50 stunning travel photos that could change the way you see the world

Business Insider US

More than 13,600 images were submitted to the contest.
  • Agora, a free photography app, recently held its #Travel2020 contest.
  • Photographers were encouraged to share images that show was travel means to them, leading to more than 13,600 submissions.
  • Nominated photos from the contest's 49 finalists show everything from breathtaking landscapes to sky-high views captured around the world.
  • The winning image, taken by photographer Brian TR, shows him and his dog lounging in a van parked alongside an Italian mountain.
  • Visit Business Insider SA's homepage for more stories.

Winner: "Incredible moments" by Brian TR

The photographer captured this shot, which won Agora's #Travel2020 contest, after spending the night on Seceda, a mountain in the Dolomites region of Italy.

"I had been dreaming of that magical moment for years," he told Agora. "I never miss an adventure with my dog Berky. We tried to climb Seceda during our previous trip to the Dolomites, but it was closed."

He added: "I had seen pictures taken in tents, but none of them had the frame that I was envisioning, and now I understand why: The cliff was only a few meters away."

"Alone in the mist" by Arthur Kanatov

Kanatov's image, taken on Russia's Crimea peninsula, shows him standing atop a foggy cliff at sunset. Speaking to Agora, the photographer said people don't usually climb to that point, as there are "dangerous, sharp rocks" in the area. Still, he found the views to be "worth it."

"The mist was rising up from the valley below, and I noticed that people were hurrying to get down as quickly as possible," he said. "The fog covered the entire mountain; it was so thick that I couldn't see anything. I waited in the mist for about three hours, until finally in the last half hour, the sunset showed a truly incredible view."

"American Road Trip" by Kent Sampson

Sampson took his nominated image in Utah's Red Canyon.

"One of the luckiest things about this photo was the recent snowfall, which had all but gone a couple hours after I took this," he said. "The way the orange rock contrasts with the snow makes the picture pop that much more, and adds to the sense of adventure in the great outdoors."

"An incredible evening in New Mexico" by James Theo

In the distance of Theo's landscape photo is the 27 million-year-old Shiprock Peak, a rock formation governed by the Navajo nation in New Mexico.

"We drove three hours to get here, and it was definitely worth it," Theo told Agora. "The scale of this place is like nothing I've seen before; it can be seen from miles away."

"A wonderful moment" by Ronan Le Maire

This aerial image shows a location in the Maldives where Le Maire would once watch the sunset each evening.

"It was just myself, my paddleboard, and the sea," he told Agora. "The emotions I want to transmit with this photo are peace by loneliness, calm, and serenity. These are also the emotions I felt when I was there watching the sunset."

"Anchored" by Ben Skaar

Skaar's photograph, which was captured from the air, shows a ship carrying iron in Narvik, Norway.

"Arizona A frame" by Connor Naasz

This picture captured by Naasz shows an A-frame home illuminated against the snowy landscape of Flagstaff, Arizona.

"Bali memories" by La Noia del Barret

Photographed from a set of stairs, Del Barret's picture shows the Lempuyang Temple in Bali, Indonesia, as it was surrounded by fog.

"Chasing adventure" by Michael Foote

The subject of Foote's photograph looks minuscule compared to the Arnarstapi Bridge, located on Iceland's Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

"Venturing out across it, you feel a sense of the power flowing beneath you as the waves continue to shape the ever-changing landscape," Foote told Agora about the location.

"Desert fever" by Ester Turri

"The colors in this desert were like a dream scenario for me and my camera," Turri told the photography app about her nominated image, taken in the Wadi Rum valley of Jordan.

"Discovering new places when people are still sleeping" by Ilaria Ronchi

According to Ronchi, those wishing to visit Portugal's Benagil Cave should arrive at the spot early in the day to avoid crowds.

She told Agora that there were actually a few people at the cave when she took this picture, so she used a wide lens to "cut them out from the frame."

"Driving down a lonely road before the sun rises" by Roland Schwarz

Schwarz's photo shows a single car driving through snow-covered land towards a beautiful sunrise. It was captured in Iceland.

"Dune" by Artem Pikalov

Speaking to Agora, Pikalov said the above image shows his friend walking across a ridge of sand in Kazakhstan's Altyn Emel National Park. He said he photographed the dry location to convey how hot it was that day.

"Early mornings in the National Park" by Jewi Rücker

Though the trees in Rücker's photo look dark and mysterious, numerous light beams and an opening in the foliage provide some light. She told the photography app that she captured her shot in Tuscany, Italy, on a sunny morning.

"Epic view" by Filippo Bellisola

Bellisola photographed these waves crashing against a rock formation during his last day in Madeira, Portugal. He visited the location with two friends "to catch the last sunset of the trip."

"The weather was not so good, but the moody sky created a very interesting atmosphere," he told Agora.

"Exploring the ice cave" by Dan Rose

Rose's nominated photograph was taken inside the Eiskapelle ice cave in Germany.

"I wanted to capture how cold it was inside the glacier cave and show the incredible textures displayed," he told Agora.

"Freeway" by Jojo Deladia

Deladia spotted this paraglider floating through the air one morning at the Subic Bay International Airport in the Philippines. 

"I ran towards the subject just to capture it above the mountain, with the amazing, morning sunshine in the background," he told the photography app.

"Icelandic sunset" by Sara Zanotti

Zanotti can be seen enjoying a pink-and-blue sunset on the West Coast of Iceland in her nominated photo.

"Just do it" by Kelvin Lachica

Lachica's aerial shot was taken while trekking Mount Rundle in Alberta, Canada. Unfortunately, heavy snow and winds prevented him from reaching the peak that day, despite it being the middle of summer.

"Lake Motosuko" by Max Dreher

This image was taken by Dreher inside a tent while his girlfriend roasted a marshmallow in front of him. Ahead of them both is Japan's Lake Motosuko.

"We put up our tent right next to the water in order to sleep with the calming sound of waves," he told Agora about his trip. "We also made friends with some Japanese neighbors that kindly gave us a Swedish fire block to start our fire. It was our first time in Japan and we felt very welcome."

"Let me fly" by Ares Mahol

Mahol captured this image while she was mid-flight from Barcelona to Reykjavík with a group of her sisters and cousins. She told Agora that it just so happened to be her first time on a plane.

"I was so excited about the trip that I started to photograph it from the moment we took off," she said. "My little cousin was sitting at the other end of the plane and the light coming through the window outlined her face. I did not hesitate to take out my camera, mount the lens, and save that image forever."

"Milky Way" by Liam Man

Man's photograph shows both the Milky Way in the night sky, and the Great Staples Tor rock formation in England's Dartmoor National Park.

"As night fell, I set my camera to take long exposures and ran back and forth with a light mounted to the end of my tripod," he told Agora. "I used it to 'paint' light into the landscape, capturing all the detail and magic of the location."

"Battered by 40 mph winds, I was shivering after shooting through the night," he continued. "But that is all part of the adventure, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

"Monument Valley Sunrise" by Joe Shelly

Shelly's photograph shows Monument Valley in Arizona. On the right side, you can see a person sitting at the edge of a cliff, which helps viewers understand the area's massive scale, as he told Agora.

"Mountain views" by Johan Vandenhecke

Vandenhecke told the photography app that he and his girlfriend spent "three hours walking through gravel" to reach this view of mountains in Slovenia.

"The sky was heavy with clouds, and it was already dark on our way down," he added.

"One of the best vistas" by Caroline Egan

Egan's daring photo shows her feet dangling above Horseshoe Bend in Arizona.

"Out of darkness" by Davide Sacchet

Sacchet told the photography app that he traveled through rain and fog to reach Italy's Lago di Nambino lake. After a group tour of the location, he began heading back to his car with the assumption that "there would be nothing left to photograph."

"I left the group to collect the photographic equipment in my backpack, and the moment I looked up — boom! The whole forest had come to life," he said.

"Past, present and future" by Alvaro Valiente

"I was lucky enough to capture the moment when an old man, a middle-aged man, and his daughter were walking around this beach," Valiente told Agora of his image taken in Palawan, Philippines.

"This sunset was one for the books and I will always remember this beautiful moment," he continued.

"Road trip in Italy" by Arnold Maisner

Speaking to Agora, Maisner said he "almost fell off the boat" while gliding through the Dolomites mountain range in Italy.

"Road trip" by Andrei Pugach

Taken in Belarus, Pugach's nominated photo shows lines of trees, rows of grass, and a straight road with a single car driving through.

"Roadtrippin through the winding roads" by Jenny H.

"This photo was taken on a chilly, autumn morning during a road trip to the Black Forest region of Germany," the photographer told Agora. "I was looking for some time away from the hectic and stressful work life I had during that time."

"Despite the peaceful look, there was a lot of traffic on this road," she added. "It took me quite some time to get the shot with just one car driving around the curve, but it was worth the wait."

"Ruta nacional 3" by Francisco Paez

Paez photographed his friend walking down a road in Ushuaia, Argentina, from the sky using a drone. In doing so, he ran into some unexpected problems.

"The battery was running out because of low temperatures," he told Agora of his camera equipment. "I had to shoot as quickly as I could to land the drone safely."

"Sailing away" by Maxime Pontoire

Pontoire's photo, taken in Loire-Atlantique, France, shows a single boat surrounded by the dark, blue sea.

"Sculpted by wind, water and time" by Jonny Rogers

The orange landscape of Canyonlands National Park in Utah is what might catch your eye when looking at this photograph. If you look closer, however, you'll notice the photographer's friend standing atop a cliff on the right side of the image.

Speaking to Agora, Rogers said they had been traveling around the US for a week before taking this picture. Throughout that time, they were "amazed" by the massive rock formations found throughout the western states. 

"Sky travel" by Pamela Plaza

"High up in a hot-air balloon above the Moroccan countryside, I was transported to this dreamscape surrounded by the spectacular colours of the morning sky," Plaza told Agora about her nominated photo.

"Snowshoeing" by Ghislain Fave

Fave's photograph was taken in France's Mercantour National Park at the beginning of March while he was out snowshoeing. At the time, he came across a wood cabin, which he described to Agora as being "the perfect, winter wonderland."

"Sometimes the best part of travels is the journey" by Lee Mumford

In Sri Lanka, Mumford photographed a blue train as it chugged through a lush forest.

"The timing was critical and incredibly hard to predict, as the trains in Sri Lanka often don't run on time," the photographer told Agora. "But luckily, on this occasion, as soon as I heard the train around the corner, I fired up the drone and got into position."

"The dream" by Jan Meyer

While speaking to Agora, Meyer said the bird in his image represents his dream of flying anywhere he'd like to go. Specifically, he said he'd like to revisit the location where he took the photo: Colca Canyon, Peru.

"The Taj" by Tom Franklin de Waart

The photographer told Agora that he hopes to share " the good vibes of traveling" with viewers of his nominated image, which was taken at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

"To the Top" by Yury Sychev

This snowy photo was taken by Sychev atop a mountain in Russia.

"Together" by Paul Anthony

Anthony's photograph frames two subjects underneath a clear sky and the Double Arch rock formation in Utah.

"Travel adventures" by Carles Alonso

In Lleida, Spain, Alonso photographed the breathtaking scenery around him as he sat inside a kayak.

"Travel around the world" by Jörg Petermann

Petermann's photo was taken on a hike in the Australian Alps mountain range. It features colorful flowers and gray clouds that contrast each other, as well as sloped rocks.

"Travel goals" by Nikunj Banker

Banker's award-nominated photo conveys a sense of victory, as it shows a person with their arms spread wide at the edge of a foggy mountain. It was taken in India.

"Travel" by Eva

A photographer named Eva captured this shot while in Portugal's Porto train station. She told Agora that she visits the city with her sister-in-law every year, and always takes pictures while there. 

"Traveling and seeing the world from above" by Jassen Todorov

From a plane, Todorov captured this aerial shot of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

"Valle dei templi" by Samuele Miccoli

In Sicily, Italy, Miccoli photographed a women in front of a historic structure to show "how small we are compared with the ancient civilizations," as he told Agora.

"Valley of Fire" by Adam Desjardins

Speaking to the photography app, Desjardins said his nominated picture shows himself walking down Mouse Tank Road in Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park. He also said he felt "pure relaxation" while doing so.

"It was as though I was the only person for miles," he said.

"Viajar" by Jordi Sark

Sark's serene photo, which shows a person standing in front of a waterfall and plants, was taken in Bali, Indonesia.

"Waterfalls are the best" by Konstantinos Panagiotis

This picture from Panagiotis shows his wife standing in a yellow rain coat in front of the Krimml Waterfalls in Austria.

"It was terribly cold, and the path was covered with snow and ice," he told the photography app. "You could feel the strength of nature."

"Where to go?" by @txellbf

A photographer who goes by @txellbf captured this photo while in Iran.

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