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10 Most-Visited Natural Wonders Of The World

Per World Population Review, the most popular tourist destinations are France, Spain, and the United States, clocking about 89.4, 83.7, and 79.3 million visitors, respectively, each year. This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, given France’s beautiful, historic cities that instantly transport travelers back to the Middle Ages, or Spain’s stimulating islands and culinary delights, or America’s numerous landmarks, from iconic skyscrapers to historic monuments.

Still, do these countries also include some of the world’s most popular natural wonders? The Seven Natural Wonders organization, with its Declaration Committee of “reputable experts in global exploration, conservation, and nature,” has picked several awe-inspiring, unique feats of nature from each continent. Obviously, this has led to a major spike in tourism; so, based on this organization, Google, and the latest surveys gathered from Instagram, TikTok, and TripAdvisor, here are the 10 most sought-after natural wonders globally, ranked in ascending order by number of yearly visitors. And yes, two of them are located in the U.S.

Related: 10 Ancient Wonders You Can Only Experience In The Middle East

10
Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1.3 million visitors annually


Image by Jose Guertzenstein from Pixabay

Sugarloaf Mountain in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay, whose name means “bosom of the sea” in the ancient Tupi language, is dotted with 100 islands and encircled by imposing granite monoliths, attracting 1.3 million local and foreign visitors every year. Key spots include the so-called Sugarloaf Mountain and the iconic Copacabana Beach, which people shouldn’t visit before checking out these useful tips first.

Sadly, though, urbanization, oil spills, and adjacent landfills have impacted this once-unspoiled natural wonder.

  • Perimeter: 89 miles
  • Best Time To Visit: December to March
  • Adventurous Activity: Sugarloaf Mountain Hike and Climb ($71.85/person)
  • Nearby Islands: Villegagnon, Governador, and Cobras

9
Iguazu Falls, Argentina And Brazil

1.5 million visitors annually


 Iguazu Falls seen from the Argentinian National Park
Shutterstock

 Iguazu Falls seen from the Argentinian National Park

Iguazu Falls offers numerous adrenaline-filled activities perfect for adventurers, and that is why they attract over 1.5 million visitors yearly. The Argentinian side is ideal for scenic, soothing hikes near the waterfalls, especially those that include views of the famous Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat. As for the Brazilian side, it is smaller but offers incomparable panoramic views.

  • Hours of Operation: 9 am to 6 pm
  • Admission Fee: $39/adult
  • Best Time To Visit: March, April, and September
  • Recommended Tour: Macuco Safari in Brazil: Jungle, Trail, and Boat (from $99/adult)
  • Wildlife Sightings In The Parks: Coatis, toucans, tapirs

Swimming in Iguazu Falls is strictly prohibited.

8
The Cliffs Of Moher, Ireland

1.5 million visitors annually


The dramatic gray cliffs Cliffs of Moher in Ireland overlooking the ocean 
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

The dramatic gray cliffs Cliffs of Moher in Ireland overlooking the ocean 

Located in County Clare and named after a fort that stood on the southernmost point of the coast, the Cliffs of Moher are among Ireland’s most popular geotouristic attractions, drawing 1.5 million visitors every year, mostly from the U.S. While they can be accessed from many points, it’s best to check with the visitor center for optimum and safe enjoyment.

  • Maximum Elevation Point: 702 feet, north of O’Brien’s Tower
  • Visitor Center Opening Hours: 9:00 am to 5 pm November to February; 8:00 am to 7 pm March, April, September, and October; 8 am to 9 pm May to August
  • Peak times: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Admission: $13/adult, including access to O’Brien’s Tower, Wi-Fi, and water-refill station

Online booking could save up to 70%.

Related: 10 Magical Places In Ireland Where You’d Think Faeries Really Did Reside

7
Arches National Park, Utah, U.S.A.

1.8 million visitors annually


Beautiful sunset at the famous Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah, USA
Shutterstock

Beautiful sunset at the famous Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah, USA

Arches National Park has over 2,000 natural sandstone arches and other impressive natural rock formations, attracting 1.8 million visitors from the U.S. and beyond annually. It was named a national monument in 1929 because of its significant geological, historical, and scientific interest.

  • Highest Elevation: 5,653 feet at Elephant Butte
  • Hours of Operation: 24 hours a day
  • Entrance Pass: $15/person
  • Vehicle Capacity Of 15 Or Less: $30
  • Best Time To Visit: April through May and September through October

6
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

2 million visitors annually


Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Image by Frauke Feind from Pixabay

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland, boasts over 3000 reef systems and coral cays, 1,600 species of fish, and hundreds of scenic tropical islands with stunning beaches, making it a top destination for 2 million swimmers, divers, and snorkelers annually. The site can also be explored via helicopter, bareboat, glass-bottomed boat, and cruise ship, and some tours include whale watching and swimming with dolphins.

5
The Matterhorn, Switzerland And Italy

2.2 million visitors yearly

Zermatt, Switzerland in twilight with Matterhorn in the background

Shaped like a jagged tooth, the majestic Matterhorn is known as the Jewel of the Swiss Alps, attracting 2.2 million tourists every year, not to mention that nearby Zermatt is a popular mountaineering and ski resort.

  • Height: 14,692 feet
  • Best Time To Climb Matterhorn: July to September
  • Yearly Ascents: 2500 to 3000
  • Viewing Platform: Gornergrat (10,135 feet); Gornergrat Round Trip Standard Fee: $116/adult
  • First Track Package: $50/adult + ski pass (accompanied descent from Trockener Steg to Furi; breakfast buffet at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise)

The Swiss Travel Pass can get a reduction of 50% on the Gornergrat Round Trip.

Related: 10 Most Beautiful Parks In Melbourne, Australia

4
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

2.6 million visitors annually


Ha Logn Bay in Vietnam
Photo by Ammie Ngo on Unsplash

Boats floating on water in Ha Long Bay

Vietnam is a distinctive country blessed with numerous beautiful natural attractions, and Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, with its emerald waters and nearly 2000 limestone islands and islets, gathers 2.6 million visitors annually. The site attracts hikers, swimmers, divers, and rock climbers.

  • Area: 600 mi²
  • Best Time To Visit: March, April, September, and October
  • Most Affordable Cruise: Pelican Glory Cruise (from $115/person/night + onboard meals)

3
Moraine Lake, Canada

4 million visitors annually


Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
Photo by John Lee on Unsplash

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park

Located in Banff National Park, in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is fed by glaciers and is admired for its crystal-clear water, drawing 4 million hikers, photographers, and wildlife lovers, especially between June and the first week of October, when the road is open to private vehicles.

  • Area: 124 acres
  • Hours of Operation: 24 hours
  • Park Admission Fee: $10/adult
  • Best Time To Visit: June to September
  • Scenic Hike: Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail (2.3 miles; moderate difficulty)

2
Table Mountain, South Africa

4.2 million visitors annually


Table mountain sunset, South Africa
Shutterstock

Table mountain sunset, South Africa

Table Mountain overlooks Cape Town, a city buzzing with spectacular natural landscapes and festival scenes. This natural wonder is dotted with 2,285 species of plants and attracts 4.2 million visitors every year, and the latter has a choice between hiking all the way to the top or hopping on the cableway.

  • Level Plateau: 2 miles
  • Best Time To Visit: October to April
  • 30-minute Guided Walk: 9:00 am to 3 pm; free
  • Aerial Cableway: 8:30 am to 6 pm; from $12.85/adult

1
The Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.A.

5 million visitors annually


South Kaibab Trail Grand Canyon Ooh Aah Point
Photo by Grand Canyon National Park, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

South Kaibab Trail Grand Canyon Ooh Aah Point

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided, 277-mile-long, 18-mile-wide natural wonder that is part of the Colorado River basin, attracting nearly 5 million visitors every year for its numerous recreational activities, which include hiking, meditating, and kayaking. The area is the ancestral homeland of 11 Native American tribes.

  • Hours of Operation: 24 hours
  • Standard Pass: $20/adult
  • Private Vehicle: $35
  • Best Time To Visit: March to May

Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, New Zealand’s Milford Sound, and Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes, each of which attract 1 million visitors yearly.