Places on Earth That Don't Look Real
Some places you just have to see to believe. Earth is full of incredible destinations with mind-blowing and surreal landscapes, from China's rainbow mountains to Mexico's cave of crystals.
Your eyes will tell you the natural wonders on this list must be from sci-fi movies or paintings, but they actually exist. Check out places on Earth that don't look real.
Tianzi Mountain, China
Skyscrapers or mountains? Millions of years of erosion created Tianzi Mountain. Most mountains are shaped like big humps, but Tianzi looks like towers from a different world. Located in the Hunan Province of China, the sandstone peaks are surrounded by flowers, vegetation and wildlife.
Mendenhall Caves, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska, is home to the mesmerizing Mendenhall Glacier and ice caves. Water running through and over the glacier forms the caves, producing the dream-like passageway. To access the caves, travelers can hike in or kayak to the side of the ice and climb the glacier.
The Door to Hell, Turkmenistan
One of the spookiest destinations in the world is found in Derweze, Turkmenistan. The Darvaza gas crater, notoriously known as the "Door to Hell," has a massive depth of 98 feet and a diameter of 226 feet. The hole was created in 1971.
Bioluminescent Beach, the Maldives
The shores along Vaadhoo, an island in the Maldives, shimmer at night, but it's not due to the reflection of the moon. Thanks to phytoplankton called dinoflagellates, the water sparkles and turns a vivid blue. Dinoflagellates glow due to a chemical reaction.
Naica Mine, Mexico
"The Cave of the Crystals" sounds (and looks) like a place straight out of a fantasy film. However, the cave is actually located in the Naica Mine of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The Naica Mine is owned by the world's largest producer of silver, and lead and zinc are also commonly found in it.
Chocolate Hills, the Philippines
In the middle of Bohol, an island in the Philippines, there are more than 1,776 uniquely shaped hills. During the dry season, the green grass on the peaks turns brown, resembling chocolate. As a result, the extraordinary landscape earned the name "Chocolate Hills."
Fly Geyser, Nevada
Fly Geyser in Nevada was created by accident. In 1964, a geothermal company unsuccessfully drilled for a well. The company tried to seal the well, but the cover didn't hold up. Water blew from the well, and minerals that also came out collected and formed the alien-like mounds.
Dragon Blood Trees, Yemen
Socotra is a Yemeni island located 350 miles away from the mainland. The island is secluded and bizarre — you won't see your average neighborhood tree here. In fact, you'll see one of the strangest trees in the world: the dragon blood tree.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The world's largest mirror — called Salar de Uyuni — is also the planet's biggest salt flat. The massive expanse of salt formed after a prehistoric lake dried up. Found among the Andes in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni covers more than a whopping 4,000 square miles.
Red Beach, China
Found in Panjin, Liaoning, China, Red Beach is an extraordinary beauty. It also happens to be located in the largest wetland and reed marsh on the planet. Shallow seas and tidelands make up the landscape. The red plant, Suaeda, contributes to the beach's vibrant color.
Dallol Volcano, Ethiopia
One of East Africa's most notable features is the Dallol Volcano in Ethiopia. The otherworldly site is so hot that nobody lives there anymore. As a result, Dallol is often referred to as a ghost town. The average annual temperature in Dallol is 95 degrees Fahrenheit — the world record for an inhabited location.
Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
No, you're not looking at a painting or a picture of Mars. It's the surreal landscape of Namib-Naukluft National Park, the largest game park in Africa. Some of the most striking elements of the area are the trees and sand dunes.
Glowworm Cave, New Zealand
It's thousands of fireflies! No, it's actually...glowworms? The Waitomo Glowworm Caves is a popular tourist attraction in the North Island of New Zealand. It's famous for its Arachnocampa luminosa, which is a species of fungus gnat that’s native to New Zealand.
Painted Dunes, CA
No, this is not an image of another world. Humans also didn't bring their paintbrushes to create the Painted Dunes. They’re actually all natural. Thousands of years of volcanic activity produced the enchanting colors of the Painted Dunes in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
One of the most magical places on Earth just might be the Tunnel of Love. Tucked away in Klevan, Ukraine, the tunnel is a 3-mile railway replete with lush greenery. The railway connects Klevan and Orzhiv, and private trains actually still use it.
Monte Roraima, Venezuela/Brazil/Guyana
Is this real life or is this fantasy? Monte Roraima looks like a scene from a fairytale. At the border of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, the massive summit is 1,300 feet high. The top of the flat summit often appears as if it's floating above the clouds.
Lake Hillier, Australia
Australia is known for its weird animals, but it has unusual bodies of water too. Lake Hillier — a bubble-gum pink lake on Australia's Middle Island — is a perfect example. The enormous, rosy lake measures 2,000 feet in length and 820 feet in width.
Tulip Fields, Netherlands
Holland, two provinces in the Netherlands, is home to an endless field of bright tulips, better known as Tulip Fields. These rainbow tulip fields are a breathtaking sight. Some of the most famous artists in the world were inspired to paint the flowers, including Vincent van Gogh.
Tolantongo Hot Springs, Mexico
Tolantongo isn't a city or a town; It's a canyon tucked away between cliffs. Some visitors call Tolantongo "Mexico's ultimate hot spring oasis." The natural landscape is covered in 30 cozy mineral pools, which are located on the cliffside and in caves.
Cave Metro Stations, Sweden
The metro stations in Stockholm, Sweden, aren't your average train stations. They're some of the most unique stations in the country due to their exposed bedrock. Tourists often question if they're actually in a metro station, in a cave or on a strange sci-fi movie set.
Horsetail Fall on Fire, CA
No, this waterfall in Yosemite National Park isn't actually on fire. In late February every year, Horsetail Fall naturally illuminates, but only under certain conditions. When the setting sun hits Horsetail Fall in just the right spot, the waterfall glows a fiery orange.
Pamukkale, a gorgeous natural site in Turkey, means "cotton castle." In the Menderes River valley, Pamukkale is home to shimmering, white limestone found on the frosty mountains. Its bright white colors are due to thermal springs that are rich in calcium.
Snow Cave on the Mutnovsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia
Under the Mutnovsky Volcano in Kamchatka, Russia, there's an icy wonderland. The ice caves offer unearthly views due to their unusual patterns created by volcano-fed hot springs, which flow through the glaciers. Some visitors argue that it's the most magical cave in the world.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming
With a diameter of 370 feet and a depth of 160 feet, the Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the U.S. Located in Wyoming, the spring was first discovered in 1839 and was simply described as a "boiling lake."
Emerald Ice on Lake Baikal, Russia
Lake Baikal of Russia is mesmerizing all year round, but during winter, it's even more captivating. The turquoise lake has some of the clearest waters on the planet. It also happens to be the world's deepest lake, with a depth of almost 5,400 feet.
Zhangye National Geopark, China
Mother Nature truly flaunts her beauty at Zhangye National Geopark in China. Hiking enthusiasts get an unbelievable treat at the end of the park's trail. The landscape displays many striking colors, so it's no surprise visitors often call the park "China's rainbow mountains."
Lake Natron, Tanzania
Lake Natron is a burning red color due to its alkaline water with pH levels as high as 10.5. The pH is so deadly that it can burn people’s eyes and skin. However, some animals have adapted to living near the site, including flamingoes. The alkaline water comes from the nearby hills.
Hang Sơn Đoòng Cave, Vietnam
Hang Sơn Đoòng cave is one of the largest natural caves on the planet. It's 5.6 miles long and 490 feet deep. Between 2 and 5 million years old, the cave is unlike anything else in the world. It has its own river, jungle and even weather system. Hang Sơn Đoòng cave forms its own clouds.
The Wave, Arizona
Found in Arizona, The Wave is like nowhere else on Earth. The strange sandstone rock formation looks more like the result of an enormous paintbrush sweeping over the mountains. However, differential erosion actually created the incredible ridges over time.
Found in Norway's Møre og Romsdal County, Geirangerfjord is a place like no other. The underwater valley features snow-covered mountain peaks, lush vegetation and roaring waterfalls. Two waterfalls that receive a lot of attention are Seven Sisters Falls and the Suitor, which face one another in the fjord.
Nā Pali Coast, Hawaii
Hawaii is a state that many people dream about visiting. Eight stunning islands make up the state. If you plan to take a trip there, add Kauai to your bucket list. Kauai is home to one of the most beautiful cliffs in the world.
Spotted Lake, Canada
When you think of a lake, you probably imagine one big body of water. However, Spotted Lake is exactly what it sounds like — a lake with spots! The site features 365 separate pools, which strangely form a mosaic-like design.
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Sand comes in many different colors. In New Mexico, one of their top destinations is known for its unbelievable white sand. As the biggest gypsum deposit in the world, White Sands National Monument is a calm region in the Chihuahuan Desert.
The Christ of the Abyss, Several Locations
Diving in the Mediterranean Sea is a very popular activity. One of the reasons is due to a haunting sculpture called the Christ of the Abyss. Located fifty-six feet deep in the sea, the giant masterpiece is a Jesus Christ statue.
Grüner See, Austria
Grüner See (Green Lake) is an underwater beauty. For most of the year, the lake is only three to seven feet deep. However, travelers say the best time to see this attraction is during spring, when the weather gets hot and the snow melts. At that time, this lake is 35 feet deep, and it’s colors really come alive.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
Spreading across Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls is a mega waterfall system. The site has a total of 275 waterfalls, which come from the Iguazu River. The Top 100 Birding Sites of the World calls the whole system is the largest waterfall in the world.
Giant’s Causeway, Ireland
About 40,000 interlocking basalt columns make up the amazing Giant’s Causeway. Located in Northern Ireland, the stones were formed by an ancient volcanic eruption. The odd landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Nature Reserve.
Ruby Falls, Tennessee
Many waterfalls are located outdoors, but have you ever seen an underground waterfall? Cascading at 145 feet, this natural beauty is estimated to be at least 200 million years old. However, the journey to Ruby Falls isn't quick and easy.
Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam
Hạ Long Bay is the eye candy of northeast Vietnam. Visitors and locals admire the bay's emerald waters and massive limestone islands covered in rainforests and wildlife. When the fog rolls in, the bay is even more enchanting. It looks like you're entering a hidden world.
Kjeragbolten isn't a regular boulder. The 180-cubic-foot rock is actually a glacial deposit stuck between a mountain crevice, dangling more than 3,228 feet high. It looks like it can fall down at any moment. Sounds unsafe, right?