The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the World

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the World

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The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the World

I don’t think that I’m the only person who is always looking forward to the next adventure. Like most other people, I'm always studying the best places to visit so that I can capture some of the most incredible locations that this Earth has to offer. While some of you may call this a “first world problem”, choosing the next destination for your trip can be harder than expected. Would you like to go somewhere warm or cold? During which season would you like to travel? Are you looking for cities, forests, mountains or the ocean?

There are so many amazing destinations that it can be overwhelming to choose only one of them to visit. For many people (actually, I think for all of us), money and time are a crucial factor when it comes to travel. Where you decide to go will depend largely upon how many days you can take off from work as well as what you've set aside for your budget.

In this article, we'll go over some of the best destinations for photography all around the world. I'll give you a bit of advice that might help you with your decisions when planning your next photography trip!

#20.  Morocco

Attention: before travelling to Morocco you need to know that you may become addicted to it. One trip and you may end up spellbound. You’ve been warned. 

Now, shall we talk about the fabulous places that this country has to offer? 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe blue city. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

Chefchaouen:  Also called the blue city, Chefchaouen in Morocco is famous all around the globe for its blue-colored buildings. If you enjoy street photography or architecture, then you can’t miss this place when you travel in Morocco! 

Fes:  It's difficult to get bored in the town of Fes. Situated between the Medersa Bou Inania and the Chouara Tanneries of the Souks District, this place gives you many chances to experience the local culture. There is a lot to photograph, from the delicious cuisine to the architecture that you'll find as you lose yourself in the colourful streets of the town centre. Fes is the perfect playground for street photographers!

Marrakesh:  Speaking of street photography, another gem of Morocco is Marrakesh. This is where you can dive deep into the architecture of Ben Youssef Madrasa (a former school), take a walk through the streets of the medina (the old town centre) and photograph the vibrant colours of the souks markets. The only way to really explore Marrakesh is to wander slowly around its streets, always searching for that perfect combination of being at the right place at the right time. 

When to Visit Morocco

The best seasons to visit Morocco are spring and autumn, when the weather is mild. The temperatures will allow you to stay out for the whole day in most parts of the country. 

#19.  Cambodia

Cambodia is an incredible place to visit even without a camera but it’s even better when you do have one in your hands! Immerse yourself in the land of pagodas, ancient temples, rainforests and rice fields. Let’s take a look at a couple of photo spots you can’t miss while you are there!

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe famous reflection of the temples. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

Angkor Wat:  This Hindu complex of temples is the most famous location for photography in Cambodia. Seeing the sun rise above the temples is a sight that will stay in your memories for a long time. If you are aiming to capture the famous reflection of the temples, then be sure to arrive before sunrise. The two ponds just outside the entrance to the temples can get busy.

Ta Prohm:  This is another complex of temples but with the peculiarity of being partly merged with the jungle. It is one of the few temples that has been barely restored. One of the reasons why it's so unique is that it is covered with vegetation. In the last year, it has become even more famous as the movie 'Tomb Raider' was recorded there. 

When to Visit Cambodia

The best time of the year to visit Cambodia is generally between early December and February, when the monsoon period has just ended but temperatures are still acceptable. 

#18.  Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia

For the sake of this article, I'm focusing only on Uluru in Australia. There are many more destinations within the continent to include but even a dedicated article wouldn't be enough to list all of Australia’s beauties!

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldUluru is one of the most sacred sites in Australia. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

Uluru is a sandstone formation that rises up 348m from the ground in the middle of the desert: that’s why it’s called an “inselberg”, which translates to “island mountain”. You’ll find it in Central Australia. The nearest town is Alice Springs, at 335km distance away. 

When to Visit Uluru

The best times of the day to shoot Uluru are during sunrise and sunset, when the rock formation is lit up by light, taking on the splendid red tones for which it is famous. As per the best time of the year to go, winter is probably your best bet, with temperatures sitting around 30°C degrees. During summer, temperatures can go up to 50°C degrees, which is fine if you want to cook an egg on your car’s hood. It's best not to travel out there in summer unless you want to die from the heat. 

#17.  Slovenia

Slovenia is a European destination that has remained “under the radar” until recently, when travellers and photographers from around the world discovered its beauty. The whole country is relatively small. To give you an idea of how small, you'll actually be able to drive from one end to the other within two hours. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t spend much time there. Slovenia has so many locations which you can visit!

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldSlovenia is well off the radar of many travel photographers. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

Lake Bled: Without any doubt, this is the most popular place in Slovenia. It is famous for a reason: the small island that lies in the lake seems as though it has floated straight out of a fairytale. There’s nothing else quite like it in the world and that’s why it’s so photographed. Be sure to get to the lake’s shore at sunrise, when the sun is peeking out from behind the island church! 

Sveti Tomaz, Skofja Loka: This is a small church on the top of a hill with a majestic, mountainous backdrop. If you manage to catch the low fog in the morning lying between the hills, then you’ll be sure to return home with some incredible photos. 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldLake Bled is beautiful at sunrise and sunset. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

When to Visit Slovenia

Most of the locations for photography in Slovenia are at their best during autumn or winter. If you can’t stand the cold season, then autumn will probably be the best time to visit, as the weather will still be warm enough for travel and the colours during the fall season are nothing short of breathtaking! 

#16.  Baikal Lake, Russia 

Located in the southern part of the Siberia region of Russia, Lake Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume. Its surface covers 31.722 square kilometres and it is also the deepest lake on Earth. 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldYou can drive a car on Lake Baikal when it's frozen. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

Lake Baikal is a unique marvel to photograph, especially in winter when the lake’s surface is frozen and you can walk on it. Actually, you can even drive on it with a car. The lack of abundant snowfalls in the area will give you an opportunity to see the crystal clear frozen surface of the lake during the cold season, with its jaw-dropping blue tones and cracks. Be sure to take a wide-angle lens with you, as the leading lines of those ice cracks will keep you busy (and happy) for quite some time! 

When to Visit Lake Baikal

Winter, without a doubt. The true marvel here is visiting when the lake is frozen. That's when you'll be able to see the patterns, textures, ice caves and rock formations that this unique environment is famous for. 

#15.  Isle of Skye, Scotland

Located in the western part of Scotland, the Isle of Skye is a true paradise for landscape photographers. This is where you can take a walk on some of the best cliffs that the country has to offer. Be prepared to hike upon lush green hills, to visit the abandoned castles that have made Scotland so famous and if you have time, to taste some of the local whiskies. 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldScotland has many infamous locations for photography. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

Old Man of Storr: A steep hike will take you to these rock formations that have become an easily recognised symbol of Scotland over time. It generally takes around one hour to arrive at the main viewpoint from the parking lot. The best time of the day to shoot it is at sunrise, so you'll need to get out early with your headlamp on! 

Quiraing: This is another location where lush green hills and unique rock formations are the main subjects. If you think the Old Man of Storr is too much for you, then this will be a much easier option. Most of the photos that you've seen from Quiraing have been made close to the parking lot. You can also hike on some of the nearby trails for different points of view. The best time of the day for photography here is sunrise! 

Elgol: If you love seascapes, then this is the perfect place for you. At sunset, you’ll have the sunlight right in front of you. The compositions to be found are virtually endless, so be sure to play with the movement of the waves on the beach for some good foreground interest!

When to Visit Scotland

From mid-spring to mid-autumn is a great time to visit Scotland for photography. In my opinion, the best times are from late April until early June, or from early September until mid October. 

#14.  Faroe Islands

Lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this small archipelago has gained a lot of popularity amongst photographers from all around the world within the last decade or so, mainly as a result of its exposure on social media. It's incredible that these locations have managed to stay “under the radar” for so many photographers until now, as the Faroe Islands are a truly beautiful place! Rugged peaks, tall cliffs and amazing rock formations are just some of the things you’ll be able to photograph.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe Faroe Islands are full of beautiful locations for photography. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

Gasadalur:  This is one of the locations that has made the Faroe Islands so famous. Gasadalur is a waterfall that falls into the sea from a huge cliff. It's definitely not something that you see everyday. Be sure to get there for sunset, as that is when it's at its most picturesque!

Lake Sorvagsvatn: Also called “the floating lake”, this is a very peculiar place in the Faroe Islands that creates the optical illusion of a deep lake floating atop a cliff. Bring a wide angle lens with you if you want to include both the sea and the lake in the frame. Also, mind your safety by paying attention to where you are standing on the edge! 

When to Visit the Faroe Islands

The best time of the year to visit Faroe islands is generally the warm season, so from mid-Spring till late October. 

#13.  Provence, France

The smells, colours and views you’ll find in Provence will be hard to forget. Situated in the south of France, this place is famous for a very specific reason: the blooming lavender fields! 

The place to be is Valensole, a small town that stands literally in the middle of the lavender fields.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe fields of lavender are a major attraction in France. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

When to Visit Provence

Lavender blooming occurs within a very specific timeframe every year, usually from the middle of June until the middle of July. If your travel dates are flexible, then the best time to witness the lavender at its peak is within that small time-frame in the last days of June or the first days of July. In mountainous locations, the lavender blooms until August.

Now that you know when and where, all you have to do is start planning your trip there!

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldTry some night photography in Provence! Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

#12.  Dubai, United Arab Emirates

If you are into cityscapes, then Dubai should be your next destination. There’s no other place quite like it. I’m not a fan of cityscapes but the city of Dubai left me speechless!

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe architecture is fantastic in Dubai. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

You'll find endless ways to capture the spectacular architecture as you roam around between the skyscrapers. Try to find a higher point of view, possibly from the top of one of the skyscrapers, where you'll be able to take an impressive panorama. Many of the skyscrapers are hotels, so booking a room with a view will give you a breathtaking point of view over the city. Otherwise, you can try to look for rooftop bars and restaurants which might allow you to bring your camera inside. I recommend that you take a walk on the marina, as you’ll find some interesting views from there! 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldYou can find a lot to shoot just by wandering between the skyscrapers. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

When to Visit Dubai

The best season for photography is from November until April, when the temperatures are a bit cooler and the weather is acceptable throughout the day.

#11.  Machu Picchu, Perù

It’s impossible to leave Perù out of any destination list of this kind. From the Machu Picchu to the Andes, the Amazon rainforest to the Rainbow Mountains, Perù has so many unique locations for photography. You can spend your whole lifetime there and still not be able to capture them all. 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe famous Machu Picchu site in Peru is one of the seven modern wonders of the world. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

The highlight of visiting Perù is most definitely Machu Picchu, which is one of the seven modern wonders. Standing at 2430m above sea level, it is considered one of the most important archaeological sites of the world. You can reach it by train or by taking the Inca Trail, a fabulous multi-day trek which will take you into some otherwise inaccessible places. Of course, the trail ends at Machu Picchu. Plan your trip in advance though, as the number of people who are allowed to enter the ruins is limited. Tickets tend to sell out far in advance!

When to Visit Perù

The best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu and Perù is from June until October, when torrential rains ease up for a while. 

#10.   Disko Bay, Greenland

Can you imagine a world made of huge icebergs floating around, rugged peaks and beautiful fjords? If not, then take a look at some photos of Greenland. It is truly one of the most incredible places on Earth.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldIcebergs float serenely in Disko Bay. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

One of the gems of Greenland is Disko Bay. This is where massive icebergs float around in the icy sea. Ilullisat is the town where you should land and stay if you want to visit the area; you’ll find it on the Western side of Greenland.

When to Visit Greenland

During winter, most of the bay gets frozen, so the best time of the year to go is summer. The season generally runs from May until late September. You’ll also see the Midnight Sun during this time of the year, so prepare yourself for some long shooting sessions! 

#9.  Deadvlei, Namibia

Speaking of places that feel otherworldly, Deadvlei can surely be included on that list. It’s located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park and is for sure one of the most popular photo locations within Namibia.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe dead trees of Deadvlei are famous throughout Namibia. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

The most famous subject to shoot in Deadvlei are dead trees, with which you can create original compositions, abstract images and classic landscapes. The best time of the day to be there is sunrise. Deadvlei is also a great place for night photography, as the light pollution is very low and you’ll be able to capture some incredible night skies! Be aware that you'll need a permit to enter the park at night, so be sure to request it in advance. 

When to Visit Namibia

For photography, I recommend visiting Namibia right after (or right before) summer, so around March or November is perfect.

#8.   Aoraki / Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand

Mt. Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It is located in Mt. Cook National Park, which is covered by glaciers. You'll be surrounded by glacial lakes and majestic mountains, so there's no chance of getting bored.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldAoraki has a number of beautiful hiking trails all around it. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

The area is famous for hiking and trekking. Two of the most popular trails are the Hooker Valley Track and the Tazman Glacier View. Both lead to photogenic viewpoints on the lake’s shore, where you’ll have the chance to shoot Mt. Cook in all of its beauty. 

When to Visit New Zealand

The best time of year for photography in New Zealand is generally from November until April. If you are looking to shoot the lupine flowers, then you should visit around November or December, between late spring and early summer. 

#7.  Patagonia, Chile & Argentina

At the southern tip of our world lies a land of unrivalled beauty. From majestic mountains to fleeting pumas, endless glaciers and magnificent condors, Patagonia has it all and much, much more. 

The region is spread between two countries – Chile and Argentina. In both parts, you’ll find some amazing things to see and visit, so don’t leave Patagonia without having visited both the Chilean and the Argentine sides!

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThere's a lot to explore in the region of Patagonia. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

Torres del Paine National Park: This is the photo location par excellence in Chile. The photo that you see above comes from this park. Witnessing the first lights of the day hitting the walls of the Cuernos del Paine is a once-in-a-lifetime chance! Be sure not to miss the Salto Grande waterfall, the Grey Glacier and to take a walk along the Mirador Cuernos hiking trail. 

El Chalten: This small town in the middle of Argentinean Patagonia is the starting point of two of the most beautiful trails you’ll ever have the opportunity to walk on in your lifetime – the hikes to the Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre base camps, also called Campamento Poincenot and Campamento De Agostini. Close to these two campsites, you’ll find rivers, trees and many other subjects to use as foregrounds in your photographs. My tip is to camp there for a few nights, since the clouds can sometimes cover the mountains for days. The photo below was made near the Fitz Roy campsite, right after a snowfall!

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldTry visiting in winter when the conditions are harsh! Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

When to Visit Patagonia

Autumn is the perfect time to visit Patagonia, with April being the best month. You’ll get to witness the colourful foliage of lenga trees, which is an incredible view amongst some of the most beautiful mountains on Earth!

#6.  Lofoten Islands, Norway

This small archipelago of Norwegian islands was already well-known amongst photographers way before the age of social media. The reason why the Lofoten Islands are so popular between nature and travel photographers is simple: the latitude makes the place perfect for hunting the Northern Lights.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe famous village of Hamnøy in the Lofoten Islands. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

Temperatures in Lofoten never go too much below freezing level. The landscapes are picturesque and there is a lot to photograph. Highlights include Hamnoy (where fishermen’s houses stand in front of huge mountains that rise sharply from the sea), Reine and Skagsanden Beach.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe Lofoten Islands are a beautiful place to witness the Northern Lights. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

When to Visit the Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands are beautiful throughout the year but if you ask me, winter is the season to go. You'll get to chase the Aurora, revel in the golden light that lasts for hours and be surrounded by snow. It doesn't really get much better than that!

#5.  South-West National Parks, USA

The uniqueness of the landscapes to be found in the southwestern national parks of the United States is unparalleled. The area is bigger than half of Europe and boasts attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley as well as Antelope Canyon. This part of the US deserves a trip (actually, more than one) all by itself, so be prepared to shoot some of the most incredible land formations you’ll ever see! 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThere's a lot to see and do in the southwestern national parks of the USA. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

When to Visit the USA

Spring and autumn are generally the best times of the year for photography in the southwestern national parks, as the temperatures never get too hot. You'll have good chances of catching some beautiful skies. 

#4.  Kyoto, Japan

Japan is another country full of famous and hidden gems but Kyoto reserves a special mention. When you walk through the streets of this ancient town, you’ll breathe the local culture. You can spend days roaming there, in wait of the perfect street shot.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldWandering the streets of Kyoto is like taking a step back in time. Photo by: 'Unsplash'.

In Kyoto, you can wander around the pond of Kinkaku-ji, cross the steps of the Fushimi Inari Sanctuary and admire the Arashiyama bamboo forest. Since these places can get really crowded during the day, try to be there as soon as there’s enough light to walk around, which basically means at sunrise or earlier. If you are lucky, then you might be able to snap a few photos before everyone else arrives!

When to Visit Japan

The two times of the year I’d recommend to visit Kyoto are spring and autumn, for the cherry blossom and the fall foliage respectively. Overall, spring is the best time, as the cherry blossom season is a truly spectacular event. Keep in mind though that you’ll have to deal with big crowds of people! 

#3.  Italy

For a moment, I thought to include just a specific Italian location. Then I realised that it’s actually impossible. In every hidden corner of the country, there’s something to shoot: from the mountains of the Alps to the floating city of Venice, the countryside of Tuscany to the cityscapes of Rome or Florence. You can’t leave out any of these places when you include Italy in a photo guide, as they all deserve to be mentioned. I might be biased, since I've lived in Italy since I was born and I have had the opportunity to visit these places many times during the year with my workshop clients. So here are a couple of my tips about the best locations to shoot! 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe rolling hills of Tuscany. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

Tuscany: My homeland and the place I love the most in the whole world. Many photographers think that Tuscany is about taking the same 4 or 5 similar shots but the truth is that with a bit of effort and scouting, you’ll be able to get away with some spectacular and original photos. This is particularly the case if the weather conditions are in your favour! Be sure to visit the Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta, Podere Belvedere and the Cypress Forest, as they are the most famous photography spots. Overall, the best time of the day for photography in Tuscany is generally sunrise! During spring, you’ll see amazing lush green hills. In autumn, the low morning fog and foliage will keep you busy! 

Cinque Terre: This is a group of coastal towns that were once inhabited by fishermen. They are now a very popular location for travel photographers from all around the globe. Riomaggiore, Vernazza and Manarola are the most beautiful towns and the ones that you should focus on. Sunset is magical in the Cinque Terre but don’t leave when the sun has dipped below the horizon. The blue hour is when the city lights go on and it's a real beauty in these towns! I recommend to avoid the high season (summer), as the place gets packed full of tourists while the weather is generally not ideal for photography. 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldFields of wildflowers in the Dolomites. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

Dolomites: Some of the most photogenic peaks of Europe lie in the northern part of Italy, within the Dolomites mountain range. To visit the Dolomites, you can either land at Milan or Venice airport, followed by a two hour rive by car. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Cinque Torri and Braies Lake are some of the most popular photography spots in the Dolomites, so be sure to check them out! Summer and autumn are great times for hiking, while summer is for photographing wildflowers,. During autumn, the larches will be ablaze with fall colours! 

#2.  Iceland

Were you really thinking that I was going to leave Iceland out of this list? Oh come on! Whoever has been in Iceland knows how beautiful this country is and how otherworldly it can be. Volcanoes, glaciers, lava fields, huge waterfalls... I could go on forever. Think about a special, beautiful nature phenomenon and there are high chances that you’ll see it in Iceland.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldThe Highlands of Iceland are one of the least explored areas in the country. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

Exploring Iceland and capturing its beauty is something that every travel photographer should do at least once in their lifetime. After the first time, you might even get addicted to it!

The Ring Road is the main road that goes across the island. Along it, you’ll find Skógafoss waterfall, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Goðafoss waterfall, which are amongst some of the most beautiful photo locations within the country. 

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldJökulsárlón glacier lagoon is famous for its icebergs. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

When to Visit Iceland

Iceland is beautiful all-year round. The best time for Northern Lights photography is between October and March. If you are interested in exploring the Highlands, then go in summer between mid June and early September.

#1.  Lapland, Finland

Here we are: we've reached the number one spot. I bet you weren’t expecting this, right? For me, Lapland is the best photography destination in the world. In Lapland, you can find peace, observe and enjoy every moment that you take a step through its beautiful forests. It’s something that many take for granted but in a lot of places, this kind of solitude is difficult to find.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldSnowy trees in Lapland. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

Photography is different in Lapland. It's definitely not the kind of place where you can just park the car and find a classic composition. It will take some time to find a working composition amongst the trees and perhaps a little bit of walking in deep snow, particularly when you visit during winter.

The Most Popular Destinations for Photography Around the WorldIt takes a bit of imagination to come up with interesting compositions in this part of Finland. Photo by: 'Leonardo Papèra'.

Overall, I've found that taking a good picture in the peacefulness and stillness of a place like Lapland is far more rewarding than going somewhere that is packed with tourists. The Riisitunturi National Park and the Yllastunturi (Seven Fells) National Park are probably the two most beautiful locations in Finnish Lapland for photography. 

When to Visit Finland

If you want to capture these frozen sculptures that once were trees, then winter is the only time to go. Remember to dress up warmly as it’s going to be very cold up there! 

About the author:  Leonardo Papèra is a landscape and nature photographer based in Italy. You can find more of his work on his website or by following him on Instagram.

Have you been to any of the places on this list? Perhaps you know of a place that you think should be here? Leave a comment with your thoughts below!