FROM ENCHANTMENT TO THE FEAR FACTOR
From Victoria Falls to Taj Mahal, Lonely Planet reveals the world's top 10 greatest wonders that'll have you reaching for your camera
They’re the great wonders of the world that every intrepid traveller must have on their wish list.
From Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, to India’s Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, to not see them, really is missing out.
A new book by Lonely Planet reveals the top 50 must-see world wonders – with the experts picking out their top 10 especially for MailOnline Travel.
The top 10 wonders of the world...
1. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia
World’s Great Wonders brings together the most amazing manmade structures and natural creations from across the globe.
From the formation of the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia to the painstaking creation of the Terracotta Army, the book dedicates at least four pages to each site’s fascinating facts, stunning photography and detailed illustrations which give the reader an insight into its creation.
The foreword for the book is provided by art historian and BBC presenter Dan Cruickshank who explains: ‘The aim of this book is straightforward – to inform, to inspire and to encourage its readers to travel.
‘If you know key facts about your destination you will surely enjoy it – and most certainly understand it – better.
‘Of course the term “wonder” is loose, clearly subjective and poetic, rather than scientific or objective. I suggest anything that surprises, mystifies, or takes the breath away by its sheer size, beauty or audacity is a wonder.’
Jheni Osman, the author of The World’s Great Wonders, adds: ‘This book takes you a step further on your travels, revealing the science and engineering behind how epic structures were built or incredible natural wonders formed. ‘It was always going to be tough to reduce all the world’s amazing wonders into 50 must-see sights, but this book spans the heights of engineering, the spectrum of beautiful architecture, and the eons of time.’
World’s Great Wonders, which is now on sale priced £19.99, is available through Lonely Planet.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia: Explorer David Livingstone named the waterfalls of the Zambezi River after Queen Victoria, but locals call them Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning 'the smoke that thunders'. Located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the falls plummet 108m, creating a mist that is visible from 20km away
Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia: Dallol volcano in the Great Rift Valley - the world's largest rift system which stretches 6,000km from the Red Sea down to Lake Malawi. Up to 74km in places, it's cradled by a series of cliffs, rising from the valley floor to the top of the highest escarpments, up to 1.6km above
Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland: Legend claims this rocky peninsula is the handiwork of an angry giant, but the real story behind the striking basalt columns is even more extraordinary
Taj Mahal, India: This marble-clad mausoleum, considered the most beautiful building in the world, and said by its creator to have made the sun and moon shed tears, is the jewel in India's crown
Terracotta Army, China: More than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots and 670 horses from this vast, life-size clay army, protecting China's first emperor in the afterlife
Great Wall of China, China: The stone dragon weaves 6,500km across mountaintops and plunges deep into canyons. But its magnificence hides its tumultuous history
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania: At 610m deep and 260sq-km, this is the largest unflooded caldera in the world. A blue-green vision from above, it's a haven for endangered wildlife and maasai livestock
Kilauea, Hawaii: The world¿s most active volcano has been constantly erupting for over three decades on Hawaii, creating the fastest-growing land on the planet
Hagia Sophia, Turkey: Cathedral. Mosque. Museum. The Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) has withstood the ravages of war and earthquakes, a testament to Istanbul's tumultuous past
Potala Palace, Tibet: An architectural wonder and the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama, the world¿s highest palace - at 3,700m above sea level - rises 13 storeys, and contains more than 100 rooms
A stunning historic former palace near to Machu Picchu has been revealed as the world's top-rated luxury hotel.
The five-star Palacio Nazarenas, set in a tranquil plaza behind Cusco's main square in Peru, came out on top of nearly 900,000 online hotel reviews.
Boasting 55 suites ‘enriched with oxygen’, the resort and spa is metres from Nazarenas Square, and close to the Inca sites of Machu Picchu, and the Ollantaytambo and Sacsayhuaman fortresses.
Number one: Palacio Nazarenas, set in a tranquil plaza behind Cusco's main square in Peru, has been ranked the best luxury hotel in the world
Scenic: The stunning five-star Palacio Nazarenas, close to Machu Picchu, offers views across the mountains from its suites
Room with a view: The Belmond-owned Northern Belle train scooped second place in the top-ranked accommodation in the world
Prices start at £328 per night for rooms, and master suites include marble bathrooms, 24-hour butler service, handcrafted ceilings, and an in-room boutique. A less static form of accommodation scooped second place in the world’s top-rated luxury hotels, with The Northern Belle receiving high praise from online reviewers, according to the ReviewPro Global Review research.
The Thirties-styled, Belmond-owned train offers overnight journeys in the UK, including to Scotland and the Lake District.
Exclusive resort: Jumby Bay, a sprawling 18,000-square-foot beachfront estate in the Caribbean, came third in the research
Fourth place: The Oberoi Vanyavilas in India - luxury jungle resort on the edge of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve - received top online reviews
Luxury travel: The Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiang Rai, Thailand, has been ranked the fifth best-rated high-end hotel in the world
While Jumby Bay, a high-end resort on a 300-acre private Caribbean island accessible only by boat, scooped third place.
Nestled off the coast of Antigua, it boasts the Lazy Lizard villa, a sprawling 18,000-square-foot beachfront estate situated on five acres of tropical landscape, with a moated entrance.
The list was revealed as a top 10 as part of research which measured nearly 900,000 online guest reviews published during 2013 on more than 100 online travel agencies and review sites, in all five continents, in more than 45 languages.
Remote: Wildflower Hall, in the Himalayas, was ranked the sixth best-rated luxury hotel in the world
Great reviews: Wildflower Hall, in the Himalayas, situated at 8,000ft in the Himalayas near Shimla, ranked sixth in the research
Sporting destination: CordeValle, a luxury, secluded golf resort in San Martin, California, ranked seventh place
Top 10 best-rated hotels in the world...
1. Palacio Nazarenas, Peru
It ranked The Oberoi Vanyavilas - India's leading luxury jungle resort on the edge of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reservein - in fourth place. While in fifth place is the Four Seasons Tented Camp, Golden Triangle in Thailand, which promises 'the adventure of a lifetime trekking elephants through lush jungle and spectacular mountain trails'.
RJ Friedlander, CEO of ReviewPro, said of the research: ‘Ninety-two per cent of hotel guests are influenced by reviews.
‘As luxury brands worldwide compete to deliver superior guest experiences, the insight provided by online reputation and social media analytics is key to their success.
‘By analysing almost 900.000 online guest reviews published during 2013, 1,696 properties and 84 brands in five continents, we are aiming at providing a comprehensive report tracking which luxury hotels brands are doing the best job of earning rave reviews from their well-heeled guests.’
In sixth place, nestling 8,250ft above sea level in the Himalayas, India, is Wildflower Hall, set in 23 acres of woods.
CordeValle, a luxury, secluded golf resort in San Martin, California, ranked seventh place; the stunning Oberoi, in Mauritius, surrounded by unspoilt beaches came eighth; and the elegant Olare Mara Kempinski in the Olare Orok Conservancy, Kenya, was ninth.
While high-end resort Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Mexico, was named the tenth best-reviewed resort in the world.
Golden sands: Surrounded by unspoilt beaches, Oberoi, in Mauritius, came eighth in the research
High-end travel: The elegant Olare Mara Kempinski in the Olare Orok Conservancy, Kenya, came ninth in the findings
Top reviews: Las Ventanas al Paraíso, in Mexico, was named the tenth best luxury hotel in the world
Inside Boston's creepy, abandoned, HAUNTED Masonic Hall, where footsteps are heard running round the building and a 'female form' appears at sunset
From the outside it looks fairly normal – but it’s only members of the Addams family that would find the inside of this old, abandoned Masonic Hall in Boston homely.
Sinister images of the Massachusetts building show a lone chair in an abandoned hallway where the owner of the site has said he has seen a 'female form' appear at sunset.
Other photographs show dusty organs used for prison church services, and rustic safes lie abandoned from a by-gone era.
Creepy: The haunted hallway in an old Masonic Hall in Boston, where a 'female form' has twice appeared
Sinister: Only members of the Addams family would find comfort in the dusty corridors of the Hall
Innocuous: The Hall looks normal enough from the outside - but is distinctly creepy on the inside
Basement scene: The engine room inside the hall, which was first built by the Freemasons in 1880
There was also a pricey collection of law books gathering dust on a shelf and political placards littered some rooms showing the diversity of the building's purpose over the years.
The building in Boston, Massachusetts, was first built by the Freemasons in 1880 and was used as their meeting place for over 50 years.
Eventually the secretive group made a new temple and used the building to house elderly single men, often old Masons themselves.
Unnerving: Some of the interior decoration in the Hall is a bit on the unwelcoming side (left), but the building does have facilities for keeping valuables safe (right)
Forbidding: Looking down from the top of the staircase inside the Hall, which was used as a meeting place for the Freemansons for over 50 years
Write stuff: Old books come as standard with the Hall, which is due to be renovated by the owner, who is all too aware of the building's haunting atmosphere
Noteworthy: The Hall even has an old organ for a would-be Lurch to play on
Window of opportunity: A political campaign placard inside the Hall, which at least brings a bit of colour to the surroundings
In the 1970s, The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organisation, had the building for ten years, before a succession of businesses moved in.
As they went bust during the 1980s and rooms went vacant, the building fell into abandonment and disorder.
Its only purpose in these dilapidated years was for the prison service, who took prisoners to the old building for Sunday worship.
Sky's the limit: The view from the top of the Hall across the city, something that brings some welcome relief from the gloom of the interior
The old temple was recently bought by photographer Liam Carleton, 36.
‘We've heard things and seen a few things, there have been a few cases of footsteps running around the building,’ said Mr Carleton, from Boston.
‘There's also been a female form shown up in the hallway, that's only happened twice in the time I've been here and on both occasions it was during sunset.’
Mr Carleton, who is currently renovating the building, has been told he should try and do something about the hauntings, although he doesn't agree.
‘If it isn't trying to hurt me, I won't mess with it, I'll just let it