If you’ve never experienced wanderlust, you’re about to come down with a serious case of it. On 1 July, National Geographic announced the winners of their 2016 Travel Photograph of the Year Contest, and the results will blow you away…

Falling under three main categories of People, Nature and Cities, the photographs give an intimate look at some of the world’s dreamiest travel destinations. From Morocco to Malaysia, we’ve officially started our(very long) bucket list of places to visit.

Grand Prize Winner: Winter Horsemen

Photography by Anthony Lau in Mongolia

“The winter in Inner Mongolia is very unforgiving. At a freezing temperature of minus 20 and lower, with a constant breeze of snow from all directions, it was pretty hard to convince myself to get out of the car and take photos. I saw horsemen showing off their skills and commanding the steed from a distance. I quickly grabbed my telephoto lens and captured the moment when one of the horsemen charged out from the morning mist.”

1st Place Cities: Ben Yousseff

Photography by Takashi Nakagawa in Marrakesh, Morocco

“Marrakesh, Morocco, is an exciting city for any traveler, but I was tired of walking on the crowded street and being asked for money from local people, so I was looking for a place to settle down. Even though there were a lot of people in Ben Youssef Madrasa, it was still a more quiet and relaxing place than outside. Suddenly a beautiful reflection appeared on the shallow pool when I was taking a break…”

2nd Place Cities: Silenced

Photograph by Wing Ka H in Guangzhou, China

“This photo was taken on my last trip to Guangzhou, China. This place is the school dormitories of South China Normal University. When I was hanging around, most of them were taking a break. After lunchtime, they needed to go back to study.”

1st Place Nature: Wherever you Go, I will Follow

Photography by Hiroki Inoue in Hokkaido, Japan

“It was when I drove back home feeling disappointed with the fact that I had finished the day in vain without any anticipated subject that I heard the joyful voice from the car window like “quack, quack!” There they were: red foxes. Around the end of the winter, they meet the season of love; they care for and love each other enough to make us jealous.”

3rd Place Nature: Lagunas Baltinache (Atacama Desert)

Photograph by Victor Lima in San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta, Chile

“I made this photo during my recent photographic expedition in Atacama Desert, in April 2016. I embarked alone on this adventure to find images not yet published of the most arid desert in the world and its contrasts. Despite the Atacama Desert being one of the best places on the planet to do night photography, in my prior research I discovered that there were not many night photos in the main tourist destinations there.

Honorable Mention (Nature): Bears on a Berg

Photography by John Rollins in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut, Canada

“The location is on the sea ice in Davis Straight, off the coast of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, on April 2, 2016. This mother polar bear and her yearling are perched atop a huge snow-covered iceberg that got socked in when the ocean froze over for the winter. To me, the relative smallness of these large creatures when compared to the immensity of the iceberg in the photo represents the precariousness of the polar bear’s reliance on the sea and sea ice for its existence.”

2nd Place People: Rooftop Dreams

Photograph by Yasmin Mund in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

“It was 5:30 a.m. and I had just arrived in Varanasi, India, off a sleeper train. I got to my guesthouse and instinctively climbed the seven flights of stairs to see the sunrise over the famous Ganges River. As I looked over the side of the rooftop terrace, my jaw dropped in disbelief. Below were mothers, fathers, children, cats, dogs, and monkeys all sleeping on their roofs. It was midsummer in Varanasi and sleeping without air-conditioning was pretty difficult. Can you spot the curry?”


You can take a glimpse at all the winners as well as all entries submitted over the span of 8 weeks here.


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