The world is full of bewitching sights, but climate change and a booming tourist industry threaten some of the most spectacular places on our planet. Here are just a few of the natural wonders we could lose over the next 100 years.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia…
Covering 133,000 square miles, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef network in the world. Over the last century, increasing environmental pressures and government legislation have caused extreme distress to the reef and its fishy inhabitants. From rising ocean temperatures to pollution, coral bleaching to ocean acidification, scientists predict this natural marvel will disappear in as little as 100 years.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The Wildlife of Madagascar…
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, and more than 80% of its rich plant life can’t be found anywhere else. Amazingly, less than 100 people visit its National Parks every year (we’re just as shocked as you). The island nation has lost almost 90% of its original forest due to a ‘slash-and-burn agriculture’ technique which has decimated the island’s natural habitats. Sadly, 23 of the country’s lemurs are already on the critically endangered list.
The frozen continent is thawing at an alarming rate. While it may be thousands of years until it disappears completely, there is an international effort in place that is trying to minimise the environmental impact of tourism to the area: for example, cruise ships carrying more than 500 passengers to the ice sheets are no longer allowed to sail the straights. This picture alone proves that it’s a place worth saving.
The Door To Hell, Turkmenistan…
‘The Door to Hell’ was set alight in 1971 after engineers feared it was emitting deadly gases. Almost 50 years later, its inferno continues to rage, drawing in a small bunch of adrenaline seekers each year. The government has not yet decided when they are going to put it out, but the place is certainly worth seeing before it’s extinguished for good.
The Amazon Rainforest…
This epic rainforest is home to a third of Earth’s flora and fauna. It’s also one of the very few places on the planet where you’ll find some of the world’s last unconnected indigenous tribes. Nicknamed the ‘Earth’s Lungs’, the entire jungle is under irreversible threat from deforestation. More than 40% of the Amazon has been destroyed by increased mining, industrial agriculture and illegal logging.
The Swiss Alps…
The most famous and luxurious skiing destination in Europe sits at a lower altitude than the Rocky Mountains, which unfortunately makes the entire range more susceptible to climate change. 3% of the glacial ice is lost every year and most experts agree that the glaciers will disappear completely by 2050 if more isn’t done to ensure their protection.
One word: paradise. The Seychelles is a collection of about 115 islands home to almost 90,000 citizens. Unfortunately, they are all in serious danger due to increased beach erosion and coral devastation. Some experts believe that the entire archipelago could be submerged in as little as 50 years.
Athabasca Glacier, Canada…
This is the most visited glacier in North America. It stands a colossal 2.3 square miles and is part of the Great Columbia Icefield. Over the last 125 years, it’s southern edge has melted at an alarming speed, and most geologists believe that its rate of erosion could increase to about 9.8 feet a year if more isn’t done to protect it.
The Dead Sea, Israel…
The ancient and salty Dead Sea is known the world over for its remarkable healing history – have you ever tried a dead sea face scrub? One word: fabulous. Experts believe this jewel of Mother Nature will vanish in 50 years due to neighboring nations drawing water out from the River Jordan, the sea’s primary source.
Alaska, United States of America…
Yes, an entire US State is set to disappear – sort of. Due to rising global temperatures, the vast and desolate arctic tundra that covers the bulk of Alaska’s northern regions has led to the dramatic thawing of the region’s permafrost. As a result, scientists predict that thousands of polar species will die out, including grizzly and polar bears.
Glacier National Park, United States of America…
This beautiful part of Montana used to be home to 150 glaciers. Now, it has less than 25. Rapid climate change could see this number shrink to zero by 2030. Not only will this leave the park without a glacier, but it will also destroy much of its ecosystem.
If sea levels continue to rise, this go-to luxury travel destination could be completely engulfed by water within the next 100 years. The country’s 1,192 islands are disappearing so quickly that the government has already purchased land in neighbouring nations for citizens who face losing their homes.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador…
Described by Charles Darwin as ‘a little world within itself’, these islands are truly nature’s crowning glory. From giant tortoises to beautifully diverse flora, these once secluded islands are under threat due to increased luxury tourism. Their demise would lead to one of the most catastrophic losses in the animal kingdom, which has prompted fierce debate amongst nations over the ethics of visiting the islands.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.