Nature is the world’s most inspired surrealistpainter. From paradisiacal lagoons to swirling rock formations – the Planet overflowswith landscapes whose dreamlike qualities escape the confines of reason andplay tricks with the senses. Just have alook at some of the most astounding examples.
Salar de Uyuni, Uyuni, Bolivia
Uyuni wouldprobably be an ordinary village not worth a while if it wasn’t blessed with theworld’s largest salt flat left by a dried up lake. In the summer, visitors to Salar deUyuni can walk among tens of protruding crystal piles, but when the winter rainscome, the whole area turns into a borderless reflective surface, with flamingos wading against the horizon.
Lake Retba, Senegal
Lake Retba (alsoknown as Lac Rose) owes its unbelievable strawberry color to the presence of Dunaliella salina algae, especially found in sea saltfields. Depending on the time of day and season, the water changes its shadefrom a light purple to a deep scarlet pink.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
Patagoniais frequently mentioned among the world’s most magical spots and watching thebreathtaking ice theater of Los Glaciares National Park, one canhardly wonder why. At the Perito Moreno Glacier, numerous walkways give an unobstructed overhead view of thecraggy, bluish masses advancing over Lago Argentino.
Antelope Canyon, AZ, USA
It’s nonews Arizona is a realm of dreamlike formations, but the surreality of AntelopeCanyon goes beyond imagination. Located on Navajo land near Page, the canyon consists of two separate,extremely photogenic sections, referred to as The Crack (Upper Antelope Canyon) and The Corkscrew (Lower Antelope Canyon).
Bharat Tea Plantations, Malaysia
Bharat is the second largest tea producer in Cameron Highlands, withplantations right by the main road between Ringlet and Tanah Rata. There’s no way to miss it. Onceyou’re there, explore the pathways snaking through the fields and have a sip ofaromatic beverage in one of numerous tea houses established in the area.
Fly Geyser, Black RockDesert, NV, USA
The Fly Geyserlooks like an otherworldly creation but is not exactly a natural phenomenon. Atthe beginning of the 20th century, a geothermal power company drilled a test wellat the site but did not predict that geothermally heated water would notstay confined for long. Several decades later, the water began escaping to thesurface, leaving a coat of dissolved minerals which have accumulated over time andformed a bizarre mound that’s still expanding.
Kelimutu Crater Lake, Flores Island, Indonesia
Kelimutu is a small volcano on Flores Island, noted for three summit crater lakes of different colors varyingperiodically. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is typically light blue,while the other two lakes, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men andMaidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Enchanted Lake) are usually green and redrespectively.
Sossusvlei National Park, Namibia
There aremultiple reasons to visit Namibia and the Namib Naukluft Park, with its fiery heaps of sand oftenreferred to as the highest dunes in the world, is among the unquestionable priorities.The best time to view Sossusvlei is at sunriseand sunset when temperatures are bearable and the colors most magical.
Known as Preacher’sPulpit or Pulpit Rock, theiconic formation rises 600 meters abovethe Lysefjord and according to legend, is about to tear off the mountainone day, putting all life in the surrounding area to an end (note a large crackrunning from top to foot of the plateau). It takes about 5 hours to get to thetop of Preikestolen, but the views you get from up there are worth even a 2-dayhike.
The Wave, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, AZ, USA
The Wave is an astonishingerosional formation in the Coyote Buttes section of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Its vivid colors and astonishingundulating shapes make it a top Arizona spot on photographers’ radars, althoughone also needs to be a keen hiker to get there.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
Around aquarter of a mile (0.4 km) across and 480 feet (145 m) deep, the hypnotizing Great Blue Hole is one of themost astounding dive sites in the world. Dazzling shoals of fish, enormousturtles, stunning coral and this unear
thly shade of blue attract adventureseekers like a giant natural magnet.
The amazing frosty landscape of dazzling white calcareous castles has been formed by limestone-laden thermal springs which let the calcium deposits grow into potholes, stalactites and cataracts. The water curing properties to the ills of asthma, rheumatism as well as eyes and skin are probably even doubled when you apply them amidst the historical remains of Hierapolis.
Hani Rice Terraces, Yunnan, China
TheUNESCO-protected reservation zone of Honghe Hani Terraced Fields covers 13,190haand forms such an unearthly landscape that it looks more of an extraterrestrialcreation than the work of a human hand.
Lencois Maranhenses National Park
There are no words to describe the wonder of theLençóis Maranhenses National Park, some 1000 square kilometers of alabastersands dotted with oases of turquoise lakes. The best time to visit is roughlyfrom July to September, when the lagoons are at their fullest and the sweepingdunes form endless ribbons of snow-white dust.
Tulip Festival, Woodburn, OR, USA
Tulip festivals are not exclusive to theBenelux region. Several are regularly held in North America, mostly in citieswith Dutch heritage. In Woodburn, OR, local fields burst in color every springas numerous varieties are arranged neatly in a new pattern.
Badab-e Surt, Iran
Thecharacteristic travertine terrace formations of Badab-e Surt are strikinglysimilar to Turkish Pamukkale, except that they unfold a more intense palette ofhues. The salty water gathering in the orange, red and yellow colored pools isconsidered to have notable medical effects, especially as a cure for rheumatism and various types of skinconditions.
Whitehaven Beach, Australia
Lying inthe heart of the Great Barrier Reef, off the central coast ofQueensland, the 74 Whitesunday Islands, and the Whiteheaven Beach inparticular, are truly a wonder of nature. The fabulous mosaic of snow-whitesand showing through the azure waters is not be seen anywhere else in theworld.
Palouse Hills, WA, USA
At firstglance, one could swear it’s Tuscany, but it turns out Italy has no monopoly foramazing hilly landscapes. The farming area of Palouse, withvarious crops planted in swirling patterns, is a photographer’s dream,especially at sunset and sunrise when the shadow and light play tag on the hills.