POPSUGAR Smart Living

83 Unreal Places You Thought Only Existed in Your Imagination

Dec 14 2014 - 4:00pm

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.

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 beautiful tunnel looks like something out of a fairy tale. It's 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.

Source: Shutterstock [2], Corbis Images [3]

Wisteria Flower Tunnel, Japan

The wisteria flower tunnels in Kawachi Fuji Gardens look like something from out of a fairy tale.

Eben Ice Cave, USA

Adventure into the Eben Ice Cave in Michigan, USA.

Glacier Ice Cave, Iceland

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

Black Forest, Germany

Source: Flickr user vince42 [4]

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.
Source: Flick user 2il org [5]

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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

Marble Caves, Chile

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

Bamboo Grove, 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 spectular manmade views in the country.

Pamukkale, Turkey

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

Great Blue Hole, Belize

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 [6]

Danxia Landform, China

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

Strokkur Geyser, Iceland

Chand Baori, India

One of the biggest stairwells 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

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

Source: Flickr user Rinaldo W. [7]

Floating Lantern Festival, Thailand

Dead Sea, Israel

Source: Flickr user israeltourism [8]

Stonehenge, England

Source: Flickr user LitasWorld [9]

Santorini, Greece

Victoria Falls, Africa

San Alfonso del Mar Resort, Chile

This pool is the largest pool in the world. The pool covers 20 acres [10] and cost about $2 billion [11] to construct.

Source: San Alfonso del Mar [12]

Fairy Pools, Scotland

Source: Instagram user bumblebambi [13]

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Source: Flickr user Wolfgang Staudt [14]

Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming

Source: Flickr user Billy Gast [15]

Northern Lights, Alaska

Source: Flickr user Beverly & Pack [16]

Paddy Fields, Vietnam

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China

Cappadocia, Turkey

Leshan Giant Buddha, China

The Buddha statue's toe will be 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

Another marvel to check out in Arizona.

Bigar Waterfall, Romania

Source: Flickr user ifindkarma [17]

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

Havasu Falls, US

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.

Sources: Shutterstock [18] and Corbis Images [19]

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.

Source: Flickr user 2ilorg [20]

Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan

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

Source: Flickr user dacheket [21]

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

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

Source: Flickr user dominicspics [22]

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.

Source: Flickr user achillifamily [23]

Kyaut Sae Cave, Burma

Source: Deviantart user lintun79 [24]

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

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

Source: Wikimedia user Alexander Van Driessche [25]

Caño Cristales, Colombia

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

Source: Wikimedia user Mario Carvajal [26]

Spotted Lake, Canada

Large spots appear on the British Columbia 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.

Source: Emily Co

Lavender Fields, France

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

Canola Flower Fields, China

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 [27], Instagram user noordinaryview [28]

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

Chittorgarh Fort, India

Ait Benhaddou, Morocco

A kabash is an earthen building made from mud and straw, and Ait Benhaddou is one of the most impressive ones in the region.

Basilica Cistern, Turkey

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

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Preikestolen, Norway

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

Source: Facebook user Katikies Hotels Santorini [29]

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 [30]

Tulip Fields, The Netherlands

Isle of Skye, Scotland

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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