As well as the normal man-made seven wonders of the world, there are also seven natural wonders of the world. These are natural phenomenons or geographical formations that leave viewers breathless at their unsurpassed beauty.
The list includes spectacular natural phenomenon the Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, the spectacular colors of which tens of thousands of people flock to see every year. Other natural wonders include the Great Barrier Reef in Australia which includes the most beautiful coral reefs in the world.
While man-made wonders may be wonderful sites to see, you cannot beat nature. There is not always consensus about what the seven wonders of the world are, but this list is one of the most often recognised around the world. Without further ado, here are the seven wonders of the natural world…
1 Aurora Borealis
The Aurora Borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, is the most magical, mystical natural phenomenon in the world. The magnificent display of green, purple and blue in the night sky appears most frequently between the Autumn and Spring Equinox (September 21 to March 21) but you should avoid trying to see them when there is a full moon.
One of the best ways to view this beautiful spectacle is to book one of the cruises that specifically takes passengers to see them. The deck of ship is a great way to see the Aurora Borealis due to the lack of the light pollution around.
The best places to see them include Northern Norway, the Arctic Circle or the Svalbard Islands. Trips on land can also be organised to see them in places like Iceland. Occasionally they appear as far south as countries like Scotland.
2 The Grand Canyon, USA
This huge canyon is a completely natural phenomenon formed about seventeen million years ago by the Colorado River and its tributaries which cut through layers and layers of rock to find its course. The canyon is an amazing 277 miles long and reaches a width of up to 18 miles, while it is over a mile deep.
Due to its incredible beauty, it is a very popular tourist attraction and a good way of seeing its vast size is to take a helicopter ride over the canyon. Visitors you can also trek into the bottom or walk along the rim.
The Grand Canyon was a favorite haunt of American President Theodore Roosevelt, who frequently went there to hunt or just take in the magnificent surrounding scenery.
3 Great Barrier Reef, Australia
It’s no surprise that Queensland’s famous natural phenomenon makes the list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is the largest coral reef system on earth with more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
It is so big it can be seen from space, and has become a very popular destination for tourists. Snorkelling and scuba diving is a great way to see the breathtaking beauty of the coral and the marine life, including 1,500 different species of fish.
The Great Barrier Reef can be easily reached from the Whitsunday Islands and towns on the north-east coast of Australia. It is superbly managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority who regularly assesses the water quality and condition of the sea grass to protect the marine life.
4 Mount Everest, Himalayas
Everest is the highest mountain in the world, standing at 29,035 feet above sea level, and was first conquered in 1953 by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and British climber Sir Edmund Hillary.
Because of its beauty and status as the highest mountain, Everest is extremely popular among mountaineers. However, climbing it can be very tricky as the surface is made up of different types of shale, limestone and marble and the summit is covered in deep snow all year round.
Climbers have to contend with winds that can blow up to over 200 miles per hour and temperatures can plunge to minus 80 degrees Farenheit. The mountain is also prone to avalanches and in mid-April 2014, sixteen sherpa guides were killed by an avalanche near the Everest base camp.
Other sherpas in the area then went on strike to protest about how little they get paid despite the dangers they face. Some 300 visiting climbers were left stranded at the base camp while negotiations took place with the local government.
5 The Harbor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The magnificent harbor in Rio de Janeiro was discovered by Portugese explorer Goncalo Coelo on January 1 1502. He took three months to sail there from Lisbon, Portugal, and when he arrived he thought it was the entrance to a large river.
The flotilla then found it was a beautiful bay surrounded by large oddly-shaped mountains and they named it January River after the day they arrived. Translated, this is Rio de Janeiro.
The highest mountain surrounding the harbor is Corcovado where the statue of Christ the Redeemer — one of the seven man-made wonders of the world — stands.
6 Victoria Falls, Zambia
Victoria Falls is the greatest curtain of falling water in the world, these famous falls were called Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke That Thunders) by the Kololo tribe that lived in the area in the 1800s. Subsequently named after the British monarch Queen Victoria, they stand on the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
You can see the spray from the falls for miles and when it is the rainy season five hundred millions of cubic water per minute thunder over the edge of the falls into the gorge one hundred meters below.
The falls are around 1.25 miles wide and tourists can enjoy a number of water sports there including white water rafting and kayaking.
7 Paricutin Volcano, Mexico
Paricutin volcano was discovered by a Mexican farmer by mistake. Dionisio Pulido was working in a field with his family on February 20 1943 when he left them at teatime to go to an adjacent cornfield.
He was surprised to see a crack of six feet wide and 150 feet long had developed on top of a small hill in the field.
As he got on with his work he heard the sound of thunder and the ground beneath his feet started shaking. Grey ash then started spurting out of the crack followed by smoke and a smell of sulphur. What Pulido had discovered was a new volcano.
It grew rapidly and more eruptions followed causing damage to surrounding areas before the volcano finally became dormant in 1952 at a height of 1,392ft. Tourists can now visit the area and see the extinct volcano and lava fields, plus the ruins of the Church of San Juan which was destroyed in one of the eruptions.
Images licensed from iStock and Fotolia.
What do you think? Do these places deserve to be part of the Seven Wonders? Have you been to any of them? Let us know in the comments.