I’m guessing you’ve got a long list of things to do before you die, so let’s add some beautiful places just to make sure you don’t get bored. So many intriguing and superb locations are to be found on our planet, some of which seem surreal. Here are 20 of them that are really worth the trip.
20. Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
During the rainy season, the world’s largest salt flat transforms into this incredible scenery, and the world’s largest mirror – I would expect more women to be there, if you know what I mean. The Salar is the result of several prehistoric lakes joined into one. The salt flat is so reflective that scientist use it to calibrate satellites. Incredible!
19. Sentinels of the Arctic, Finland
These are the Sentinels, giant trees covered in snow and ice. This strange phenomenon occurs in winter, when temperatures range from -40 to -15 degrees centigrade. I’m surprised, however, trees thrive in such a place.
18. Bigar Waterfall, Romania
Located in the Eastern Europe, Romania is home to much more than poverty and controversy. The locals call this waterfall “the miracle from the Minis gorge.” The moss formation is 8 meters tall, and allows you to admire one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.
17. Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, Wyoming
The Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States. Its vivid colors and mesmerizing look are the result of pigmented microbes, which grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water. It’s like the good Eye of Sauron.
16. Turquoise Ice, Lake Baikal, Russia
Lake Baikal is the oldest freshwater lake in the world. As you’d expect, in the winter, the lake freezes; but the water is so clear that it allows you to see 130 feet below the ice. In March, frost and sun cause cracks in the ice crust, resulting in those superb turquoise ice shards at the surface. It’s almost Sci-Fi!
15. Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu, China
These colorful rock formations are the result of red sandstone and mineral deposits; it has taken nature over 24 million years to create this beautiful setting. Wind and rain then carved amazing shapes into the rock, forming natural pillars, towers, ravines, valleys and waterfalls. An incredible game of colors awaits you.
14. Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine
This tunnel was shaped over many years, by trains traveling the line three times time a day, molding the surrounding trees. Now abandoned, the track is a romantic spot for an afternoon stroll and the possible line where Harry Potter’s train travels towards Hogwarts.
13. Yuanyang County, China
The farming techniques in Yuanyang County is unique, and has created a landscape which looks simply amazing from the air. These rice fields are located on the slopes of Ailao Mountain, where the terraced levels help create flat surfaces along an uneven landscape. This is much more than agriculture, it’s art!
12. Lake Hillier, Australia
The pink color of this unique lake is thought to be the result of a dye created by algae and bacteria in the water; no one knows for sure. Despite the odd hue, the lake doesn’t seem to have any adverse effects on humans or local wildlife, but I’d be careful if I were you. Just stick to taking pictures.
11. Pamukkale Hot Springs, Turkey
One of my favorite places ever and my next holiday destination, the hot springs in Pamukkale have transformed the landscape over millions of years. Although it may look like these terraces are made of ice and snow, Turkey has bikini weather all year round. So, the warm climate and white limestone await.
10. Caño Cristales River, Colombia
Due to its extensive habitat of fauna and flora, this flowing river appears in yellow, green, blue, black and red as you travel along it. It’s so beautiful, you actually don’t know where to look first. The rocks here are around 1.2 billion years old, and those who visit call it the most beautiful river in the world; it’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure.
9. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Around 50 to 60 million years ago, intense volcanic activity in the area allowed for the formation of this lava plateau. Over time, the lava cooled and fractures created columns that are so perfect, they almost look artificial. Simply incredible!
8. Fly Geyser, Nevada
Fly Geyser was accidentally created when a well was drilled and left uncapped. Minerals and algae started to rise from the geyser and accumulated to form an alien-like mound. I guess we could consider this one man-made, although we had little to do with it.
7. Underwater Waterfall, Mauritius Island
Strong ocean currents continually drive sand from the shores of Mauritius into the abyss below, creating the illusion of an infinite downfall. This one-of-a-kind underwater waterfall is simply blissful.
6. Mount Roraima, South America
This tabletop mountain is one of the oldest mountains on Earth, and it seems as the Gods have chopped to perfection. Dating back two billion years when the land was lifted high above the ground by tectonic activity, the mountain features sheer vertical cliffs, with several waterfalls, making it nearly impossible to climb. However, admiring it will take forever.
5. Aogashima, Japan
Aogashima is a volcanic island located 200 miles off the coast of Tokyo. But what’s more interesting is that there’s a smaller volcano within the volcano island and there are actually luxury homes and properties located within the volcanic island. could you imagine how hard would it be for the DHL guy to find you?
4. Hidden Beach, Mexico
This is magnificent hidden beach, the result of a military explosion test in early 1900s. The surrounding islands were deemed a nature park, with the hidden beach only accessible by swimming through a fifty foot tunnel. A bit claustrophobic, perhaps?
3. Lake Natron, Tanzania
This lake has a uniquely high salt content. Salt-loving microorganisms thrive and produce red pigment, colorizing the water. However, for other animals the salt is deadly and many calcify (effectively turning into stone) after taking a dip in the water. Maybe Medusa had something to do with it, who knows?
2. The Eye of Africa, Mauritania
Found in the middle of the Sahara Desert is a deeply eroded bowl, over 24 miles in diameter. The natural formation is so impressive that for a long time, scientists believed it was the site of an asteroid impact. I’m guessing water erosion was responsible for this one, although it can freak you out thinking about what actually happened there.
1. Highlands, Iceland
The isolated highlands of Iceland have some of the most superb natural sights in the Northern Hemisphere. The mind-blowing glaciers, craters, lakes and geysers are breathtaking by day, but the true show starts when night falls. The area becomes one of the best places to witness the Aurora Borealis. That’s nature for you!