The Most Surreal Landscapes on Earth

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These Landscapes Will Make You Feel Like You’re Living on Another Planet

Our planet is full of surprises. Across the globe, you can find a wide variety of distinctly unusual landscapes with all sorts of peculiar features. Water comes in all different colors. Man-made structures can distort the earth in ways that humans could never have imagined. And the environment can morph into something entirely unrecognizable over the course of millions of years. Take a quick trip around the world and look at the strangest landscapes on the planet.

Las Salinas de Torrevieja – Spain

Located in Valencia, Spain, Las Salinas de Torrevieja is not your average lake. It features a rosy-pink color with what looks like a gentle mist wafting through the murky water. You can usually see a few flamingos hanging out near the coast, occasionally bobbing their heads into the water. It’s lined with a thin canal known as the Acequión that separates it from the neighboring sea. The lake has always been a hotspot for sea salt. The canal was built to help settlers gain access to the beads of salt. The grimy, white-brown shore just barely rises above the lake. Somewhere between Candyland and a distant alien planet, Las Salinas de Torrevieja is a sight that’s not to be missed.

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Hierapolis-Pamukkale – Turkey

This ancient spa from the second century is almost ghost-like with its pristine thermal springs that look like disparate pools of glass. The name Pamukkale translates as “Cotton Palace, ” and it’s easy to see how these cascading cliffs got their name. Hierapolis refers to a nearby town that was first discovered by the kings of Pergamon, a once powerful city in ancient Greece. When the Romans took over, these thermal springs turned into a luxurious resort town. To this day, visitors from all over the world trek up the cliffs to take a dip in the soothing waters.

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Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – New Zealand

Now a full-fledged tourist attraction, Wai-O-Tapu is like stepping back into the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs ruled the world. It’s located in the middle of New Zealand’s Taupo Volcanic Zone, with a number of still-active volcanoes nearby. All of that geothermal activity has lead to some steaming pools of turquoise-green water with jagged orange-brown crevices protruding out of the earth. Millions of people come to admire this prehistoric wonder. The park offers a series of pathways that let you get up close and personal to the pools. Depending on when you visit, you might see a variety of different colors including a vibrant lemon-green, muddy beige, and even mint green.

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The Danakil Depression – Ethiopia

Don’t expect to get too comfortable at the Danakil Depression. It’s one of the hottest places on the planet with daily highs that reach up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. It sits at the intersection of three tectonic plates, so the place isn’t exactly what you would call stable. There’s a great deal of unexpected activity in the area with geysers, bursts of lava, and acid ponds popping up all over the place. Overtime, the African continent has been shifting away from Asia, leading to some geological shifts. The Danakil Depression is a low-lying piece of land that sits between two volcanoes. The ground can light up with a series of yellow and orange pools of water that give the entire area a disarmingly surreal glow. Things can vary from a yellow-brown swamp to a majestic patch of crystal-clear deep blue water.

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Antelope Canyon – Arizona

A true gem of the American Southwest, Antelope Canyon is a stunning display of Mother Nature’s inherent skills as a craftsperson. These smooth curving caves create a maze of wonders. A thin crevice at the top gives the sun just enough room to reach the bottom of the canyon. Gorgeous shards of light create tiny pools in unique shapes. When the color of the sun changes, the caves at the bottom follow suit. You can see radiant red, pink, and purple spirals that will knock your socks off. Antelope Canyon currently sits on Navajo land, but it’s developed into one of the most frequently visited canyons in the world. Photos of what’s been dubbed as “The Crack” or “The Corkscrew” have generated a lot of interest in this historic destination.

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