Lake Hillier, Australia

The 15 Most Surreal Destinations on Earth

Have you ever been to a magical place so mesmerizing that you had to pinch yourself to ensure you were not dreaming?

The world is full of incredible places, and a few places on Earth feel otherworldly because of their beauty and serenity. Let’s take a look at the 15 most surreal destinations on Earth:

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1. Deadvlei, Namibia

The “dead valley” in Namibia is a valley surrounded by the world’s highest sand dunes. Because of the surrounding desert, what used to be a thriving forest now comprises a few dying trees. The black trees set to a backdrop of orange sand makes the scene look almost like a painting.

Deadvlei, Namibia

2. Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia

The world’s largest salt flat would be impressive on its own, but it gets even more impressive when it rains. The water transforms the salt flat into a natural mirror, reflecting the sky above it. The sight is truly breathtaking.

3. Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor is a complex of enormous and beautiful temples leftover from the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries. However, what is more special about them is how giant trees grow along with the temples and high into the sky above them.

Angkor, Cambodia

4. Antelope Canyon, Arizona, United States

Flowing water carved the canyons in Arizona over millions of years. The Antelope Canyon is so narrow that it appears in brilliant colors like reds, oranges, purples, and blues when light enters it.

5. Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia in Central Anatolia has a breathtaking view made up of incredible rock formations, rock-carved churches, and chapels. Many people enjoy hot air balloon rides over the destination to take in the view.

Cappadocia, Turkey

6. Sea of Stars, Vaadhoo Island, Maldives

The sea of stars is a phenomenon seen in the Maldives because of bioluminescence in the reefs near the shore. The bioluminescence causes the sea to glow and appear as though it is full of stars. The eerie blue glow in the night is beautiful and surreal.

Illumination of plankton at Maldives

7. Chand Baori, Rajasthan, India

Chand Baori is a famous and mind-blowing stepwell constructed in 800 CE. It consists of 3,500 narrow steps that go down 13 stories, taking you 100 feet underground. It is incredible to think that humans could achieve such a feat as building the stepwell so many years ago.

8. Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu, China

This landform is made up of mineral deposits and red sandstone from over 24 million years ago. Over time, the landform was worn down by the elements to form pillars, valleys, and ravines. The bright and colorful landform is a sight to behold.

Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu, China

9. Lake Hillier, Australia

Lake Hillier is a saline lake that is so distinct from other lakes because of the pink color of the water. The water gets its coloring from the algae and bacteria in the lake. Surprisingly, the pink water is perfectly safe to swim in.

10. Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, Wyoming, United States

The largest hot spring in the United States is a colorful sight. The center of the spring has fresh and vibrantly blue water, which turns more turquoise towards the edges, and is surrounded by red mineral-rich earth.

Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, Wyoming, United States

11. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

The Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument on the Salisbury Plain that is made up of rings of standing stones around 13 feet high. The monument faces the sunrise during the summer solstice and is thought to be a burial ground in its past. There is a lot of interesting folklore and many stories surrounding the origins of Stonehenge.

12. Glen Brittle, Scotland

The glen South of the Isle of Skye runs along the River Brittle and is dominated by blueish-purple heather. The pale river and the purple vegetation make the scene appear like a painting.

Glen Brittle, Scotland

13. Lake Natron, Tanzania

This lake has an incredibly high salt content, which means that salt-loving microorganisms live in the lake and produce a distinct red pigment. This pigment turns the whole lake a bright red that looks as if it belongs on Mars.

14. Highlands, Iceland

The Highlands in Iceland is the perfect place to see the Aurora Borealis. These Northern Lights create a beautiful wave of light in the sky that has fascinated and amazed humans for millennia.

15. Derweze, Turkmenistan

Also known as the “Door to Hell,” Derweez is an area rich in natural gas. In 1971, an underground cavern full of gas was discovered and set on fire to prevent the gas from escaping into the atmosphere. The fire was expected to go out in a few days but still burns to this day, creating what is essentially a huge pit of fire.

Derweze, Turkmenistan

Some of these places we’ve talked about are too good to be true! Which of these 15 most surreal destinations on Earth would you most like to see for yourself?

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