The Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Great Wall of China, Yellowstone National Park… there are many places in the world that traveler have heard of and probably have been to. But traveling doesn’t always have to be about visiting the most famous and popular spots in the world. From an eerie crooked forest in Poland to a glowing beach in Maldives, check out these 25 travel destinations most travelers have no clue exist.
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Fingal´s Cave, Scotland
Located in the Inner Hebrides, the Fingal’s Cave is a sea cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa. Made entirely of unique hexagonally jointed basalt columns within a Paleocene lava flow, the cave has great acoustics. Its enormous size and naturally arched roof create eerie echoes of waves, giving it the atmosphere of a natural cathedral.
Comino Island, Malta
Few people know there is a little country called Malta in the Mediterranean Sea and even fewer know that the country consists of several islands and one of them is Comino. Occupying a small area of 3.5 square kilometers (1.4 sq mi), the island boasts of one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world – the Blue Lagoon. It is a picturesque sandy bay with blue crystal clear water and abundant marine wildlife.
Found between continental Norway and the North Pole, the Svalbard Norwegian archipelago is a great place to watch both the midnight sun as well as the Northern lights. Svalbard is also a breeding ground for many seabirds, and provides natural habitat for polar bears, reindeer, and numerous marine mammals.
Red Seabeach, China
Situated in the city of Panjin, China, the Red Seabeach is a beach characterized by the strikingly red color caused by the red plant of Chenopodiaceae, a grass species that can live in highly alkaline soil. The area preserves the most completed ecosystem and the biggest wetland in the world hosting more than 260 kinds of birds and about 400 species of wild animals.
Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
One of the largest countries in the world, it is no surprise that China boasts many marvelous places hidden from masses of tourists and the Jiuzhaigou Valley, a nature reserve and national park in Sichuan, is definitely one of them. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, the valley offers breathtaking panoramas, multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, snow-capped peaks and many other natural beauties.
Pancake Rocks, New Zealand
By many travelers, New Zealand is considered the most beautiful country in the world. Local magnificently-diverse landscapes offer all the amazing natural features you can think of. But it’s not just about the world-famous beaches, hot springs, volcanoes, mountains or waterfalls. The country is also home to some less promoted but equally astounding places such as the Pancake Rocks, a heavily eroded limestone area located in the West Coast of the South Island.
Namibia is not among the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, yet there is a lot to be seen in this country. Located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, Sossuslvei is a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes. Part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, this spectacular place ranks among the driest and hottest areas in the world.
Crooked Forest, Poland
Located near the town of Nowe Czarnowo in north-western Poland, the Crooked Forest is a grove of bizarrely bent pine trees. The forest consists of hundreds of pines planted around 1930 but the reason why the trees are crooked as well the technique used for the bending remains unknown. One of the theories suggests the trees were bent for the purpose of furniture timber.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia. Covering a total area of 300 square kilometers (115 square miles), the park features several crystal-clear lakes connected by a network of breathtaking cascades and waterfalls.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia/Angola
Considered one of the most extreme and hostile places in the world, the Skeleton Coast is a part of the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia and Angola. Sometimes referred to as “The Land God Made in Anger” or “The Gates of Hell“; the Skeleton Coast is littered with over a thousand shipwrecks, some of which have been laying there for centuries. For obvious reasons, only few adventurers venture to this place but dark tourism fans would love it.
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
What non-American travelers usually recall when they hear the word “canyon” is the legendary Grand Canyon. But there are many more astonishing canyons in America and the Antelope Canyon located on Navajo land in Arizona is certainly one of them. Easily recognizable by its “flowing” shapes, the canyon was formed by erosion of local Navajo Sandstone. It consists of two separate sections referred to as the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
Located in Zhangjiajie City in Hunan Province, China, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a unique national park notable for its pillar-like rock formations. Created by weathering and physical erosion, these unusual geographic features are seen throughout the entire park and have become an iconic landmark of the local landscape.
Elephant Food Glacier, Greenland
Even Greenland, one of the coldest and most remote countries in the world, has some spectacular places hidden from touristy crowds. Located in the northeast of the country, the Elephant Food Glacier is one of the most prominent examples of such a place. It is one of several thousands of the so called peripheral glaciers that flow independently into the sea.
Huacachina is an oasis village in southwestern Peru. Inhabited by just over a hundred permanent residents, the village was built around a small natural lake in the middle of the Peruvian desert. Practically unknown to tourists from abroad, the oasis has become a popular holiday destination for people living in surrounding towns as the place has great conditions for sand-boarding and dune buggying.
Derweze Crater, Turkmenistan
Located in the middle of the Karakum Desert in Central Turkmenistan, Derweze is a small village with about 350 inhabitants. The area is rich in natural gas and when Soviet geologists were drilling the land in 1971, the rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of 70 meters (230 ft). To avoid poisonous gas discharge, the team decided to burn it off. They had hoped the fire would burn the fuel in a few days, but the gas is still burning today. Consequently, locals dubbed the place “The Door to Hell”.
Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland
Iceland is another country that can boast incredible natural beauties but hasn’t been invaded by hordes of travelers yet. Covering 14,200 square kilometers (5,500 square miles), Vatnajökull National Park found in the east of Iceland is a place that has it all. Europe’s second largest national park, it also includes Skaftafell, a preservation area notable for its spectacular ice caves.
Cave of the Crystals, Mexico
Mexico is not just about marvelous beaches and famous archeological sites. There are many more amazing places in the country totally worth seeing and the Cave of the Crystals in the town of Naica is one of them. Discovered as recently as in 2000, the cave contains giant crystals some of which measure up to 40 feet (12 meters) in length. The cave is extremely hot with temperatures reaching up to 58 C (136 F), which is also why few people dare to visit it.
Lake Retba, Senegal
Located about 30 km (18 miles) north-east of the Senegal´s capital Dakar, Lake Retba (translated as the Pink Lake) is a lake notable for its high salt content (up to 40% in some areas) and pink color caused by the Dunaliella salina algae. Similar to the Dead Sea, the lake is buoyant enough to enable people to float on the surface. What is also unique about the lake is the fact that several fish species have adapted to the extremely high salt content and thrive in the lake.
Traditionally inhabited by the Sami people (known as Lapps in English), Lapland is almost sea locked by the Barents Sea in the north, the Norwegian Sea in the west and the White Sea in the east. Resembling a true winter wonderland, the region has no official political organization.
Playa del Amor, Mexico
Mexico seems to be a country full of secret bizarre places that look foreign to our planet. It wasn’t until recently when pictures of a fairytale-like hidden beach surrounded by rock formations showed up on the internet. Now we know that this astonishing piece is called Playa del Amor (commonly known as the Hidden Beach) and is situated on one of the Marieta Islands in Mexico.
Prachov Rocks, Czech Republic
Just about every traveler coming into the Czech Republic wants to visit Prague, but if you head out into its natural habitat, you will discover a pristine and hidden natural wonderland. Located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the Czech capital, the Prachov Rocks are brilliant examples of some of Prague’s natural treasures. These unique sandstone formations are popular among the locals but few foreign visitors know about them.
Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
When traveling to Vietnam, most people think of white sandy beaches, picturesque islands and crystal clear waters, but there is one more thing that is totally worth visiting. Located near the Vietnam – Laos border, the Son Doong Cave is a giant limestone cave discovered in 1991, which means it’s still relatively new and somewhat unknown. Its enormous length of about 9 kilometers (5.6 mile) makes it possibly the largest cave in the world.
Maly Semyachik, Russia
Russia is known for its extreme freezing temperatures but even in one of its northernmost parts, on the Kamchatka Peninsula, there is an astoundingly charming place worth visiting. Maly Semyachik is a stratovolcano whose crater is filled with a hot acidic lake. Since 1952 the volcano has been dormant, embellishing the surrounding harsh and rugged landscape with a placid and beautiful (albeit acidic) canvas of crystal blue, hot waters.
Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
Situated in Raa Atoll, Maldives, the Vaadhoo Island is a little island with a population of about 500 people. Reaching only 1450 meters (4760 feet) in length and 400 meters (1310 feet) in width, the Vaadhoo Island is notable for its marine bioluminescence which is generated by phytoplankton known as dinoflagellates. Every day, after sunset, the glowing plankton turns the island into a magical place with an unparalleled atmosphere.
For European travelers, Turkey is among the most popular destinations. Most of them usually head out to sea side resorts but if you decide to skip the overcrowded areas and venture into the inland, you will find a natural buried treasure. Located in the Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey, Pamukkale is one of the most amazing natural landmarks in this country. These unique travertine terraces are not only staggeringly beautiful but – thanks to their rich minerals – they also have healing properties.