These Jaw-Dropping Summer Destinations Are Instagram Gold
Let's be real: There's a small part of us that gets a thrill from posting a stunning travel photo that stops our friends in their Instagram-scrolling tracks. We know there's more to life than a perfect post, but planning a vacation is like creating a memory, and who doesn't want to look back on a photo album full of incredible memories? To help craft your next summer vacation, we've called on well-traveled bloggers to share the most photogenic destinations they've ever visited. Brace yourselves: These vacation hot spots will take your Instagram game to the next level.
Chriselle Lim is a regular jet-setter, so we were surprised by her quick and assured response when asked what her number one photogenic hot spot is: the Maldives. "We stayed at an eco-friendly resort called Six Senses, and to be honest, every corner was Instagram-worthy, but I would have to say the most picturesque moment was the water villa," she says.
While an over-water suite might be dream fodder, Lim offers some handy advice to elevate any beach vacation photograph. "Wake up earlier than anyone else. There’s nothing worse than tourists photobombing your beautiful travel photos," she says.
Rome and Venice might top the list of the most-used geotags on Instagram, but its coastal cousin, Cinque Terre, deserves equal attention. Clusters of dusty-hued buildings dot the shoreline, creating the perfect backdrop for your summer snaps.
Travel blogger Jessica Stein of Tuula Vintage recommends heading for high ground for stunning clifftop views—but warns the sun is scorching. "I walked between Monterosso and Vernazza in 2010’s summer heat and threw in the towel for gelato and the sea as soon as possible," she says. Her top tip? Start at Riomaggiore to reach Manarola’s Love Walk at sunset.
CAPTURE THE MOMENT:
Vietnam's Ha Long Bay is a dreamlike landscape. Over 1600 jagged karst rock islands are visible amid the hazy sea air, while traditional Vietnamese boats bob atop the milky blue water. Blogger Anh Sundstrom of 9to5 Chic says kayaking through the caves is a must, but that a bulky camera isn't necessary to capture the surroundings.
"You don't have to have a big DSLR to take memorable photos," she says. "Some of my favorite photos (and one I even framed!) were taken with a small mirrorless camera."
Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni often ranks high as a bucket list destination, but Turkey's salt lake offers similar surreal images with a distinct pink twist. Lake Tuz's phenomenon is natural; blooming algae causes the rose tinge, which can turn bright red as water evaporates in the summer heat.
Be sure to visit between July and August, when most of the water has disappeared and it's possible to walk across the surface to capture jaw-dropping mirror-like images.
With its centuries-old mosaic riads and bustling souks filled with colorful spices and leather goods, it's little wonder Marrakech is a favorite among bloggers and photographers alike. "People always talk about the light in Paris, but I have to say the light in Marrakech has its own amazing quality," says Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley.
The lacy Islamic archways and ornate palaces beg to be photographed, but LaValle says the key to taking the perfect travel snap is to find a focal point. "Things can get overwhelming when you try and get a photo that includes it all," she says. "Instead, focus in on details that stand out to you, and make the rest of it background. Try to capture the essence of the place, what it feels like to be there."
Ibiza might have a party-ravaged reputation, but the Spanish island has more to offer than a hangover. A Bikini a Day founders Natasha Oakley and Devin Brugman were surprised by the quaint old town and varied landscape. "The island is beautifully natural and picturesque and, almost ironically, the perfect place for a detox," they write on their site.
Looking for the best place to escape the crowds and take in your surroundings? "The north of the island is especially dramatic, with cliffs replacing beaches to create the rugged and changing terrain so important in a hike," they recommend.
HIT THE BEACH:
With its azure grottos, umbrella-dotted coves, and world-class Italian fare, Capri often finds its way onto our feed. The Blonde Salad's Chiara Ferragni chartered the tiny island by boat, one of the best ways to explore hard-to-reach swim spots and hidden caves. Drop by La Canzone del Mare, a stunning celebrity hot spot with an infinity pool overlooking the sea; then end your day with a cocktail at Tiberio.
Row upon row of vibrant green rice fields form the backdrop of a classic vacation in Ubud, Indonesia. Lush tropical scenery aside, the Indonesian island attracts travelers with its lineup of affordable luxury resorts and yoga retreats. Among the most 'grammed is The Mulia in Nusa Dua and Wapa di Ume in Ubud.
GIVE YOUR LUGGAGE A SMART UPGRADE:
One of Australia's most famous locales, Whitehaven Beach, seems almost too picture-perfect to be real. Swirling shallows and powder-white sandbars create a dreamy aerial view visible by helicopter, one of the few ways to reach the remote beach.
Kimberly Pesch of Eat Sleep Wear says she was in awe of the piercing blue water. "For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take a helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef, see the famous Heart Reef, and then land for a picnic on Whitehaven Beach," she tells MyDomaine. "It's one of my favorite (and most romantic!) memories from our time in Australia."
When it comes to capturing the moment, Pesch swears by a Nikon 1 J5 camera. "I think the most exciting thing about travel is you never know what you might stumble across. The most important thing is being able to document the moment, [so] invest in a great camera that is easy to pop in your purse," she says.
Until you experience hot air–ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey, it's hard to fully appreciate how breathtakingly beautiful it truly is. Each morning, up to 300 colored orbs rise silently in the dark sky to watch the sun rise over the dimpled mountains and valleys.
Be sure to stay for more than two nights. There are multiple vantage points to watch the balloons from the ground, so it's well worth visiting a few to find a quiet, remote spot. In summer, aim to arrive half an hour before sunrise—the glowing balloons are a site to behold.