There’s no shortage of natural splendor in the world, but some sites are almost otherworldly in their brilliance. Carved out through millions of years, spiked with systems of rock and minerals, or colored by complex communities of microscopic bacteria and plants, these spaces have an indescribable majesty that inspires the mind and touches the heart. Urban landscapes are certainly enjoyable, but consider incorporating one of these eight natural masterpieces into your next vacation.

Red Beach, Santorini, Greece


Certainly one of the most colorful beaches in the world, the red beach under the red cliffs of Santorini Island in Greece is a volcanic oddity that delights visitors with a very different seaside scene. The beach and cliffs are testaments to the geological events that occurred eons ago, and though the beach is small and only accessible by foot, the site is memorable and the cove is calm and peaceful – unless you time it poorly. The high season sees big crowds, which can overwhelm the little tract of stony red sand, but the small cluster of canteens and taverns can keep you happy and fed while you wait for a sunbed.