International travel continues to gain in popularity with economies around the world indicating strong growth and making travel costs more affordable. Thanks to social media and instantly shareable pictures and articles, the wonders of the world are all that more accessible. If you're in the planning stages of an unforgettable travel destination this year, and you consider yourself a photography enthusiast, consider these top 5 travel destinations for photographers.
1. SOUTH AFRICA
Aerial view of Table Mountain, Cape Town Harbour, Lion's Head and Devil's Peak
Most travelers to this wondrous part of the world fly into Cape Town, or though Johannesburg is another option. Starting in Cape Town offers photographers access to the brilliant coastline as well as the captivating mountain range that acts as the perfect backdrop to the sprawling metropolis. Moving north on your South African adventure, visit Kruger National Park for a chance to photograph the "Big Five", and take in the natural wonders of this diverse area. Head further north to Victoria Falls and photograph it either from the ground or by air in a helicopter. A sunset cruise along the Zambezi River caps off the scenic wonders near the falls. South Africa is a land of culture, natural beauty, and untamed spaces - and it is ideal for anyone with a camera in hand.
2. CHILE & ARGENTINA
Santiago de Chile cityscape
Discover diverse destinations like Patagonia's fjords or the cosmopolitan city of Santiago when you visit the southern regions of South America. Santiago, Chile is an easy flight from virtually anywhere, and this modern city offers all the amenities a discerning traveler could desire, blended with a mix of captivating antiquity, that offers plenty of opportunities for photography. Head south and discover Tierra Del Fuego, view and photograph massive icebergs and glaciers, and witness playful colonies of penguins and groups of seals. Chile and Argentina offer both novice and professional photographers something unique to remember.
Morning shot of the Yasaka Pagoda in Kyoto, Japan
The Land of the Rising Sun is a popular destination, thanks to its near-ideal combination of vibrant city life, austere historical sites, and verdant natural wonders. Japan truly is a land of adventure, and most travelers arrive in Tokyo to start their journey from the capital city. Photograph ancient shrines and temples, as well as the unique markets of Japan that is filled with activity, unique foods, and plenty of colorful backgrounds to stage the perfect shot. Then, head west to take in amazing views of the mountains, forests, and lakes that make up the interior of Japan. Photographers will find unparalleled opportunities to capture cultural phenomenon and historic displays of Japanese culture. Japan is a nation of restraint, but your photos will be anything but when you book an adventure to this incredible nation.
The Seven Sisters Waterfall along the Geiranger fjord in Norway
The Norwegians certainly have a well-earned reputation for friendliness and hospitality, and the landscapes are just as inviting for photographers of all skill levels, too. Visit Norway this year, and relish the majesty of this nation's coastal areas and natural features throughout the inland regions. Paddle a kayak through the crystal-clear (though quite cold!) waters, snap photos of the awe-inspiring fjords, and then pack up and hike through densely forested areas. Thunderous waterfalls and blue-ice glaciers are some of the beautiful things that make Norway one of the best photography destinations. Norway's history goes back thousands of years, and your photos will create timeless memories you can share with your family and friends.
Panoramic view of Split along the Dalmatian Coast
It is hard to believe that this incredible part of the world was under siege just 25 years ago, but Croatia has emerged as a sort of throwback version of Eastern Europe that offers charm only matched by its vibrant natural beauty. A visit to Croatia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for photographers, as the area artfully combines plenty of natural photo opportunities with amazing architectural sites. From Zagreb to Dubrovnik, to the idyllic port of Split, Croatians will amaze you with their openness and charm. Bring your camera along to capture the stunning natural beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park, the Diocletian's Palace, and all of Dubrovnik - dubbed "the Pearl of the Adriatic."
Today's travelers have so many opportunities to capture incredible moments from around the globe. Whether you're intent on using your new iPhone to take photos while traveling, or you're packing an extra piece of luggage just to tote your array of lenses, camera bodies, and filters, you'll find that our world is practically begging you to travel.