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83 Unreal Places You Thought Only Existed in Your Imagination

Apr 16 2015 - 1:30pm

We're not kidding you — these travel destinations actually exist and aren't a figment of your imagination. Be prepared to have your mind blown as you browse through these amazing photos.

— Additional reporting by Hilary White

Source: Shutterstock [1]

Sea of Stars, Maldives

This stunning sight is caused by bioluminescent phytoplankton that emit light when stressed, giving the appearance of a starry night in the sea.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The world's largest salt flats. When it rains, the water makes it look like a giant mirror.

Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

This tunnel is actually still used today — trains chug through it three times a day to deliver wood to a factory. It's believed that if couples who are truly in love hold hands and cross the tunnel, their wishes will come true.

Lake Natron, Tanzania

A beautiful salt lake with reddish crusted salt on the surface.

Deadvlei, Namibia

The black, dead trees against the orange sand dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park make the Deadvlei landscape look like a scene out of a painting.

Wisteria Flower Tunnel, Japan

The wisteria flower tunnels in Kawachi Fuji Gardens are beautiful structures to take a stroll through.

Eben Ice Caves, USA

Adventure into the Eben Ice Caves in Michigan.

Glacier Ice Cave, Iceland

Take a stroll in one of the many awe-inspiring glacier ice caves in Iceland.

Black Forest, Germany

If Germany's Black Forest looks like something out of a fairy tale, that's no coincidence. The Brothers Grimm set many of their stories — including "Little Red Riding Hood" — in the dark depths of the evergreen region.

Laguna Salada de Torrevieja, Spain

Laguna Salada de Torrevieja is a natural phenomenon, where the water looks pink due to a type of special algae.

Dragon Trees, Yemen

On the Socotra island of Yemen, you'll find some odd and unreal-looking dragon blood trees. The name of the tree hails from its alarmingly red sap.

Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

Watch the glowworms light up caves in Waitomo, New Zealand.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The water averages 98 to 102 degrees and is said to have curative benefits.

Marble Caves, Chile

Accessible only by boat, the Marble Caves or Cuevas de Mármol are situated on a solid marble peninsula and change colors depending on the time of year and water levels.

White Sand Dunes, Yemen

On the Socotra island of Yemen, you'll see some of the most unreal-looking sand dunes — so white, they look like talcum powder from a distance.

Seven Colored Earth of Chamarel, Mauritius

The multicolored earth in Chamarel was formed when volcanic rock cooled at different temperatures.

Fingal's Cave, Scotland

This Scottish sea cave is made up of hexagonally jointed basalt columns created by intense volcanic activity. It's Gaelic name means "the melodious cave" due to its haunting cathedral-like atmosphere. Creepy.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Japan

This bright green bamboo grove will transport you to a magical world. It's located in Kyoto, Japan.

Kelimutu Volcano, Indonesia

The lakes on the volcanic peaks are constantly changing color.

Trollstigen, Norway

This winding road in Norway is one of the most spectacular manmade views in the country.

Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale is aptly named, as it means cotton castle in Turkish.

Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole is a huge submarine sinkhole off the coast of Belize that Jacques Cousteau named one of the top scuba diving sites in the world.

Huacachina Oasis, Peru

The Huacachina Oasis is an actual oasis and not a figment of your imagination.

The Grand Canal, Italy

Venice is truly a one-of-a-kind city.

Kjeragbolten, Norway

Kjeragbolten, a boulder in the Kjerag mountain located in Norway, is wide enough for you to stand on. The rock measures five cubic meters, and the drop to the bottom is 3,228 feet.

Petra, Jordan

This ancient city is famous for its buildings that are carved from stone.

Giant's Causeway, Ireland

This cool formation came as a result of volcanic activity.

Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland

A picturesque castle that looks like it came straight from a storybook.

Source: Flickr user Christopher Michel [2]

Danxia Landform, China

The Danxia landform in Zhangye, China, gets its color from red sandstone and mineral deposits.

Strokkur Geyser, Iceland

This fountain geyser located east of Reykjavík, Iceland, is one of the country's most famous geysers.

Chand Baori, India

With 3,500 narrow steps, it's one of the biggest stepwells in the world.

Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

Scientists had the bright idea of burning up this gas field to prevent noxious gas from escaping. They figured it'd burn out in a few days, but it's been more than 33 years (and counting) since it was first lit.

Rolling Hills, Czech Republic

The rolling hills of the Czech Republic look like fabric.

Stone Forest, China

The tall rocks give the illusion of petrified trees, which is where the name shilin — or stone forest — comes from.

Edge of the World Swing, Ecuador

The swings hanging from La Casa Del Arbol in Baños, Ecuador, will make you feel like you're on top of the world — literally.

Floating Lantern Festival, Thailand

Though there are many festivals of light celebrated throughout Thailand, the Yi Peng celebration is perhaps the most unique because lanterns are released into the sky rather than over water.

Dead Sea, Israel

The Dead Sea is the deepest landlocked salt lake in the world, and its extreme levels of saline means it cannot sustain animal life — hence the name. Because of the high density of the water, swimming in the lake is more like floating on the top of the water.

Stonehenge, England

This famous stone monument is in Salisbury, England, and is believed to have been built as long as 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini is an island remaining after a volcanic eruption with a unique landscape of steep cliffs surrounding the beautiful blue waters of a lagoon that connects to the sea.

Victoria Falls, Africa

These famous falls are located in southern Africa at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls are considered the largest (not tallest or widest) in the world because when measured by width and height, they form the largest sheet of falling water.

San Alfonso del Mar Resort, Chile

This pool is the largest pool in the world. The pool covers 20 acres [3] and cost about $2 billion [4] to construct.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

This American landmark is well-known but has plenty of quiet spots that travelers can escape to and spend time with one of nature's most incredible wonders.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming

Located in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States and is known for its vivid gradient of colors.

Northern Lights, Alaska

The Aurora Borealis is a concentration of charged particles entering the atmosphere and creating incredible lights in the sky when they ionize.

Paddy Fields, Vietnam

This terraced land is built into hillsides and used to farm and cultivate semiaquatic rice.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China

This plush national forest is known for its unique geography and rock pillars that have formed as a result of physical erosion.

Cappadocia, Turkey

This region of the Eastern European country is known for its history and interesting geography such as the rock formations called "fairy chimneys."

Leshan Giant Buddha, China

The Buddha statue's toe is as tall as you are!

Trolltunga, Norway

Norwegians do love their trolls. Trolltunga translates as troll's tongue and perfectly describes the piece of jutting rock.

Antelope Canyon, USA

These incredible canyon walls are another marvel to check out in Arizona.

Bigar Waterfall, Romania

One look at this waterfall and you'll see why traveling to it is a must. The stream falls from a cliff onto the moss, which makes the water fall in the interesting patterns you see.

Abraham Lake, Canada

This unique lake in Alberta, Canada, has cool-looking bubbles frozen near the surface. But be careful: the bubbles are full of methane gas, so don't light a match near them, or there will be an explosion.

Glendurgan Garden, England

The cherry laurel maze at the Glendurgan Garden makes the place one of a kind.

Havasu Falls, USA

We're aware of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but there's another lesser-known sight — the Havasu Falls — that you shouldn't miss out on. The red rocks and vibrant blue waters make a really stunning contrast.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

The oldest park in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is known for its cascading lakes. The lakes dazzle with their vast array of beautiful colors, which range from green to blue.

Lake Baikal, Russia

You can't miss the giant shards of ice of lovely turquoise on Lake Baikal in Russia — they just may be the best-looking ice cubes ever.

Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan

So many varieties of flowers and plants abound in the Hitachi Seaside Park.

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

Visit Los Glaciares National Park and admire the large glaciers at this awe-inspiring World Heritage site.

Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

The Danakil Depression is the hottest place on earth year-round. You'll be better off going in the Winter than in the Summer, but keep in mind that it's still really hot during the colder months, although it's more bearable.

Kyaut Sae Cave, Myanmar

This majestic cave holds a Buddhist temple inside its depths.

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

Some of the world's largest natural crystals can be found in this cave.

Caño Cristales, Colombia

This amazing river is also called the River of Five Colors because of its vast array of hues.

Spotted Lake, Canada

Large spots appear on the British Columbian lake during the Summer when the water evaporates.

Horseshoe Bend, USA

One of the most beautiful natural attractions to see in Arizona, known for its horseshoe-shaped river and the glass-like surface of the water.

Lavender Fields, France

Take in the wonderful scent of the flowers as you frolic through the lavender fields in Provence.

Canola Flower Fields, China

These sprawling fields of yellow flowers will brighten any trip you take.

Ik Kil Cenote, Mexico

A cenote is a natural sinkhole that fills up with water — many people in past civilizations would use it as a natural well for water. Ik Kil is one of the more famous cenotes in Mexico and is well worth a visit.

Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

An archipelago off the south of South America, Tierra del Fuego has plenty of natural wonders for tourists to gawk at, including glaciers, forests, and mountains. Some of the island's trees grow horizontally because of the strong gusts of wind from the Antarctic, and they are a sight to see.

Haiku Stairs, Hawaii

Haiku Stairs is also called the Stairway to Heaven, and many say it is worth the 3,922 steps it takes to get to the top. The view is said to be quite heavenly.

Source: Instagram user izzylivin [5], Instagram user noordinaryview [6]

Mount Roraima, South America

Mount Roraima is a mountain range that borders Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. What's unique about this mountain is its flat, tabletop surface, which in the midst of clouds looks like something really magical.

Meteora, Greece

Monasteries precariously perched on top of sandstone rock pillars make Meteora a must-see sight.

Champagne Pool, New Zealand

This geothermal pool is a hot spring that gets its boozy name from the bubbly nature of its waters.

Chittorgarh Fort, India

One of the largest forts in India, Chittorgarh has amazing views, incredible ruins, and tons of history.

Ait Benhaddou, Morocco

Ait Benhaddou is an impressive fortified city (or ksar) made up of many kasbahs, earthen buildings made from mud and straw.

Basilica Cistern, Turkey

The largest of hundreds of ancient cisterns that lie under Istanbul.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, first a Hindu and then Buddhist temple in Cambodia, is the largest religious monument in the world.

Preikestolen, Norway

Preikestolen, or the Pulpit Rock, is a huge destination point for hikers, adventurous travelers, and anyone else willing to brave the heights for some amazing views.

Mara River, Kenya

Mara River is definitely worth a visit during the time of the wildebeest migration. Watch the large herd cross the Mara River while battling hungry crocodiles.

Katikies Hotel Cave Pool, Greece

This Greek hotel pool boasts crystal-clear water and views of the sea from the confines of a white concrete cave.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Take a trip back in history to the time of the Incas in 1450 when you visit the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. The structures were thought to serve as a royal retreat, ceremonial site, or military stronghold, according to National Geographic. Today, the ancient ruins provide a breathtaking contrast against the backdrop of the Peruvian Andes.

Source: Flickr user szeke [7]

Tulip Fields, Netherlands

These sprawling tulip fields near Amsterdam are the definition of picturesque.

Fairy Pools in Isle of Skye, Scotland

Stroll to the rushing waters of Scotland's famous fairy pools.

Shotover River in New Zealand (Doctored)

OK, so this photo is actually not real, but we thought we'd include it for kicks. You've probably seen this image floating around on Pinterest, and it's commonly referred to as the Fairy Pools, Isle of Sky from Scotland. The truth is, the photo is of Shotover River in New Zealand, and it has been doctored to have purple trees.


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