Culture Inspirations

A view to a thrill: 2020’s best travel photos revealed

Let these winning Travel Photographer of the Year images whet your appetite for a new adventure

The winners of the Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 competition have just been announced – and in a time when many people around the globe are suffering severe restrictions to their movement, these images are a sweet reminder of the world outside. With the competition spanning a wealth of subjects from majestic landscapes, to intimate wildlife portraits and captivating studies of far-flung communities around the planet, it’s a real treat for the eyes, as well as a chance to get inspired for upcoming trips – we hope! 

Of course, travel photography can be created close to home as well as on the other side of the world, and this year’s competition saw many entrants doing just that as well as digging out their best images from years passed. The global spread of the awards, which are about to embark on their 19th year, can be seen in the fact that almost 25,000 images were submitted from photographers in 147 countries. Winners scooped from a prize pool including cash bursaries, Fujifilm X-T4 cameras, Lee Filters kits and high-end outdoor clothing from Páramo.

© Vladimir Alekseevi /

Crowned Overall Winner of Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 was Vladimir Alekseev, the first-ever Russian winner of the competition. With his award based on a set of eight vibrant images, mixing landscapes, wildlife and people, he displayed rare skills. A seasoned traveller and journalist, Vladimir has organised more than 50 photo-research expeditions to regions including the Arctic, Antarctica, Amazon, Patagonia – as well as hard-to-reach regions of his homeland, Russia. One of his winning images, above shows the total solar eclipse in Svalbard in 2015, and was shot on a Canon EOS 7D Mark II, with a 100-400mm lens. The exposure was 1/80sec at f/8, ISO 320. 

© Vladimir Alekseevi /

Another of Vladimir Alekseev’s winning portfolio shows life in Russia’s Yamal Peninsula, depicting the indigenous people of the far north driving reindeer on special sleds called ‘narta’. This pictures was shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, also using a 100-400mm lens, with an exposure of 1/2000sec at f/5.6, ISO 100.

© Indigo Larmour /

As well as the Overall Winner, The Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 competition sported 14 categories, each of which produced some amazing images. The Winner of the Overall Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 award was Indigo Larmour from Ireland, who’s aged 12. Crowned champion for the second year in a row, Indigo’s portfolio of images included the one above, taken in Lahore, Pakistan, and depicting the Masjid Wazir Khan, a 17th century mosque where people come to worship. Indigo took the picture on her Nikon D600 with a 24-85mm lens, and an exposure of 1/1000sec at f/7.1, ISO 800.

© Mark Anthony Agtay /

Winner of the Solitude category was Mark Anthony Agtay from the Philippines with his aerial image of taking in the tide at sunrise, above. Mark used a Mavic Pro 2, with an exposure of 1/240sec at f/2.8, ISO 100.

© Irene Becker /

Another entry from the Solitude section, this time Commended, was this shot, above, from Irene Becker of Hungary. Taken at the Drina River, near Bajina, Bašta, Serbia, it shows a house built precariously in the middle of the waters. Irene used a Canon EOS 7D with 70-200mm lens, and an exposure of 30secs at f/11, ISO 100.

© Eddy Verloes /

Voted Best Single Image in the People of the World, the above shot comes from Eddy Verloes of Belgium. Part of a series he’s created called Losing Our Minds, it was taken at the beginning of the COVID crisis in 2020, and shows “a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews who were enjoying their freedom in an unorthodox way in the storm…” Taken on a Nikon D810 with 24-70mm lens, the exposure was 1/160sec at f/9, ISO 200.

© Alessio Mesiano /

Another image that caught our eye was by Alessio Mesiano of Italy, who was Commended in the Travel Portfolio section. This amazing landscape showing Kallurin in the Kalsoy islands, part of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic, features some wonderful light, “possible only during winter,” says Alessio, “so I had to face the extreme nordic weather.” It was taken using a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with 100-400mm lens, and the exposure was 1/80sec at f/10, ISO 100.

There are loads more brilliant winning shots to discover from the competition, and they can all be viewed online in the Winners’ Gallery at