Spoiler alert: This list will give you some hardcore wanderlust, so be prepared. If you’re looking for some unique places to travel to, then you’re definitely in the right place.
The world is full of beautiful places that can be remote or hidden, and appear to be totally surreal. Nature can create its own works of art and geological phenomena can often carve out the most beautiful things, that are more magical than we can ever imagine. Sometimes beauty can be handcrafted and the result of ingenuity and human creativity. All the photos in this article seem as though they must be photoshopped or painted, they honestly don’t look like real life, but surprise, they are!
Learn more about the world’s wondrous beauties that seem like they are a scene out of a fantasy film or fairy tale and expand your list of places to visit. Follow me on a fun tour of the world’s most surreal buildings, beaches, caves and more.
30 Lake Hillier, Australia
Lake Hillier is a fascinating lake located in Western Australia because it has pink water. It looks like a bubblegum bath bomb was released into its raspberry-pink sea, definitely a sight straight out of a fairytale-inspired fantasy.
The reason for its pink hue is thought to be due to the presence of a specific kind of micro-algae that produces this pink colour.
Who could’ve thought algae could make a lake this beautiful?
29 Red Beach, Panjin, China
This amazing beach is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Instead of sand, its beaches are covered in seaweed that turns bright red in the fall, like leaves. The seaweed changes colour with the season, in the Spring it is green and in the Summer it becomes a jade colour, however, the most popular season to visit is in the Fall, when it turns crimson red.
It is a huge wetland that is made up of shallow waters. Tourists have visited this spot since the 80s to view its vibrant beauty.
28 Patagonia Marble Caves, Chile
These beautiful caves are the result of erosion and light. These caves appear to be a work of art, crafted and painted by a human being, but really they’re all nature’s work. You’ll find these caves in the Patagonian Andes on the cusp of Chile and Argentina.
This peninsula is solely made from marble that changes colours throughout the year depending on the season.
It’s a very secluded spot that can only be visited by boat, of course, however, it seems worth the journey to me.
27 Reed Flute Caves, China
Also known as the Palace of Natural Arts, the Reed Flute Caves are a popular tourist attraction and are also a Chinese landmark.
These Chinese caves are made up of limestone and have multicoloured lights that create a splendid effect.
Inside the cave, there are ancient writings that date back to around 800AD, showing how it was popular throughout the ages. It was rediscovered in the 40s by refugees and was opened for tourism in the 60s. It’s been very popular since and it’s clear why.
26 Antelope Canyon, Arizona, United States
Arizona is a popular spot to visit by tourists because of the Grand Canyon, of course, a spot known by pretty much everyone. However, while you’re in the area, the Antelope Canyon is a must-see spot in Page, Arizona.
Its tall sandstone walls appear to flow seamlessly as though they were a painting and not tall rocks.
The walls spiral and bend as a result of erosion and flooding, which eventually created narrow passages that can be explored. So impressive!
25 Pamukkale Hot Springs, Turkey
Pamukkale literally translates to “cotton castle” in Turkish and after seeing these amazing hot springs, I’m sure you’ll understand why.
These spectacular hot springs are made up of large, white limestone deposits and large thermal pools that you can swim in.
The white limestone looks like clouds floating amongst the crystal clear, blue waters. Pamukkale is a world heritage site and is certainly a sight to see at least once in your lifetime.
24 Crooked House Krzywy Domek, Sopot, Poland
This goofy house looks like a special effect or something straight out of Dr Seuss’ the Cat in the Hat. It translates to “crooked little house,” because that’s exactly what it is.
It looks like an optical illusion from afar but it’s actually shaped like that in real life.
The best part is this house can actually be toured. It’s a really quirky spot that you need to see if you’re in Poland. You certainly won’t find anything like it elsewhere.
23 Catacombs, Paris, France
The Catacombs are eerily impressive. Located in Paris, France, this large catacomb contains the remains of over 6 million people. Its purpose was to try to rid the city of having too many cemeteries. It was built in the 18th century and was open to visitation in the 19th century.
With all due respect, it seriously looks as though it’s straight out of a scene of the Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Catacombs will arouse curiosity and excitement in anyone who is fascinated by these ancient tombs.
22 Seven Coloured Earths, Chamarel, Mauritius
This location is world famous. Located in Mauritius, an island country found in the Indian Ocean, this spectacular and colourful earth is visited every year by tourists.
These colours are a result of a geological phenomena caused by a volcanic eruption.
The earth is painted with beautiful swirls of colours that dance together. You need to visit this spot to truly understand how fascinating it is because a photo does not do it justice.
21 Bigar Waterfall, Romania
Locals refer to this beautiful waterfall as “the miracle from the Minis Canyon”. The Bigar waterfall is located in the Anina Mountains, in the Mini River in Romania. It’s a mesmerizing natural incredible sight to see and it is definitely unlike any waterfall you’ve ever visited.
Overgrown moss forms a carpet over the surface of the falls where water flows into many streams and into a basin of water.
The green moss makes this waterfall appear to be so mystical, and the water flows in a much more gentle fashion than a typical, cascading waterfall. There is something so serene about the Bigar Falls.
20 The Dancing House, Prague, Czech Republic
The Dancing House seems to be a goofy building, however, it has a rich cultural significance for the city of Prague. Vaclav Havel was a famous Czech dissident that eventually became the first president of the Czech Republic.
He commissioned the building of the Dancing House in hopes that it would represent democracy, hope, and be a place for people to gather.
It was built using the de-constructivist architectural style and is considered to be one of the most important postmodern buildings of the city. If you’re a history or architecture buff, add this one to your places to visit.
19 Tianzi Mountains, China
Tianzi Mountains are giant mountains that resemble tall pillars, located in South Central China. These gigantic mountains take up 67 square km of land and are made up of quartz sandstone.
They are caused by erosion, a natural process in which land slowly wears away.
These mountains are deemed to be sacred by those who live in nearby cities. Despite its sacred significance, tourists visit this site constantly. Its foggy skies paired with the tall pills makes this site look totally unreal.
18 Underwater Waterfall, Mauritius Island
Chances are we’ve all seen a waterfall, regardless of how big or small it was. This waterfall is different from all the rest because it isn't above ground.
Well, it’s actually just an optical illusion, but it looks so real it’s easy to believe, right?
This effect is created because of sand and salt deposits that vary in colour, appearing to be an underwater waterfall. To fully understand it’s beauty, you need to visit the area by helicopter and see its grandeur from up above.
17 Sentinels of the Arctic, Finland
While this looks like an illusion or the result of some photoshop skills, this is all real. 'Sentinels of the Arctic' is a series created by photographer Niccolò Bonfadini.
He took photos of trees that were submerged in snow and instantly froze because of the -40-degree weather.
These frozen trees are found in the Finnish Lapland, a place that obviously gets cold in the winter. While this is the complete opposite of a beach vacation, this is quite the incredible experience.
16 Sea of Stars, Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
The Maldives is already a very popular destination for tourists because of its crystal clear waters and tranquil beaches. The sea of stars is just one more reason to visit this luxurious destination.
The seas of the Indian Ocean glow at night thanks to a specific kind of phytoplankton, called Lingulodinium polyedrum.
These micro-organisms can create light when they are stressed by the movement of the waves and strength of the current. The light they emit is bright blue, as though it was a twinkling star in the night sky. Talk about romantic!
15 Turquoise Ice, Lake Baikal, Russia
Turquoise Ice is a collection of giant pieces of transparent ice that are frozen and above ground. Lake Baikal is a freshwater lake in Siberia and is also the oldest lake in the world that contains 20% of the world’s available drinking water.
The lake itself is gorgeous because it has the clearest water in the world.
Its clarity is seen in the pieces of ice that are so crystal clear, they almost appear to be transparent. Ice is usually white and not fully see-through, and not really an impressive sight, but this turquoise ice is unlike anything you will ever see.
14 Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine
The Tunnel of Love is located on a railway path in Klevan, Ukraine. Green arches encompass this railway path, making it a completely romantic path to walk down. Make sure to check the railway schedule, as a train passes three times a day, but aside from that this 6km long path is an enjoyable place to enjoy a romantic afternoon.
Regardless of the season, this path is mesmerizing. In the fall, the leaves change colour, making it a lovely sight to see, and in the Fall, ice forms on the branches making it appear to be a sight right out of tangled.
13 Glowworm Caves, Waitomo, New Zealand
The Glowworm Caves are located in Northern New Zealand. A specific kind of glowworms exclusively lives in this cave. It emits the magnificent light you see in the image above.
They were discovered in the 19th century and have been a tourist attraction ever since!
That’s quite a long time for an attraction to be popular, so you know it’s something that will mark you. You can even experience a boat tour under the beautiful light created by these unique species. What a magical experience!
12 Fly Geyser, Nevada
The Fly Geyser is located on a private island in Nevada. A geyser is a natural spring that shoots up water intermittently, like a volcano but filled with water. This site was actually created as a result of well drilling.
A well was built nearby and not properly finished, resulting in the amazing Fly Geyser.
It’s nearly five feet tall and was bought by The Burning Man Project. Luckily, that means you might be able to visit it in the near future without getting charged for trespassing on private property.
11 Lake Natron, Tanzania
This lake does not look like a lake at all. Lake Natron is located in Northern Tanzania. Its appearance is a result of evaporation, which left behind sodium carbonate decahydrate and sodium sesquicarbonate dihydrate, causing this reddish rock-like look.
The rich flora also contributes to this rich, red colour. Campgrounds near the lake make this a really good place to connect with nature and decompress, all while enjoying an impressive sight.
10 Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
These lakes make up Croatia’s oldest and largest national parks, founded by UNESCO in 1949. Millions of tourists flock to this location every year because of its awe-inspiring beauty.
16 lakes make up the Plitvice Lakes and each has beautiful blue waters, green vegetation all around and an abundance of waterfalls.
A real natural beauty! You cannot swim in these lakes, but that’s ok because you’ll just want to take photos and take in its beauty while you’re there.
9 Living Root Bridges, Meghalaya
These bridges are very old and made from overgrown roots that have tangled together. It seems like a scene right out of a fairytale, but really this is a sight in northeastern India. These bridges are a result of the Indian rubber tree, that has very strong secondary roots that form on its trunk.
Locals pull and twist these roots together to encourage them to grow and this results in these magical, natural bridges.
These root bridges can be found throughout the valleys in Meghalaya, try spotting some with a local tour guide.
8 Phugtal Monastery, Zankar Valley
The Phugtal Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in the Zankar Valley in Northern India. This monastery is extremely remote, as it is built into the formation of a natural cave and can only be reached by foot.
This location is intended to provide monks with the utmost peace and solitude to meditate and study their religion. Several festivals are hosted, which encourage locals to visit the Monastery and help preserve it. This site is difficult to physically visit, but it looks like something out of a dream.
The Chittorgarh Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also the largest fort found in India. It is over 180 m tall and is part of India’s rich history. It is located on a hill and near Berach river, providing a really mesmerizing view of the city below.
Many festivals are held here, like the Jauhar Mela, an annual festival commemorating their brave ancestors. It is definitely an impressive structure that will fascinate anyone who has a passion for Indian history.
6 Chand Baori, Rajasthan
The Chand Baori is a thousand-year-old step wall built in Rajasthan. It’s a hidden beauty in India where steps lead all the way down into a well to get water. This step wall is one of the most beautiful ones ever built and thankfully, ensured that the region of Rajasthan had access to water all year long.
The step wall goes down 64 feet and has a distinct geometric pattern that makes it mesmerizing to see. If you want to visit a step wall, this is definitely the one to see.
5 Elephant Rock, Iceland
Elephant Rock is a natural formation of rock found in the archipelago off the coast of Iceland. It’s a popular spot to visit because of i’s sheer resemblance to an elephant that appears to be drinking from the Atlantic ocean.
Elephant rock is yet another one of nature’s magical creations. It was made as a result of volcanic eruptions. The creation of this rock is dated back to the 70s. Geology lovers need to visit this oddly shaped rock!
4 Devil's bridge, Europe
Devil's Bridge is not a single site, but actually, there are dozens of these special bridges throughout Europe. These bridges can either be crafted from stone or masonry and are shaped like an arch. These bridges date back to 1000AD and represent technological progressions that occurred at the time.
Many people believed they were far too advanced to be built by human beings and were therefore believed to be built by the Devil. Interestingly enough, each of these bridges has an accompanying myth!
3 Baobab Trees, Africa
This majestic tree is a famous species found in over 32 African continents. These trees are massive. They can reach up to 30 metres high, be over 50 metres wide and can live up to 5000 years! This is definitely not a tree you see every day.
This spectacular tree grows a fruit, called the baobab fruit that is incredibly healthy! This fruit is filled with nutrients but sadly, is also highly unheard of!
2 These Dragon Trees in Socotra, Yemen
These amazing trees are unique because of their special shape. This tree is found near the Arabian Sea in Yemen. Its shape resembles that of an umbrella on a windy day, however, its sap is what sets it apart.
Maple trees produce maple syrup and this tree produces a bright red syrup otherwise known as Dragon’s Blood. This tree also produces colourful flowers in the spring, adding to its mystical beauty and allure.
1 Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire, UK
If this one looks slightly familiar, it’s because it probably is. The Harry Potter films were actually filmed in Gloucester Cathedral. That’s right Gloucestershire Cathedral is actually Hogwarts.
Sadly, don’t go there expecting to become a wizard, but you definitely can enjoy a tour of this impressive work of architecture. Any Harry Potter fan needs to go here to see their favourite films come to life! Bring your wands and go for a tour.