Ten of the world's most magnificent gorges

Ten of the world's most magnificent gorgesRex


From Arizona's captivating Grand Canyon to the wonderful Gorges du Verdon in France, feast your eyes on these awe-inspiring gorges around the world...

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World's most spectacular gorges
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Ten of the world's most magnificent gorges

Considered one of the most spectacular gorges in Europe, Gorges du Verdon in south-east France is around 25km long and up to 700 metres deep. It was formed by the Verdon River and one of its most distinctive features is the turquoise-green of the river. Tourists flock to the gorge to kayak, hike and climb, and the most impressive part of it is between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, where you can see a picturesque ravine. Don't miss the amazing rock structures of the Styx du Verdon and the scenic Sentier Martel hike.

Located in the south of Namibia, the Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world and features a gigantic ravine about 160km long and almost 55 metres deep in some places. The canyon follows Namibia's longest interior river, Fish River, into Orange River, which then flows out to the Atlantic. It is one of southern African's top spots for hiking. The trip through ancient landscapes is strenuous and takes around four days to cover the 53 miles of rocky desert terrain, pools and sulphur springs. Look out for mountain zebra, rock rabbits, baboon and elusive leopards.

Ristikallio Gorge, located in North Eastern Finland's Oulanka National Park is a famous viewpoint on the popular hiking route, the Karhunkierros Trail. The gorge is fantastic starting point for the Bear Trail Hike, where many people hope to spot the elusive brown bear, which makes the area its home. The River Aventojoki flows between the cracks of the bedrock switching from one crack to another.

As Britain's biggest gorge and 300 million years in the making, Cheddar Gorge is a must-visit UK attraction. The limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills is the site of the Cheddar show caves, where you can see Britain's oldest complete human skeleton, the 9,000-year-old Cheddar Man. The maximum depth of the gorge is 137 metres with a near-vertical cliff-face to the south. At the gorge you can learn about geological formations, prehistoric cannibalism and even embark on a crystal quest across Gough’s Cave, which was formed between 500,000 and 15,000 years ago by water dissolving the limestone rock.

Named after the herds of pronghorn antelope that roamed freely in the canyon, Antelope Canyon in Arizona is one of the most intriguing canyons in the world and boasts mysterious and haunting beauty. The famous light beams in the Upper Antelope Canyon occur most often in the summer months, while the views in the Lower Antelope Canyon are best enjoyed in the early morning. It can be a challenge photographing Antelope Canyon due to the light reflecting off the walls but its sculpture is like no other making it well worth a visit.

One of Slovenia's most popular natural features the Vintgar Gorge is home to stunning views and the delightful Sum waterfall. Located in Bled, it is over a kilometre long and a 30 to 40-minute walk, depending on how energetic you're feeling. The path through the gorge is along wooden bridges, galleries and the rushing river Radovna. Take the scenic walk past St Catherine's Church and across the meadows, which offer wonderful views of the Karavanke mountain range and the Ljubljanska valley.

Todra Gorge is located on the remote eastern side of Morocco's High Atlas Mountains where the last 600 metres of the gorge narrows to a flat stony track with sheer and smooth rock walls up to 160 metres high on each side. There is a tiny glacier stream, which must have once carried more water, and the scenery is breathtaking, with local people living in the area often seen with their donkeys or herding camels and goats. Hiking and rock climbing are the most popular activities at the gorge.

Mexico's Copper Canyon is a group of canyons in the Sierra Madre. Its name derives from the greenish copper hue of the canyon walls and it spans a total length of 37,000 miles. Remarkable legends, traditions and mysteries are hidden in the mighty walls and the indigenous people of the Raramuris and Tarahumaras communities have made the canyons their home for centuries with their lives intertwined with the mountains. Top things to do include visiting the quiet village of Cerocahui, eating fresh seafood in Los Mochis and experiencing a Copper Canyon train journey.

The vast and magnificent Grand Canyon is Arizona's most distinguishable landmark and one of America's most famous attractions. The natural wonder is one you have to see to believe and stretches 277 miles from end to end, where steep, rocky walls descend more than a mile to the canyon's floor. Learn about the Grand Canyon's two distinct sides, go on a backpacking trip or gain a new perspective by rafting in the canyon. There are historic lodges and rugged campgrounds so you can sleep at the Grand Canyon too.

The island of Crete's Samaria Gorge was created by a small river running between the White Mountains and Mount Volakias, and is 16km long. The most famous part of the gorge is the stretch known as the Gates, where the sides of the gorge close in to a width of just four metres and soar up to a height of nearly 300 metres. Samaria is a refuge for the rare kri-kri or Cretan goat, which is mainly found in the park.

View the West MacDonnell Ranges, take a cool dip in the Finke River and admire the towering sandstone at Glen Helen Gorge in Australia's outback. The gorge, located 132km west of Alice Springs, is a refuge for local wildlife and is a popular overnight stop for drivers on the iconic Red Centre Way. The landscape around the gorge is spectacular and the sandstone wall is the first thing you'll see as you arrive. The ranges of Glen Helen Gorge part to make way for the Finke River, an important waterhole for fish and migrating waterbirds.

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