Exotic, surreal and extraordinary. These words perfectly describe all the destinations that you are about to see in this post. These are the unearthly places that you must visit even once in a lifetime if you are an adventurous nomad seeking for extraordinary experiences. So get ready as we briefly uncover the celestial charms of these exotic and surreal places on Earth.
1. Pamukkale Thermal Springs – Turkey
This mineral-saturated spring is located in the inner Aegean region near the River Menderes Valley. People who bathed here for thousands of year dubbed the area Pamukkale, or cotton castle.
The spring water is hot and high in calcium, magnesium sulfrate and bicarbonate. The hot springs flow at a rate of 400 liters per second, with their mineral-saturated flows forming its hollow, circular basins all the while.
2. Monument Valley – Utah/Arizona, USA
Monument Valley is a Navajo Nation tribal park, situated in the border of northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah.
The Park was once a wide lowland basin before human existance. These beautiful rock formations were shaped for hundreds of millions of years in process. The materials that eroded from the early Rock Mountains deposited layer upon layer of sediments which bonded a gentle uplift created by constant pressure from below the surface rising these horizontal strata almost uniformly 1 to 3 miles above sea level.
The natural forces of water and wind took 50 million years to erode the land and cutting in to and peeling away at the surface of the plateau. The simple wearing down of altering layers of soft and hard rock slowly revealed the natural wonders of Monument Valley today.
3. Antelope Canyon – Arizona, USA
This attraction is both the most visited and most photographed canyon in the American Southwest. One glance at the smooth, orange-red walls and it’s easy to see why. This canyon was formed by flash flooding and other subaerial processes that eroded the sandstone.
As the rains continue, the canyon’s landscape slowly forges on in its topical transformation. While scientists are unsure of when people discovered the cave, local Navajos claim that the surreal canyon has been part of their cultural heritage for ages.
4. Meteora – Kalabaka, Greece
The word Meteora literally means ‘hovering in the air’. Meteora is a formation of immense monolithic pillars and hills like huge rounded boulders. What caused this rare geological phenomenon is one of the mysteries of nature and there are many theories but none of them are proven.
As amazing a marvel of nature as these giant rocks, are the Orthodox Monasteries on the top of these which are marvels of man and seem just as miraculous and make Meteora one of the most spectacular places to visit in Greece.
5. Giant Causeway – Northern Ireland
This incredible and peculiar natural wonder is nestled next to the Atlantic Ocean. The Causeway is home to more than 40,000 columns, most are hexagonal and form a honeycomb-like pattern.
Giant’s Causeway is created from cooled magma. It took nearly 60 million years of erosion for the columns to be apparent. Scientists think that they were finally exposed 15,000 years ago after the last Ice Age.
6. Giant Prismatic Spring – Wyoming, USA
Grand Prismatic Spring is one of the most popular highlights in Yellowstone National Park and it is the world’s third largest hot spring. The gigantic pool is not only huge but it is also colorful. The spring’s steam reflects the colors of the rainbow.
The breathtaking colors are attributed to the various species of thermophilic bacteria living in the spring. The blue water in the center is very hot, but it may support chemotrophic life. A chemotroph is an organism that uses chemicals for a source of energy. As you move farther from the heat source of the spring, life begins to flourish. The aquatic photosynthesizing cyanobacteria – that live at the edges of Grand Prismatic Spring cover the color spectrum including yellow, green, orange, red, and brown.
7. Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni is the Earth’s largest salt flat. It is located near the apex of the Andes in southwest Bolivia. This spectacular expanse of salt crust covers more than 10,000 square kilometres, essentially resembling a giant mirror and it may give the visitor the illusion of being able to walk on air.
This spectacle was formed as an effect of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has a phenomenal flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the whole area of the Salar. Aside from being a source of salt, its crust also covers a pool of brine, which is very rich in Lithium. It has the 70% of the world’s lithium reserves.
8. Dallol Volcano – Ethiopia
Dallol is a volcano explosion crater located in the Danakil Depression in Northeast Ethiopia. This geological phenomenon resembles the scenery of a video game or sci-fi film. Its luminous and unearthly appearance is a result of acidic hot springs, sulphur, gas geysers and magnificent salt formations.
If you are planning to visit this extraordinary crater, you must be cautious as Dallol is known as the hottest inhabited place area on earth, with average summer highs of 46C. The best time to visit is between the months of November and March. The colourful lakes are, in many cases, toxic and the sulphurous vapours make it difficult to breathe.
9. Sossusvlei – Namibia
This wonder is situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft National Park). It is defined by the large red dunes that surround it. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 meters.
Lifted from an illusion, Sossusvlei is full of picturesque sand dunes encompassed by clay pans. The most unbelievable attraction is the Deadvle. It is where the dead acacia trees contrast the white shiny salty floor of the pan.
10. Cliffs of Moher – Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher are in the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. The cliffs are 320 million years old. Ancient rivers laid down sediments on the sea bed to form the rocks of the Cliffs of Moher – sandstone, siltstone and shale.
The Cliffs of Moher are 702 feet high and span across eight miles along the Wild Atlantic Way. The highest point is at Knockarden, near O’Brien’s Tower, which was built by Cornelius O’Brien in 1835.
These cliffs have made more film appearances than some movie stars. These include Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ryan’s Daughter and the Princess Bride.
11. Göreme National Park – Cappadocia, Turkey
The phantasmagorical landscape of this attraction is an output of both natural phenomena and human intervention. The volcanic eruptions and erosion contributed to the configuration of the magical looking rock cones, pillars and mushrooms stretching up to 40 metres high.
Meanwhile, human’s creative hands created a network of exceptional caves and tunnels under the rocks some 3,500 years ago. There are underground settlements that cover over 100 square miles. While most of the cave diggings are currently empty, some still serves as homes and others as hotels.
12. Bastei Bridge – Germany
This altitudinous rock formation is located on the River Elbe near Dresden in the German Free State Saxony. Bastei stands almost 200 meters over the river below and was formed by water erosion over a million years ago. In the current times it became very appealing because of the bridge that linkils a number of the rocks. The bridge itself is a marvel of Victorian age engineering.
The bridge simply spans a number of the huge rocks which make up the Bastei formation and does not really lead anywhere. It was built in 1851 and replaced an earlier wooden bridge which was no longer considered safe to carry the weight of its numerous visitors.
13. Crescent Lake – Dunhuang, China
They say that oil and water don’t mix and so do deserts and lake. But it is a different story for the Crescent Lake and Gobi Desert. This natural wonder is in an oasis about 6 kilometers (3.73 miles) south of Dunhuang City.
It was originally a part of Danghe River, but left as a separate lake when Danghe River changed its course. Scientific investigations explained that the subterranean streams of Danghe River continuously replenish the lake to keep the water balanced.
14 & 15. Lake Retba – Senegal / Lake Hillier – Australia
Lake Retba lies north of the Cap Vert peninsula while Lake Hillier can be found on Middle Island in the Recherché Archipelago, off the coast of Western Australia
Both of these lakes are easily mistaken as pools of strawberry milkshare and a piece of pop art. These bizarre color lakes are natural phenomenon. Some of the experts say that the pink colorization is caused by the low nutrient concentrations and different types of bacteria and algae, while others suggest the pink hue comes from a sea salt and nahcolite deposit.
16. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – Kyoto, Japan
This natural attraction is located in Ogurayama, Saga, Ukyō-ku. Walking into this extensive bamboo grove is like entering another realm. The thick green bamboo stalks of this magical forest seem to continue endlessly in every direction and there’s a strange quality to the light. You’ll be unable to resist trying to take photos.
The bamboo forest path can get quite busy and the best time to visit it is during early morning to admire the beauty and tranquility of this special place.
17. Plitvice Lakes – Croatia
Plitvice National Park has sixteen beautiful lakes inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by bears, boars, deer, wolves and rare species of birds. It has a total area of 300 square kilometers, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of eight kilometers.
The water flowing over the limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dam. These geological processes continue until today.
18. The Marble Caves – Patagonia, Chile
The Marble Caves is a group of caves made of marble, situated in the Chile portion of the General Carrera Lake, in. Only small sized boats can be used to explore and make their way through the Marble Caves, which are located in perfectly clear stunning turquoise water.
The marble color of the Marble Caves ranges from white to grey to blue, and also includes the odd pink tint. The Marble Caves were formed by water and weather erosion over a span of 6,000.
To access the Marble Caves, a boat is usually used from the small remote town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo, while the most common period to visit is from December to February.
19. Wave Rock – Australia
This unusual natural rock structure resembles a huge oceanic wave which is almost 50 feet high and around 360 feet long. It is located about 3 kilometers east of the the town Hyden and 296 km (184 mi) east-southeast of Perth, Western Australia.
The shape of the rock is not caused by a wave phenomenon, relatively its rounded wave-like formation was shaped by subsurface chemical weathering followed by removal of the soft weathered granite by fluvial erosion, thus the weathering occurred below ground level before it was exposed. The outcome is an undercut base, leaving a round projection.
20. The Colored Pebbles Of Lake McDonald – Montana, USA
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park with a surface area of 6,823 acres. It is also the longest, at over 15 km, as well as the deepest lake at 141 meters.
Lake McDonald of Glacier National Park in Montana is like a container full of colorful gumballs that makes you want to dive and grab handful of natural colored pebbles and rocks just below the surface. The rocks and pebbles have variety of colors from dark red to maroon, and from green to blue. The color of the rocks is determined by the presence or absence of iron.
The magnificent beauty of mother nature is simply irrefutable. There are more awesome places on Earth than we could ever imagine. Many hidden treasures of nature are still unexplored and just waiting to be discovered. So before it’s too late, start saving up and plan your unearthly adventure.
Write your comment below and tell me which one is on top of your bucket list.