36 Unknown Places in The World That Will Take Your Breath Away
We all know the travel destinations that are usually at the top of every traveller’s list: Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Grand Canyon but this list looks deeper. Here are 36 of the world’s most interesting and unknown travel spots (many are slightly more inaccessible than the normal tourist destinations), however all can be reached with just a little forward planning! What these places have in common is that they are either stunningly beautiful, offer the adventure of a lifetime, or are way off the beaten track. Read on to find out more about these magical destinations and then start planning your next getaway!
1. RAINBOW MOUNTAINS: CHINA
First on our list are the stunning rainbow mountains of North West China. Located within the Zhangye Danxia Geopark in Gansu province, these geological formations are composed of colourful layers of sandstone and minerals and are over 24 million years old. When viewing this amazing spectacle, you can marvel at the glorious colours (which resemble the scene from a childhood storybook) and savour the chance for some great photography. While in the vicinity also ensure you visit Bingdou Danxia Landform Scenery area which is adjacent to the Rainbow Mountains. Although less popular with tourists the area has a charm all its own, with a diversity of intriguing landform shapes such as tall columns and stone pillars.
2. HUACHINA DESERT OASIS: PERU
Think a holiday in the desert would be hot, boring and absolutely the last option on your list? Hopefully you will change your mind when visiting the Huachina desert oasis in southwestern Peru. This tiny but amazing village has a diverse array of street vendors, eateries and hotels, and is surrounded almost entirely by massive sand dunes. Huachina is also renowned for its fantastic dune buggy and sandboarding tours, and you can also camp in the sand and sleep under the stars if you want! It is surprising that so many tourists are unaware of Huachina and the fun that can be had here …why not experience the joy of walking in sand dunes and the feeling of golden sand beneath your toes? When you have had your fun, take a dip in a pool surrounded by cooling palm trees and enjoy an ice cream or tasty treat from one of the friendly street sellers.
3. ENCHANTED HINUATAN RIVER: PHILLIPHINES
This remarkable river lies just outside of the town of Hinuatan Surigao del Sur (on the east side of Mindanao in the Philippines). It certainly lives up to its enchanted name, being incredibly enticing for weary travellers with its cool clear waters. Thought to originate from an underground cave system that has not yet been fully explored, the river then flows into the Phillippean sea and Pacific Ocean. The crystalline waters also have remarkable shades of colour which change from blue to green, with many local legends abounding to explain the mysterious nature of the Hinuatan River. Another major drawcard for visitors are the huge variety of fish that inhabit this saltwater river, that are handfed every afternoon. You will love this secretive place which is hidden deep in the Philippine jungle and home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. A mysterious enchanting river with a past yet to be uncovered…how exciting!
4. ISOLA BELLA GARDENS AND PALACE: ITALY
Isola Bella is a stunningly beautiful island located in northern Italy (one of the Borromean Islands that make up Lake Maggiore). Isola Bella also means “beautiful island” which is a fitting name for this place of splendour where you can tour an ancient Baroque palace with beautiful hanging tapestries and sculptures. The palace windows overlook a crystal-clear lake, and you can see gorgeous white peacocks strolling through the gardens. The heavenly garden with a diversity of floral scents is what attracts the majority of visitors who also love the array of statues, rare plants and shrubbery. You will also love the peace and serenity of the gardens…what’s more, you will be in the vicinity of one of the most beautiful islands in the world, situated just 400 metres off the coast of Stresa. You must come view for yourself these breathtakingly beautiful Baroque Style gardens and ancient palace!
5. Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland
There is nothing modest about the Antrim coastline; it is one of the most famous coastline drives in Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway is often called the UK’s fourth wonder, truly breathtaking. The large areas of basalt columns that interlock were the result of a volcanic eruption in ancient times. If you are worried about getting around, there is a bus that will take you down to the causeway; the walk however is beautiful for those who are up for a dander.
6. MONASTERY OF SANTA MARIA: TROPEA ITALY
Have you ever dreamed of visiting a medieval castle which sits atop a rocky cliff? This fairy-tale like scenario can be experienced by visiting Italy’s “Coast of the Gods” which is a charming seaside town on the Calabrian coast. The ancient monastery with its winding stone path offers visitors a sweeping view of the seaside town of Tropea from its top windows. The ocean water is azure blue and there are pristine beaches and creamy white sand as far as the eye can see. The views from the monastery in the daytime are also breathtaking, even more so at night when the castle is up in lights. The garden at the back of the church is also very quaint and one can purchase refreshments and souvenirs from a small on-site store.
7. VAGAMON: KERALA INDIA
Vagamon (located in Kerala: India) is a serene and peaceful place that is ideal for those seeking respite from city life. It will certainly reconnect you with nature, being surrounded by hillsides and mountains, pine forests and beautiful cascading waterfalls. (One of the strong points of Kerala is that it is one of the lesser known tourist destinations in this region). The climate is also pleasant and mild and there are many lovely sights to see such as tea plantations, green meadows and breathtaking scenery where the fog rolls in off the hills. For the more adventurous folk there are ample opportunities for trekking and mountaineering which you can enjoy to your hearts content. Also expect to see wildlife sanctuaries and plenty of flora and fauna when you are out and about.
8. Whitehaven Beach – Australia
Located on Whitsunday Island off the Queensland coast, Whitehaven Beach stretches a 7km span and is made up of 98% pure silica sand, which is why it is one of the most photographed beaches in the world.
9. KAPITI ISLAND: NEW ZEALAND
Kapiti Island lies off the coast of the Kapiti and Wellington region in New Zealand. It is an area of beautiful unspoilt wilderness where the lucky few can see native animals and plants (such as the Kiwi Bird) up close. As this area is so ecologically sensitive, you must join an approved tour for access to the reserve and to obtain permits for overnight camping. Knowledgeable and friendly tour guides will make you feel at home on Kapiti Island and ensure that you enjoy a wilderness experience like no other!
10. Ice Caves – Chile
Often referred to as the most spectacular ice-marble cave network anywhere in the world, this one we couldn’t leave off our list. Located in Patagonia in Chile, these beautiful ice caves have been formed by continuous action created by water over the past thousands of years. The cave network is also known as the marble caves due to the unreal formation. The crystal tortoise water from the lake produces the most beautiful reflection of light making this a true natural beauty, one that needs to be seen, in order to be believed.
11. Lake Bohinj – Slovenia
While Lake Bled is more well-known, it turns out that another lake nearby is even more breathtaking! Lake Bohinj is absolutely magical, thanks to the stunning views of the lake, combined with the surrounding mountains and greenery. Make sure you stop here while you’re in Slovenia; you won’t be disappointed.
12. APOSTLE ISLANDS WISCONSCIN
This location has a multitude of islands and miles of coastline to explore! It is also a birdwatcher’s paradise with many different species of birds that breed and migrate and nest in the area. Other attractions are the large number of lighthouses that dot the lakeshore and the wide variety of outdoor activities that can be undertaken. These include hiking, sailing, or cruising on Lake Superior and plenty of opportunities for scuba diving and exploring the rock formations. In addition, the area is rich in old farm sites, quarries, beaches and campsites. You can explore all these wonderful things while experiencing peace and solitude of these tranquil islands.
13. The Great Blue Hole – Belize
The name whilst perfectly self explanatory, doesn’t do it justice. The great blue hole is the world’s largest sea water hole located in the coast of Belize in Central America. Known for its circular shape and strikingly deep blue colour, the Great Blue Hole is a 1,000-foot-wide sinkhole in the middle of Belize’s Lighthouse Reef. It is a world heritage site protected by Belize Audubon Society and is one of the bucket list ideas of any avid scuba divers list.
14. Steps to Heaven – Spain
Only 45 minutes from Barcelona, in the Monserrat Monastery, there are eight huge steps are in a spiral that leads to ‘Heaven’. These are the Steps to Heaven, and they are definitely awe-inspiring. You get stunning views of Catalonia when you get to the top of the mountain; it’s definitely worth the trip.
15. HITACHI SEASIDE PARK JAPAN
Hitachi Seaside Park is a wonderland of natural treasures located on the Pacific Ocean side of the Japanese coast. You will find the area rich in sand dunes, forests and native grasslands as well as plant and animal life. There are also plenty of opportunities for entertainment as there is an amusement park, cycling areas and BBQ facilities. The flowering plants are particularly beautiful and a delight for nature lovers who will enjoy the floral aromas and huge variety of plants on display. There are tulips, poppies, roses, lilies, daisies and lavender to name just a few. Many natural springs abound here too which add to the ambience of the park.
16. Antelope Canyon – Arizona
Antelope Canyon is the world’s most photographed slot canyon. Located in the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park you can only visit with an authorized tour guide. It is worth the effort of arranging a tour to see this truly amazing hidden wonder.
17. PANGONG TSO LAKE HIMALAYAS: LADAKH
Pangong Lake is an enticingly beautiful stretch of lake surrounded by rugged mountains. The renowned beauty of the lake is due to the combination of brackish water reacting with sunlight which causes a stunning array of brilliant shades to appear on the surface of the water. Due to its beauty, Pangong Lake is also often featured in many films and movies. You are sure to return a second time to experience the beauty of this region and for the pleasures of swimming, hiking and mountain climbing.
18. Ashikaga Flower Park – Japan
Ashikaga’s wisteria trees bloom brilliantly for only a few weeks every spring, turning the park into a vision of pastel pinks and purples. If timing allows try and align your trip for spring – you absolutely won’t regret it.
19. PARADISE FOR CYCLISTS: TAMHINI GHAT
The area of Tamhini Ghat (which connects the regions of Pune to the coastlines of Konkan), is truly a paradise for bike riders! Watch out for potholes (which will make your ride a bit more challenging) and enjoy the fantastic scenery, thundering waterfalls and flora and fauna as you cycle leisurely through the paths and byways. If you happen to visit during monsoon season be also prepared for a truly wild setting covered in shrubs, moss and an entirely different coloured landscape (picturesque red and green hues).
20. KAKSLAUTTANEN ARTIC RESORT: FINLAND
The Kakslauttanen Artic Resort in Finland is a truly unique place where you can view the Northern Lights from the comfort of a glass igloo hotel. The glass igloos are tucked away neatly into the snow for a once in a lifetime experience! Visitors describe the pure luxury of seeing a snowy winter wonderland from inside their glass igloos, which are made of thermal glass to retain heat and keep you warm and cosy. The luxurious resort also boasts all mod cons such as spa sauna open fireplace and kitchenette. Come and experience the crystal-clear views of the Northern Lights and beauty of the falling snow…a sight to behold!
21. Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany
This is the definition of breathtaking. Called the ‘Disney Castle’, you’ll think you’re in a fairy tale when you arrive. It’s just one of the gorgeous castles to be found in Germany, so why not plan a ‘German Castle Tour’?
22. NAMAQUALAND: CAPE TOWN AFRICA
Namaqualand lies approximately 5km north of Cape Town and is also referred to as the “Flower Route” by locals and guides for the beauty of its spring wildflowers. One moment you will be viewing red dusty plains and then suddenly be surprised by the carpets of stunning wildflowers which seemed to appear by magic. Around 4000 different species of plant seeds lie dormant on the plains, waiting to spring to life when conditions are ideal, for a dazzling floral display. There are also lots of picnic and camping spots for those who want to stay longer and enjoy the scenery.
23. Brasov – Romania
This little city is at the centre of Transylvania, and it’s a perfect place to start your journeys. Brasov is a blend of modern and traditional city charm, with plenty to see and do. Visit Dracula’s Castle, Strada Sforii, which is the narrowest street in Europe! This is the perfect introduction to the beauty of Romania.
24. LOFOTEN ISLANDS NORWAY
The amazing Lofoten Islands archipelago in Norway offers the traveller some unforgettable scenery, gorgeous alpine mountain peaks and a choice of great fishing settlements. If you are a bird and nature lover you will be very impressed with the bird life which include species such as puffins and majestic sea eagles. There are also many caves to explore (with ancient cave and rock art) and other picturesque small villages in the region with similar treasures. Take your time to explore the snowy mountain peaks and pebbled beaches and rejuvenate with fresh mountain air.
25. Cappadocia – Turkey
This is one the most amazing locations in the world for hot air ballooning, and for good reason! There’s breathtaking rock formations that are dubbed ‘fairy chimneys’, and you can see the caves that have been carved in the valley walls. These date back to the Bronze Age!
26. ITHAA UNDERSEA RESTAURANT: MALDIVES
Ithaa is the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant and is located in the Conrad Rangali Maldives Island resort in the Maldives. While visitors feast on fine food such as caviar and French chocolate they can watch thousands of fish swim around them of all shapes colours and sizes. The awesome sight of so many fish is what makes this undersea restaurant a world class attraction, however the many islands that make up the Maldives are also a drawcard. Plenty of beautiful beaches, clean sand and space to explore the natural flora and fauna of these surroundings.
27. Waitomo Glow-worm Caves – New Zealand.
The Waitomo Glow-worm Caves house a species of glow-worm that can only be found in New Zealand. These stunning caves, filled with glow-worms, will take your breath away. A tourist attraction since the 1880s, the caves remain a source of wonderment for visitors.
28. Kelimutu Crater Lakes – Indonesia
The Kelimutu Volcano is actually active, and the beautiful colours of the craters make this a must-see destination for anyone who loves visiting natural wonders.
29. ICELAND: DETTIFOSS WATERFALL
The Dettifoss waterfall (located in North Iceland) is said to be the most powerful waterfall in Iceland and in the whole of Europe! Iceland of course is home to many grand waterfalls which are worthy of further exploration, however the monster of Dettifoss must be seen to be believed! Measuring 100 metres wide and 44 metres tall, the waterfall discharges 193 m3 of water per second in a stunning display of power and ferocity! Visitors report feeling the ground trembling when standing in close proximity to the waterfall. You will certainly feel a state of total awe as well as (temporary) fear!
30. Arashiyama Bamboo Groves – Kyoto
Bamboo doesn’t sound very exciting, but you have to see the Bamboo Groves of Arashiyama to believe them! These bamboo trees are absolutely mesmerising to watch sway in the breeze. Follow the path through these trees and be prepared to take advantage of the stunning scenery, because it provides plenty of amazing photo opportunities.
31. FJADRARGLIUFUR CANYON: SOUTHERN ICELAND
Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is another of Iceland’s awe-inspiring spectacles that you must see when travelling in the region. The canyon itself measures around 100 metres deep and 2km long with very sheer walls. Probably the most fascinating thing about the canyon (besides its majestic proportions) is the chance to hike and explore inside it (the water level is very low in most parts so this can be done safely). There is a great walking path which leads to the canyons edge and visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of the area above the canyon.
32. LOST CITY: COLOMBIA
Come and see the Lost City of Columbia which was built way back in 800AD. The architecture and designs are mesmerising and totally unique. To reach the Lost City a 4-5-day trek through tropical rainforest (along the trail that leads to Teyuna) is required which is an adventure in itself! Don’t be concerned… it is an exciting and totally beautiful experience directed by local guides who are very friendly and only too willing to share their indigenous knowledge. Expect to see lots of interesting flora and fauna on the trek, including colourful bugs insects and butterflies with the most intricate patterns and designs.
33. Tunnel of Love – Ukraine
Tunnel of love is the one most interesting, romantic and truly unbelievable places anywhere in the world. Tunnel of love is located in the town of Kleven in the Ukraine. One of the reasons it is so incredible is because you see the perfect fusion of great architecture of nature and men. Many of lovers believed that their love life become success if they visit tunnel of love with true passion and as such the tunnel of love is now considered one the most romantic place in the world, even ahead of Paris, the city of love.
34. GREEN LAKE: AUSTRIA
The Green Lake in Austria is a dream come true for those who love scuba diving and nature or hiking. The sparkling clear waters are relatively shallow in winter time, however in spring and summer time they are beautifully refreshing and ice cold. There are also many other similar dive sites of great beauty scattered around Austria’s Lungau region. Of course, make sure to check the current regulations before travelling to make there are no current restrictions on scuba diving activity in the region you wish to travel!
35. SMOO CAVE: SCOTLAND
Smoo Cave (located near the village of Durness on the north coast of Scotland) on is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Scotland, however don’t let this put you off. The natural sea caves carved into limestone cliffs allow plenty of room for private exploration and for personal guided tours. The inside of the caves is an awesome spectacle with numerous chambers which one can take a boat into if desired. Thundering waterfalls inside the cave provide regular cascades of water and at times the caves are shrouded in fog and mist (a wonderful yet eerie experience).
36. Monteverde – Costa Rica
Have you ever dreamed of walking across a canopy in one of the most beautiful rainforests? In Monteverde you can. This Costa Rican mountain town, suspension bridges span thick cloud forests, coffee plantations and volcano peaks. This is loved by travellers of all ages. A truly memorable experience and something you really can’t just do anywhere else.
Some places not so unknown that we just had to share because they are so amazing. (Sorry no points for these ones).
Tulip Fields – The Netherlands
Tulips are often the first things that come to mind when you think of Holland and the Netherlands, and for good reason! You’ll be blown away by seeing the vast tulip fields in person nothing can compare than seeing the fields in person.
Great Wall of China – Beijing China
Yes one of the greatest wonders of the world and loved by tourists from all over the world but it still has to be seen to be believed. It’s over 21,000 km long, thousands of years old, and can be seen from space—no wonder it is loved by all and secured a spot on our list.
Ha Long Bay – Vietnam
Ha Long Bay was chosen as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature, and was designated in 1994 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Loosely translated, the name means, ‘descending dragon’, and it is outlined by over 1,600 islets and islands. These islands and islets are made of limestone, with a lot of them given names by the locals, depending on their shape. There’s so much natural beauty here, and it’s a must for those who love travelling by water.
Lake Louise – Canada
Set inside the world-renowned Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise is a year-round resort destination. No matter what time of year you visit, it really is truly remarkable. On a sunny day, the impossibly blue lake reflects the surrounding snow-capped mountains and in winter it transforms into a winter wonderland. Even if you aren’t particularly an outdoorsy type, you will find Lake Louise truly breathtaking, no matter when you choose to visit.
There is no doubt that we could write about another 20, possibly more breathtaking places you must see. However we just know that these breathtaking places around the world will make your next getaway truly unforgettable. Every corner of the world houses something that will take your breath away, so don’t just stop at the 40 places listed here! Get incredible photos and experience what life is all about by travelling to these utterly incredible cities, towns, and landmarks. We know you will enjoy.
This post is written by Adventure Clues – A company that offers a new Fun Way to explore your city with cryptic clues..