Depending on who you ask, Instagram has either revolutionized travel or ruined it completely. On the one hand, it’s a great motivator to stop scrolling, get outside, and go do! On the other, it can lead to a gnawing sense of envy—and, yeah, okay, overcrowding.
But going somewhere just “for the Insta” has gotten a bad rap. Since the advent of photography vacationers have tailored their adventures around getting the best shot. They’d show it off to family and friends—“Look, we went here! We did this thing! You should t00!”
Now the message we get from Instagram is, “Look, everyone’s going here! They’re all doing this thing! You should too!” For ELLE.com’s inaugural Places to Instagram we narrowed down the spots that are already dominating, or about to dominate your feed this year. See them in person, get the shot, or just stalk the geo-tag. In any case, the world is yours for the taking.
Amangiri | TWA Flight Terminal / Hotel | House Of Eternal Return | The Vessel | The Azores | Majorelle Gardens | The Madonna Inn | Contramar| Puro Vik| Sidi Bou Said | Temple of Light| Franco’s Bar| Brick House By Simone Leigh | Kakslauttannen Arctic Resort | Louvre Abu Dhabi | Short Stories Bar | Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar | Mohonk Mountain House| Seychelles | Glossier Canyon | Moraine Lake Lodge | La Casa Azule| Balloons In Cappadocia| Ethnobotanic Gardens | Camaya Bali | Kasbah Bab Ourika |The Colony | Shenzen | The Dolomites | Korcula
Channel your inner grifter with a trip to the Amangiri Resort in Canyon Point, Utah, where the Manhattan heiress Andi Potamkin chose to hold her mock $1 million nuptials to a celebrity hairstylist husband (he claims it was all a public relations stunt). Scammers know how to craft the perfect image and this spot—set beneath a dramatic mountainous landscape deep in the heart of red rock country— is, literally, picture perfect. Among the hotels offerings: a spa, painting classes, early morning hot air balloon flights, and horseback riding lessons.—Rose Minutaglio, Staff Writer
Best time to get your shot: Sunrise.
Choice backdrop: The stone-lined step pool with desert views.
After sitting vacant for almost 20 years, the former TWA terminal at New York’s JFK airport recently reopened as the 512-room TWA hotel. The fashion set officially anointed the midcentury-modern landmark when Louis Vuitton staged its cruise 2020 show on the property in May. For frequent flyers, the Eero Saarinen-designed space is a sprawling alternative to the first class lounge—or a not-so-terrible place to get stranded for the night, should your flight plans suddenly change.—Nikki Ogunnaike, Style Director
Best time to get your shot: Pre-flight. Head to the airport early to have a drink and take in the scene.
Choice backdrop: The Sunken Lounge anchored by the revamped but still retro TWA departures board.
If the name House of Eternal Return alone isn’t enough to command your attention, the fantasy-filled journey you experience inside surely will. This fixed exhibition by the arts and entertainment collective Meow Wolf features a series of psychedelic rooms and hidden passages that feel straight out of a Tim Burton film. The 20,000-square-foot immersive exhibit is built around the story of the Selig family and each room provides clues to help guests unravel the mystery.—Nerisha Penrose, Assistant Editor
Best time to get your shot: Late afternoon. Mornings tend to get crowded with antsy kids and parents.
Choice backdrop: The glittering candy-coated installation designed by Australian artists Pip & Pop (as seen above) or the glowing black-lit forest.
Recently erected smack dab in the middle of New York City’s Hudson Yards, The Vessel is made up of a network of 154 flights of stairs seemingly woven together. Visitors can climb them all (or take an elevator) to the top. It’s already being compared to the Eiffel Tower, and was basically made to be Instagrammed.—Nikki Ogunnaike, Style Director
Best time to get your shot: Reserve a ticket on the early side when the shoppers and office dwellers have yet to descend on the area.
Choice backdrop: The whole thing! To fit the entirety of the kebab-looking structure in the shot, position yourself either at the very bottom or the very top. Walk (or run!) the 80 flights so you have something to brag about in your caption.
At just under 6 hours away from NYC—about the same length as a weekend bingewatch, let’s be honest—lies the archipelago of Azores. An autonomous region of Portugal, the Azores are so wildly beautiful you’ll think you’re vacationing in a Microsoft screensaver. Volcanic activity has blessed the islands with black-sand beaches, heart-stopping crater lakes, and hot springs. If you need another sweetener, the subtropical climate should clinch it. —Estelle Tang, Senior Editor
Best time to get your shot: Best to be camera-ready at all times: Unpredictable weather reigns, and you’ll want to make the most out of every second instead of waiting for the clouds to pass.
Choice backdrop: São Miguel’s Sete Cicades lake is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, and one glimpse will reveal why. The twinned blue and green lakes once inspired the legend of a star-crossed pair of lovers: a shepherd and a princess. Try the Vista do Rei viewpoint.
When Dior was looking for a place to stage its 2020 cruise show, the legendary fashion house settled on Marrakech, the postcolonial Moroccan city from which Maria Grazia Chiuri drew inspiration for the collection. The show itself was a visual feast of fire and votives held at the famous El Baldi Palace, but when the lights went out it was Le Jardin Majorelle that drew celebrities and VIPs seeking quality grid content. The garden, designed by the artist Jacques Majorelle and once owned by Yves Saint Laurent, is a lush oasis in the heart of Marrakech.—Jessica Roy, Deputy Editor
Best time to get your shot: The gardens get crowded—like, line-around-the-block-crowded—so go in the morning right when they open. Because the line to purchase tickets at the Jardin Majorelle can be hours long, a good hack is to buy your tickets at the Yves Saint Laurent museum next door, which generally has much less of a wait.
Choice backdrop: Majorelle is famous for its cerulean blue paint, which adorns its walls as well the Saint Laurent’s former home situated in the rear of the garden. Follow the winding path until you reach a lookout over the pond, where you can pose with both the fountain and the house in the background.
Established in 1958, The Madonna Inn has long been a destination for travelers seeking a unique getaway. The kitschy San Luis Obispo resort boasts 110 guest rooms, each with their own special decor, varying from frilly and whimsical to rugged and rustic. The final selling point? The resort grounds are decked out in millennial pink.— Ariana Yaptangco, Social Media Editor
Best time to get your shot: The whole place is an Instagram hotspot, so expect the most grid-worthy locations to be a bit busy. Come with a strategy to make sure your mini-photoshoot runs smoothly and quickly. And when all else fails, use your guest room is the perfect no-pressure backdrop.
Choice backdrop: Take a seat on the famous pink tennis courts or strike a pose in front of the iconic Madonna Inn sign.
You’ve never had real seafood until you’ve been to Contramar. The Mexico City spot is ideal for long lunches that start around 3pm, where you can enjoy the people watching just as much as the food. It’s a nice balance of locals having business lunches and tourists attempting to order things not always taught in a high school Spanish 3 class. Come se dice the scallop tartare?—Chloe Hall, Special Projects Editor and Producer
Best time to get your shot: Lunch. Go around 3pm and maybe take a picture around 4 when everyone’s still eating but a little boozed up.
Nobody would dare throw stones at Puro Vik’s glass houses: The nineteen houses at this luxury retreat each have three walls made entirely of glass, which allows visitors to see as much of the surrounding splendor of Chile’s Millahue Valley as they desire. Take a bath in a transparent room, indulge in a grapeseed oil massage at the spa, or take a sip of the country’s best red—you’re in wine country, after all.—Estelle Tang, Culture Editor
Best time to get your shot: Golden hour, baby. Watch the sun rise and set over the rolling hills all around you from the comfort of your own glass villa.
Choice backdrop: Chez vous. You merely need to step onto your terrace to capture the nearby vineyards, mountains, and lakes. Or flex by taking the photo from inside the house.
Imagine Santorini without all the crowds, and you’ll get Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. Located just a 35-minute train ride north of the capital Tunis, the Mediterranean town atop a cliff looks nearly identical to the famous Greek island with its cobblestone streets, cobalt blue doors, and white buildings with colorful flowers hanging over every charming side street (the air literally smells like Jasmine). The best way to get around is to walk, enjoying the cute cafes, art galleries, craft stores, Andalusian architecture, and stunning views of the bluest waters in the Bay of Tunis. Beloved by artists like Matisse for its colors, Sidi Bou Said was granted a Decree for the Protection of the Village in 1915, ensuring the ever ‘grammable blue and white paint on buildings would be preserved.—Kristina Rodulfo, Senior Beauty Editor
Best time to get your shot: Early morning. You’ll want to beat the rush of people that come when tour buses from Tunis come through.
Choice backdrop: Café des Nattes‘ central location offers a great starting point for walking through the picturesque old town, where you’ll undoubtedly want to get a shot in front of every sapphire door, walkway, wall, etc. The cafe itself also has a terrace to get those necessary overhead shots of all the blue and white.
Ellsworth Kelly’s final work was unveiled to the public in February 2018: a small, white “church” with stained glass windows in Kelly’s signature color field style. The chapel resides on University of Austin’s campus at the Blanton Museum of Art and draws a mixed crowd of art aficionados, students, and those who have simply discovered the rainbow-colored hues, natural light and sparse setting is an ideal backdrop to achieve the perfect ‘gram. Not exactly what Kelly had intended, I’m sure, but in between photoshoots it’s still possible to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the space.—Mia Feitel, Design Director,
Best time to get your shot: It varies. The light changes throughout the day, which leads to different possibilities for capturing interesting light effects and colors.
Choice backdrop: Stand against the wall to the right when you first enter the chapel, ideally in the afternoon.
Positano is, without question, one of the most Instagrammable destinations in Europe—and the best place in Positano to “get the shot” is at Franco’s. The al fresco cocktail bar has views so breathtaking, you won’t even mind waiting an hour to snag a prime seat. In fact, people start lining up down the block just before the bar opens.—Lindsay Silberman, Freelance writer
Best time to get the shot: Just before sunset.
Choice backdrop: On a balcony overlooking the boats, Aperol Spritz in hand.
What to Pack: Franco’s Bar
Brick House is the inaugural commission of the High Line Plinth, the park’s newest outdoor space for showcasing public artwork in New York City. The statue, created by New York-based sculptor Simone Leigh, is a larger than life bronze bust that celebrates the beauty of black women and is located at the park’s Spur at 10th Avenue and West 30th Street. This statue will be on view from now until September, when a new installation takes its place.— Starr Bowenbank, Editorial Fellow
Best time to get the shot: Before the end of June—that way, you can be among the first visitors to have a photo of Brick House on their feed.
Choice backdrop: A mix of the High Line’s Spur, the statue and the city—to get it try taking the picture across the street from the sculpture.
Glamping, but make it arctic. Located in Finland’s wilderness, this dreamy resort offers a one-of-a-kind experience: a front row seat to the northern lights. You can view nature’s light show from the comfort of your chic glass igloo and then venture out into the nearby Urho Kekkonen National Park. The nature shot possibilities are endless, really. — Ariana Yaptangco, Social Media Editor
Best time to get your shot: Aurora season lasts from late August to the end of April, giving you a solid window of opportunity to see the northern lights (and get that IG content).
Choice backdrop: The arctic sky. Capture it from under the open ceiling of your glass igloo.
A satellite location of Paris’s iconic Louvre, the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi located in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates is an art and design lover’s paradise. The museum exhibits artifacts and art borrowed from its sister location in France as well as work by local Arab artists. And the building itself is a work of art, designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel.—Jessica Roy, Deputy Editor
Best time to get your shot: Mid-day. The museum is surrounded by water and its ceiling is domed and porous allowing sunlight to shine through and cast shadows on the floor. At the height of the afternoon it looks like a constellation of stars and is truly breathtaking.
Choice backdrop: The outdoor spaces of the museum that surround the galleries.
If you’re looking to party where the cool kids are, hit up Short Stories, the restaurant/bar on the Bowery in NYC. Head there on Friday nights and you’ll find the Casamigos flowing and the DJ playing music you’ll actually want to dance to. By day, its pink-washed walls make the perfect background for a restorative (read: hangover curing) brunch.—Nikki Ogunnaike, Style Director
Best Time to Get Your Shot: Anytime after midnight when it’s really popping.
Choice backdrop: The back banquettes cozied up with your girls.
Tucked away high in the mountains of Oman, this resort is the perfect respite for intrepid travelers. The gorgeous hotel is equipped with luxury rooms and villas, a bevy of fun activities for guests—including hiking, tours, spas—but nothing beats the breathtaking scenery.—Nerisha Penrose, Assistant Editor
Best time to get your shot: Since you’ll already be high in the mountains, head outside to get a panoramic view of the resort at sunset.
Choice backdrop: If you can, opt for a room with a view, since the resort sits on the curving rim of the canyon, or head out to the infinity pool to get a shot of the water and the landscape.
Nestled along the southern border of the Catskills just two hours from Manhattan, Mohonk Mountain House is the ideal weekend getaway for old souls looking for a little kitsch. The hotel was originally started in 1869 as a country getaway for the wealthy Smiley family, but now it serves as an old-school style resort, with all-inclusive meals, an award-winning spa, and every activity—both in winter and summer—you can possibly imagine.—Jessica Roy, Deputy Editor
Best time to get your shot: Sunrise, before breakfast is served and the kids start flooding the grounds.
Choice backdrop: The sunrise over the Catskills from your room’s balcony in winter. In summer make the trek to Skytop Tower for panoramic views of the valleys.
Of all the places I visited the Seychelles caused the most excitement and confusion. How do you say it? Where is it located? The world has become much smaller because of Instagram so it’s rare to have a destination that still feels fresh and new.—Cynthia Andrew, Travel Blogger
Best time to get your shot: Mid-day.
Choice backdrop: Mahé if you want shot of beaches flanked by lush greenery and massive hills and mountains. Anse Source D’argent for the most impressive rock formations that would make even the most cynical traveler go Wow.
Glossier has become a favorite among beauty junkies for its pared down, back-to-basics makeup offerings, but its brick-and-mortar shops across the world are anything but ordinary. Its Melrose Place location in particular offers a millennial pink-drenched universe that’s pretty much every Instagrammer’s dream, from the large floor-to-ceiling windows engraved with cheeky messages like “You look good” to the large pink island of products and floral arrangements peppered throughout the space.—Nerisha Penrose, Assistant Editor
Best time to get your shot: The earlier you can visit, the better, as Glossier’s aesthetically-pleasing boutique attracts a crowd of fans waiting to sprinkle a little pink on their Instagram grid.
Choice backdrop: The “selfie canyon,” inspired by the actual Grand Canyon and illuminated with soft pink and purple day-to-night lights.
Hidden in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is this luxury lakeside resort where visitors flock to unplug. Moraine is all about becoming one with nature—the grounds have no TVs or telephones. They do have WiFi though, which is good news for all the nature shots you’re going to take: from hiking the magnificent mountains to leisurely lakeside strolls.— Ariana Yaptangco, Social Media Editor
Best time to get your shot: Early afternoon, when the sun shines brightest on the scenic mountains and reflects off the glittering lake
Choice backdrop: The vast mountaintops and vibrant blue water. Get them both in the frame by standing on the shore of the lake.
The Frida Kahlo museum (also known as the Blue House or Casa Azul) is what bucket lists and Instagram grids are made for. In addition to the beauty, you get to learn about one of the most successful female artists in the world who lived a full and joyful life even though her health and abilities were limited. Every wall in the house is painted a gorgeous yellow, blue, red, or pink. The most beautiful part might just be Frida’s garden, which sits at the center of the house.—Chloe Hall, Special Projects Editor and Producer
Best time to get your shot: The house is very crowded, especially on the weekends, so try to go at 10am on a weekday to avoid long lines and hundreds of people.
Choice backdrop: The blue walls outside or in the house’s gardens (just like Joan Smalls). But you really can’t go wrong anywhere in the house; the colors are so bold and vivid every photo will look like a painting.
This fairytale-like region in Turkey was formed by volcanic eruptions and erosion, giving way to its beautiful, rocky topography. Cappadocia’s landscape features valleys, cliffs, and “fairy chimneys” (tall rock formations that look like they mushroomed up from the ground), as well as cave hotels and underground tunnels. But the real reason you will hear of this spot: the hot air balloons. The area is known for its hot air balloon tours, which, yes, sound fun, but also make for a gorgeous photo opp.—Madison Feller, Staff Writer
Best time to get your shot: At sunrise around 5 A.M. That’s when the balloons take off.
Choice backdrop: The balloon-filled horizon line. To maximize the number of balloons in the frame, you’ll want to head to the rooftop of one of the hotels in the area. Two popular ones are Ottoman Cave Suites or Sultan Cave Suites. Just do your research beforehand because some hotels only allow entry to guests with room reservations.
Lined up like a fence, an army of lean giraffe-tall organ cacti make for a better background than any Instagram wall. And that’s just one of the scenic byways you’ll encounter at the Ethnobotanic Garden of Oaxaca, which showcases the Mexican city’s diverse natural flora: particularly its wide range of cacti. For an even bigger dose of zen, enjoy the 16th-century monastery building, sculptures, pool, and fountains, all ensconced in the flora.—Estelle Tang, Senior Editor
Best time to get your shot: A guided tour is the only way to see the gardens, so make sure you check the times and visit accordingly (English, Spanish, German, and French available).
Choice backdrop: The aforementioned organ cactus stands before a small pool that beautifully reflects the plants on a still day.
The Camaya Bali Bamboo Houses haven’t been open for very long, but they’ve already become Instagram-famous thanks to their bamboo structure, remote location, and insane views. It’s also incredibly hard to secure a night there, making it feel all that more exclusive. The private houses sit in the rice terraces of Bali and accommodations include free breakfast and access to a number of activities, including hiking and white water rafting. While there are four locations listed on the AirBnb, only three feature our winning photo spot, so be careful which one you choose. (Hint: Pick the Camaya Bali Suboya, Camaya Bali Pyramid, or Camaya Bali Lotus listing.) Follow the Instagram account to get notified if they ever have a cancellation. Or just book way in advance!—Madison Feller, Staff Writer
Best time to get your shot: As the Camaya Instagram suggests, play into the “I woke up like this” vibe by taking your photo at sunrise.
Choice backdrop: The house features a giant woven net that hangs out over the edge of the property and is quite literally the perfect spot for your Instagram feed. Most people on Insta take advantage of the remote locale by getting semi-naked, pulling pillows and a white duvet cover onto the net, and posing as if they spent the night sleeping outside. But what really makes the photo is that the net gives you an unobstructed view of the lush, green Bali landscape in the background.[image id=’1513331f-76af-4458-8fa9-d68cf8d99d47′ mediaId=’55b2b80f-2ee2-4b45-b2a6-667a3e6be8c7′ align=’center’ size=’medium’ share=’false’ caption=” expand=” crop=’original’]
A favorite of designers like Mara Hoffman and Ulla Johnson, Kasbah Bab Ourika is a luxurious eco-friendly resort tucked away in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Room after room reveals desert-chic design and sweeping views of the Ourika Valley. There’s a beautiful pool, an on-site hammam and a private driver to shuttle you down to the nearby Berber market to shop for rugs. The best part? The Kasbah is surprisingly inexpensive—less than $200 a night—considering how rich you’ll feel staying there.—Jessica Roy, Deputy Editor
Best time to get your shot: Much of the resort faces west, giving you prime sunset views above the valley.
Choice backdrop: You could literally Instagram from a closet here and it would turn out cool. My personal favorite spot? On the edge of the vegetable garden overlooking the mountains and valleys below.[image id=’1513331f-76af-4458-8fa9-d68cf8d99d47′ mediaId=’55b2b80f-2ee2-4b45-b2a6-667a3e6be8c7′ align=’center’ size=’medium’ share=’false’ caption=” expand=” crop=’original’]
The Colony recently underwent a five-year, $18 million renovation, continuing its reputation as an iconic (and photogenic) boutique hotel in Palm Beach. It’s close to the beach and high-end shopping, but if you’re reading this list, you’ll want to go for the fact that it looks like Lilly Pulitzer waved a magical fairy wand over the hotel’s decor. The building itself is a peachy pink, the hallways are lined with banana leaf-printed carpet, and the rooms are bursting with color, making every nook and cranny a potential photo spot.—Madison Feller, Staff Writer
Best time to get your shot: First thing in the morning. There will be fewer people in the background—and fewer people trying to find the same golf cart as you.
Choice backdrop: The hotel’s iconic golf cart. It’s bright pink, has leaf-patterned seats and a fringed top, and provides ample room for you and all your friends. If possible, try to snag it when it’s right in front of the hotel’s peachy exterior.
What to Pack: The Colony
Shēnzhèn is one of China’s often overlooked cities and attracts lots of tourists thanks to its modern buildings and thriving nightlife and art scene. In search of some new art pieces for your wall? Stroll through the Dàfēn Oil Painting Village and play eeny, meeny, miny, moe with all the beautiful pieces created by local artists. To up your Instagram photo game, put the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition at the top of your bucket list.—Nerisha Penrose, Assistant Editor
Best time to get your shot: The Dàfēn Oil Painting Village often spotlights vibrant, colorful artwork so getting a shot during the day time will help to bring out all the colors.
Choice backdrop: Stand in the middle of the Dàfēn Oil Painting Village walkway to get a full view of the space or choose a painting and take a shot against the wall.
Beauty is so ubiquitous in the Dolomites that visitors hardly need to jockey for the “best” spots. Take Alpe di Siusi, a sunny ‘Sound of Music’ meadow plunked down in a horseshoe of snaggletoothed Italian Alps. It’s roughly the size of Manhattan, higher up than Denver, and offers a view in every direction: grazing horses, sweet little Alpine huts, rolling farmland down below, clouds streaming past the monumental Dolomite formations.—Kat Stoeffel, Features Editor
Best time to get your shot: Early afternoon—the last gondola down the mountain leaves at 6 p.m.
Choice backdrop: Sciliar, the Dolomites’ most distinctive peak. The deck at Laurinhutte, a low-key rifugio where hikers (and, in the winter, skiiers) drink beer and eat speck, offers a spectacular view.
Adored as a vacay spot by A-list celebrities of past (Jackie Kennedy) and present (Leonardo DiCaprio), Korcula is one of the most beautiful islands of the Adriatic sea. Hop on a ferry from the more popular Split or Dubrovnik and behold the glory of a medieval beach town that’s a little bit of King’s Landing, a little bit of St. Barth’s, and a whole lot of Instagram backdrops. You’ll feel like you stepped into a time machine walking through the walled old town of red roofs, while the turquoise waters of the Peljesac channel make for a perfect background for your braggy “out of office” photo of yourself sipping a glass of the island’s famous, locally made white wine.—Kristina Rodulfo, Senior Beauty Editor
Best time to get your shot: Noon, right when the sun is the strongest and the colors of the water will look brightest.
Choice backdrop: Pupnatska Luka. Yes, the old town architecture is alluring. But your money shot here is really of you living your best life on a beach, wading in the too-good-to-be-true teal waters in one of the island’s best spots to swim. If you really want to Go For It, make like Leo and charter a yacht.