15 Spectacular Places On Earth You May Need to See to Believe

These aren’t any old landscapes; these are the places on Earth that you’ll never forget. From impossibly deep canyons carved by the wind over millions of years to dense tropical rainforests shrouding long-hidden natural wonders, these are some of the most dramatic and beautiful landscapes on the planet, that you may need to see to believe.

Antelope Canyon, USA

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Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon sculpted by water over millions of years. Its narrow passageways wind and curve, creating enchanting light beams that dance on the canyon walls, making it a photographer’s paradise. Accessible only via guided tours, this natural wonder sees thousands of visitors annually, drawn by its surreal beauty and otherworldly atmosphere.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

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Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, stretching over 4,000 square miles in the remote southwestern corner of the country’s high planes. During the rainy season, a thin layer of water transforms the salt flat into a giant mirror, reflecting the sky to create a near-perfect mirror. Adventurous travelers flock here to witness this surreal phenomenon, navigating the vast expanse by 4×4 vehicles.

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

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Mount Roraima, towering over the borders of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana, is a dramatic table mountain cloaked in mist and mystery. Its sheer cliffs and flat-topped summit inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World.” Accessible only by a multi-day trek through dense rainforest, this ancient geological formation remains a pilgrimage for intrepid hikers seeking breathtaking views and untouched wilderness.

Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan

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The Darvaza Gas Crater is a fiery pit in the heart of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan. This massive crater has been burning continuously since 1971, when Soviet scientists accidentally ignited the natural gas cavern. Accessible only via rugged desert terrain, this remote flaming chasm attracts adventurous travelers seeking the mesmerizing sight of flames dancing. A nighttime visit is particularly impressive.

The Wave, USA

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Hidden within the sandstone cliffs of Arizona’s Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, The Wave is a surreal rock formation characterized by its undulating, wave-like patterns. Accessible only by permit and requiring a challenging hike through rugged desert terrain, this natural wonder welcomes limited visitors each day, ensuring an intimate and serene experience for those fortunate enough to witness its beauty.

Pamukkale, Turkey

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Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is a stunning natural wonder renowned for its terraces of travertine cascading pools filled with mineral-rich thermal waters. Situated in southwestern Turkey, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has been attracting visitors for thousands of years, who come to bathe in its healing waters and admire its surreal, snow-white landscape.

Fingal’s Cave, Scotland

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Located on the uninhabited island of Staffa in Scotland, Fingal’s Cave is a sea cave known for its distinctive hexagonal basalt columns and eerie, echoing acoustics. Accessible by boat from the nearby Isle of Mull, this geological marvel has inspired artists and writers for centuries with its beauty and mysterious aura.

The Stone Forest, China

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The Stone Forest, or Shilin, is a vast limestone formation located in the Yunnan Province of China. It is characterized by towering stone pillars resembling a petrified forest popping up from the ground among trees. Accessible via well-maintained pathways, this unique geological wonder attracts an impressive number of visitors who come to marvel at its intricate formations and explore its labyrinth of natural stone sculptures.

Hverir, Iceland

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Hverir is a geothermal area in northeastern Iceland known for its bubbling mud pots, steaming vents, and colorful mineral deposits. This surreal landscape offers a glimpse into the Earth’s fiery depths, attracting curious visitors seeking to witness the raw power of Iceland’s renowned geothermal activity up close.

Lake Lemuria, Ukraine

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Lake Lemuria is a stunning natural wonder renowned for its captivating pink hue. The lake’s distinctive coloration is caused by the presence of a specific type of algae and bacteria, creating the surreal sight seen in very few other places on Earth.

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

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The Great Blue Hole is a giant marine sinkhole located off the coast of Belize, renowned for its crystal-clear blue waters and submerged limestone formations. Accessible by boat or, even better, visible from above by helicopter flight, this world-class diving destination offers experienced divers the chance to explore underwater caves and encounter a diverse array of marine life like sharks and colorful corals.

The Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

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The Moeraki Boulders are a collection of unusually large and almost perfectly spherical boulders scattered along Koekohe Beach on New Zealand’s South Island. These boulders can vary in size, but some of the largest ones can have a diameter of up to 10 feet, and weigh several tons. These mysterious formations are steeped in Maori legend and intrigue, with their perfectly round shapes and colossal sizes defying scientific explanation.

Nasca Lines, Peru

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The Nasca Lines, etched into the desert plains of southern Peru, are a series of ancient geoglyphs depicting various animals, plants, and geometric shapes. Accessible via scenic flights across the arid desert landscape, these enigmatic symbols are believed to have been created by the Nasca peoples between 500 BCE and 500 CE, though the extent of their purpose remains a mystery.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

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Hidden in the forests of New Zealand’s North Island, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are illuminated by thousands of tiny glowworms, creating a celestial-like glow in the darkness. Visitors glide through the caves on boat tours, marveling at the twinkling lights that mimic a starry night sky.

The Door to Heaven, China

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Perched atop the Tianmen Mountain in China’s Hunan Province, the Tianmen Cave, also known as  “Heaven’s Gate,” is a natural archway carved into the mountainside. Accessible via a thrilling cable car ride and a series of steep stairs, this breathtaking landmark offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Despite its dizzying heights and challenging ascent, its allure draws thousands of visitors annually.

Jose Rojas Avila

José Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based editor, content marketer, and web developer. He is the co-founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana and has written for publications like MSN and Thrive Global. José is a Havana, Cuba native and serial entrepreneur. Find him scouting out the best hiking trails around town and teaching himself yet another programming language.