Abandoned sites usually have people thinking of dingy buildings that are covered in graffiti. Stale smells, dim lighting, and crumbling infrastructure don't typically come to mind when you are craving a nice dose of mother nature. We all know nature as an unpredictable strong force that can transform all lands and regions within minutes through natural disasters.
Nature can take its vengeance in catastrophic ways. Hurricanes can rip apart homes and flood neighborhoods for miles. Earthquakes can cause the tallest towers to come tumbling down. But sometimes mother nature can change a landscape for the better. She slowly creeps her way in allowing her vines and moss to reclaim the land that was rightfully hers. Continue reading as we discover 10 abandoned places nature has taken back in the most beautiful ways.
10 Il Vallone Dei Mulini In Sorrento, Italy
Italy is famously known for its art, wine, and stunning architecture. But what you might not be familiar with is the coastal town of Sorrento, Italy. Sorrento sits atop a cliff that overlooks the Bay of Naples. This little town is also the creator of the famous liquor Limoncello. While there are many things to see and do in Sorrento, it is easy to overlook some attractions that are hidden from the main streets.
Just a short walk from the main square Piazza Tasso is an old abandoned flour and sawmill in Il Vallone dei Mulini. This historic valley has been completely devoured by nature. Walking around the square, most visitors may not even notice it tucked away from the busy streets. However, once eyes have been laid on the old mill, it is hard to ignore its beauty. The pathways, stairs and the mill itself have been taken over by vegetation. The abundance of ferns and overgrown vines makes the mill appear as though it is a fairy-tale tower in an enchanted forest.
9 Kolmanskop, Namibia
Namibia is a beautiful country in Southwestern Africa. Famous for its the Namib Desert along the Atlantic coast as well as its high concentration of cheetahs. This region of Africa has some of Namibia's beautiful landscapes. Situated in the middle of the desert is Kolmanskop, a ghost town that was once a wealthy area due to its diamond mining industry back in the 1900s.
According to Info-Namibia, the area "derived its name from a Nama man named Coleman, who got stuck at the site with his ox wagon and consequently died of thirst". The final residents officially deserted the town sometime between 1956 and 1960s, leaving the settlement to be reclaimed by the several bursts of sandstorms over the years to take back the land. The barren lands feel otherworldly since the town ceased to be a booming diamond industry.
8 Tunnel Of Love In Klevan, Ukraine
Exactly as its name suggests, The Tunnel of Love is an incredibly romantic and dreamy setting for lovers to stroll down. Located just outside the town of Klevan, Ukraine resides a railway that local residents named after its charming characteristics. The sun brightly shines its way through the plethora of leaves and vines that have twisted its way forming an immaculate pathway that goes on for miles.
While not completely abandoned, the tunnel was actually shaped with the help of the occasional train that passes through. The trees have grown and molded into a pathway that perfectly arches over to allow the passing train. Walking through the tunnel feels as if you've stepped into a verdant daydream. It is no wonder how this bright leaf archway has become an ideal spot for romantics.
7 Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Undeniably, one of the most popular and largest temples among the many found in Angkor Wat lays the temple of Ta Prohm. Prominent for its massively overgrown tree roots that have draped over the temple's decaying walls. The Kingdom of Angkor Wat dates back to the 12th century and was constructed under King Jayavarman VII. This Buddhist temple is now mostly impassable through most corridors as tremendous Bayon tree roots have intertwined its way through the temple walls and bulging terrain.
Ta Prohm is still accessible to visitors and can be viewed through the courtyards. Some areas, such as the well-known Crocodile Tree (famously featured in Tomb Raider) have been sectioned off by visitors for preservation. Ta Prohm is a remarkable indication of the Ancient Khmer empire's engineering. The temple has been almost completely swallowed by the surrounding jungle with its roots and flora consuming the ancient walls.
6 Gouqi Island, China
As the world's fourth largest and most populous country, China does not disappoint when it comes to finding enchanting places to visit. From the notorious Great Wall to the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi'an, the list of tourist locations are endless. China covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometers of biodiverse lands. The country's land is 67% mountains and even offers thick subtropical forests amongst its spectacular diverse landscapes.
Amidst the mountainous lands in the province of Zhejiang, is the abandoned fishing settlement of Houtouwan on the island of Gouqi. This once prosperous fishing settlement is located at the mouth of the Yangtze River. The fishing industry began to slowly diminish letting the natural surroundings to swallow the settlement in its entirety, leaving the buildings to surrender itself to nature. Ivy and moss wrap itself around every surface leaving the town a rich in greenery.
5 New World Mall In Bangkok Thailand
In the middle of Thailand's bustling capital is it's famous Khao San Road. Known for its shopping and street food. While visitors walk amongst the storefronts and roadside eats, few may be aware that not far from all the haggling with shop owners sits the beautiful and abandoned New World Mall. This shopping center shut down in 1997 due to issues with building regulations. Over the years nature has slowly taken over the once busy shopping center.
Now having been abandoned for years, the mall has been completely reclaimed by nature. Upon approaching the abandoned shopping center, visitors can see the dark and crumbling building. An unwelcoming sight that holds an incredible experience once you enter. The mall has been flooded up to 500 meters due to incomplete demolition of the site. As the ground floor continued to flood over the years, the area was swarmed by mosquitoes causing a nuisance for nearby vendors. Eventually, locals decided to add fish into the newly created pond in the mall to deal with the mosquito issue. Over the years, the fish have multiplied in numbers creating an extraordinary location for photography enthusiasts. Amongst the shadowy hallways and empty shopping grounds are the beautifully colorful array of koi fish swimming in the dark pond of the mall.
4 Floating Forest In Sydney, Australia
The Habour Front, Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach are usually at the top of the list for any tourist who has just hopped off the plane in Sydney. But, did you know that in the middle of the Homebush Bay is the magical Floating Forest? Okay, it's not exactly magical but it sure looks like it came out of the pages of Peter Pan. It's surprising to know that not too far from downtown Sydney was an abandoned ship now overgrown with lush vegetation. The ship is over 100 years old and now covered with an abundance of trees and bushes.
The SS Aryfield has been abandoned since the 1960s and has become a new tourist attraction in Sydney. The abandoned ship is a remarkable sight. A floating lush forest in the middle of the Sydney Harbor contrasts stunningly against the lively city in the distance. With greenery sprouting out from every gap, it's hard not to be intrigued by its beauty.
3 Power Plant IM, Belgium
While Belgium is famous for its waffles, beer and chocolate it also offers some of the most beautiful landscapes and destinations for travelers. Tucked south of Brussels is Charleroi. Architectural jackpots in the area include the neoclassical Hôtel de Ville and the Fine Arts Museum. Within this small town is also the abandoned Power Plant IM. This cooling tower was constructed in 1921. It was the biggest cooling plant in Belgium and the main source of energy for surrounding areas with the ability to cool 500, 000 gallons of water within minutes.
High CO2 emissions and Great Peace protesters led to the power plants closer in 2007. Now, the power plant is completely abandoned leaving only the brave to trespass its permanently closed doors. Exploring this abandoned site is like entering into a space odyssey dystopia. Within the plant are moss covered grounds with an endless metal wall towering above. Its squalor state is completely fantastic in its own creepy way.
2 Devil's Bridge/The Die Rakotzbruke Bridge In Germany
The Devil's Bridge, or The Die Rakotzbruke Bridge, in Saxony, Germany is gaining popularity through social media tags and photographers. Don't let the name turn you off. It's a fanciful spot for adventurers and photography lovers. Built in 1860, it gained its name from the shape of the bridge; a perfect semi-circle that reflects perfectly in the still water below as if sinking into the earth itself.
Truly stunning at any time of year. Whether it is during early spring breezes, late autumn foliage, or the middle of the cold winter, the Devil's Bridge can accommodate for some seriously charming views. Today, visitors are not permitted to actually walk along the bridge with signs posted to prevent any tourists from doing so. The Devil's Bridge has been closed off for preservation purposes. You can find this bridge in Kromlauer Park and maybe even have a picture-perfect picnic.
1 Old Castle Ruins In Sintra Portugal
Sintra is a little town located at the foothills of Lisbon, Portugal. This little Portuguese fairy tale town is covered in quaint pastel villas and old Moorish castles. Strolling along the streets has a storybook atmosphere. The town is located by small bodies of water that are home to lush forests with overgrown flora providing a peaceful ambiance. In the middle of towering trees of the forest are the ruins of an old castle found along the shore of the lake.
Bright green moss sprawls over what's left the of the old castle. The entire vicinity has an enchanting aura deep in the middle of the woods. It's picturesque atmosphere also portrays a beautifully eerie visual with the fog creeping through the trees.