What makes a dream destination worth the effort? Is it the seclusion that comes with a beautiful but hard-to-reach location? Or is it the challenge of making the journey to visit somewhere truly special?
Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain — there are dream destinations on this planet that will leave you spellbound. But only a handful of travelers will ever get to see them. Will you be one of the lucky few?
From the Moai "head stones" of Easter Island to the emperor penguins of Antarctica, here are ten of the dreamiest destinations on Earth, and how to get there.
1) Easter Island, Chile
Located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean about 2,200 miles west of Chile, "La Isla de Pascua" is one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands, and also one of the most mysterious. In the middle of nowhere, you'll find hundreds of ancient statues known as Moai. These silent, volcanic-stone sentinels have been watching over the island for centuries, their stoic expressions still intact.
It's possible to fly to Easter Island from Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; or Tahiti, or you can set sail from Valparaiso, Chile.
2) Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The world's largest salt flat, stretching over 4,000 square miles, is one of the most surreal dream destinations out there. Located in southwestern Bolivia, the Salar de Uyuni is a glassy dreamscape of bright white salt, blue sky, and snow-capped volcanoes. The flats' expansive surface is a natural mirror, reflecting the sky and clouds above. Like something out of heaven, it's a vision you won't soon forget.
La Paz and Cochabamba are the largest cities nearest to the Salar de Uyuni. You can fly to either one and take a tour to the salt flats or a charter flight to Uyuni city.
3) Komodo Island, Indonesia
Fire-breathing dragons are the stuff of fantasy. The next best things are the real-life dragons of Indonesia's Komodo Island. Home to the world's largest living lizard — the fascinating Komodo dragon — this dream destination also boasts some of the best snorkeling and diving on Earth. With stunning coral reefs and abundant marine life, you'll never want to leave.
Komodo Island lies in the Flores Sea, about halfway between Bali and East Timor. You can reach it by plane or boat from Bali, Indonesia, or Labuan Bajo, Flores.
4) Westfjords, Iceland
Tucked away in the northwest corner of Iceland, the rugged Westfjords are one of the dreamiest destinations on the planet. From the fjords themselves, which are breathtakingly beautiful, to the picturesque villages and waterfalls surrounding them, this remote region of Iceland is a dream come true for any traveler.
You can fly to the Westfjords from Reykjavik, Iceland's capital city, or take a bus from Akureyri, the nearest major city.
5) Zion National Park, U.S.
Located in southwestern Utah, Zion National Park is a dream destination for adventurers of all kinds. From its towering sandstone cliffs to its lush oases and incredible wildlife, this park is simply stunning. Whether you're looking to hike, mountain bike, or just take in the views, there's something for everyone here.
The closest major cities are Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Zion National Park is accessible by car from both cities via Interstate 15.
6) Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
If you're looking for a dream destination with some of the funkiest natural formations on the planet, then look no further than Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, making for a truly unique and mesmerizing sight. An ancient volcanic eruption formed these beautiful hexagonal stepping stones, which have been drawing visitors for centuries.
The closest major cities are Belfast and Derry. You can reach Giant's Causeway by car or public transportation from there.
7) Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The South Pacific paradise of Bora Bora is one of the dreamiest destinations on Earth. With its pristine white beaches and crystal-clear waters, this luxurious tropical retreat is the perfect place to relax and escape from the world.
You can fly directly to Bora Bora from Los Angeles or San Francisco or take a connecting flight from Tahiti.
8) Aurora Sky Station, Sweden
The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is one of the most breathtaking natural phenomena in the world. Who hasn't dreamt of gazing at this amazing light show, where the night sky lights up in swirling hues of green and yellow? To make this dream a reality, the Aurora Sky Station in Sweden provides a front-row seat to one of the best light shows on Earth.
Situated atop Abisko Mountain in northern Sweden, this unique observatory offers stunning views of the Northern Lights. You can fly to Kiruna Airport from Stockholm or take a bus from Narvik, Norway.
9) Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan
Bhutan is a dream destination for anyone looking to experience something truly unique. This tiny Himalayan kingdom has managed to preserve its ancient culture and traditions in the face of modern progress. From its out-of-this-world monasteries to its dramatic mountain peaks, this secluded country is teeming with life and beauty. Keep in mind, however, that you need to pay a daily visa fee of $200 and about $100 for food and accommodation once you're actually in Bhutan. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
You can fly directly to Bhutan from major cities in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Nepal. Whichever way you choose to get there, it's sure to be an amazing journey.
Last but certainly not least is Antarctica. This frozen continent at the bottom of the world is a dream come true for anyone looking to experience beauty and solitude in equal measure. There are no scheduled flights to Antarctica, so your best option is to join an expedition cruise with Seabourn, Celebrity, or the more affordable Hurtigruten.
When sailing from South America, you'll need to cross the Drake Passage, which can be quite rough. But once you've arrived, you can explore the icy landscapes and spot some of Earth's most exotic wildlife. From majestic whales to charming penguins, Antarctica will take your breath away.
Recap of the Dreamiest Destinations on Earth
- Easter Island, Chile
- Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
- Komodo Island, Indonesia
- Westfjords, Iceland
- Zion National Park, Cambodia
- Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
- Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Aurora Sky Station, Sweden
- Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan
There you have it!
These 10 amazing dream destinations are definitely worth the effort to get there, whether that requires sailing across treacherous waters or taking a long-haul flight.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your travel gear, pack your bags, and set off on the adventure of a lifetime!