What Is the Most Beautiful Place in the World?

I know there are some well-travelled Dopers out there. I’ve been around a bit myself.

My pick (so far) for The Most Beautiful Place in the World is the Canadian Rockies, around Banff, Lake Louise and environs.

My first encounter with that wonderful place came in the middle of a moonlit winter night…

I had flown up to Calgary and rented a car. It was the middle of January. There was snow on the ground and it was deadly cold. By the time I got to Calgary and got my rental car, it was also quite late (1:00 a.m.), and I still had to drive out to Banff.

For those who aren’t familiar with the geography of the area, Calgary is out on the Great Plains, just east of the Rockies. When you drive from Calgary to Banff, the Rockies loom before you, jutting right up out of the plains.

I was the only car on the road. It was a clear night, a full moon was out, and the moonlight reflected off of the snow so brightly that I could have driven without headlights. When I first came up to some of the big peaks, towering over me, glowing in the full moon, well, it was the most hauntingly beautiful thing I had ever seen (and is to this day). The noise from my radio seemed almost disrespectful in that moment. I turned it off and just drove silently into the mountains, completely awe-struck.

My impression was only confirmed on the following day, when I got to see the area in the daylight. I was alone (on a business trip) and the scenery was just so stunning it broke my heart that I had no one there to share it with.

So…since this is GD…I throw the floor open for debate. Is there a more beautiful place in the world? If so, name your choice, and defend it. What impressed you about the place?

Banff I loved, Lake Louise struck me as too commercial, especially near that grand hotel area.

The place that took me by surprise was the Blue Ridge Mountains of Kentucky. I drove through them the only car on the road, and was overwhelmed by the beauty.

smiles I haven’t travelled all that much mostly just around Alberta, part of BC and most of the Maritimes. But hugs you guys I’m glad you love Banff. I do too I live in Calgary and soon I hope that I’ll be able to move to Banff myself to work there. (At the Banff Springs Hotel) It is absolutely gorgeous out here. I love it.

langour-

I was there right after a big snowstorm, in the middle of the week, in the dead of winter. There were a few skiers around, but I didn’t really notice the commercial aspect of the place. Only the beauty.

Plus, on my one return trip (in the summertime) I found that it’s easy to get away from the towns, if you want to, and up into the mountains far away from any commercial trappings.

TopazAntares-

I expect the more you travel, the more you will come to appreciate how beautiful your home turf really is.

I hope to visit again one of these days.

I haven’t travelled much at all, but here goes.

I’ve never been there, but from what I’ve seen in photos and videotapes, the Irish countryside looks very inviting to me. That would be my first choice if given a free trip to anywhere in the world.

Of the places I’ve been, Shelter Island, NY, is largely unspoiled, still very fresh and clean, is accessible only by ferry from Long Island, and is DARK and QUIET at night. The loudest noise after 9:00 pm or so is usually the closest cricket. A small paradise tinged with nostalgia of the childhood summer vacations that seemed to last forever.

The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee are also breathtakingly beautiful and serene, especially in the early, early morning, just as the birds are waking up and the sun is lighting the eastern horizon. When we visit there, my father claims his job is to watch the mountains and make sure they don’t go anywhere. But anyone can help him if they want.

Spoke, thanks for starting such a lovely thread! I hope to read about all the beautiful places in the world that Dopers hold dear.

DAVEW0071-

The western part of Ireland, and especially the Dingle Peninsula, would probably be number 2 on my list. Seize any chance to visit the place.

The rolling hills of the countryside, in hundreds of shades of green; rocky western cliffs pounded by waves of the deepest blue hues; charming towns populated by the friendliest people I have yet encountered on this planet. Go. By all means go. (But do take a raincoat…) :wink:

My vote goes to the quaint narrow roads of Northern Ireland, dangerously lined with piled stone walls tumbling about.
Although Kipling was right about “the blue-green Limpopo River” on the border of Botswana.

My vote: entering the harbor of Marmaris, Turkiye is breathtaking. You are surrounded by mountains and you can’t even see how you got in!

Also, the view of Turkey from the coast of Rhodes - do you really see it, or not? It’s very ethereal, very misty, very mysterious. A slight hint of the mountainous coast across the Agean. And it maintains its mystery even as you draw near.

[Moderator Hat ON]

Sorry, spoke-, but I don’t think there’s going to be any real debating here. 'Sides, you’ll likely get more responses to your OP in MPSIMS. I’m sending it there.

[Moderator Hat OFF]

There have been two places in the world that have stunned me, in very different ways. One was Hong Kong, from an overlook point on Victoria Peak at night. That is an amazingly beautiful city. From a distance. In the dark.
The other was a cabin on Idaho’s Salmon river. Again, at night. This cabin was miles from anyone else, the weather was beautiful, everything was perfect.

I haven’t seen much of the world yet, sadly. I’m also not much for pastoral scenes (on the grounds that I respect and cherish unspoiled wilderness by keeping the hell off of it). I much prefer the combination of beautiful architecture and natural scenery.

That being the case, the most beautiful view I know of -

Go to Ile-Ste-Helene metro in Montreal, or go to Papineau metro and walk across the Jacques-Cartier bridge. Find the old fort’s large round tower. Down the slope from that is a burned-out log building with a rampart around it, perched on a steep forested slope.

You can sit on the wall of the rampart and look across the St. Lawrence River and the Old Port at the glittering skyline of Montreal and the green Mount Royal behind it. If you go at sunset, it’s in the perfect place to catch the red-gold colours on the water and the windows of the skyscrapers.

It’s the most romantic place I know. I’ve taken all but two of my boyfriends there.

[sappy]My king sized bed, my hubby on one side, my kid on the other.[/sappy]

Hilton Head Island.

It’s so amazingly lush.

Griffith Observatory and its view are beautiful on a rare clear night. I think San Francisco is beautiful. I like urban environs, but as far as untamed land goes, Mt. St. Helens was the most serene place on earth, and the south side of the mountain still is. Mt. Shasta is awesome, and the Olympics in Washington are incredible, too.

Ok, let’s get a bit more tropical please! Three places I
love are:

a. The Oubangui River rapids just east of Bangui which is the capital city of the Central African Republic. The place is still beautiful even though deforrestation as taken a toll on both sides of the river [Congo/Zaire and CAR]. The forest creeps out onto the river a few klicks east of town;
its like a plush deep green broccoli carpet that backs up into the surrounding hillside. There are long sand bars that line the river during the dry season. The color brown of the Oubangui River changes depending upon whether it is the rainy or dry season. During the day you can smell charcoal burning as fresh fish is being cooked. It’s impossible to describe the river on a full moon evening. This fast-paced river flows west eventually to join the Zaire/Congo River and out into the ocean. This always reminds me of the Portugese discovery of the river called the strong brown god.

The other two places are: Sangho-Sangho forest where Congo/Brazzaville, CAR and Congo/Kinshasa meet and Djenne
the ancient capital of a Malian empire in West Africa where a French colonist governor has the foresight to insight that this island city in the middle of the Sahel had an architectral heritage to protect. It’s better than Timbuctu.

Places I would love to see are Western China and the silk road altho I am told that I would be terribly disappointed,
Copacabana Beach in Rio, Tahiti and the top or bottom of the world - either pole would do as long as I don’t have to weather the cold for too long.

Banff is great

some others that seem awesome are the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Nepal, the Andes, the Alps, Himalayas, African and South America Rainforests…

but i guess it really depends on the person, some people might have different opinions.

My vote: the base of the waterfall at Maccarthur Burney Falls in California. Even on the hottests days of the summer, it is the perfect temperature at the base, and the water is so clear. It’s just sad that I haven’t been there in about five years.

My favorite spot!
In Dufftown (I swear!) in The Glen of the River Fiddich, Scotland.

Free drinks (single-malt Scotch) after the tour.

Don’t stay too long in the aging barrel room! The alcohol escaping through the barrels is enough to knock you out.

In the arms of your soulmate…

What? Physical location? That’s what I’m talking about!!!
Okay, okay… Long Beach on Great Keppel Island, nearly any North Queensland rainforest, The Twelve Apostles (southern victoria), Xion national park, cliffs of moah(?) (damn my work-numbed memory this afternoon), sunrise over Ayers Rock, stargazing at Putney Beach and Antarctica.
All different but equally beautiful.

Hmmm… and I didn’t even get to mention BC, Canada which had numerous wonders…

Some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve ever seen was in England… In the US I’d probably go with one of the lakes in New Hampshire.

For Least Beautiful, I’d go with New Mexico/Texas/Arizona
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