Some natural attractions look particularly stunning from above. Mondo picked six places also worth seeing from a bird’s-eye perspective.
Angel’s Billabong, Indonesia
The world is full of great swimming pools, but have you ever swum in a natural infinity pool? One such place can be found on the island of Nusa Penida, a 45-minute boat ride away from Bali. The pool, surrounded by rocks on three sides, is large enough for swimming, and when you’re in the water, its calm surface seems to extend all the way to the ocean.
The best time to visit is at low tide, as the waves hitting the pool at high tide can sweep you away into the ocean. Due to accidents at the site, the pool has been closed from time to time, but you can always also admire it from the surrounding rocks.
Angel’s Billabong is located about 17 kilometers southwest of the Toya Pakeh harbor. Independent travelers can reach the destination by rented scooters or organized island excursions.
Neitokainen, Kittilä, Finland
Isn’t this curious: a pond in the shape of Finland! The site in Vesikkovaara, Kittilä, is not, however, a natural formation, but an artificial lake. It was created in 1991 when a holiday village was being planned for the area. The idea for the pond in the shape of the Finnish Maiden came from master builder Esko Sääskilahti.
First, a groundwater well was dug to provide Neitokainen with water. This is how “Åland” was created. Then, the pond itself was built. The holiday village planned for the site was never realized due to the recession in the early 1990s, and the pond fell into oblivion. But now that drones are so popular, the site has been rediscovered and become a favorite among photographers.
There are no signs leading to the site, but it’s only a few minutes’ walk from the nearest road. The pond is located a little over 10 kilometers from the slopes of Ylläs, and the site can be included in a hiking trip to the fells.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango River, which is over 1,600 kilometers long, flows from the Angolan highlands, but the most famous part of the river is a delta in Botswana. Protected by UNESCO, the area is one of the most fascinating safari destinations in Africa – the delta attracts various animals and provides an interesting contrast to the Kalahari Desert.
The best time to visit Okavango falls between May and August when the wet season has ended and the animals move about in the lush nature. Safari tours with lodge accommodation can be purchased in Botswana, but they are expensive, albeit of high quality. If you have the time, you can travel at a lower cost, touring natural parks and utilizing more affordable accommodation. The trip to some of the safari camps is made by small plane, and flying over the terrain is an unforgettable experience.
Yellowstone National Park, located in the northwestern United States, is known for its volcanic attractions, which is no wonder, as the park sits on top of a so-called supervolcano. Yellowstone hosts, among other things, Old Faithful, the world’s most famous geyser that erupts around 20 times a day.
The Grand Prismatic Spring gets its startling colors from bacteria reacting to different temperatures.
The most frequently photographed site in Yellowstone is, however, the enormous hot spring called the Grand Prismatic Spring. The spring is about 112 meters in diameter, and it gets its startling colors from bacteria reacting to different temperatures. Even though swimming in the Grand Prismatic is not possible due to the high temperature of the water, it is still an impressive sight. You can admire Yellowstone’s hot springs along the trails and marvel at the Grand Prismatic from above by taking the Fairy Falls trail up to the lookout.
Vila Franca do Campo, Azores
The archipelago of Azores, which belongs to Portugal, offers amazing landscapes to admire, including volcanic craters. These fascinating views include the small island of Vila Franca do Campo, created by the eruption of an ancient volcano. In the middle of the island, there is an almost perfectly circular natural lake that is pleasant to swim in.
Vila Franca do Campo is just a short boat ride away from São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores. However, to protect the local nature, only a limited number of visitors are allowed to enter the site each day. In the Azores, the tourist season runs from June to September, and reasonably priced flights are offered for trips between the islands. In some cases, you can also travel from island to island by ship. The most affordable flights from Europe to the Azores are offered by Ryanair and the local airline SATA.
Pink beaches, Caribbean Islands
The paradise beaches of the Caribbean are a dream destination for many. The landscape is perhaps the most unique on the pink beaches in the area. The peculiar color comes from microscopic insects, foraminifera, which have hard red shells and live on the underside of coral reefs. When these insects perish, their shells get crushed and mixed with the white sand, providing it with a pink hue.
One of the beaches with the most intense pink shade is the Pink Sand Beach in Barbuda, near a particularly abundant coral reef. Harbour Island in the Bahamas, on the other hand, is known for its baby-powder soft sand. Other pink beaches include Crane Beach in Barbados and Horseshoe Bay Beach in Bermuda. To avoid disappointment, it is good to note that the intensity of the color may vary depending on the season and tides.
Mondo’s picks: 6 excellent alternatives to super-popular destinations >
Text: Valtteri Väkevä and Pekka Hiltunen Photos: Getty Images
This story was originally published in Mondo's issue 8/22.