11 Instagram Photos That Will Inspire You to Travel

All of them come from @tinyatlasquarterly, the Instagram account you wish you ran

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Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

Photo: Jenn Emerling for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

@Tinyatlasquarterly isn’t your basic travel Instagram account. At first glance, it boasts thousands of incredible photographs of everything from rigid city architecture to cuddly looking alpacas. But what sets this 146,000-follower account apart is that every image is accompanied by a meaningful personal narrative that highlights the people, places, and stories behind each shot. These deeper connections are what first inspired photographer Emily Nathan, who is based in Oakland, California, to begin publishing a print magazine on all things travel, Tiny Atlas Quarterly, in 2012. Seven years later, @tinyatlasquarterly has evolved into a full-blown community with more than seven million #mytinyatlas posts showcasing readers’ best travel shots. At the end of March, Nathan is releasing her first photo book, My Tiny Atlas: Our World Through Your Eyes, which features work from 130 #mytinyatlas contributors. Here we’ve selected a few of our favorite photographs from the book.

Photo: The Lofoten Islands off northwestern Norway are known for colorful fishing villages and Arctic fjords dwarfed by dramatic peaks. Nathan recommends taking the four-hour ferry ride along the coast for the best views and access to the beaches with the best surf.

Photo: Tyson Wheatley for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

There are tons of stepwells in northern India, but Panna Meena Ka Kund is more accessible to tourists, thanks to its proximity to Jaipur.

Photo: Andrew Kearns for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

Though Oahu has 112 miles of shoreline, this image was shot on a less popular stretch of sand, proving that even though much of the Hawaiian island is now thriving and populated, incredible nature isn’t hard to find.

Photo: Salty Wings for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

Lake Hillier is just one of Western Australia’s pink lakes. Scientists suspect they get their bubble-gum hue from the same-colored bacteria and algae that flourish in the saline water.

Photo: Madeline Lu for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

For a few days every February, when the sky is clear and there’s strong runoff after a good snow season, El Cap’s Horsetail Falls turns into Yosemite’s famous “firefall.” If you ever manage to catch this phenomenon, don’t look away: it’ll only last for a fleeting ten minutes.

Photo: Alex Abramowitz for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

A gorgeous archipelago of 42 islands makes up Thailand’s Ang Thong National Marine Park, which is home to unique features like steep limestone formations, caves, lakes, and even sinkholes. Save for two islands—Ko Wua Ta Lap and Ko Phaluai—all the rest are uninhabited.

Photo: Jessie Brinkman Evans for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

North of the Arctic Circle lies Uummannaq, a small heart-shaped island in Greenland. Since it only sees around 83 days of sunlight every year, summer is the best time to go—the only catch is the sun doesn’t set at all in June and July.

Photo: David Leong for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

If you follow enough travel-focused Instagram accounts, you’ve probably experienced the digital awe of the hot-air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey. The good news is, if you make the trek to Cappadocia, you can actually experience this phenomenon any month of the year. And in the high season, between April and June, you can see up to 150 balloons in the sky at once.

Photo: Grant Harder for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

Climb the 241 zigzagging steps to the isle of Gaztelugatxe in Spain and you’ll reach an ancient church said to have been burned down and reconstructed dozens of times over the centuries.

Photo: Charles Post for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

The largest national parks in the U.S. are in Alaska, with Denali coming in at number three. It’s home to some of America’s most iconic wildlife, from bald eagles and caribou to wolves and grizzly bears.

Photo: Kim Goodwin for Tiny Atlas Quarterly

Kvitoya is the most remote island in the Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago. Here, a polar bear walks across a nearby glacier.

Reprinted with permission from My Tiny Atlas: Our World Through Your Eyes, by Emily Nathan, copyright (c) 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.