Travel News

The best travel photos of 2018 to inspire your next holiday

Some of our favourite travel photographers share their snaps and stories from the road.

“Travel photographer” would have to be up there amongst the most envied job titles in the world. From a week on assignment in Machu Picchu to capturing Sri Lankan fishing villages from the air, these photographers get to see some of the world’s most interesting and beautiful sites as they snap for magazines such as Gourmet Traveller.

If your line of work involves 40-something weeks at home each year, let some of GT‘s favourite travel photographers bring the world to you, along with some ideas for where to spend those precious few weeks of holiday when they come around.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

“On my first trip to Seoul in the winter of 2016, during half a day off work, I set out to explore the old city and the DDP, aka the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the city’s cultural hub.

“Designed by Zaha Hadid and opened in 2014, the DDP has a façade of shapely aluminum panels and spans 38,000 square metres of exhibition spaces and museums covering the arts, design and technology, and landscaped parks used by seemingly everyone in this crowded megacity.

“The light was beautifully soft on this chilly morning and all was quiet. The few people who were out and about moved through my shot in monotones, the same palette as the monumental concrete structures around them.”

Sharyn Cairns, sharyncairns.com.au

VRINDAVAN, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA

“One of the most popular celebrations in the Hindu calendar is Holi, also known as the ‘festival of colours’, for good reason. It’s a couple of days of chaotic, joyful celebration of life, love and the beginning of spring, when people daub or throw coloured sandalwood powder, called gulal, on just about everything. Even the cows are coloured.

“I shot this image in Vrindavan, the town that’s regarded as the childhood home of the playful Hindu god Krishna. It’s said he started the tradition of Holi by smearing coloured powder on the face of his wife, Radha.

“As pilgrims make their way to the Old City’s temples, they’re met by groups of mostly children who throw powder on passersby. Inside the Banke Bihari temple, I found a moshpit of chanting, dancing pilgrims throwing handfuls of powder and occasionally stopping to take selfies of their technicoloured faces.”

Greg Elms, gregelms.com

POLIGNANO A MARE, PUGLIA, ITALY

“After an assignment in Puglia, I was driving back to Bari to catch a flight home and decided the town of Polignano a Mare, facing the southern Adriatic, seemed a postcard-perfect place to stop.

“The oldest part of the town is a jumble of houses, loggias and balconies teetering over the cliffs and I wandered until I hit a terrace overlooking the small public beach of Lama Monachile.

“It was spring, when there are still more pebbles than bathers. After taking this photograph I walked down to the beach, which has Blue-Flag eco-certification, and jumped into the clear, cool sea.”

Christopher Wise, archive.lifecw.com

Cusco, Peru

CUSCO, PERU

“Souvenirs and SIM cards. Tour buses and third-wave coffee. Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu, can sometimes feel like the backlot of a movie studio.

“Yet late one afternoon, I followed a crowd winding through the streets, holding aloft an ornate figure of Mary. Beyond the tourism, here was an age-old ritual with meaning and purpose. Onlookers blessed themselves and threw grains of rice at the procession, their faces solemn, reverent.

“They were celebrating the anniversary of a saint, so they told me. I followed, waiting for the light to fall just so, in a kind of heaven of my own.”

Luke Burgess, @lukeburgess77

RAGUSA, ITALY

“In the early afternoon hours of riposo, the sunbaked streets of Ragusa in southern Sicily are deserted as families catch their breath after sharing home-cooked meals – cucina Siciliana is simple and hearty, and the abundance of a typical lunch requires a postprandial nap.

“The only people afoot at this hour in the steeply raked alleys of the old town are curious tourists snapping away at Baroque palazzi and historic villas – picturesquely decrepit and quite magnificent.

Susan Wright, susanwrightphoto.com

LALIBELA, ETHIOPIA

“The Church of Saint George is the magnificent centrepiece of the Lalibela monolithic rock-hewn churches, built in the late 12th century by King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela in Ethiopia’s north.

“Remarkably, the church is carved from a single piece of volcanic rock. The cross at ground level is actually the roof; the entrance is 30 metres below and part of a maze of underground tunnels. It’s one of 11 rock-hewn churches carved in two clusters – an attempt by the king to build his own version of Jerusalem.

“This shot was taken on a Sunday morning, immediately after a service attended by scores of Christian pilgrims. It was a real privilege to be at this most holy of sites.”

Tom Parker, tomparkerphotography.com

LA FONTELINA, CAPRI, ITALY

“I was staying on the Amalfi Coast, one of my favourite places in Italy, and on a whim decided to take a day trip to the isle of Capri. It was a scorching day, and I had my heart set on a swim at lovely La Fontelina.

“It was early when I walked down the hill to the beach; the umbrellas and beach beds weren’t out yet. Then disappointment: the beach club was booked out. I hadn’t thought to phone ahead.

“The walk back up the hill was challenging so I rested for a moment, and looked down on this dreamy slice of Capri. The sun was higher now and the umbrellas were up and it looked even more joyful than on the way down. La Fontelina and I have a swimming date very soon.”

Carla Coulson, carlacoulson.com

BOHOL, THE PHILIPPINES

“The Chocolate Hills of Bohol are hidden from view. From the city of Tagbilaran on the southern island of Bohol, it’s a two-hour drive deep into the jungle to find them.

“Once you arrive at a lookout in a town named Carmen, these very strange cone-shaped hills stretch for miles in every direction. There are more than 1,000 of them; some say nearly 1,800. They’re covered in grass that turns brown in the dry season, which is what gives them their name. It’s thought they were formed by the uplift of coral deposits long ago and the action of rainwater and erosion.

“This particular afternoon was humid and the late afternoon light mixed with smoke haze from fires in the villages below was beautiful.”

Adam Gibson, adamgibson.com.au

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