Standing with your feet on the ground, looking into the vast skies ahead of you — it’s a feeling no photograph can truly capture. The natural world wonders are so breathtaking, that they’ve got dedicated lookout points to share their beauty with the rest of the world. Here are six spectacular spots to savour the great outdoors.
Imagine it: The spirit of Galileo lives on in Tuscany, where the astronomer was first inspired to study the stars and planets. Tuscan dwellers still enjoy the sights of the milky way in what’s named one of the “Top Ten Stargazing Sites in the World”. Jupiter’s four moons, or Galilean Moons, can be seen with just a telescope in any of Tuscany’s hills. Or you could visit Villa il Gioiello in Arceti off Florence, where Galileo spend his final years. The home is now part of the “City of Galileo”, which also houses the Arceti Astrophysical Observatory; the perfect watch for the pristine skyline.
Stay at: For the ultimate Medieval-esque experience, shack up for the night at La Casa Padronale Poggiolo, an 800-year old Tuscan farmhouse with 2 cosy bedrooms. Rest assured Wi-Fi is available, as is a courtyard for throwing a stargazing-themed dinner party.
#2 Aurland Outlook in Aurland, Norway
Imagine it: This alone will capture your attention — as you near the end of the wooden bridge, it curves downwards which gives you the impression that you’re walking into a misty free fall. It’s absolutely terrifying to sprint run, but rest assured there’s a Plexiglas sheet before the curve. This little gem by Saunders Architecture is a three-hour drive from Norway’s largest city Bergen and overlooks the fjords all around from 640 meters above.
Stay at: Keep on driving! Denmark is just nine hours away (“just”), and you’ll get to experience the wonderful five-star service at Marriott Copenhagen. There’s a health club, sauna and stream room for you to re-energise and get a good stretch, but perhaps take a plane ride back home instead.
#3 Skywalk at Grand Canyan, Arizona
Imagine it: Any step in the 445 kilometers long, 3 to 6 million year old canyon offers jaw-dropping sights, but the best views can be yours at the Skywalk; a horseshoe-shaped cantilevered bridge with glass floors. It’s like taking a climb up 1.5 kilometers without the actual climb. The only bother here is that cameras aren’t allowed on the Skywalk, so take your time and soak up one of the best views in the world till the sun sets over the horizon.
Stay at: If you’ve discovered that 8 hour road trips are kind of your thing, take another worthwhile one all the way to Los Angeles, and treat yourself to a night at the Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills. Once you’re refreshed and ready to take on the day, visit the Museum of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences… or shop at the Beverly Center Shopping Mall.
#4 Dachstein Sky Walk in Dachstein, Austria
Imagine it: The Dachstein glacier is one of the biggest attraction of the Alps, and now there’s something even better than visitors can do than sing “Let it Go” at the Ice Palace. It’s called the “stairway to nothingness” and leads you down 14 steps onto a glass platform where you’ll have the illusion of hovering 400 metres above the rock of the Dachstein massif. The glass platform definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted but then again, how could you not love a view like Austria’s loftiest peaks?
Stay at: If you’ve always wanted to take a trip to Germany, here’s your chance — its just six hours away! At the Rocco Forte Hotel De Rome, you’ll be mere steps away from St. Hedwig’s Cathedral and Berlin State Opera. Never heard of them? All the more reason for you to explore.
#5 Burj Khalifa Sky in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Imagine it: Where better to get a view of one of the best-designed cities in the world, then from the tallest building in the world? Which in turn, makes the top floor the highest observation deck too! The Burj Khalifa has 163 floors and is 828 meters in height. From the deck you can marvel at the architecture of downtown Dubai, where you’ll get crystal clear views (unless it’s a cloudy day)!
Stay at: Love living the villa life? (You know we do!) Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa is the only water-villas in the UAE. We hope you’re not dizzy from your visit to the Burj Khalifa, because the villas have a glass-viewing panel flooring so you can see what’s beneath the ocean.
#6 Göreme in Cappadocia, Turkey
Imagine it: Cappadocia means “Land of the Beautiful Horses”, but that’s nothing compared to the unique landscape, warm summer skies and hot air balloon rides. How romantic! From the Göreme lookout point, you can ride into the skies in a formation of a dozen or more hot air balloons, looking down to “oooh” and “ahhh” at the cave homes and ancient volcanic eruptions turned interesting rock formations. Or if you prefer to explore the canyons on foot, watch the hot air balloons rise higher and higher in a myriad of colours that dress the skies.
Stay at: Cappadocia Estates, a historial hotel with 16 cave rooms, and the owner’s own Turkish fine art collection presented throughout the historical hotel. After you’re done exploring the day, rest your head on custom-made satin sheets almost too good (and comfy) to be true.