News features 26 unbelievable aerial photos of Earth

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26 unbelievable aerial photos of Earth

Have you ever wondered what the planet looks like from above? What it would be like to get a bird’s eye view of sprawling cities, stunning landscapes and rugged coastlines? Wonder no more as these incredible 360˚ panoramic images take you on an exciting tour from above.

Taken by not-for-profit organization AirPano, who have already photographed over 200 of the world’s most interesting destinations, these 27 images are sure to have you in awe and may even encourage you to take your travel photography skills to the next level.

1. Istanbul, Turkey

Once you see a photo of the iconic Byzantine Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul, one of the most visited museums on the world, you’ll be booking yourself on the next flight so you can explore this incredible city from ground level!

Istanbul from above, view of the Hagia Sophia Museum

2. Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

One of the planet’s most awe-inspiring sites, this shot of Iguazu Falls as viewed from above, comes complete with a double rainbow separating neighbours Argentina and Brazil and a small snapshot of one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world.

Aerial view above Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

3. Tolbachik volcano, Kamchatka, Russia

You know you’ve captured a unique moment when your camera shutter clicks just as a volcano that hasn’t been active for a few years shoots fiery lava up into the sky! See more incredible photos of the world’s most dangerous volcanos here.

Erupting volcano, red lava, Russia

4. Wayag Island, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

With islands so green and water so blue, there are more than 1800 of them to explore by boat or by snorkel. Check out more of Indonesia’s best beaches here.

Wayag Island, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, aerial view, green wooded islands in the turquoise ocean

5. Qiandao Lake, Hangzhou, China

A lake so beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s man-made: Qiandao lake was completed in 1959 and is now home to over 1,000 islands which can be explored by traditional boat.

Aerial view of Qiandao Lake, Hangzhou, China, islands dotted in green blue water

6. San Francisco, USA

It’s not all hippies and flower power in America’s coolest city, there are also some towering skyscrapers to check out downtown. Hop on the tram and get acquainted with the city by the bay with these top ten things to do.

San Francisco aerial view

7. Churún-Merú, Venezuela

Churun Meru, otherwise known as Dragon Falls, is one of the most incredible natural formations in Venezuela, dropping 979 metres to the river valley below, making it the highest free-falling waterfall in the world.

Churún-Merú waterfall, Venezuela

8. Lone Island in The Maldives

The Maldives is known to be one of the most exclusive honeymoon destinations in the world and with islands that look like this it’s not difficult to see why. For more luxury honeymoon destinations, check out our top 10 list here.

Lone Island, Maldives, aerial view of the small island surrounded by blue ocean

9. Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal’s beautiful capital city, complete with old world charm in the form of terracotta roof tiles and colorful trams to transport you around the city – Lisbon is a city sure to win your heart. Find out what the top 7 things to do and see in Lisbon are here.

Lisbon, aerial view across the city

10. Taj Mahal, India

One of the most iconic attractions in India, a shrine that took 17 years, 22,000 men and 1,000 elephants to build – to this day the Taj Mahal remains one of the many wonders of the modern world. While the Taj might be your main draw to India, there are many more beautiful sights to see.

Aerial view of the Taj Mahal, India

11. Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore is the most southerly of the colourful Cinque Terre villages in northern Italy and is without doubt one of the most picturesque sights in the whole country, if not Europe. It is also home to an array of tempting regional delicacies to awaken your taste buds!

Riomaggiore, aerial view of the village, Cinque Terre, Italy

12. Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Meteora, Greece

Perched on top of some out-of-place rocks in the Peneas Valley, you’ll find one of the most inaccessible monasteries in the world. Part of the Meteora Monasteries, Greek for ‘suspended in the air’, the site is a perfect place for meditation and prayer. Click here for more information about visiting Greece.

Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Meteora, Greece

13. The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

The Forbidden City, located in the centre of China’s capital Beijing, is one of the most visited and photographed sights in China. Originally named the Forbidden City as access to the greater public was not allowed, things have changed and the Forbidden City is now a top tourist attraction.

The Forbidden City, aerial view, Beijing

14. Upper Garden of Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia

Better known as the Russian Versailles, thanks to its sprawling gardens and magnificent palace, the Upper Garden of Peterhof is a UNESCO World Heritage Site bang in the middle of beautiful St. Petersburg. After you visit, take a look at all the other interesting sites there are to see in Russia’s second city.

Upper Garden of Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia

15. Keukenhof Tulip Fields, The Netherlands

Keukenhof Tulip fields, which reach out towards the horizon in every direction you look, will put a smile on your face whether viewed from the air or the ground. Row after row of tulips and tall windmills greet you on arrival, and treat your eyes to a kaleidoscope of colour in every direction.

Multi-coloured fields of flowers, Keukenhof Tulip Fields, The Netherlands

16. Yunnan Province, China

The layer upon layer of green rice paddies in this part of China are a photographers dream, as they lead the untrained eye on a zig-zagging adventure which reaches as far as the borders of Laos and Vietnam.

Rice fields, Yunnan Province, China

17. Church of the Intercession on Nerl, Russia

This secluded church, made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992, lies on the banks on the Nerl and Klyazma Rivers just 13km from Vladimir, Russia’s ancient capital city. When the tides rise in the spring and the surrounding area floods, the church appears to float on water.

Church of the Intercession on Nerl, Russia

18. Paris, France

Whether it’s your first time or your tenth time, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Paris. With so many incredible places to view from above, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower, it’s easy to snap some picture-perfect memories to take home with you. Think you’ve seen it all? Check out our guide for second-times in the city of love.

Eiffel Tower, Paris aerial view

19. The North Pole

Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime cruise, an adventurous expedition or a long-awaited trip to see Santa, if you are lucky enough to visit the North Pole be sure to look to the skies for the natural phenomenon that is the Aurora Borealis – check out our quick guide to the best destinations to spot the Northern Lights around the world.

People in a circle in the North Pole

20. Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The most visited temple in Cambodia, and one of the best places to watch the sunrise, Angkor Wat is sure to take your breath away no matter when you visit. Situated just a few miles outside of beautiful Siem Reap, be sure to check out all the city has to offer, besides jungle trekking in search of lost temples.

Angkor Wat temple, aerial view

21. Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, USA

Situated just off Highway 89, one of the best driving routes in the US, a few minutes (or even hours) exploring Horseshoe Bend is well worth the effort it takes to get there.

River snaking through the canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

22. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Located in a small city in the South of the Czech Republic, this UNESCO World Heritage site dating as far back as the thirteenth century, lies on the Vltava River and is home to the Czech Republic’s second biggest castle.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

23. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

One of the most spectacular cityscapes in the world, even the name conjures up magical images in your mind of the striking Christ the Redeemer statue and a city that hugs the coastline for miles. If you’re planning to visit, be sure to book your flights in time for the carnival, the biggest, loudest and most flamboyant street festival in the world.

Aerial view, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

24. Museum of wooden architecture, Suzdal, Russia

They say the best things come in small packages and this really rings true with the small town of Suzdal in Russia. Dating back to the eleventh century, it’s home to rustic wooden structures including the Museum of Wooden Architecture.

Museum of wooden architecture, Suzdal, Russia

25. Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

Sagrada Família, or the ‘Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family’ as it is known in English, is a Roman Catholic church in Barcelona designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi in 1883. It is one of the top attractions for visitors to Barcelona.

Sagrada Família, Barcelona, aerial view

26. The Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

One of the many stunning sights to be seen along Australia’s Great Ocean Road, The Twelve Apostles are best viewed from the air – arrange a flight with one of the many local helicopter companies. For more idea’s on Australia’s best road trips, read our guide here.

Coastline, cliifs, the Twelve Apostles, Victoria, Australia

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Article written by Janet Newenham for Skyscanner.

Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotelsand car hire.

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