(CNN) — A bell tower, illuminated against a dark, inky-blue night, rises up out of a reservoir, the lonely sentinel of all that can be seen of a submerged monastery in Russia. Seen through the lens of a creative photographer, a wall of books makes for an colorful, geometric mosaic in a Beijing, China, bookstore. A straight ribbon of black-top road knifes through the stark landscape of a red-rock desert in the United States. It's a big and amazing world out there, full of spectacular destinations. And with the ongoing revolution in camera technology, there's never been a better time to soak it all in than right now. At its best, travel photography inspires, intrigues and informs. It sets us on armchair adventures. It can spur us to actually plan a dream trip we've long sought to take. Or pictures can reveal a possible new journey that captures our imagination.
These photos not only show the natural and man-made beauty of our world, but they can also give us a glimpse of other people and cultures and the beauty within the human race.
Thousands and thousands of amazing images cross our computer screens each year, and in this space we share some stunners from 2018.
The gallery above is updated periodically. So when you're ready to see another gorgeous part of the world -- a charming British village, a dazzling nightlife scene in Malaysia, an otherworldly desert in Oman -- return here for inspiration.