There are many places in the world that are popular to travel to. Whether it be your local beach or somewhere more international there always seems to be places that everyone visits. Many people strive to find unknown places in the world, to discover new places that not many people know about. This makes exploring these places all the more amazing as you aren't simply following a link on a website you are discovering somewhere new and exploring the world. If you have this feeling you are most likely feeling burnt out on the fact that you keep traveling to common places that everyone else in the world travels to. It is time to branch out and walk off the beaten path.
These twenty strange places are a great start if you are looking for places that don't seem like the typical place to plan a vacation or simply hike to. Many people living in the places don't even know about these attractions. Some of the places on this list are modern wonders and present new experiences to those who want to make the effort to discover and explore them. If you want to start discovering the world and stop heading to places that are already overcrowded then you should start here.
20 Haiku Stairs In Oahu, Hawaii
This large staircase located in Oahu, Hawaii contains around 3,922 steps and brings literal meaning to the phrase "staircase to heaven". The original purpose of the stairs being built was to lead people easily to the top of this mountain to emit radio signals to ships in the Navy across the Pacific Ocean according to journeyera.com.
Since then the staircase was opened to the public until they quickly became shut down again due to the disrepair of the staircase itself.
There have been plans to restore the staircase for re-opening but nothing has come of it yet. This, of course, hasn't stopped many hikers from taking the risk and climbing the stairs themselves to get the amazing views at the top.
19 Crooked Forest In Szczecin, Poland
The Crooked Forest is a strange forest made up of trees that have abnormal properties. The Crooked Forest is located near a small town known as Gryfino located in Szczecin, Paris. The forest itself has dozens and dozens of trees that grew crooked and now resemble something similar to a hook shape for their body.
The trees look as if they are out of a science fiction movie on a strange planet.
Nobody knows exactly why the trees are bent like they are but many speculate that the trees have a strange gravitational pull which makes them bend at the strange 90-degree angle.
18 Apostle Islands In Wisconsin, the USA
The Apostle Islands are a group of over 20 small islands located in Lake Superior around Wisconsin. These islands are known to hold many different species of plants many of which are now endangered in other parts of the world. The islands also feature amazing river caves as seen by the image above. The small limestone cutouts seem too great to be a factor of mother nature. The river caves are known to freeze over in the colder months of the year creating amazing looking ice sculptures from the falling water within the caves. You can also find your fair share of bears according to the official Apostle Islands website.
17 Aquarium In Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Many people have visited man-made aquariums but have you ever visited one by mother nature? Most of the times these aquariums are free and offer much more true to life experiences of how these creatures in these habitats live. One of these real-life aquariums is located in Rangiora on French Polynesia.
Sure, the stretch of land and water looks impressive from up in the air but if you actually travel to the Aquarium in Rangiroa then you can get up close and personal with the wildlife there.
If you are a fan of diving or at least scuba diving then taking a trip to the Aquarium in Rangiroa will be unlike any other diving experience. According to TravelPulse, there is also a boat tour in which the bottom of the boat is glass giving a whole new perspective on viewing the creatures in the water.
16 Rotorua Hot Springs In Rotura, New Zealand
The United States isn't the only place with impressive hot springs. The Rotorua Hot Springs located in New Zealand is a modern wonder and impressive all in their own right. Ever since these hot springs and others like it were founded in New Zealand, the springs were rumored to give healing properties to those who submerged themselves in the water. While there aren't any healing properties being dealt out at these hot springs it is agreeable that the hot springs offer a relaxing experience. According to Rotorua's official website, there are several places to relax in the hot springs including a river just outside of town.
15 Svalbard, An Archipelago Between Norway And The North Pole
Svalbard may be one of the coldest places that people still want to willingly visit and that is because of its amazing views and things to do. There are several things to do in this icy wonderland and most tourists don't even know it exists! One of the main things to do in Svalbard according to their official website is gazing at the Northern Lights
. Svalbard makes for a great viewing spot to look at the Northern Lights.
There are also other things to do in the less cold months such as a season-long event called "sunny winter". This event allows visitors to stay somewhere cold during warmer months of the year and allows them to explore Svalbard to their hearts extent.
14 A Small Oasis In Huacachina, Peru
Would you believe that there is a small town in the middle of a desert? Well, technically this small town isn't in the middle of a desert but it is surrounded by a few miles of dunes and sand so it counts. It is also built around an oasis which is a small body of water typically found in deserts. The town is very small only bolstering around 90 or so people. If you can make it to the small town then it is a place like no other place in the world. There are small shops that invite tourists in and it seems like a small slice of what life would be like if there were only around 100 people living on Earth.
13 An Inverted Tower In Quinta Da Regaleira, Portugal
Many people decide to visit places that feature tall old historical towers like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. However, have you ever heard of an inverted tower? Think of the Leaning Tower of Pisa but going into the ground instead (and less leaning). This will result in the Inverted Tower located in Quinta Da Regaleira, Portugal.
The tower drop to be around 27 feet and features walkways that are carved into its walls.
Many people see it as a whole in the ground as the walkway doesn't really lead anywhere except for the bottom where often times rainwater starts to collect.
12 The Two Continents Of Pingvallavatn Lake, Iceland
Have you ever thought of what it would feel like if you could be in two countries at once? Well if you visit Pingvallavatn Lake in Iceland you can live this dream, sort of. The Pingvallavatn Lake is a lake that holds both the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. You can swim in between two tectonic plates of two different continents if you please. Not only that but the water is crystal clear and can be a fun scuba diving trip regardless of the fact you are swimming between two continents. According to the Guide To Iceland website, the water gets around 2 degrees Celcius year round so it could be a bit of a cold venture.
11 Las Lajas Sanctuary In Ipiales, Colombia
This beautiful church is built right on the border of Colombia and Ecuador. Just from looking at the pictures of the church you can tell that care and time went into the construction of the church.
The Las Lajas Sanctuary was built back in the 1700's and was built by a single family who claimed to have witnessed a miracle.
Quite possibly the most impressive part about this sanctuary is the fact that it is built over a large gorge. This gives an amazing view from outside and inside the sanctuary's walls.
10 Mount Sanqing, Jiujiang In Mount Sanqing, China
This mountain located in China is known as Mount Sanquing and is made up of three smaller mountains. This location was most notably used to practice Taoist in history. The views you can have from climbing the mountains make it worth the long trip up the mountains. You can also see your fair share of wildlife and waterfalls on the way up the mountain. If you are a fan of hiking and climbing mountains then Mount Sanquing should definitely be on your list. A report from the official UNESCO website states, "there are 48 granite peaks and 89 granite pillars, many of which resemble human or animal silhouettes."
9 Monastery Of Santa Maria Dell’Isola In Tropea, Italy
This is quite possibly one of the most secluded places on this list and very few people know about it. The Monastery of Santa Maria Dell'Isola is a beautiful cathedral built upon a mountain of sorts that overlooks the ocean. The architectural masterpiece was built between the 6th and the 9th century according to Italianways.com. The views from the inside and out of the monastery are beyond amazing. Since the monstery is located on the coast many people also enjoy a day at the beach after exploring the historical site! There is little reason not to visit this exclusive spot now that you know it exists!
8 Lake Natron, Tanzania
Lake Natron has had many myths and stories told behind the strange effects it has on anyone that touches its waters. These stories told of animals being turned to stone if they walked or drank the water in Lake Natron. Technically, the stories aren't wrong as there is an effect that Lake Natron has on animals that go near it.
The lake is made up of alkaline which has strong PH levels that will essentially burn anything that gets close enough to the lake to touch the water.
Therefore, don't actually go into the water of the lake but the effect the PH levels have on the color makes it worth visiting in person. Just make sure you stand a few feet away from the water.
7 The Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada
The Montreal Botanical Garden is known to be one of the world's best botanical gardens ever and it isn't very well known around the world. The garden's biggest tourist draw is the different themed gardens they have. The Montreal Botanical Garden features up to 30 themed gardens. Some of these themes include making different sculptures out of hedges. Some of these sculptures can be upwards of ten feet in the air. Not only does the botanical garden feature thirty different types of themed gardens it also contains then different greenhouses. This place is perfect for anyone who wants to connect with nature and see a lot of green!
6 The Gassho-Zukuri Farmhouses Of Shirakawa-gō And Gokayama, Japan
As we know Japan is more than its big cities such as Tokyo. Once you get into the more countryside of Japan things start to take an interesting turn. Take the Gassho-Zukuri Farmhouses, for example. The main draw for many tourists is the traditional Japanese village vibe that the small town gives off. Gassho-Zukuri is made up of small houses built in the traditional style of Japan's culture and history. These work as a type of bed and breakfast and tourists constantly flock here every year to grab a room and experience what it is like to live in Japan's culture.
5 Kampong Thom, Cambodia
Kampong Thom is a place located in Cambodia that offers visitors many different activities. It is located near Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and is fairly easy to get to.
While in Kampong Thom you can climb the stairs of Phnom Suntuk which is a pagoda high up on the mountains of Kampong Thom.
This is difficult to get to as you have to walk up over 800 steps to reach the top. There are even boat tours you can take of the Stung Sen River. You can even simply freely explore the fields that make up Kampong Thom. This place is a great way to escape from normal life and simply explore the world for a while.
4 Lake At Jiuzhaigou National Park, China
The Jiuzhaigou National Park located in China is a pretty unknown place as it is but the lake located in the national park is something made of wonders. The most striking part of the lake is the fact that the water is a very saturated turquoise and it is extremely clear. If you happen to visit the lake you won't have trouble seeing everything hiding under the lake. The lake is located just at Min Mountains near the Tibetan Plateau and it is a wonder as to why the national park isn't more popular seeing as it is located in a prime spot for tourism.
3 Hitachi Seaside Park In Ibaraki, Japan
Japan is a beautiful country and when you get out of the major cities is when you can see some of its major spots of beauty. One of these places is located northeast of Tokyo in the Kanto Plain. What lies here is a large garden filled with bright and colorful flowers and a pathway that leads through all of them. Not only are these bizarre bright plants here but there are dozens and dozens of different other flowers within the garden itself. If you are a fan of the outdoors and flowers you may want to consider visiting Hitachi Seaside Park as it is only a few hours away from Tokyo.
2 Pangong Tso Lake In Ladakh, the Himalayas
The Pinging Tso Lake in India is known as India's most popular lake. The lake is also known to contain the highest amount of salt in any body of water in the world. This means that the lake probably isn't the best to swim in. The lake itself presents amazing beauty as it sits at the base of the Himalayan mountains which make for a perfect backdrop. Although the Lake is technically in China the best parts of the lake are located in India due to the Himalayas. The lake is definitely a beautiful spot to visit as most of the lake doesn't have many visitors.
1 Hinatuan River In Surigao Del Sur, the Philippines
The Hinatuan River is also known as the Enchanted River and for good reason. The waters in this river are very saturated and very clear. It is the perfect swimming hole for anyone brave enough to jump into the fairly deep waters. The river lies behind the small province of Surigao Del Sur and is tucked away so much that many people don't even know it exists. This river is a place of paradise and the fact that it is so unknown is part of what makes it so great. Chances are the river won't be overcrowded by tourists like many other beautiful swimming spots in the world.