Woman stand up paddle boarding on a pristine mountain lake in British Columbia | iStock: stockstudioX

Beautiful landscapes. Humans have had an obsession with a good view since time began. Well, okay, we don’t actually have any proof of that. But if you and I can look out the window and smile at what we see, then you can imagine Neanderthal man looking out of his cave and thinking, “Ah, what a lovely view.” It’s so hardwired into our brains to appreciate beautiful landscapes that it must have come from somewhere. And even if Ug the caveman didn’t leave us any archaeological evidence of view appreciation, other cultures did.

From ancient China to the Renaissance, people have been showing their love of beautiful landscapes by trying to reproduce them. Whether that’s by carving stone or displaying oil paintings in London galleries so that sophisticated Victorians, who wouldn’t imagine getting their clothes muddy, could stand and gaze upon wild landscapes and think, “Yes, yes, very good.”

Now, we at Much Better Adventures think the very best way to experience a beautiful landscape is to walk, hike, raft or otherwise haul yourself away from a computer to see them in person. But since you and I are clearly both looking at a screen right now, we’ll compromise. What’s the modern equivalent of a Victorian art gallery? Well, I’m afraid it’s Instagram.

Here are 10 beautiful landscapes that you can admire from a distance, hold in your hands wherever you go and – just maybe – see it with your own eyes one day.

1. Snowy Mountains: Aleutian Islands

There’s something very beautiful about a pure snow-covered landscape. It’s like taking an already beautiful mountain and covering it with icing. These two mountains in the Aleutian Islands – Pavlof 1 and Pavlof 2 – don’t really even look real. Add a cloud inversion into the mix and all of a sudden you’re on another planet.

Luckily you can experience the beauty of a snowy mountain pretty much all over the world. Anywhere cold enough or high enough (or both!) for snow and you’re sorted.

2. Craters and lagoons: Iceland

Ah Iceland, land of ice and fire and ridiculously long words that no visitor can pronounce, giving Welsh a run for its money! Iceland has a very volcanic history (there aren’t many places with black sand beaches) which has shaped a unique and beautiful landscape. But, we’re here to talk specifically about the craters and lagoons. We had to include the image above, with its surprisingly vivid colours and sweeping view into the mountains.

You can find similar mountain lakes, left behind by glaciers, far more widely than just Iceland. Glacial valleys can be seen from the Lake District to the Alps and right across mountainous areas in the world. At least, any place where there was ice millions of years ago.

3. Ice caves: Iceland

On the subject of ice, let’s give ice a beautiful landscape point in its own right. Iceland definitely isn’t the only place you can find big expanses of ice and glaciers. However, we do know that you can walk inside the glaciers in Iceland. As if ice wasn’t beautiful enough, you can walk under a translucent blue ceiling.

4. Beaches and Coastline: USA

When people think of beautiful beaches, they’re probably thinking of long stretches of white sand that meet turquoise blue oceans. Maybe a turtle or two. But the rock formations around the coast are equally beautiful, shaped by thousands of years of waves. Because really, that’s kind of all sand is: really, really small grains of rock… mostly. Let’s not talk about the parrotfish poop (look it up).

We just liked this dramatic picture of a coastal cave at a mystery location on the coast of California. But every island has a coast, if you can just find the edges. So many coastlines are beautiful in their own right – whether that’s the storm shaped cliffs of Cornwall or the smooth beaches of Flores Island.

5. Volcanic Landscapes : Ethiopia

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There are so many places in this world that are just weird and beautiful. I’m standing here on a hot spring in Dallol, Ethiopia. This hot spring, though, is too hot to bathe in it. In fact, the Dallol region of Ethiopia is a cauldron of burning salt, volcanic rock and sulfuric acid, and it is officially the hottest place on Earth. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Guess what’s the average annual temperature? It is 93.9°F (34.4°C), but in the summer it reaches highs of 116.1°F (46.7°C) and more. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Even though you can’t swim here (since the water is toxic), it’s still worth visiting these hot springs as they are one of the reasons why the Dallol landscape is so visually striking. These springs release chemical compounds like ferrous chloride and iron hydroxide that solidify when they come into contact with the atmosphere, painting the salt deposits and lakes in bizarre shades of green, yellow and white. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #natgeoyourshot #yourshotphotgrapher #yourshotphotography #natgeo #natgeotraveler #dallol #ethiopia #danakildepression #africa #hotsprings #welltravelled #beautifuldestinations

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Err, okay anyone would think we have a thing about volcanoes… but they do make for some very beautiful landscapes. Beautiful in the extreme kind of way. We love how nature produces these crazily vivid colours. Eat your heart out artificial food colouring! Although, you don’t want to be eating or drinking anything in made naturally in the Danakil Depression, Ethiopia. Pretty much everything is toxic.

To see this beautiful landscape for yourself, check out our Danakil Depression Expedition.

6. Water

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Sunrise to sunset in Bora Bora. Beach, diving, and bikes 🙂 One cool new thing we did this time was to dive in @conradboraboranui’s Biorock coral reef restoration program. The structure you see in the third video is called the cathedral and is one of many huge frame underwater structures using low voltage technology to increase coral resistance and natural repopulation. It’s funny that this is right below their iconic reception area and has beautiful light rays and yet I had never seen a photo of it! In addition to installing solar panels, their own glass grinder and sorting center, I was happy to notice they’re swapping out single use for reusable shampoos/in room amenities and figuring out ways to reduce electricity use across the whole hotel. I hope these are changes I start to see implemented at every hotel! – Full itinerary of our trip and all the eco adventures coming this week!🌴🐠🐡🐳 #LoveTahiti #Borabora – Photos 1 & 4 @amirzakeri 2 & 3 by @silkymerman

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There is water everywhere that there’s not land. Duh. About 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water (and about 60% of the human body is water, which is kind of interesting). So we reckon that water is very underrated when it comes to beautiful landscapes. Particularly big expanses of water, not just lakes or lagoons or rivers. They’re cool too, but there’s something impressive about water all the way to the horizon. It certainly gives you a bit of perspective.

Of course, we’d much rather be out on it than just looking at it, like kayaking the Greek coast or island hopping in Sweden.

7. Jungle

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Wow. What a journey. I’ve just landed back on UK soil after nearly 3 months under the canopy of virgin rainforest in Guyana. I’m navigating my way though the noise and bustle of London but my heart and head are still in the rainforest. This expedition has provided a thousand lessons most of which boil down to this: 1. Collaboration is the most powerful tool we have to create change for good. As an individual I have the power to make a small ripple of change that touches a few peoples lives, in partnership with others we are able to inspire whole nations to not only shift perceptions but to give rise to great waves of change. You may also find, like I have on this expedition with the Wai Wai tribe, that you come away from those collaborations walking six inches taller and feeling utterly fulfilled. 2. No matter how much you think you already know, you will always learn more. The Wai Wai and the families and individuals we met along the way, from every background, religion and ethnic group, each taught me something important. The children reminded me to live in the moment more and be present. The Wai Wai taught me about the strength found in community, family and friendship. They taught me everything they knew about survival in the jungle and without them we would probably be lost or dead in the forest! My teammates and friends @pipstewart @laurabingham93 taught me to lean on the support of a sisterhood when the going gets tough and to pull one another up always, at every turn. The families and individuals we stumbled across along the way who had the least gave the most, opening their homes and hearts. Perhaps hardship teaches compassion and nurtures a wholesome soul. They all reminded me the importance of paying these good deeds and goodwill forward. 3. An expedition, and indeed all life goals, are achieved by the culmination of many small efforts on a daily basis. Persistence pays off. 4. Sing. Often. Music lifts the spirits like nothing else can. Waking at 4am to the sound of Jackson singing Wai Wai songs softly over camp raised goosebumps of wonder and peacefulness. Hearing Nereus and Eron sing around the campfire bonded us all. #guyana #lessons #jungle

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A wimba-way, a wimba-way, a…. just kidding. But the mighty jungle has many beautiful landscapes, regardless of whether there’s a sleeping lion in it. In fact, there’s probably not going to be a sleeping lion because lions don’t live in the jungle – which brings up a whole load of questions that our childhood selves need answered.

While we go and work that out, you can experience the real jungle for yourself. Like on a 100km jungle expedition across Colombia. No lions. Promise.

8. Desert: Morocco

The lions let us down, but the camels won’t. Once upon a time the Sahara desert was under water. Now instead of water as far as you can see, it’s sand as far as you can see. Kind of like you’ve been shrunk to the size of an ant and left in a sand pit… but without the threat of giant children.

You can explore beautiful landscapes of sand in Morocco, Jordan or Oman. Or, to be honest, any country that contains a desert…

9. Rock formations: Scotland

The strange rock formations of the Old Man of Storr on Skye creates an ethereal landscape. Maybe it reminds us of magical towers or the gates of Mordor. We’re not sure, but there’s definitely an edge of fantasy to pillars of rock. Or perhaps the location scouts for fantasy films are just creating a self-propagating circle. Either way, Skye photography shows a wild and bleak mountainous island ready for adventure.

10. Forest: Slovenia

Okay, yes, we could have picked any number of forests. There’s something beautiful about deciduous trees changing colour with the seasons. It’s like seeing autumn happen in front of you. The forests of Slovenia are gorgeous in autumn and we learnt that first hand on our team trip to Slovenia. Even if your adventure doesn’t go 100% to plan, you can still enjoy being in nature.

If that’s not enough beautiful landscapes for you, then perhaps it’s time to follow Much Better Adventures on Instagram, or check out one of our adventure holidays.