Lonely Planet Writer

LP Pathfinders: top Instagrams from August 2016


This month's round-up focuses on the diversity of man-made structures around the world. Ancient architecture and modern marvels serve a myriad of purposes and often reflect the environment in which they are built. From tree houses to mountain toppers, these hotels, houses, tombs and cities cause us to stand in awe, eyes wide, amazed at what can be constructed.

Every month we share the most eye-catching captures from our Pathfinders community. Here are our selections for August.

Mauna Kea Observatory, Big Island, Hawaii, USA

A photo posted by Shelia (@notourguideneeded) on

‘We went up above the clouds to see the sun setting on Maunakea. It was an amazing experience to be wandering around and looking down at the clouds. Then seeing the sun setting at eye level was incredible.’ – Shelia, @notourguideneeded.

Why we like it: The composition of this image is great. Smart use of rule of thirds and a warm colour palette. The silhouetted figures just below the horizon line and the observatory on the left side of the image give the viewer plenty to scan while the travel envy mounts inside.

Treehotel in Lapland, Harads, Sweden

A photo posted by A&Z Backpack ME (@backpackme) on

Swedish Lapland may be famous for being a winter destination, because during the colder months everything is covered in white, giving it a very Christmassy feeling. But, during summer, Lapland has its own charms. The days are warmer, the sun almost doesn’t get to set and this is actually the perfect time to explore the woods.

If you like spending the night in the wild, Treehotel is the most comfortable and cool way to do it! We stayed at a futuristic-looking tree house called The Mirror Cube. But you almost can’t see our room, as it reflects the trees and the blue of the sky all around. A truly magical place to sleep!’ – A&Z Backpack ME, @backpackme.

Why we like it: At first glance we recognise that there is something curious going on in the trees – only upon further investigation do we realise that there is a huge mirror cube suspended in the sky. Quite the surreal view. Now all we want to do is pick out what is real and what is reflection.

Khuldabad, Maharashtra, India

‘Most people come to Aurangabad to visit the Unesco sites of Ajanta and Ellora, and leave. However, being big fans of the stunning Mughal architecture that is found in India, we decided to visit the tombs of the last Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, in a little town outside Aurangabad called Khuldabad. Khuldabad is a forgotten little town – like so many along the Mughal route – and whilst the tomb of the emperor itself is simple and unadorned, the outskirts of the town is strewn with tombs of Aurangzeb's generals, ministers and a number of prominent sufi saints of the time.

Driving around outside of Khuldabad, we came across many of these tombs, uncared for and forlorn. They stand as a reminder of a bygone era, counting the time until nature slowly reclaims them, turning stone into dust.’ – The reDiscovery Project, @rediscoveryproject.

Why we like it: This image has a touch of magic to it. Hidden, tucked away and seemingly forgotten. The domes dotting the landscape and dividing the sky and earth make excellent use of the rule of thirds. The crumbling and overgrown structures have a textural element that also draw us to this enchanting image.

Seljalandsfoss, Iceland

A photo posted by Jason Boone (@boonetravels) on

‘The turf house is probably my favorite Icelandic scene. These houses blend in perfectly with the green surroundings of an Icelandic summer.’ – Jason Boone, @boonetravels.

Why we like it: The gorgeous blue sky with streaky white clouds in the top half of the image has a certain movement that flows down through the angle of the turf rooftop and pushes out into the green grass dotted with yellow flowers. A delightful discovery of unique man-made places and the beauty of nature all in one.

Ksar Ait Benhaddou, Ouarzazate, Morocco

‘Ait Ben Haddou is located in the Ounila Valley, Ouarzazate. This is the most well-preserved mud brick village in south Morocco. I often visit this place since I don't live that far. The 17th century ksar is the only Unesco World Heritage site in south Morocco and its desert regions. This was a famous outpost for caravans cruising from Timbuktu to Marrakesh.

Famous Hollywood movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Jewel of the Nile, The Mummy, Prince of Persia, Game of Thrones and Gladiator were all filmed here. I enjoy interacting with the local population and exploring the old kasbahs.’ – Joao Leitao, @joaoleitao.

Why we like it: This earthen habitat is immense, rising powerfully above the trees and into the sky. The primary color palette of terracotta and green is muted enough to not distract and allows our eyes study the geometric shape of the buildings against the rugged background.

For your chance to be featured in our next round-up, sign up to Lonely Planet Pathfinders – our programme for travel-loving bloggers and social content creators. In the meantime, you can get more Instagram inspiration by following @lonelyplanet.