Swallow's Nest, Ukraine
Photograph by Jane Sweeney, JAI/Corbis
The neo-Gothic Swallow's Nest castle perches 130 feet above the Black Sea near Yalta in southern Ukraine. Built by a German noble in 1912, the flamboyant seaside residence is now a popular tourist destination.
Cave Diving in Tulum, Mexico
Photograph by Patrik Gustafsson, National Geographic Your Shot
A diver explores a cenote in Tulum, Mexico. Ancient Maya believed that the rain god Chaak lived in these natural wells. Now they are giving archaeologists new insights into the sacred landscapes of the ancestral people.
Vík í Mýrdal, Iceland
Photograph by Ivan Peña, National Geographic Your Shot
Rugged cliffs overlook the tiny village of Vík í Mýrdal, the southernmost outpost in Iceland. The town's black sand beach—the color comes from the basalt that also makes up the sea stacks off the shore—has been called one of the most beautiful in the world.
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, China
Photograph by Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters/Corbis
A colossal snow sculpture, built in advance of the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China, dwarfs a woman posing for a snapshot. The annual event showcases ice and snow carvers and features ice skating, illuminated ice displays, and a polar plunge for the hardy.
Rådhuset Metro Station, Stockholm
Photograph by Torsten Muehlbacher, National Geographic Your Shot
Dramatically lit, the Rådhuset metro station in Stockholm resembles the inside of a volcano. The station is one of several in Stockholm that have exposed bedrock and make use of organic architecture.
Photograph by Michaela Rehle, Reuters
An igloo village carved into the snow atop Nebelhorn Mountain features a bar, a dining room, and an outside hot tub. Visitors can spend the night—at least until April, when the village melts away.
Snowball Fight in Times Square
Photograph by Carlo Allegri, Reuters/Corbis
A winter storm dubbed Hercules dumped between 6 and 11 inches of snow on New York City in early January, prompting a snowball fight in a quiet Times Square. Normally the area—sometimes called the world's most visited tourist attraction—hums with cars and pedestrians.
Quiver Trees, Namibia
Photograph by Lizzie Shepherd, Corbis
Lightning strikes amid the rocks and quiver trees in the Giant's Playground, near Keetmanshoop, Namibia. The trees are so called because their hollowed stems are used as arrow quivers.
St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna
Photograph by Lucas Vallecillos, VWPics/Redux
More than three million people visit St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) each year, making it Vienna's most popular attraction. Situated in the heart of the city, the church dates back to the 12th century. Visitors can ascend a tower and enjoy sweeping views of Vienna or descend into the vaults for a guided tour on the history of the building.
Photograph by Bruno Morandi, Corbis
The sheer cliffs on the Greek island of Zakynthos are a draw for climbers and BASE jumpers. Shipwreck Beach—named for the remains of the Panagiotis that washed up there—lures swimmers and sunseekers.