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17 Of The Most Beautiful Travel Destinations Of 2014

Wanderlust level: high.

1. The resiliently vibrant villages of Italy's Cinque Terre.

After flash floods ravaged the area a few years ago, the Cinque Terre is almost entirely back to normal as of 2014. Vernazza's walking trails officially reopened in April — joining the backdrop of colorful cliffs, terraced vineyards, and mouthwatering coastal cuisine.

2. The Chemins des Vignes — a four-mile hike through vineyards and villages in Martigny, Switzerland.

There are several ways to explore the area — including by bike, by scenic train, or by foot. Opt for the latter and you'll wind through rows of grapes, quaint villages, and past La Batiaz, a medieval castle.

3. The multicolored lakes atop Kelimutu on Flores Island, Indonesia.

The three crater lakes surrounding Indonesia's Kelimutu volcano actually change color: from turquoise or green, to black or red. It's believed the shifting hues are due to chemical reactions in the water, but local legend says they reflect the moods of ancestors that have passed on.

4. The age-old salt mines in Maras, Peru.

5. The Metéora monasteries perched high in Thessaly, Greece.

Of the nearly two dozen Greek Orthodox monasteries that were built atop the rocks starting in the 14th century, only six remain. Give yourself at least two days to tour them all — climbing up staircases and across bridges — or visit the Great Meteoron Monastery, the tallest and oldest.

6. The stargazer's paradise of Uluru in central Australia.

7. The beachfront views that surround Thailand's Koh Poda Island.

Koh Poda — the largest of a group of four islands that you can tour in the same day — sits on beautifully clear waters. To get there, visitors can take a longtail boat from Tonsai Bay in Thailand's Krabi province.

8. The magical landscapes (and whiskey!) of Scotland's Isle of Skye.

Scotland's largest island has always been a popular spot for tourists, with its misty mountains, jagged sea cliffs, and Talisker Distillery. But in 2014, daily seaplane tours returned for the first time in two decades, making it even easier to explore from above.

9. The blue-hued mountain village of Chefchaouen, Morocco.

From the bright, vibrant spices lining the streets (and the plates!), to the soft blue palette that's woven throughout Chefchaouen's buildings and main pathways, it's one of Morocco's most picturesque towns.

10. The awe-inspiring rock formations at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

11. The volcano-studded terrain of Camiguin, Philippines.

This small province has more volcanos per square kilometer — seven, to be exact — than any other island in the world. Also on hand? Sandy beaches, snorkeling, hot and cold springs, and a sunken cemetery.

12. The multicultural mecca of Cape Town, South Africa.

13. The dramatic topography of Cappadocia, Turkey.

In Cappadocia, you can descend down into an underground city like Kaymakli, spend the night in a man-made cave, or tower above in a hot air balloon over the hoodoo rock spires that dot the landscape.

14. The calm blue-green waters of Vietnam's Ha Long Bay.

15. The snowcapped winter vistas at Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada.

As one of the highest-elevation lakes in the U.S., Lake Tahoe is gorgeous year-round. But with 125 inches of snow annually and more than a dozen top ski resorts, winter is arguably where it really shines. You'll find everything from snowshoe trails to dog sledding tours to horse-drawn sleigh rides.

16. The picture-perfect waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.

More than 1 million tourists visit Croatia's largest national park each year, flocking to its dramatic waterfalls and 16 lakes.

17. The sweeping fields of baby blue eyes at Hitachi Seaside Park in Japan.

Of the millions of flowers that bloom every year at the park, the baby blue eyes steal the show in the spring. Cycling and walking paths also wind through huge fields of tulips and daffodils, and the seasonal color palettes make for a beautiful (and ever-changing!) backdrop.