So often when we marvel at the wonders of the world around us, we tend to point out the beauty in the things that human ingenuity and innovation have achieved. We look to the Great Pyramids of Giza and are fascinated with how humans have been accomplishing incredible feats since the beginning of time. We pause and admire the inventiveness of the human spirit when we gaze at the 13,000 miles of concrete and stone that make up the epic Great Wall of China. Or we look up at the countless and ever-growing towering skyscrapers of today and are inspired by our will to continue to surpass our own creativity and breakthroughs. And we do this with good reason. Our species truly has constructed some of the most captivating structures that are even hard to fathom at times. But in reality, we are far behind one competitor that we will never be able to catch… Mother Nature.
We can be engrossed with our own success and achievements, but nothing we make can ever truly compare to some of what nature has created through science, time, circumstance and sheer miracle. We can simply start with our planet itself. Earth as a whole is spellbinding with its never-ending beauty and landscapes. When we tout the size of our buildings, nature gives us Mount Everest which makes even our tallest seem like miniature toys by comparison.
When we boast of our incredible stadiums, roads and aquariums, nature gives us volcanoes, waterfalls, lakes, canyons, and the captivating Northern Lights that make what we have constructed seem rather insignificant. With such epic and grand natural phenomena out in the world, it’s impossible to even comprehend how much is out there that we have never had a chance to explore. But what we have had the chance to see has left us in astonishment. Here are 24 natural sights even more breathtaking than the Northern Lights.
24 Darvaza, Karakum Desert
Located in the middle of the Karakum Desert, near a small village called Derweze in the country of Turkmenistan, this natural sight is truly something to behold. At nearly 230 feet from one point to another, it is one of the world’s largest gas craters. What makes this one so unique is the fire, flames and boiling earth it contains giving off an orange glow, often referred to by the locals as “The Gates of Hell”, an apt name given its appearance. In this photo, it’s impressive size and beauty are on full display.
23 Etretat, France
Etretat is a town in the north of France with a population of about 1,500 residents. Its economy is based on farming and tourism. The latter is singlehandedly due to its main attraction, the Etretat Chalk Complex, which brings people from all over the world. The complex is a series of chalk cliffs which have stunning natural arches and are well over 200 feet above ground.
Its towering presence over the ocean and beach below, along with the unique shape of the rock formations make for an incredible hike as can be seen in the photo above.
22 Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Located near the island of Phuket off the coast of mainland Thailand, the Phi Phi Islands are a top tourist destination because of their unique formation and beauty. They are a series of smaller islands, each with their own name. The two largest actually have residents who live on the islands, while the smaller ones are simply gigantic rock formations that sit in the middle of the sea protruding above ground. The island group’s distinct arrangement and physical appearance attract many people who can only reach them by boat.
21 Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Located on the protected lands of the Navajo, Antelope Canyon is only accessible by a guided tour.
The canyons distinct rock formation gives an appearance unlike anything most people will ever see, punctuated by their smooth contours and symmetrical lines, formed through waters that have carved their path down in the canyon.
Often sought after by photographers because of the way the sunlight reaches the ground through the crevices above, Antelope Canyon is one of Arizona’s many natural beauties.
20 Mount Roraima, Venezuela
The country of Venezuela makes an appearance on our list twice. The country’s natural beauty might sometimes be overlooked, but with little justification. Venezuela’s islands, rainforests and mountains are unmatched with Mount Roraima being among the most spectacular. The mountain also resides in Brazil and Guyana, making it officially located within three countries, but most of its base is in Venezuela.
Long considered a special site to the indigenous people in the country, the mountain, although not giant by normal mountainous standards at less than 10,000 feet, is captivating because of its triangular shape and rock corner that jut out through the clouds.
19 Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
Vaadhoo, a single island located within the series of islands that make up the famous Maldives, is inhabited by no more than 500 residents. The Maldives attract tourists from everywhere looking to relax among the most beautiful beaches in the world, but Vaadhoo Island stands out because of its Sea of Stars, which can be seen in this beautiful image.
The phenomena known as bioluminescence gives off a natural blue glow from the beaches’ sand that sometimes seems too magical to be true.
18 Sossusvlei, Namibia
Namibia, a desert located in Africa is home to the Sossusvlei, a clay formation surrounded by beautiful red dunes formed by the desert sand. The dunes are the main attraction as their striking wavy lines formed by nature are unique.
Visitors have to do their research first before visiting as the temperatures in the Namib Desert are wildly different. May through September are the coolest months while December can hit triple digits.
17 Plitvice Lake, Croatia
Located in one of the largest national parks in the country of Croatia, Plitvice Lake National Park attracts well over one million visitors a year. Tourists and residents flock to the park to marvel at the many natural attractions, but none more than Plitvice Lake, itself. The largest in a series of lakes is known for its blue waters, beautiful waterfall and a land path that cuts through the middle, as can be seen in this stunning image from above.
16 Yellow Canola Fields, China
Throughout much of China, especially in the Yunnan County, canola flowers grow in massive fields out in the open planes. The flowers, known for their striking yellow color are basically the seed used in cooking oil, hence the term “canola”. Often stretching for miles past the eye’s ability to see, the field’s epic scope is just as impressive as their stunning beauty. In this image, their massive size and unmistakable color impress.
15 Maroon Bells, Colorado
A little over 1o miles from the tourist town of Aspen, Colorado, Maroon Bells are two mountain peaks that have become famous for their striking beauty and location. Situated in the Elk Mountain range, the two peaks, along with their neighboring mountains towering over the waters of Maroon Lake, have become one of the most sought-after photographs for hikers and nature lovers.
In this image, there’s little need to explain why so many look forward to finding the right angle from their camera.
14 Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone Wyoming
Located in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park which is famous for being home to more natural geysers and springs than anywhere else in the world, Grand Prismatic seems like something out of a watercolor painting conjured up by a creative artist.
The spring is the third largest in the world at 370 feet across, but what attracts so many visitors is its striking mix of colors which can be seen in this image.
13 Kuang Si Falls, Laos
Laos, situated near Thailand and Vietnam is a landlocked country with no beaches, so it might come as a surprise that it is home to one of the most beautiful water formations in the world.
Kuang Si Falls, located within the wilderness, is a waterfall that attracts many tourists because of its beauty and distinct waterfalls. The running stream, beginning in shallow pools, flows downstream into many multi-layered waterfalls giving off a striking effect of how the water runs which can be seen in this incredible image.
12 Lake Baikal, Russia
Located in Siberia, Russia, Baikal is stunning in more ways than can be counted. It is the seventh largest lake on the planet, while boasting the title of the largest freshwater lake in the world, containing nearly a quarter of all of the world’s fresh water. It’s also considered the oldest lake in the world at nearly 30 million years old and the deepest, over one mile down.
The lake’s impressive nature doesn’t stop there though. It is also considered one of the clearest, with waters more transparent than just about anywhere else. For nearly half of the year, the entire surface of the lake is frozen in ice, causing for one of the most striking images anyone will ever see.
11 Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Formed by the ever-changing climate and natural movement of many great lakes surrounding it, the Salar de Uyuni came about, becoming the planet’s largest salt flat at over four thousand square miles. What makes this natural sight so incredible is the salt crust that makes up the surface of the lake, giving it a flat look and the ability to act like a giant mirror, reflecting anything above it. Its natural phenomena can be seen in this breathtaking image.
10 Melissani Cave, Greece
Located on Kefalonia, an island within Greece, the Melissani Cave has become one of the country’s most famous natural sights. Known for its serenity and idyllic beauty, there are few places in the world that can compare to its stunning imagery. Surrounded by mountains, the cave leads to a body of water with the sloping rock formation covering it from atop. Explorers and visitors come from all around to boat or photograph its tranquil nature.
9 Dos Ojos Cave, Mexico
Situated in the Yucatan Peninsula off the coast of Mexico, Dos Ojos Cave, translated as two eyes, is one of many which make up a larger system of underwater caves that are over 50 miles long, one of the longest on Earth.
With depths reaching several hundred feet below the earth and miles of tunnels, the entire cave system has yet to be fully explored. But what has been searched has yielded some of the most impressive and stunning imagery as can be seen in the photo above.
8 Lake Schlegeis, Austria
Schlegeis, located near the mountain ranges of Olperer Range in Austria is quite possibly one of the world’s most stunning lakes. Situated between towering mountains in a valley below and a path for tourists to get the best views from, there are very little landscapes that can compete with the imagery seen here.
In this incredible photo, the lake’s striking blue-green water, nestled between incredible mountains with snow tops are incredible.
7 Great Barrier Reef, Australia
At over 1,400 miles long, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is the largest coral reef system in the world. It is composed of nearly a thousand islands and three times as many reefs. A coral reef is an ecosystem built by colonies of marine animal and wildlife, which makes the Great Barrier Reef the largest structure made by living organisms. So large in fact, it can even be seen from outer space. Its massive scope and beauty are on full display in this photo.
6 Bigar Cascade Falls, Romania
Loved by the locals and even considered a miracle, Bigar Cascade Falls, located in the Anina Mountains of Romania, is unlike anything you will see anywhere else. Its unique physical appearance, which is often compared to the veil a bride would wear on her wedding day is simply beautiful. The formation, a giant rock, is covered in algae and moss, with water flowing above it, creating a stunning effect which can be seen in this beautiful image.
5 Amazon Rainforest, Brazil
The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest on the planet. Located in South America, its land mass is nearly 3 million square miles, making it bigger than just about every country in the world with the exception of a handful. With more natural beauties than anyone could ever count, most of the rainforest has never even been explored. Home to nearly 400 billion trees and millions of wildlife, the number of perfect photos one could take are limitless.