When we think of the most beautiful places on earth, we often picture tranquil beaches, lush green forests, and majestic mountain ranges. But there are some locations that are so surreal, so otherworldly, that they seem like they could only exist in our imaginations. These places are like nothing else on earth, and visiting them is a truly unforgettable experience.
In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 most surreal places in the world. From towering sandstone pillars to fiery craters in the desert, these locations will take your breath away and leave you wondering if you’ve stepped into a dream.
- The Pink Lake, Australia
The Pink Lake is a salt lake located in Western Australia.
It is believed that the high salt concentration in the lake, combined with the presence of certain algae and bacteria, create a chemical reaction that results in the pink hue. However, the exact mechanism behind this reaction is still being researched.
Despite its unusual appearance, the lake is safe for swimming and is a popular tourist destination.
The intensity of the lake’s pink color can vary throughout the year, and even from day to day, depending on a range of environmental factors such as temperature and rainfall.
- Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Our next surreal destination takes us to China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. This park is famous for its misty cliffs, lush vegetation, and towering sandstone pillars.
The park is a hiker’s paradise, with numerous trails and breathtaking viewpoints, including the glass-bottomed Skywalk that hangs off the side of a cliff.
The park’s most famous pillar is called the Southern Sky Column, which was the inspiration for the floating “Hallelujah Mountains” in the movie “Avatar.”
- Pamukkale, Turkey
If you’re looking for a surreal landscape that’s a little more peaceful, head to Pamukkale in Turkey. This natural hot spring is terraced with gleaming white mineral deposits, giving it a surreal, snowy appearance. The hot springs are said to have healing properties, and people have been bathing in them for thousands of years. Even if you’re not looking for a soak, the surreal landscape of Pamukkale is worth the visit.
Pamukkale translates to “cotton castle” in Turkish, a fitting name for the cotton-like appearance of the limestone terraces. These terraces are formed by the build-up of calcium carbonate deposits from the hot springs.
It’s also interesting to note that the ancient city of Hierapolis, which sits atop the terraces, was a popular spa town in ancient times due to the therapeutic properties of the hot springs.
- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
This incredible salt flat in Bolivia is not only the largest in the world, stretching over 4,000 square miles, but it’s also so remarkably flat that it’s used to calibrate satellites.
What truly sets Salar de Uyuni apart is the way it reflects the sky and clouds, creating an ethereal and surreal landscape. During the rainy season, a thin layer of water covers the salt flats, creating a mirror-like surface that reflects the sky, giving the illusion of walking on clouds. The effect is so stunning that it’s no surprise that Salar de Uyuni is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Bolivia.
Did you know that Salar de Uyuni is more than just a breathtaking natural wonder? It’s also a significant source of over half of the world’s lithium reserves. This valuable mineral is essential for the production of batteries and other electronic devices, making the salt flats a vital resource for modern technology.
Not only is this destination a surreal and awe-inspiring one, but it’s also a valuable contributor to the modern world’s technological advancements.
5. Antelope Canyon, USA
A narrow slot canyon in Arizona, Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed locations in the world. The canyon is formed by flowing sandstone walls, which have been eroded by water over thousands of years.
Antelope Canyon is actually made up of two separate slot canyons, Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon, both of which can only be accessed through guided tours.
What really makes Antelope Canyon surreal is the way it’s illuminated by beams of sunlight that create an ethereal glow.
As you explore the canyon, take a moment to reflect on the incredible forces of nature that have shaped this stunning landscape. The way the sunlight illuminates the walls and changes the colors throughout the day is a reminder of the constant transformation and evolution of the natural world around us.
6. Zhangye Danxia Landform, China
Zhangye Danxia Landform in China is a geological masterpiece that offers a breathtaking display of colors and textures. The vibrant sandstone formations resemble a surreal rainbow mountain range that is unlike anything else on earth. It’s hard not to be in awe of the stunning range of colors that range from deep reds and oranges to brilliant yellows and greens, especially as they are illuminated by the warm sunlight. What makes these formations even more remarkable is the fact that they were shaped over millions of years, as layers of sediment were pushed up and eroded by wind and water.
Zhangye Danxia Landform isn’t just a visual treat – it’s also a fascinating scientific site. The layers of sediment and minerals in the formations provide valuable information about the geological history of the area, spanning over 24 million years. Visiting this location offers not only an unforgettable experience but also a chance to reflect on the sheer power and beauty of nature and our place within it.
7. Mount Roraima, Venezuela/Brazil/Guyana
Mount Roraima is a tabletop mountain that sits at the intersection of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. The mountain is characterized by sheer cliffs on all sides and a misty, surreal landscape on top. The plateau is home to a unique ecosystem of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. Visiting Mount Roraima is a challenging trek, but for those who are up to the adventure, it’s a surreal and breathtaking experience.
Mount Roraima is considered a sacred site by the indigenous Pemon people, who believe that the mountain is the stump of a mighty tree that once held up the sky. The mountain also inspired the landscape of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World,” and its unique ecosystem has been studied by scientists for over a century.
8. The Crystal Cave, Iceland
Located in Vatnajökull National Park, the Crystal Cave is a stunning natural ice cave that is only accessible during the winter months. The cave’s walls and ceilings are lined with sparkling ice crystals that create a surreal, otherworldly atmosphere. It is constantly changing and evolving due to the melting and freezing of the ice formations. This means that no two visits to the cave are exactly the same, as the ice sculptures and colors are always in a state of flux.
9. The Rainbow Mountains, Peru
Vinicunca, also known as the Rainbow Mountains, are a series of stunningly colourful peaks located in the Andes mountains. The mountains get their unique colours from the different types of sedimentary rocks and minerals found in the area.
The vibrant colours of the mountains were hidden for centuries under a layer of snow and ice. It was only in recent years, when rising temperatures caused the snow and ice to melt away, that the colourful geological formations were revealed to the world.
10. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful national park located in Croatia, known for its stunning turquoise lakes, waterfalls, and lush forests. The park covers an area of over 73,000 acres and is home to 16 interconnected lakes that are formed by a series of cascading waterfalls. The lakes are surrounded by dense forests and mountains, making it a popular destination for hiking and exploring.
A UNESCO world heritage site, the park’s lakes and waterfalls are the result of the karst landscape, a geological phenomenon where soluble rocks such as limestone are eroded by water, creating caves, sinkholes, and other interesting formations. The park is not only a natural wonder but also a scientific treasure, as it has been the site of many important geological and hydrological studies.
These 10 locations are some of the most surreal places on earth. Visiting them is like stepping into a dream. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photographer, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of the world around us, these locations are sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you for coming along this journey with us at Go Where, Go There!
If you’re ready for an adventure that will take you beyond the boundaries of the ordinary, consider visiting one of these surreal places and prepare to be amazed.