The world we live in holds a lot of mystery. Every corner has something unexplainable yet beautiful. These fascinating natural and human-created locations and destinations can be eerily stunning and interesting. They remind us that nature and man in all of their beauty can be complex and mysterious.
Here we share with you some of the strangest (and most beautiful) places to visit. Some will take your breath away the moment you see them, but when you learn more, you will be truly fascinated.
1. Sailing Stones, Death Valley
Death Valley sits on the border of California and Nevada and is the lowest point in North America. Here lies one of the worlds strangest and most fascinating phenomena: rocks that move with no obvious gravitational cause. The rocks, ranging in size from a few ounces to hundreds of pounds appear to move across the desert floor by themselves.
Researchers have been observing the sailing stones since the early 1900s, tracking some of their movements as much as 1500 feet. They have finally determined the true reason the stones “sail.” A combination of ice that collects under the rocks, followed by rising temperatures, and a little wind, causes the rocks to travel.
The lake in British Columbia, Canada is known by the Okanagan First Nations People as Kliluk. The spotted lake is considered a sacred place with water that has healing powers. The lake and surrounding land was eventually returned to the tribe and is a protected environmental area. Although you can’t go for a swim in it or get past the fence that surrounds it, you can get close enough to see its magnificent beauty.
Although Spotted Lake sometimes looks like any other ordinary lake, during the summer as its water starts to evaporate, hundreds of spots form in the remaining water in shades of yellow, green, and blue. The spots are actually pools of concentrated mineral deposits like magnesium, sulfates, and calcium. The colors vary according to the type of minerals and the level of concentration.
The CBC understandably calls Spotted Lake the “most magical place in Canada.”
Magnetic Hill is also called Gravity Hill and is one of many places where slopes create an optical illusion that there are upward hills. These hills are actually sloping down. Many visitors do a little experiment by putting their cars in neutral – only to learn that despite appearing like they are going uphill, their car will gently glide up to 20 miles per hour downhill. It is quite remarkable to see objects looking like they are rolling up in defiance of gravity.
Some people don’t believe it is an optical illusion. Villagers in Ladakh used to think this mountain led to heaven and automatically pulled deserving people. There still one school of thought that suggests the hill has some type of strong magnetic force and pulls vehicles and other objects uphill, truly defying the laws of nature.
An ancient Fissure volcanic eruption occurred on the North coast of Northern Ireland that created this magnificent Giant’s Causeway, which is an arrangement of about 40,000 interlocking columns of basalt. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1986, and in 1987 the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland announced it as National Nature Reserve.
The Irish believed that this area was created by the remains of a causeway built by a giant named Fionn, a giant from Irish Mythology. Because of weathering, some areas of the causeway resemble and have names like the Organ and the Giant’s Boot. It is a fascinating place to see and considered one of the most beautiful attractions in the UK.
This magnificent geyser is located on the Fly Ranch, private property in Washoe County, Nevada, owned by Burning Man Project. The geyser, which is 5 feet high and 12 feet around, formed in 1916 when miners accidentally tapped into a geothermal pool. It has multiple cones that spew hot water into the air.
Fly Geyser is unique in many ways. It has a large concentration of Quartz on its inside which typically takes thousands of years to develop. The geyser formed travertine terraces over the years that created dozens of pools that surround it. Fly Geyser’s true beauty comes from its exterior colors. Because of an abundance of thermophilic algae, it almost glows with vivid shades of red and green.
On the edge of the coast of Oregon, on Cape Perpetua, sits a hole that seems to be draining the sea. It is not bottomless, as it looks, but is very dangerous. It is said that Thor’s Well looks spectacular during high tides and during storms when waters violently wash over the rocks, spew into the air, and funnel into what looks like an infinite hole.
However, the safest time to see Thor’s Well is about an hour before high tide when there is little water nearby. Then as the tide comes in, you can see how the well fills and looks like it is swallowing the sea. It is truly fascinating.
The well was formed by the collapse of a sea cave. Thor’s Well is also called the “Gate to Hell” and the “drainpipe of the Pacific.”
Located in Sunan and Linze Counties of Zhangye in Gansu, China, these fantastic spiraling and colorful mountains cover an area of 322 square kilometers. Chinese media outlets had voted for these Rainbow Mountains as one of the most beautiful sites in China. UNESCO declared Zanghye National Geopark as World Heritage Site in 2009, and it became a popular tourist spot.
These unique, colorful mountains were created by millions of years of sandstorms and mineral depostis. Wind, rain, and time have sculpted magnificent shapes, such as towers, pillars, and ravines, with varying colors, patterns, and sizes. Truly nature at its best.
Despite its beautiful scenery, this forest, also called the Sea of Trees, is located on the island of Honshu, Japan, on the northwestern flank of Mount Fuji. The forest is extraordinarily dense and contains porous lava rock, giving it an eerily quiet feeling of solitude. This destination has an upsetting history that both attracts and repels visitors.
Aokigahara forest somehow became a popular destination for people experiencing depression. In 2010, 200 individuals were reported to have attempted suicide in these woods, and at least 54 of them succeeded. The high rate of suicide in Aokigahara incentivized police officers to erect signs at the entrance of the forest and along trails advising visitors to seek help rather than ending their lives, and providing the phone numbers to suicide prevention hotlines.
The forest is also closely associated with ghosts and the popular novel “Tower of Waves.” The horror movie, “The Forest,” released in 2016, told some of the scary details about things that allegedly have occurred inside the woods.
Tourists who do visit Aokigahara say that the moment they enter the forest, they feel conflicting emotions about being there. Wouldn’t you feel strange visiting a place with the nickname “Suicide Forest?”
A World Heritage site located at Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey, this surreal and paradise-like place is Pamukkale meaning “cotton castle.” Legends say that these magnificent formations were created by solidified cotton that giants left out to dry.
The stunning travertine here was actually produced by the carbonate minerals left by flowing thermal spring water. This wondrous place has become a tourist attraction since the classical era. You must view the terraces from a nearby footpath however. Because of erosion and water pollution, no one is permitted to get too close.
Italy has terrific places we can visit, but have you heard about the Christ of the Abyss? It is a bronze statue of Christ by Guido Galletti submerged under the sea in the waters of the village of San Fruttuoso.
The statue was placed in this location in 1954 as a memorial to a friend of Galletti’s who died in a diving accident in that spot.
Tourists flock to scuba dive in the statue’s vicinity. It is a wonder to see this combination of nature and man come together in this beautiful and unique display.
Somewhere in Shale Creek Preserve, a part of Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York, is a small but very weird and amazing waterfall. There is a little cave around the waterfall’s base that emits a small amount of natural gas. When “lit,” it produces a flame that is visible through the falls.
The eternal flame is not actually eternal. It occasionally gets extinguished but someone always relights it! This once obscure tourist attraction is now a popular hiking destination.
In 1802 Matthew Flinders discovered this vibrant pink lake on the edge of the Middle Island off the coast of Western Australia. This small lake’s shoreline is covered in salt crust deposits but it is its color that makes it such an interesting place to visit in person. The true reason for the pink hue of the lake is uncertain. Scientists think it has something to do with the salt as well as algae that thrives in the lake. Dunaliella salina is one of the lake’s living microorganism. Although swimming is not permitted, the pink water is considered harmless to humans.
Located in Northern California, this beach got its name from debris and garbage that piled up on this part of the coast. It was loaded with broken bottles and other junk. Over the ensuing decades, the sea performed a remarkable act; the big waves of the ocean turned the junk into the beautiful, shiny pebbles we have grown to love and call “sea glass.” Now, the beach is lined with these colorful, sparkling gems attracts thousands of visitors a year.
To preserve the beauty of this spot, taking sea glass is prohibited. But it is a magnificent place to see and photograph. Not your typical California beach!
Found in Mazandaran Province in Northern Iran. Badab-e Surt, also called Badab Soort is a stunning, colorful travertine terrace formation that has been created over millions of years. Flowing waters from different mineral hot springs cooled and deposited carbon minerals on the mountainside. The word Badab means gassed water which refers to the spring’s waters which many people believe have healing properties because of their high mineral concentrations.
When the light is right, the terraces almost glow in brilliant colors of red, yellow, and orange. Occasionally, you can find gray and blue hues as well. It is a strange sight but one that should not be missed if you are ever in Iran.
This weird and spectacular place in Aoshima Japan is filled with beautiful cats. The cats were originally introduced to this small island to take care of the rodents. The rodents are gone but hundreds of cats now inhabit the island! They outnumber the people who live on the island, most of whom left to find work in the city. Some people report that only about a handful of residents remain on the island full time. Tourists come from all over to feed the cats and spend time playing with the felines in this strange cat heaven!
If you do visit Cat Island, it is unique for other reasons too. There are no shops, restaurants, hotels or even vending machines. Bring snacks for yourself and the cats!
This weird destination appears to be a bloody stain on a beautiful white glacier in Antarctica. Perhaps a seal massacre or a shark attack? It is actually Blood Falls. Blood Falls is not actually blood. The gross color comes from under the glacier where there are subglacial rivers and lakes that contain iron-filled brine. The deep red color comes from that. Even knowing the source of the “blood,” this fall looks like a scene from a gory, horror movie.
Talk about weird places to visit. The Bermuda Triangle is not for the faint of heart. Flying or sailing through it is for some people a welcome adventure. For others, it is a source of terror.
Not much is known about the Bermuda Triangle. But through the years, fifty ships and twenty aircraft (along with the people on board) are said to have mysteriously disappeared in this area. There are hundreds of unexplained mysteries about the Bermuda Triangle. There are several schools of thought about why the Bermuda Triangle is the site of so much weird activity. Some say it is paranormal activity stemming from UFOs, the lost city of Atlantis, or other supernatural things. Scientists think there must be some natural reason for the concentration of strange activity such as violent weather, underground methane gasses, or human error.
South America’s most fascinating and weird things to see are the Nazca lines drawn in Peru’s barren Pampa de San José. These geoglyphs were created between 500 BC and AD 500 by people making shallow notches in the desert floor, or taking pebbles, and leaving differently colored dirt exposed. In 2020, archaeologists discovered 80 to 100 more of these incredible figures using a drone and had concluded that there could be even more.
There are simple lines, geometric shapes and animals including a hummingbird, spider, dog, and fish. There is even a geoglyph of a human. If you want to see these incredible sights you will have to see them from above.
According to legend, prospector Jacob Waltz who was known as “the Dutchman, ”discovered a tremendous mine of gold in this Arizona mountain and kept the location secret until his death in 1891. Allegedly, Waltz would explore on his own and return to Phoenix with huge caches of gold.
Many attempts have been made to find the alleged mine; treasure hunters have been searching for decades with no evidence of luck (although more than 100 people have claimed to find it!). This is a place chock full of folklore tales of mining and death, all of which can be discovered in the area’s museum.
Today, Superstition Mountain and the surrounding Superstition Wilderness Area attract visitor from near and far who want to experience camping, horseback riding, and take a crack at searching for The Lost Dutchman’s gold.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Yemen, between is one of the most isolated continental landforms on Earth. Socotra Island is the largest island in the Socotra archipelago and widely considered the jewel of biodiversity in the Arabian Sea.
Researchers have documented encountered nearly 700 endemic species of flora and fauna that exist nowhere else on Earth, including the dragon’s blood tree seen above, birds, spiders, and crabs.
Interestingly, Socotra Island is also called the Island of Poets. The place has a long, rich relationship with poetry and even hosts an annual poetry competition.
In this Northern Mexico region of the Chihuahua desert , radio signals cannot transmit. It is a place where compasses spin out of control. It is also the site where several meteors have crashed onto the landscape. The Silent Zone is Mexico’s version of the Bermuda Triangle where strange activity draws interest from supernatural enthusiasts, scientists, and according to some people, extraterrestrials! You can find locals with stories about seeing fireballs, strange lights in the sky, and even aliens.