Living on planet Earth can feel tiresome, stressful, or even boring at times. We’ve all been there, am I right? It’s easy to get stuck in your daily routine and fall victim to unhelpful habits. Maybe you haven’t been getting outside very much, spending hours and hours behind the same desk in the same city. Perhaps you’ve slightly forgotten about all the wonder that’s out there in the world. But don’t feel down. Whether it’s a short but sweet adventure in your own country or a voyage faraway, you’re only steps away from renewing your fascination with the world. We’re all here witnessing this fascinating planet, which is … you know, just casually floating in space. These ten incredible places on Earth will prove to you how mind-boggling it truly is.
1. The Mummified Deadvlei in the Namibian Desert
The arid desert landscape inside Namib-Naukluft National Park is like the surface of a different planet. The rusted red sand dunes are thousands of years old. Hugged in-between the tallest dunes on Earth is a particularly fascinating valley, known as Deadvlei (Dead Valley). Centuries years ago, the river that used to travel through the valley was cut off and all life dried up. The valley became so extremely arid, that the dead trees couldn’t even decompose and basically became mummified. The barren trees are still there, right where they were, even after a thousand years.
2. The Remote Marble Caves Of Patagonia (Chile)
You will find the remote Marble Caves of Patagonia, or the Cuevas de Mármol, on a solid marble peninsula on Lake General Carrera. This glacial lake covers areas in both Chile and Argentina. The patterns on the cave walls look like an unbelievable artwork made by mother nature. They are the result of over 6000 years of dancing waves eroding the calcium carbonate. The bright azure tones always change according to the light. They are caused by the water reflecting on the pale marble.
3. Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia: Largest Mirror in the World
The largest salt flat on Earth attracts people from all over the world and stretches out over 11,000 square km. You will find this seemingly endless sheet of salt in Bolivia. Of course, the Salar de Uyuni salt flat is stunning whole year round, but reaches its peak in the wet season. That’s when the crystalline desert becomes a shallow salt lake and turns into an enormous ‘mirror’.
4. The Unrivaled Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park (United States)
The Midway Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park contains absolutely gigantic geysers. The Excelsior Geyser and Grand Prismatic Spring are two particularly enormous hot springs. With a width of 113 meters and a depth of 37 meters, the Grand Prismatic spring is the largest of them all. The bubbling water constantly shoots up in the air as you witness a fragment of Earth’s primal inner power. The Grand Prismatic’s unrealistically bright colors and colossal dimensions will never fail to amaze. Some of the colors are caused by certain bacteria and thermophiles: colourful algae that thrive in hot places.
5. The Multicoloured Zhangye Danxia Mountains in China
The Zhangye Danxia Mountains are a mind-blowing geological phenomenon in China’s Gansu province. The incredible palette of layered tones is the result of millions and millions of years of sandstone and mineral deposits. The layers then slowly became exposed due to erosion processes. You’re seeing an eternal work in progress that will outlive us all. People have been entranced by the mountains for a long time already, since they are right on the route of the ancient Silk Road.
6. The Majestic Dolomites in Italy: Inexhaustible Source of Legends
The legendary Dolomites are an unrivaled mountain range in Europe. As you follow the ancient trails, the dramatic peaks will leave you in a speechless awe. When the clouds roll in and the misty atmosphere envelops the summits, the landscape looks equally intimidating as majestic. Really, it is no wonder that so many fascinating myths were born in this monumental region. The views from summits like Seceda mountain are so phenomenal that your brain will fail to register that you’re actually looking at a 100% real landscape. Well done planet Earth, well done.
7. Pamukkale: Turkey’s Limestone Cotton Castle
The word Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish and this incredible site gets its name from the numerous cascading white pools with bright turquoise water surfaces. From a distance, the white limestone walls seem to resemble an immense castle of fluffy cotton. These walls were formed by the calcium-rich water from the springs. Eventually, the calcium carbonate in the water slowly deposits itself as a soft jelly and eventually hardens into limestone. But the hot springs aren’t Pamukkale’s only attraction. Above the cascading pools, you will find the remains of an ancient city. The city of Hierapolis was a Greco-Roman and Byzantine town that stood on top of the castle.
8. Lake Baikal in Russia: Oldest Lake in the World
The Siberian Lake Baikal in Russia is a superlative that belongs on this list of incredible places on Earth in every way. It holds the title of oldest exisiting lake in the world, possibly dating back to 30 million years ago. It is also one of the world’s clearest, largest and deepest freshwater lakes ever. That’s why it’s even more impressive to imagine that the gigantic lake can actually entirely freeze over in the winter months. And when that happens, the sight is unreal. Nature uses bubbles, cracks and crevasses to create an unrivaled, icy artwork that’s never the same.
9. Vardzia: Georgia’s Abandoned, Hidden Cave City
Nestled in-between Eastern Europe and Western Asia lie medieval caves that not many travelers ever visit. Compared to the other incredible places on Earth that have made it on this list, Vardzia is unique in its combination of natural and human history. It is hidden in the slopes of the ancient Erusheti Mountain, where up to 19 levels of natural and man-made caves form a mind-boggling sight. These caves carry the name Vardzia Cave Monastery in full. Although the site has been inhabited since the prehistoric bronze age, it wasn’t until the early Middle Ages that they became a true city of caves. The ruler of this hidden city was a woman: the mighty Queen Tamar of Georgia.
10. The Cascading Plitvice Lakes and Waterfalls in Croatia
The Plitvice Lakes National Park boasts 16 cascading lakes and over 90 waterfalls. At any given time, the Plitvice Lakes never look the same as they did the day before. This is because the water colours change from a bright emerald green, a deep blue, or a faded grey. These changes are caused by the varying amounts of minerals or organisms, as well as the angle of sunlight. The most important ingredient causing the water to turn blue or green is calcium carbonate from limestone rocks.
Have you explored any other incredible places on Earth that could easily snatch a spot on this list? If yes, let us know in the comment section! Feeling the travel tingles and want to explore more of our beautiful planet? Check our travel category for more inspiring stories.
Hi! My name is Roselinde and I am the founder of Globonaut. I am a cultural analyst, digital storyteller and photographer with a passion to explore the world through thoughtful travel. My dream is to make Globonaut a meaningful corner on the internet for everyone who wants to share their thoughts about living on planet Earth.