Most Extreme Landscapes on Earth

Our globe is home to some truly breathtaking and extraordinary sights. Be it strangely-shaped rock formations, alien-looking sulfur springs or unique chocolate hills, the world is full of such beautiful phenomena that no words can describe it.


Pictures may help…


1. The Badlands National Park. The USA.

Dakota’s Badlands. By Matt Binns

Sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires are the main features of Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA. The park is also the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the country. Beside the unique rock formations, this bizarre land of extreme temperatures (-40F to 116F), high winds and dramatic weather changes is also home to the bison, bighorn sheep, endangered black-footed ferrets, and the swift fox.

By IronRodArt
By geoftheref


The Giant’s Causeway, Ireland and Staffa, Scotland

Staffa. Scotland. By Purplekitten

Incredible basalt columns can be found on the northeast coast of the Northern Ireland and on Staffa, a small island in Scotland. How did these amazing formations emerge? Without getting too technical, some 50 million years ago, the northern coasts were subject to volcanic activity – fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds, forming the lava plateau. When the lava cooled rapidly, contraction occurred, shaping the columns and determining their size.

Staffa’s columns. By piglicker


By Scott MacLeod Liddle
Staffa’s columns. By Scott MacLeod Liddle
Giant Causeway. Ireland. By laurieciao


3. The Chocolate Hills. The Philippines.

Chocolate Hills. By WisDoc

Apparently, the Chocolate Hills are not covered in the cocoa trees, and their name derives from the grass turning brown during the dry season. This unusual geological formation can be found in Bohol, an island province of the Philippines. The place can boast 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi).

By djlah


4. Penitentes. The Death Valley and the Andes. 

Penitentes in Death Valley. By redteam

The tall thin blades of hardened snow or ice can be found only at high altitudes. They are called penitentes or nieves penitents. This beautiful snow formation can be as tall as a person and oriented towards the general direction of the sun. Penitentes appear in the Andes of Chile and Argentina, as well as in the Death Valley, USA. 


Penitenes in Death Valley. By hexodus....
Penitentes in Death Valley. By hexodus….


Penitenes in Andes. Argentina. By dreamX


5. Sossusvlei. Namibia.

By geoftheref

The high red sand dunes called Sossusvlei are located in the central Namib Desert, within Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia. This surrealistic clay pan is fed by the Tsauchab River that flows through the Namib every 5 to 10 years. Thanks to the infrequent floods the pan is covered by unique camel thorn, native to the drier parts of Southern Africa.
Still, even during very wet years the river does not reach the Atlantic Ocean but drains away between the dunes of Sossusvlei.

 By aftab.

By aftab.

By aftab


 6. Shilin. China.

The Stone Forest, Kunming, China – Yunnan Province. By giladr

The Stone Forest (Shilin) is one of the main attractions of the Yunnan Province, China. This strange set of karst formations is located around 85 kilometres from the city of Kunming. Many of these tall rocks look like trees made of stone, creating the illusion of a stone forest.

he Stone Forest, Kunming, China – Yunnan Province. By Dinaer


7. Wai-O-Tapu. New Zealand.

By TylerIngram

In New Zealand’s Taupo Volcanic Zone lies an alien-looking active geothermal area called Wai-O-Tapu. It is home to a number of colorful hot springs, geysers, steaming volcanic lakes and mineral terraces as well as mud pools.

By ken mccown


By robinvanmourik


 8. Cappadocia. Turkey.

Cappadocia. By lecu lillas

Amazing fairy chimneys cover Cappadocia, a historical region in the central part of Turkey. These rock formations are such a prominent feature of the country that they were depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 50 new lira banknote of 2005-2009.

Cappadocia. By dachalan
Cappadocia. By dachalan

Cappadocia. By Jungle Boy


9. Spotted Lake. Canada.

Spotted lake. By bryanh

High concentration of numerous minerals makes the Spotted Lake, British Columbia, Canada, an extraordinary and unreal looking phenomenon in the region. This saline alkali lake boasts the highest quantities (in the world) of magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulphates. During hot summer months water in the lake evaporates leaving behind unique large spots.

By bryanh


10. Wulingyuan. China.

By benbeiske

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, the Wulingyuan region is a scenic unusual area in Hunan Province, China, known for its tall sandstone pillars. Some of these strangely-shaped karst formations may exceed 800 meters. The site is also famous for its high mountains, clear waters, deep valleys, and mountain gullies.

Wulingyuan national park. By GrumpyWolf


Some of the locations mentioned above appeared on this list thanks to the Open Travel readers’ suggestions placed in the comments for Most Unreal Landscapes on Earth. Thank you for your help!



  1. I am so confused XD. I had to reerad the whole comic today because I didn’t even know who Yuen was xDThis whole time I thought that the flashbacks were what happened to meela because they had similar hairstyles.I must have been tired or something because I never noticed the names mentioned was not her’s and really reading a panel a week can make you forget details like the journal.Though thanks to the comments and reerading it I understand now XD>> I still feel bad for being confused.

  2. GOD !!!! it was such a wondrous scenery ……….
    it really has a beautiful and perfect view….
    wish to be there someday with the one i love.
    good job to the photographer. . .
    IT WAS LIKE A HEAVEN HERE ON EARTH while watching those pictures !!!!!

  3. why these website can’t show picture together with the story? It’ll be truely better.I get so much dazzling when clicked the photo’s link and i can’t find what is it because photo lists in flickr always changed, thank you.

  4. The author is likely referring to penitents that form in the mountains surrounding Death Valley, which are some of the highest in the contiguous United States.

  5. Are you a geologist, Shut Up? Because I am, and there is validity in what Nicole said. As even you stated, karst topography is formed from the dissolution of carbonate rock. The article is erroneous in stating that a formation is karst and composed of sandstone. Please be polite and not so overwhelmingly pretentious.

    Great job with the article. Having spent significant time in both the Badlands of South Dakota and Nebraska, I can say it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. I also recently visited Wai-O-Tapu, which is absolutely indescribable.

  6. Amanda is right, Death Valley i believe is one of the lowest elevations in the world, something like 39 feet below sea level, also it tends to have the highest temperatures in the US, though an awesome place to see

  7. Nice collection but in reference to number four:
    “The tall thin blades of hardened snow or ice can be found only at high altitudes”
    Death Valley is very far from from being at a high altitude.

  8. We were very excited to come to turkey because it was going to be our first time in Turkey, we were hoping our trip to be well arranged and to see the nice places we want to visit. we heard very good toughts about istanbul and cappadocia. And finally we visited most of historical places and i can say our guide vas fantastic he was very nice and informative person. The hotel which was choosen by our company was also very nice it was in the exactly old part of istanbul and we were very happy with the organization. We also went to visit cappadocia for 2 days and everything fortunately went on very well. We were welcomed at the cappadocia and the tour was excellent. Turkish people must be very lucky because a lot to see and visit …

  9. Anytime I read a travel piece I am ready to book a ticket. I’m such a sucker for any cultural experience. Sounds amazing! I’ve done Europe, much of Asia, and North Africa. Hands down my favorite trip was a food and wine tour to Tuscany. Really had the time of my life and it’s like every local is there to help you enjoy. Next trip you should check it out.

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