The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 coral atolls, which are made up of hundreds of islands. It’s known for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. The capital, Malé, has a busy fish market, restaurants and shops on Majeedhee Magu and 17th-century Hukuru Miskiy (also known as Old Friday Mosque) made of coral stone.
Venice, capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a marshy lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Its stone palaces seemingly rise out of the water. There are no cars or roadways, just canals and boats. The Grand Canal snakes through the city, which is filled with innumerable narrow, mazelike alleys and small squares.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia, is the largest living thing on Earth, and even visible from outer space. The 2,300km-long ecosystem comprises thousands of reefs and hundreds of islands made of over 600 types of hard and soft coral. It's home to countless species of colourful fish, molluscs and starfish, plus turtles, dolphins and sharks.
The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. The Caucasus Mountains are higher, and the Urals longer, but both lie partly in Asia.
The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off East Africa, known for its beaches, coral reefs, diving, nature reserves and rare wildlife such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Mahé island, with an international airport, is a key transport hub, home to capital Victoria, the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and white-sand beaches including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, is a province of Ecuador, lying about 1,000km off its coast, and considered one of the world's foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. Its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else. Charles Darwin visited in 1835, and his observation of Galápagos' species later inspired his theory of evolution.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea – bordering Israel, the West Bank and Jordan – is a salt lake whose banks are more than 400m below sea level, the lowest point on dry land. Its famously hypersaline water makes floating easy, and its mineral-rich black mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetic treatments at area resorts. The surrounding desert offers many oases and historic sites.
Komodo Island, Indonesia
Komodo island, part of the Lesser Sunda chain of Indonesian islands, is the rugged habitat of the 3m-long Komodo dragon monitor lizard. Komodo National Park covers the entire region and contains more than 4,000 dragons, as well as rusty-red volcanic hills, savannah and forests. Its surrounding waters of seagrass beds, mangrove shrublands and coral reefs are famous for diving.
Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife of three, Mumtaz Mahal.
Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada
The Athabasca Glacier is one of the six principal 'toes' of the Columbia Icefield, located in the Canadian Rockies. The glacier currently recedes at a rate of about 5 metres (16 ft) per year and has receded more than 1.5 km (0.93 mi) and lost over half of its volume in the past 125 years. The glacier moves down from the icefield at a rate of several centimetres per day.