Unfortunately, the photographs were often embellished. Many places don't live up to the expectations of a photo that has been edited or tweaked in an editor to a flawless result. Travelers may be disappointed when they see famous places in real life.
But the magnificence of some places cannot be fully captured in a photograph - edited or not. This is where CNBC Travel contributors identify destinations that have far exceeded their expectations.
Silence of Iceland in Siberia
Iceland is one of the few countries that looks better in real life than on postcards. His beauty is unearthly. A walk along any of its banks is so picturesque that you expect sound accompaniment at any moment. Siberian Lake Baikal is also stunningly beautiful. The area is so isolated that it is almost impossible to imagine that it will ever be crowded with tourists. When you stand on the marble ice of the lake, it seems that time slows down - even stops.
Artists have tried for centuries to capture Parisian light on canvas. The Impressionists came closest, but still no artist succeeded. The most famous photographs of Paris are in black and white, which simply doesn't match the rich creamy colors of the city.
Expanses of Patagonia, Chile
One road runs between the small port of Patagonia, Punta Arenas, and the city of Puerto Natales. This is the path to the Torres del Paine National Park - a place of indescribable beauty and grandeur.
"Torres" or towers in English are three granite peaks surrounded by snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and glaciers. There are few places like this on the planet.
The park occupies only a tiny part of Patagonia, most of which is accessible only to trekkers, climbers and adventurers. It covers Chile and Argentina in the region of South America known as
The southern cone, which stretches literally to the end of the road, in the lower part of the continent.
It's incomparably beautiful. The very sight of it made me want to conquer it in ways I didn't expect - maybe I could climb mountains, row the fjords, or cross glacier fissures.
Then a cold wind blew through my unbuttoned jacket and I rushed back to the shelter of my car.
Slovenia and its diversity.
Vine-covered hills on the border with Italy, the elegant and eco-friendly capital of Ljubljana, the perfect tranquility of Lake Bled, the snowy valleys of the Triglav National Park and the warm waters along the Adriatic coast - the nation definitely strikes far beyond its weight.
In Sedona's case, no words or images do her justice. When I first saw her photographs, I wanted to sneak in there. When I finally did it in 2019, it was surreal, otherworldly beauty. Walking through Red Rock Park with its babbling streams and forests soothed my soul. Massive red rocks are mysterious and majestic.
Better yet, visit one of the local whirlpools, which some believe are energy fields. As I got out of the car and approached the mountains, I felt a vibration. The higher I climbed, the stronger I was enveloped in strength and peace.
The Serenity of Rural Japan
In my case, the photos I take never capture anything! But this is especially the case on the east coast of Japan's Tohoku region, an area devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
I have been several times over the past few years, visiting the markets in Hachinohe City, taking boat trips around Yamada Bay, and walking along the Michinoku Coastal Path. It has a wonderful calmness combined with severe beauty. Photography simply cannot convey the feeling of presence.
In Thailand, the inhabitants are spoiled for paradise islands. But it is worth taking a break to the Japanese island of Zamami - a short ferry ride from Naha, the capital of Okinawa - exceeded my expectations.
Days spent hiking the island's quiet mountain trails gave way to evenings where you scoffed at seafood in superb izakayas. And the beaches? The crystalline waters of Furuzamami and Ama beaches in Zamami are as impressive as anything I have ever seen.
Silence of southern Africa
I have always had a soft spot for Africa. Canoe safaris on the Zambezi River rekindled that love.
Lush reeds swayed in the soft breeze on numerous river islands. The flapping of the wings of an egret splashing water over a canoe and the all-consuming symphony of hippopotamuses were the only sounds that could be heard for several hours. No cell phones, car horns, or human squabbles interfered with the experience - just silence, occasionally interrupted by the sounds of nature. As you float through the gentle water, the reflections of sunlight on the blue waves of the Zambezi River look like dancing diamonds. At sunset, the river takes on a soft golden hue that changes to bright orange and then deep purple.