Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima
© Tadashi Okoshi

Located at the punto triple, the border between Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela, the Mount Roraima (Roroi-ma) is, along with the Auyantepui (where is the Salto del Angel,  the world’s highest waterfall), the most famous Tepui in South America.
The Tepui (in Pemòn language “house of the Gods”) are table-top mountains formed after the erosion of the sandstone plateau that once covered the granite base between the Amazon forest and the Orinoco River, and between the Atlantic coast and the Rio Negro.

According to the beliefs of the Pemòn (people who inhabited the Gran Sabana area for centuries), Mount Roraima was originally a huge tree which bore all the fruits and vegetables of the world. After the tree fall, his stump, turned to stone, later became the house of the Gods. Due to his sacred status, the Pemòn people never attempted to climb the Roraima, so the mountain remained unexplored for many years.

The first exploration was led by Walter Raleigh, in 1596; later, the legend of Mount Roraima was the inspiration for the Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle in his novel The Lost World (1912) and for the Werner Herzog‘s movie The Wild Blue Yonder (2005).

Today the Mount Roraima can be visited (joining a guided tour) by travelers and tourists: with its beautiful natural landscapes including the Valley of the Crystals, the sinkhole El Foso and the Labyrinth it is one of the most fascinating destinations of the American continent, although there are no lost world’s dinosaurs.

Russian Seven Wonders

As written by the historian Herodotus (450 b.C.), the ancient list of the Seven Wonders of the World was formed by:

Colossus of Rhodes
Great Pyramid of Giza
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

The only still existing wonder is the Great Pyramid of Giza, the other wonders were destroyed by the time and the human’s hand.

In 2007, the New Seven Wonders of the World list was declared after an initiative by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation:

Great Wall of China
Petra, Jordan
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
Machu Picchu, Perù
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Taj Mahal, India
Colosseum, Italy
Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

In 2008, a curious initiative by the Russian newspaper Izvestia, Radio Mayak and a Russian television channel, determined The Seven Wonders of Russia:

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus 

Volcano located in the western area of Russia, it’s the tenth most prominent mountain in the world and the highest Caucasian (5.643 m) mountain.
Mount Elbrus has two twin summits, whose ascent is accessible to all climbers, though,  according to many experts, it is considered dangerous because of its potential volcanic activity.

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed
Church located in the Red Square, Moscow, it’s now a museum, built from 1555 on orders from Ivan IV Vasilyevich “the Terrible” in commemoration of the capture of Astrakhan and Kazan.
The cathedral, since 1990 in the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s list, is one of the most famous Russians symbols.

The Peterhof Palace
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and referred as the “Russian Versailles”, it is a series of outstanding palaces and gardens located in Saint Petersburg, built in 1714 on the orders of Peter the Great.

Mother Russia
Mamayev Kurgan
A memorial complex in the city of Volgograd commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad (World War II, 1942- 1943), built between 1959 and 1967. 

The complex is dominated by the Mother Russia statue (85 m high).

The Valley of Geysers
Located in the Kronotskij Natural Reserve, Kamchatka Peninsula, this spectacular valley has one of the largest concentration of geysers in the world with hundreds of living geysers and hot springs.

Discovered in the 1950’s it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site; the valley, due to its instability, is often subject to geological disasters like the events in 2007 and 2014 that had hardly damaged the landscape.

Lake Baikal
Formed more than 20 million years ago and located in the southern area of Siberia, it is the largest by freshwater, the deepest (1.642 m depth) and maybe the oldest an clearest lake in the world.

In 1996 the lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Manpupuner rock formations 

Also known as the Seven Strong Men Rock Formations, these seven gigantic (30-45 m high) stone pillars are located in the Pechoro-Ilychski Reserve, western Ural mountains.
The pillars have bizarre shapes formed through the effects of wind, rain, ice and snow.

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater
© Vincenzo Gianferrari Pini

With 16 km of diameter and 265 square km area, the Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest unbroken volcanic caldera. Formed three million years ago by a massive volcano, it is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Tanzania). Due to its climatic conditions, the crater area has its own, unique, ecosystem.

Around the Magadi Lake, in the middle of the crater, live an impressive variety of animal species, among which elephants, black rhinos, leopards, lions, buffalos, hippos, hyenas, crocodiles, cheetah and thousands of pink flamingos, giving the area the appearance of a large water park for wild animals.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the only one Tanzania’s Park in which the Masai population can live and move freely.

Tren a las Nubes, Argentina

tren a las nubes

The Tren a las Nubes is a tourist train that runs onto one of the world’s highest railway, in the eastern part of the Salta-Antofagasta railway line, also known as the “C-14”, connecting the Argentine Northwest with the Chilean border in the Andes mountain range, over 4.000 meters above sea level.

That railway track was made to facilitate the transportation of ore between Argentina and Chile, especially saltpeter, of which this area is very rich. The railway construction started in 1921 and the first race of the Tren a la Nubes dates back to 1972. Nowadays the train track is one of the most popular touristic routes in South America.

The railway line has 29 bridges, 21 tunnels and 13 viaducts. The most spectacular view is definitely the viaduct Polverilla: the curved viaduct is 224 m long and 64 m high; here it justifies its name: it is not uncommon, given the height, to see clouds beneath the track, making surreal the train trip that seems to run in the sky.
There are many stops along the way (some with markets selling artisan goods and locals offering regional food), including the town of Ingeniero Maury, (78 Km from Salta), so named in honor of the engineer Richard Fontaine Maury born in Pennsylvania, creator and director of the railway works.

Richard Maury took over the project discarding the rack system commonly at the time. To ensure the safety of passengers and goods he arranged the tracks in a special way so that the train, running through a system of zigzags and spirals, never lose contact with the soil underneath.

Currently, the train route has been reduced to the round trip from San Antonio de los Cobres to the Polvorilla Viaduct.
The complete circuit 2016 (217 km) is served by bus and train: it departs by bus from the city of Salta every Saturday (from April to September; in July also makes midweek departures), crossing Campo Quijano and Governor Solá to reach the spot Alfarcito, through the Quebrada de las Cuevas and then plain Muñano to reach San Antonio de los Cobres, where the travelers boards on the train to the Polvorilla Viaduct.
The train journey takes an hour to the viaduct, at 4.200 meters above the sea level, after 30 minutes back to San Antonio de los Cobres where passengers return to board buses to the city of Salta.

World’s best scenic train rides map

Lake Garda, Italy

Strada della Forra
photo © mytouristmaps
Defined by a correspondent of the Frankfurter Zeitung the most beautiful street in the world and by Winston Churchill the eighth wonder of the world, the SP 38 road, well known as Strada della Forra, is a panoramic route located along the West coast of the Garda Lake, in Italy.


The most spectacular point is the short track through the gorges formed by the Brasa river, crossing dark tunnels and overhanging rocks.
In 2008, the SP 38 was the scene of a car chase starring Daniel Craig as James Bond in the movie Quantum of Solace and in the past of many other films and TV advertisements.

Built between 1908 and 1913, it is still considered one of the most spectacular roads of Italy.

Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka

Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka
photo © mytouristmaps
The Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada), located in the central-south area of Sri Lanka, is one of the most important places in the world for religious pilgrimage.

At the top of this mountain, in the monastery, there is a large footprint foot venerated as the footprint of Buddha by the Buddhists, Shiva Adipadham by the Hindus and Adam by Muslims and Christians: a good example of how different religions can peacefully live in the same place.

The climb is about 5.200 steps (!).