In its 16th year, the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) competition is one of the older and more impressive photo competitions around. The remarkable collection of winning photographs this year act as an incredible snapshot of beauty around the world today, from astonishing natural wonders to profoundly human moments.

Since its foundation in 2003 as a small photography event focusing on the marvels of travel, the competition has quickly grown into a global behemoth. This year the competition received more than 20,000 submissions spanning 142 countries, including everything from high-grade professional entries to amateur photographs shot on smartphones.

The bulk of the competition is split into two sections: portfolio collections and one shot submissions. The overall grand prize winner is selected from the portfolio categories that require photographers to submit four to eight image selections across three topic areas: Travel, Natural World, and Faces, People, Cultures.

The overall grand prize this year was given to Italian photographer Stefano Pensotti, whose winning eight-image portfolio traversed three continents. His photography was complimented by the judges for giving, "a real sense of being part of each scene rather than simply observational."

Other truly incredible images celebrated in the competition reveal an apocalyptically surreal lava lake, a futuristic-looking highway intersection in Shanghai, and a gorgeous shot of a lone climber on a mountain in Madagascar.

Take a look through our gallery for some of the spectacular highlights from the winners of the 2018 competition.

View gallery - 21 images