Are you familiar with the feeling, when you have visited so many different places that you got tired of the attractions everyone knows about? Have you ever wanted to change the way you travel and visit some of the hidden gems instead? Or do you just want to go to the destinations that are beautiful in their own way and have no analogs anywhere else in the world?
If your answer to all these questions is a solid "Yes!", then you came across an article that will help you choose the next destination for your trip. It will tell you about a lake that exists for only half a year, filling a park with water. It will show you a few mysterious and even creepy places that will tickle your nerves. It will let you know about some of the most surreal landscapes on the planet and also give you a hint on how our planet would look like if humanity disappeared from it. And, above it all, it will tell you about the world's highest treehouses, weirdest parks, and most unique monastery!
Are you ready to take notes for your next trip? Then read this list of the most unusual places in Europe and in Asia that you have to see with your own eyes to know that they actually exist.
20 Europe: Green Lake, Austria - Amazing Underwater Park
The Green Lake is known for its pristine, crystal-clear water of emerald green color. But it's not this beautiful color that made me add this lake into this list. There is something else that makes it different from all other lakes in Europe (and in the world, for that matter).
The Green Lake actually exists only half a year, because every year it dries up in the end of summer to fill up with water flowing from the Hochschwab Mountains next spring. Besides, there is a park built at this spot, so when the lake becomes full-flowing again, one can see numerous trails and benches on its bottom, sometimes even 12 meters deep!
But you can't see it anymore, since recently diving in the lake has been prohibited due to the risks of environmental pollution.
19 Asia: Lakes of Mount Kelimutu, Flores Island, Indonesia - Three One-of-a-Kind Lakes
One of the most unique places in Asia is, undoubtedly, the lakes of Mount Kelimutu. There are three of them and they are all formed as a result of volcanic eruptions. What makes them so unusual is the different water color in each one of them. Thus, the westernmost lake has a blue color and it's called the Lake of Old People. The one next to it, the Lake of Young Men is green, while the third one, the Lake of Young Maidens, is red.
Needless to say, the landscape created by these colors is striking. For this reason, Mount Kelimutu attracts quite a few travelers, who want to see this wonder with their own eyes.
18 Europe: Grundarfjörður, Iceland - Breathtaking Anywhere You Look
Like all other places in Iceland, this one has a very unusual name that is almost impossible to pronounce for an English language speaker. But, also similarly to all other places in this country, this one is breathtaking.
Let's see what Grundarfjörður is and what makes it so special. Well, Grundarfjörður is a village that offers some of the most stunning landscapes ever. It's so beautiful that it's even hard to describe it with words. So if you come there, just make sure to visit Kirkjufell Mountain, Snæfellsnes National Park, and a Viking Village people build there every summer. Trust me, you won't forget this visit ever in your life.
17 Asia: Houtou Wan Village, Gouqi Island, Shengsi Archipelago, China - Village Conquered By Nature
If you ever travel to the Shengsi Archipelago in China, be sure to visit an abandoned fishing village Houtou Wan on Gouqi Island. You will see there, how strong our Mother Nature is, because since people left this village in search for a better life in the city about 50 years ago, every single building in it has been overtaken by green vines.
That's right, the whole village looks like the photo above. Walls and windows are covered with lush greenery and all traces of human civilization are filled with a new life. It all makes the village look like Shire, the village of hobbits from Tolkien's novels, and it also forces us to think how our planet would look like if people disappeared from it.
16 Europe: The Azores, Portugal - Unspoiled Nature
The Azores is a bunch of islands in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean. Does it sound too generic for you, a season traveler, who have already visited quite a few islands? Well, then here is something that can make you interested in visiting this place. These islands are breathtakingly beautiful - they have volcanoes, enormous craters, as well as pretty Portuguese villages and a Biosphere Reserve that is protected by UNESCO.
So if you're going after unspoiled natural beauty, the Azores is a perfect destination for you. Make sure to go there in your next trip and see it all with your own eyes.
15 Asia: Plain of Jars, Phonsavan, Laos - An Unsolved Mystery
The name of this place can't deceive you. If you come to the Plain of Jars in Laos, what you're going to see is... a vast hilly area that is dotted by more than 2,000 stone jars. According to historians, they were placed there sometime between 500 BC and 200 AD. You might want to know why these jars are there. Well, I won't tell you, because it's a question that hasn't been answered to this day.
Scientists have a lot of versions as to why these jars were placed there. Some say locals used them to brew large quantities of rice wine. Others suppose it was a burial site. Perhaps, we'll never know the answer.
14 Europe: Cliffs Of Moher, County Clare, Ireland - Spectacular Views
Another stunning location in Europe every traveler should visit at least once in a lifetime is the cliffs of Moher in Ireland. A lot of people think so, too, because this place attracts over a million visitors every year.
The beautiful cliffs have a height from 120 meters (400 feet) to 200 meters (700 feet). From them, you can enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean and watch some of the most marvelous sunsets in your life. Besides, if you're a bird lover, you can observe 29 different species of birds in this area. Among others, puffins are the birds that will steal your heart, for sure!
13 Asia: Kawah Ijen, Java, Indonesia - Otherworldly Setting
Now, this is a place that you will never, ever, forget if you see it once. Just imagine yourself standing near a crater of a volcano in the middle of the night and gazing at the blue flames coming out of the ground here and there. There are other volcanoes around you, as well as sulfur miners working hard right next to you. Do you think that such a scene is impossible? In fact, it is! Come to Kawah Ijen in Java, Indonesia, and see it all with your own eyes.
There is only one drawback to this picture - these spectacular blue flames have a foul smell due to the sulfur smoke. But this place is still worth visiting!
12 Europe: Holy Trinity Monastery, Kalambaka, Greece - In The Middle Of The Sky
Probably, Holy Trinity Monastery in Greece is the most peculiar monastery in the world. This Eastern Orthodox monastery is built on the so-called "meteora" stones whose name can be translated as "in the middle of the sky". When you look at it, it really seems that the building is standing in the middle of the sky and it has this unreal look that attracts so many people.
In fact, Holy Trinity Monastery is only one of 24 such monasteries in Greece, but since only 6 of them are open to visitors, don't hesitate to come into it and see how it looks on the inside. Note that you can reach the monastery by climbing or by road.
11 Asia: Buddha Park, Vientiane, Laos - Bizarre Statues
The Buddha Park in Vientiane, Laos is certainly one of the most unusual parks in Asia, if not the whole world. It's dotted by a number of random Buddhist and Hindu statues of gods, goddesses, animals, and other figures that are worshiped in these religions. In the light of the day, this park has a very unusual and a little bit funny look, but when the night comes, it kind of turns into an eerie place, due to the bizarre shapes of its sculptures. Alligators, multi-faced Buddhas, and king nagas are only a few of them.
Another interesting thing about this park is the fact that it's located near a river and has the view of neighboring Thailand on the opposite shore.
10 Europe: Pamukkale, Turkey - Stunning Cotton Castle
Pamukkale is translated as "Cotton Castle" and, if you look at it, you will understand why it was given this name. The white pools filled with pristine water certainly look like something made of cotton, due to their dazzling color.
It's interesting that these pools are filled with water coming from hot springs and temperature in them ranges from 35 to 100 degrees Celsius! Most of them are accessible to tourists but keep in mind that it's a shoe-free area. It means that you're going to have to walk barefooted around the pools because otherwise, it's easy to pollute the hot springs.
9 Asia: Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu, China - Find Yourself Inside a Rainbow
Zhangye Danxia has formed over 80 million years ago. These days it attracts a number of people, who want to see the rainbow-like landscapes there and take a lot of memories home. Everywhere you look, you see a burst of yellow, orange, red, emerald, green and blue colors. At times, you might even think that you got to another planet because this place is so otherworldly. And, besides the rainbow hills, you can also see a series of valleys, waterfalls, and other beautiful views
When you come back home from there and show everyone your photos, be ready to persuade people that they are real. They aren't an impressionistic painting and they aren't photoshopped!
8 Europe: Petrified Forest of Lesbos, Greece - Fossilized Trees You Have to See to Believe
Have you ever had an idea that a tree can be petrified? If you've never thought about it, it's time for you to come to Lesbos in Greece and visit its Petrified Forest. Now a protected monument of nature, it covers 150 thousand acres and features a number of fossilized fruit trees and conifer trunks.
Over 20 million years ago, volcanic materials blanketed the forest and caused it to become petrified. By these days these materials have eroded away, so we can see the beautiful patterns and colors of the tree trunks in the forest. Don't they look eerily beautiful? Be sure to visit, as soon as you're in Greece!
7 Asia: Fairy Stream and Sand Dunes, Mui Ne, Vietnam - Home to a Unique Phenomenon
Mui Ne is a coastal town that is mostly visited by beach bums and windsurfers, but it's also known for being home to a unique and beautiful phenomenon, known as "fairy streams".
Imagine a thin layer of water that looks like it can walk on water. Did you manage to see it in your head? Now you know how fairy streams look like. Besides, this natural wonder in Mui Ne is surrounded by weirdly looking rock formations that resemble the cliffs melting into oblivion. And if you go further, you'll see sand dunes appearing, as if by some kind of magic.
This kind of scene doesn't look like it belongs to this planet, does it?
6 Europe: Colobraro, Italy - City for the Superstitious Italians
Italians are known to be rather superstitious people, so if they are told that someplace is cursed, they will never go there, even if you tell them that it sells the best pizza ever. Well, sometimes they have a point. For example, when it comes to Colobraro, a small town in Basilicata, there are quite a few bizarre stories about it, so even if you aren't so superstitious, it's likely that you won't want to go there, too.
This town has all kinds of stories: babies born with two hearts, buses crushing here and there, and so on. It's interesting that some people are so scared of the curse of Colobraro that they even fear to say its name, thinking that it will bring them bad luck.
5 Asia: Son Doong Cave, Vietnam - Has Room For Half of Empire State Building
Even though the Son Doong Cave system is the largest cave system in the world, it wasn't discovered until the year 1991. It was found accidentally by a local man Ho Khanh, while he was on a trek. However, locals still stayed away for it for some more time, being afraid of the whistling sound of an underground river. Only in 2009, the existence of this cave system became public knowledge.
Walking through the caves will give you a surreal experience. Just think about it: its largest chamber (found to this day) is 5 kilometers (3 miles) long and 200 meters (650 feet) high. It's almost half the size of the Empire State Building! Can you imagine the size of this cave system now?
4 Europe: Cube Houses, Rotterdam, Netherlands - Odd Architecture At Its Best
Not only nature is capable of creating surreal things. People with creative minds can do it, as well. The architect who created these Cube Houses in Rotterdam certainly knows his way about making odd stuff.
Perhaps, the best way to describe this architectural marvel is saying that it's a long line of floating, yet interconnected yellow cubes located in the downtown area of Rotterdam. If you're interested to see how these houses look on the inside, you have two options. You can either visit the Cube House Museum, or you may stay at the Cube Hostel and get an all-around experience (forgive the pun).
3 Asia: Bokor Hill, Kampot, Cambodia - Creepy Yet Beautiful
Kampot is the best destination in Asia for those, who like visiting abandoned cities because it's full of temples, churches, and other buildings that have been left a long time ago. One of the best examples is Bokor Palace. Once it was a popular hotel and casino, but now it stands abandoned, attracting a completely different kind of travelers.
If you go there, be prepared for a creepy experience, because you're going to see a lot of things reminding of the area's glamorous past, as well as bullet-strewn walls standing there since the Vietnam War and Cambodian Civil Wars. But, since you can be distracted by the beautiful views of the coastline, the visit will certainly be enjoyable.
2 Europe: Parikkala Sculpture Park, Finland - One-of-a-Kind Sculptures
Ready to visit the weirdest park in Europe, if not in the whole world? Then head to Parikkala Sculpture Park located in the far east of Finland, not far from the Russian border.
This park was created by Veijo Rönkkönen, a reclusive Finn. He had been building these sculptures of people in different yoga poses and placing them in this part of Finland for roughly 50 years. So now, we can see a series of weird statues there, covered in moss. There are all kinds of them - sculptures featuring different historical periods, from ancient Greeks to hippies, as well as dinosaurs and the statues that will make your blush.
1 Asia: Bokeo Nature Reserve, Laos - World's Highest Treehouses
On the one hand, Bokeo Nature Reserve in Laos is just like any other national park in the world. It has beautiful nature and it's home to a huge number of plants and animals (including the black-cheeked gibbon that was thought to be extinct until recently). It also has a beautiful river and a majestic waterfall.
But what makes Bokeo different from other nature reserves is these huts built right on the trees. They are considered to be the highest tree houses in the whole world. They are all well-constructed and equipped with all the necessary facilities for visitors to even stay there for a night!
Isn't it a magnificent experience to wake up in the clouds and look into the window overlooking the jungle from treetops?