It was a tiny bit obvious that some countries were more Instagramable than others in 2016, and for a very good reason. From countries with the classic token shot like the Taj Mahal, or newly emerging popular travel destinations like Iran, here are the 16 countries of 2016 that stood out the most on Instagram!
"This island destination isn't one for palm trees and tropical cocktails. Iceland's incredible landscapes are diverse and almost mystical. With expanse fjords, massive glaciers and blue lagoon, Iceland is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth." - Kiersten Rich, TheBlondeAbroad
It seems like everyone and their mother, brother, best friend, third cousin, random person they met online, etc., has gone to, and posted photos on Instagram of Iceland this year. But clearly it’s for a REALLY good reason. You can’t drive more than a mile without seeing a waterfall, volcano, or glacier, and most of the time you’ll see them all at once! (me, Alyssa Ramos, MyLifesAMovie)
"Iceland is primal. It is what you want everywhere you travel to be. It's a photographer's dream because you don't have to do anything fancy, it just is." - Lee Abbamonte, LeeAbbamonte.com
"Learning about Peru's indigenous culture and history of the Incan people will blow your mind. Take the 4 day trek to Machu Picchu and it'll be one of the most memorable experiences of your life." - Drew Binsky, DrewBinsky
I seriously think that people are starting to push themselves to do the four day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu because they see the awesome photos of it on Instagram, and know they can only see these places if they do the hike! That being said, I'd highly suggest doing the Inca Trail, otherwise you can't see THIS!
"Hike to the Rainbow Mountain was my best experience in Peru. It definitely bet my experience in Machu Picchu. The hike is tough due to high altitude and snow in certain places, but it's definitely rewarding." - Anna Lysakowska, AnnaEverywhere
You literally can’t take a bad picture in the Maldives. It’s impossible. It’s literally the definition of Instagramable! It’s also just as photogenic under water as it is over the water too! Did you know that the islands are actually made of atolls, which are extinct underwater volcanos with lively, rich coral reefs encrusting them?
Before you go thinking this is only a place you’d be able to afford on your honeymoon, did you know you can also do the Maldives on a budget? This photo is from a sandbar of a local island that only costed $2 to get to, and $40 per night to stay!
"Kayak in the summer and ice skate in the winter, Lake Louise is the epicenter of Banff National Park. Pines and peaks frame the Lake Louise Ski Resort, amongst shopping, hikes and drive-up view points." Steph Be, TravelBreak
"Thailand is one big Instagram waiting to be captured. The country is full of amazing beaches like this drone shot from Koh Adang, gorgeous temples, peaceful countryside, and plenty of smiling locals along the way." Hannah Lucaszewicz, GettingStamped
Thailand is another place that you just can't take a bad picture. From random rock formations jutting out of pristine water like James Bond Island and Railay Beach, to the golden Buddha temples and street markets of Bangkok, Thailand is definitely the place to go to easily capture some awesome IG shots.
6. United States
"Imagine a hike so incredible, there’s a $1200 fine for trespassing without a permit. It definitely exists. In an effort to reserve this sandstone playground, only twenty people are allowed into the National Park every day. Take your chances with the lottery, it's every bit worth the effort." Steph Be, TravelBreak
It never occurred to me how many beautiful natural wonders were in the U.S. until I took a 2 week roadtrip through Arizona and Utah. I've been to over 50 countries now, and Horseshoe Bend, Havasu Falls, and Antelope Canyons are still some of the most spectacular, mind-blowing places I've ever seen!
"Every morning, at 8:30am, the sun rushes across a gorgeous courtyard of stunning Islamic architecture and slices through the stained glass windows of Nasir Ol-Mosk Mosque, one of the world’s most gorgeous mosques. Location: Nasir Ol-Mosk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran." - Will Hatton, TheBrokeBackpacker
"Iranian Kurdistan is a place of mighty mountains, tasty food, endless spices and some of the world’s most hospitable people. Best of all, it’s super easy to hitchhike here and for backpackers on a budget you can get by on under ten dollars a day. Exploring this little known corner of Iran is like stepping a hundred years into the past and following in the footsteps of some of the world’s first explorers." - Will Hatton, TheBrokeBackpacker
Indonesia is literally the most perfect, diverse place to take photos! You can go from the beaches of Bali, to the rice paddy fields in Ubud, then off to the crystal clear waters of Lombok and Gili, or the Natural World Wonder, Komodo Island! Here is an awesome view you can see of Padar Island on your way to Komodo!
There's also tons of hidden gems in Indonesia, like these three different-colored volcanic craters in Kelimutu National Park on the island of Flores!
"Village of Hamnøy, part of Norway’s magical Lofoten Islands is a photographer's dream, as it's all very photogenic with mountains shooting dramatically from the ocean. Also, red houses in the snow look pretty cool." - Matt Karsten, ExpertVagabond
I specifically went to Norway to see the Northern Lights, and when I got to Tromsø, they told me that it's always a 50/50 chance of seeing them. Well, not only did I see them, but they were so bright that I thought I was going to get abducted by aliens! Tromsø, the northernmost part of Norway, is the perfect place for capturing incredible Northern Lights photos!
India is absolutely captivating. No matter where you go, from the slums to the palaces, you'll see the vibrant colors of elegantly draped sarees, and at least one temple, mosque, or shrine you'll be dying to take a photo in front of. Oh, and let's not forget everyone's favorite, camel selfies!
"Cuba is a photographer's dream destination. The decaying architecture, classic cars and diverse landscapes offer an endless variety of colors an opportunities to capture. It's a beautiful place to visit and photograph." - Clint Johnston, TripHackr
"Fushimi Inari's red-orange gates wind their way through the hills outside Kyoto, setting the back drop for a flaming maze of color, and a photographer's paradise." - Rachel Rudwall, RachelRoams
Japan's architecture is unlike anything I've ever seen before, which is probably why it's so easily recognized elsewhere (think Japanese Gardens, or even sushi restaurants!).
"Bolivia has some of the best rugged and untouched natural landscapes I've ever seen. Driving from La Paz to Uyuni with wild llamas and vicuñas running outside is not to be missed!" - Drew Binsky, DrewBinsky
The Bolivia Salt Flats (AKA Uyuni Salt Flats) was one of my favorite places to take photos. It was just. So. MIND BLOWING!
"Bolivia is one of the most photogenic countries I've ever visited. The otherworldly terrain of the salt flats in Uyuni, vibrant scenes around Lake Titicaca and La Paz, and beautiful architecture in the cultural capital of Sucre make it an amazing destination that will take your breathe away." - Oneika Raymond, OneikaTheTraveller
14. French Polynesia
"The Tahitian islands are some of the most dream-worthy destinations on earth. Whether you're honeymooning or looking for the ultimate tropical getaway, these islands will wow you with epic landscapes, stunning ocean hues and vibrant marine life. You literally cannot take a bad picture here." - Kiersten Rich, TheBlondeAbroad
15. South Africa
A friend took this photo of me in Golden Gate Highlands park in South Africa. Nobody else was on the trail except for some kudu, plus the zebra and wildebeest my friend and I saw on the drive in. I couldn't believe my eyes seeing those animals for the first time in my life, and getting a view like this all to ourselves that gorgeous summer day. " - Kristin Addis, BeMyTravelMuse
"Lago di Braies in South Tyrol, Italy, is one of the most stunning lakes I've seen due to that gorgeous green water, the Alpine mountains surrounding it, and the mystical fog that tends to hang on the mountain tops. This unique, partially German-speaking part of Italy keeps a piece of my heart." - Kristin Addis, BeMyTravelMuse
"The architecture in Italy is so diverse and unique from region to region but quaint homes, pops of color and attractive building facades remain consistent across the country and are what keeps me coming back every year." - Jacklyn Shields, GetLostWithJackie