allows for breathtaking views right from the center of the falls.
6. Mount Everest
Mount Everest, as you probably know, is the highest point on the earth’s surface. With an elevation of 29,029 feet, it’s almost 6 miles from sea level, and was first climbed in May of 1953 by explorer Edmund Hillary and his Nepali guide, Tenzing Norgay.
7. Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Here’s another old European capital seen in its full, dizzying geometry from above. The roundabout surrounding L’arc de Triomphe, in Paris, is perhaps the most famous on earth, with surrounding avenues bursting away like spokes on a wheel.
8. Empire State Building, Manhattan
Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Empire State Building resumed its place as the tallest building on the Eastern seaboard of the United States. It’s an iconic presence that even those who have never visited New York will recognize from countless films and television shows.
9. Plosky Tolbachik Volcano, Russia
Situated on the far Eastern edge of Russia, in the Kamchatka Peninsula, Plosky is one of a pair of active volcanoes rising over 12,000 feet above sea level. It erupted as recently as November, 2012, flowing lava for more than a month.
10. Manhattan Skyline
Having perhaps the most iconic skyline on earth, Manhattan is recognizable when approached from virtually any angle. However, the aerial view seen here allows us to place it within the vast scope of the surrounding cityscape.
11. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
You may be surprised to learn that the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is the largest living entity on earth, covering an area of almost 133,000 square miles and clearly visible from space.
12. Taj Mahal, India
Originally commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite of three wives, the Taj Mahal is a fantastical white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of Yamuna River in India. Standing the test of time, it’s now one of the premier tourist destination on earth.
13. Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong translates as “where the dragon descends into the sea,” as legends state that the incredible archipelago was formed by a great dragon in the mountains. It’s a mystical landscape of limestone islets, appearing like the peaks of long-submerged mountains.
14. Coast of Iceland
With one of the most distinctly surreal landscapes on earth, Iceland is home to a people who still officially believe in Gnomes, Elves, and other mystical creatures. This panoramic look at the coast makes it easy to understand why.
15. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Neuschwanstein is an nineteenth century German castle commissioned by Ludwig II as an homage to Richard Wagner. Designed as a personal retreat, it was opened to the public immediately following his death in 1886.