A dusky aerial shot of a snow-blanketed tiny Greenland fishing village has been chosen as the top travel photograph of 2019 by National Geographic.

Chinese photographer Weimin Chu was awarded the US$7500 (NZ$11,500) grand prize, for his photo "Greendlandic Winter" of the village of Upernavik, on a small island in west Greenland.

Covered in a blue-tinged snow mist, Chu notes the brightly coloured paint jobs on the Upernavik buildings are used to designate which store was which in the punishing climate.

"Historically, Greenlandic buildings were painted different colours to indicate different functions, from red storefronts to blue fishermen's homes — a useful distinction when the landscape is blanketed in snow," Chu said.

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National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019 Honorable mention Nature: Jonas Schafer for King of the Alps.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019 Honorable mention Nature: Jonas Schafer for King of the Alps.

Entries in the competition were divided into the categories of nature, cities and people.

Aside from Chu's Grand Prize, each category had prizes for first (US$2500), second (US$1500) and third (US$750) place.

A black and white photo of a dolphin in the deep canyons of Kaikoura, New Zealand, won third place in the nature category.

National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019 3rd place Nature winner Scott Portelli for Dusky Dolphins.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019 3rd place Nature winner Scott Portelli for Dusky Dolphins.

Australian photographer Scott Portelli took the "Dusky Dolphins" shot and said he "waited on the bow of the boat as the Dusky dolphin almost broke [through the surface]."

"They glide through the ocean effortlessly, coming up only to breathe.

"Their elegance and streamlined bodies are built for speed and manoeuvrability—accentuated by the smooth, clear water of the New Zealand coastline."

National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019: 3rd place Cities was Sandipani Chattopadhya, for Streets of Dhaka.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019: 3rd place Cities was Sandipani Chattopadhya, for Streets of Dhaka.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019, 2nd place Cities category: Jassen Todorov for In The Age of Aviation.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019, 2nd place Cities category: Jassen Todorov for In The Age of Aviation.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019, 1st place People: Huaifeng Li, for Showtime.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019, 1st place People: Huaifeng Li, for Showtime.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019, Honorable mention in people category: Navin Vatsa, for Mood.
National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019, Honorable mention in people category: Navin Vatsa, for Mood.