In honor of Earth Day this week, we’ve compiled a list of eight picturesque locations on Earth. We hope that this guide inspires you to plan ahead for an exciting trip. Meanwhile, take the opportunity to delight in your natural surroundings. Go for a walk in a nature preserve or on a picnic with your family and friends. Enjoy the gifts of family, friends, nature, and Earth!
1. Langkawi, Malaysia
More than one hundred islands make up the archipelago of Langkawi, located northwest of mainland Malaysia. Most of the islands are uninhabited and the largest, Langkawi Island, has UNESCO Global Geopark status, which helps to protect much of the island’s mangroves, rainforests and white sand beaches.
Diners Clubmembers, stay at Vivanta Hotels & Resorts by Taj on Rebak Island–a small, private island next to Langkawi Island–and receive exclusive perks, such as complimentary breakfast and early check-in/late check-out.
2. The Black Forest, Germany
The Schwarzwald or the Black Forest covers more than 2,300 square miles (6,000 square kilometers) of southwestern Germany. The heavily pine- and fir-forested mountain range features rivers, hot springs, Germany’s highest waterfall, the Triberger Wasserfälle, and the Feldberg, the highest peak in Germany (outside the Alps).
Diners Clubmembers, enjoy this luxurious package at Schloss Eberstein, a hotel within an old castle tucked into the hills of the Black Forest, just a few miles from the the hot springs in Baden-Baden.
3. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The world’s largest salt flat, located in southwestern Bolivia, stretches for 4,000 square miles (10,500 square kilometers). While otherwise devoid of animal life, the flat serves as the breeding ground for three pink flamingo species each November. Visitors can stay in one of the “salt hotels” that border Salar de Uyuni. Incredibly, most are constructed, at least partially, of salt blocks.
As the third largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily and Sardinia), Cyprus offers an incredible mix of geography and climates. The island’s highest point, Mount Olympus, in the Troodos Mountains, is snow-covered in winter, while the island’s white-sand beaches remain temperate. In between the mountains and the beach, you’ll find rolling hills dotted with olive and almond trees. Stay on the lookout for mouflon, the island’s native mountain goats, and loggerhead sea turtles, which come to nest on Cyprus’ beaches.
Diners Clubmembers, take advantage of a complimentary third-night stay and other perks at the luxurious Columbia Beach Resort in Pissouri with this Diners Club Privileges offer.
5. Gulmarg, India
Located at nearly 9,000-feet (2700 meters) above sea level, this small town, nestled in the Himalayas, offers stunning views of the world’s tallest mountain range. Gulmarg features one of the highest and longest cable cars in the world–the Gulmarg Gondola–which takes winter skiers and summer hikers up to nearly 14,000 feet. The Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve, a nearby wildlife sanctuary, gives visitors the chance to glimpse bears, foxes, a variety of native birds and musk deer that call the Himalayas home.
This sparsely populated, mountainous island is a nature lover’s dream. Yakushima’s temperate rainforest (which contains ancient cedar trees) is a protected wetland area, serving as the largest nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle in the North Pacific. To take advantage of the island’s many hidden gems, plan ahead by scheduling guided hikes and tours.
Diners Clubmembers, enjoy a complimentary third-night stay and other perks at the Khyber Himalayan Resort, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World.
7. Cape Town, South Africa
Africa’s southernmost country offers a mix of stunning natural beauty, from expansive beaches to Table Mountain National Park, which stretches from Cape Town proper down Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. For an exciting day trip outside the city, drive south alongside the breathtaking Atlantic seaboard to view African penguins at Boulders Beach. Or drive a few hours to go on a safari at one of the nearby game reserves.
For a specatacular dining experience, drive an hour west to the wine region of the Franschhoek Valley for dinner at The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français. The Tasting Room is listed as No. 72 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 list. Clubmembers, take advantage of priority reservations and a private kitchen tour with this Privileges offer.
8. Banff National Park, Canada
As Canada’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Banff National Park offers an incredible Rocky Mountain and waterfall experience, with peaks up to 11,000 feet (3600 meters) and mountain lakes such as Lake Moraine (pictured above). Lake Moraine’s unique blue color reaches its highest point of prominence in June.