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From a flamboyant owl to a leaping armadillo and stunning Italian countryside: The breathtaking winning shots in the 2023 Travel Photographer of the Year awards. Which one is YOUR favourite?

From a beautiful image of the Tuscan countryside to a heart-breaking aerial shot of elephants wandering across a rubbish dump, and from a flamboyant owl to ‘dancing’ trees, these winning and commended images in the 2023 international Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY) show the highs and lows of life on this planet.

Amateur and professional photographers from more than 150 countries submitted more than 20,000 images in TPOTY 2023.

The winning and commended entries, the judges say, ‘form a truly outstanding collection of contemporary travel photography’.

For the second year in a row, a Slovenian photographer has taken the overall honours. The Travel Photographer of the Year 2023, AndreJa Ravnak, follows in the footsteps of her fellow countryman Matjaz Krivic, who took the title in 2022.

AndreJa Ravnak commented: ‘Becoming Travel Photographer of the Year is a huge recognition. From my personal experience, I know it’s not easy to judge photography. Images are not measurable, so being a judge is a complex task and responsibility. I would like to thank the panel of judges for recognising my work.’

Scroll down to see MailOnline Travel’s pick of the bunch, with an image from winner AndreJa at the very bottom. Which one is your favourite?

This hypnotic image of Lake Shirakawa in Japan was commended in the ‘landscape and environment portfolio’ category. It was taken by Japanese photographer Kazuaki Koseki, who said: ‘The water in the lake changes colour between light blue and light green, and the reflections look like a submerged forest. It’s a fantastic landscape’

This stunning split shot of Mobula rays below a divers’ boat off the coast of the Mexican state of Baja California earned U.S photographer Martin Broen the winner’s medal in the ‘nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio’ category

The Haenyeo ‘sea mermaids’ of Jeju island, South Korea, are women who free-dive for hours at a time in search of ocean treasures such as abalone and sea urchin. This entrancing photo of one disappearing beneath the waves as fog veils an island in the background was taken by 14-year-old Caden Shepard Choi from the U.S. She said of her picture, which earned her the runner-up spot in the ’14 years and under’ category: ‘I took this image of a Haenyeo just as she plunged back into the ocean with perfect form.’ Caden added that ‘most of [the divers] look like my grandmother, with short permed hair, high cheekbones and fine lines around their eyes’

In the ‘best single image in a wildlife and conservation portfolio’ category, Italian photographer Barbara Dall’angelo earned a special mention for this entrancing shot of ‘dancing trees’ on the Indonesian island of Sumba. Barbara described the trees as ‘unique’

A heart-wrenching image of Asian elephants walking across a rubbish dump. The picture was highly commended in the ‘nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio’ category and taken by Sri Lankan photographer Lalith Ekanayake in his home country. He said: ‘The sight is both tragic and emblematic of the Anthropocene, an era where human influence shapes the geological narrative’

The ‘best single image in a wildlife and conservation portfolio’ category was blessed by this entry from Martin Broen. The delightful image – which claimed gold – shows a yellow gobby fish keeping an eye on proceedings in waters off the coast of the Philippines from its glass-bottle home

Italian photographer Andrea Peruzzi was behind the lens for this eye-catching shot, which shows a Bedouin jumping between overhanging rocks at the iconic Treasury of Petra in Jordan. The picture was awarded gold in the ‘MPB one shot – leisure and adventure’ category

A powerful image by Israeli photographer Roie Galitz that shows a young female lioness in Tanzania feeding on a dead female elephant. Roie, whose image was highly commended in the ‘nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio’ category, said: ‘This is a huge feast for the entire pride that will provide them with nutritional intake’

LEFT: An eye-catching image of Ramshaw Rocks in the Peak District by 18-year-old Brit Matthew Armett that helped him become joint runner-up in the 15-18 category. RIGHT: This image by Matthew shows the moon lining up with the silhouette of Solomon’s Temple in Buxton, and one of his friends, ‘for scale’. The picture also helped Matthew’s bid for runner-up status

This epic 360-degree panoramic drone shot by French photographer Armand Sarlangue shows the path of glacial waters from the Skaftafellsjokull glacier in Iceland. The picture impressed the judges enough to win the ‘landscape and environment portfolio’ category

Every day in the Wild is Life Sanctuary in Harare, Zimbabwe, Mateo and Marimba the pangolin walk together in search of termites and ants, with Marimba transported in Mateo’s backpack. This heartwarming picture of the pair was taken by Briton Sam Turley, who was runner-up in the ‘nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio’ category. The talented photographer said: ‘Marimba, a ground pangolin, was around a year old when her mother was poached for her scales. Marimba was simply too young to fend for herself and so the decision was made to take her to the Wild is Life sanctuary, where she met her full-time carer, Mateo. Pangolins are notoriously difficult to look after in captivity, requiring particular and personal care. Mateo’s gentle nature seemed like a perfect fit, and a remarkable relationship was born’

LEFT: Canadian photographer Donna Feledichuk was given a special mention in the ‘best single image in a wildlife and conservation portfolio’ category for this amazing image of an owl in Alberta taking up a flamboyant defensive pose as a hawk passed by. RIGHT: This image by Arthur Cech, from France, shows that he has photography skills far beyond his years – he’s just 15. The image of a monkey grooming session was taken in Ifrane National Park in Morocco and helped Arthur become joint runner-up in the 15-18 category

This image by Donna Feledichuk shows a fox cub in Alberta leaping over a log in a cute picture that was given commended status in the ‘nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio’ category

This ‘special mention’ image was taken by Brit Andy Parkinson and shows, he revealed, a yellow armadillo mid-air as it hurries down a pathway at a secluded lodge in the Southern Pantanal wetlands in Brazil

This spellbinding image earned 17-year-old American Lilly Zhang the gold medal in the 15-18 category. The picture was taken in Exton, Pennsylvania, with Lilly commenting: ‘It was a crisp autumn morning, and I went to Marsh Creek State Park in Exton hoping to see the mist suspended on the water with the fall colors reflecting on the surface. To my surprise, I also saw a great heron perched on a rock by the shore. It was just amazingly beautiful’

Behold one of the photographs that snared AndreJa Ravnak from Slovenia the ‘overall winner’ crown. She took this mesmerising picture near Pienza in Tuscany, Italy, in early spring, commenting: ‘Due to the cold nights, the landscape is often shrouded in beautiful mists on clear mornings’

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