Travel Trends

Strangest Places in the World

Strangest Places in the World

While there are plenty of strange places in the world created by humans over the years, there is something about Mother Nature’s weird and wonderful creations that is mind-boggling and almost unfathomable to our human brains. Whether it’s a Jurassic-esque escarpment of spire-shaped rocky outcrops, lava so blue that surely only aliens could create it or a salt plain so wide and expansive that you are the only human being to be seen for miles. The Earth is out to impress us, so here is our list of the most spectacular, yet strangest places in the world, all of which are totally natural phenomena…


  1. Pamukkale Travertines, Turkey
  2. Sea of Stars, Maldives
  3. Dead Vlei, Namibia
  4. Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska
  5. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
  6. Bryce Canyon National Park, USA
  7. Silfra Fissure, Iceland
  8. Kawah Ijen Volcano, Indonesia


Pamukkale Travertines, Turkey

The World Heritage-listed, steppingstone-like travertines (terraces) of Pamukkale in Turkey are by far one of the strangest places in the world. Deep below this snow-white hillside lies volcanic lava which acts as a natural kettle, heating water below the surface resulting in an excess of calcium cascading down the hillside. After two millennia of this occurring, the calcified pools are now a tourist hotspot and a sight your eyes might not let you believe is real. The chalk-coloured pools are filled with translucent turquoise water and are perfect for a relaxing wallow, much like Egyptian Queen Cleopatra once did (supposedly!).

Pamukkale Travertines in Turkey


Sea of Stars, Maldives

The Sea of Stars in the Maldives lives up to its name. Between June and October, an otherworldly phenomenon of bioluminescent phytoplankton turns the ocean into a natural lava lamp, filling the sea at night into a glistening ocean starscape. The dazzling blue glow and fantasyland-feel of this spectacle puts it firmly on the list of the strangest places in the world. Witnessing this is as close as it gets to being in space among the twinkling stars.


Dead Vlei, Namibia

The ancient rigor-mortis-like limbs of fossilised acacia trees that stand guard throughout Dead Vlei in Namibia make this area of desert up there as one of the strangest places in the world. Dead Vlei – meaning ‘dead marsh’ - is an otherworldly white clay pan found near Namibia’s famous Sossusvlei. The eerie petrified trees that sprout from the pan juxtapose beautifully with the towering ochre sands of Big Daddy (the largest dune in the area) and the cobalt-blue skies that span the horizon, making this bleached clay canvas a must when hunting down the world’s weirdest wonders. Grab a dune board and surf down the neighbouring dunes, or head to Sesriem Canyon to beat the midday heat with a shady hike and a cool dip in a natural pool.

Petrified trees in Deadvlei, Namibia


Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska

Have you ever wanted to feel as though you’re walking under the sea? The partially hollow section of the Mendenhall glacier in Alaska is about as close as you’ll come, except here the water is frozen and you’re 5,200 feet above sea level… The trek to the glacier is a tricky one, so this is an activity for hardened adventurers, but once your feet are firmly on the Juneau Icefield, with snow-capped mountains behind you and bright blue skies above, it’ll all be worth it. Head into the ice caves with an expert guide to walk beneath the bubble formations within the glistening aquamarine ceiling.


Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

There is no way we could create this list without including the world’s largest salt flat. When there is little water on Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the surface perfectly reflects the clouds and the forget-me-not blue sky, creating an effect so ethereal, it's hard to believe you’re not flying through the clouds. When completely dry, the surface is filigreed with hexagonal cracks, like an enormous salty honeycomb. Be sure to make the most of the whopping expanse of flat before you and snap that all important perspective photo before watching the sun’s final rays bounce off Earth’s largest mirror.

A cloud reflecting off Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia


Bryce Canyon National Park, USA

Imagine the landscape on Mars. Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, USA, is as close as you will find on Earth. Think sunset-coloured, rocked-shaped spires punctuated by belts of evergreen forest, surrounded by otherworldly amphitheatres of rock and mountain desert. These sandcastle-like turrets are known as ‘hoodoos’, meaning ‘to bewitch’, which these pastel daggers definitely do to those who see them. Head out on a hike through winding, fiery-red rocks on one of the park’s many hiking trails before venturing to Sunset Point with a ‘dirty soda’ (a Utah delicacy) in hand to shoot some snaps of the flaming landscape as it merges with the setting sun.


Silfra Fissure, Iceland

Iceland will always end up somewhere on a list of the strangest places in the world. Its otherworldly landscape is jam-packed with weird and wonderful natural spectacles, making it tricky to pick just one. However, the Silfra fissure in the Thingvellir National Park is one of Iceland’s more unique spots, as when visiting here, you can be in two places at once. We know, that sounds awfully strange, but let us explain. Below this enormous gorge lies the Eurasian and North American plate boundaries, meaning technically when you are there, you are on two continents at once. To top just visiting this royal-blue lagoon, grab your diving or snorkelling gear and head below the water to float between the two plates in over 300 feet of gin-clear waters (but watch out, they’re chilly).

Silfra Fissure in Iceland by Un CercleImage © Un Cercle


Kawah Ijen Volcano, Indonesia

Ever heard of a blue lava volcano? Well, Kawah Ijen in Indonesia is home to one of the most breath-taking and thrillingly elemental volcanic phenomena and is without a doubt one of the strangest places on Earth. When the sulphur found at this dazzling spectacle reacts with the fiery volcanic temperatures, it burns, creating the illusion of electric blue lava. Long before the sun is even thinking about rising, grab a gas mask (and of course your expert guide) and venture down into the volcano’s crater where you will see the alien-like blue fire spewing out of the ground under the dark night sky.


Written by Immy Kelly

Header Image © Olivier Metzger