We’ve all watched a fairy tale movie and wanted to be transported to a faraway land with stunning vistas and amazing landscapes. How many times have you got lost in a scene and wished that alien planet was as reachable as hopping on a plane?
But we’ve had to be content with watching these places in films and just wishing they existed – until now.
These 15 places are almost too magical to be true - but they are. You can visit all of these stunning locations and see a pink lake, a sea of stars and rainbow mountains right here on our own planet! It’s as easy as having a sense of adventure and booking your flight!
You might think these pictures have been Photoshopped, but they are all absolutely real and proof that every time you think you’ve seen it all, something else comes along to blow your mind! Nature is a constantly changing and incredible force which reveals something new to us every day.
The world is a truly amazing place so what are you waiting for? Get these on your bucket list, dig out your camera and book your flights! Life is too short to miss out on these truly incredible sights.
15 Abraham Lake, Canada
This incredible artificial lake in Alberta, Canada, looks like something from a Star Wars movie but it is completely real. A natural phenomenon creates amazing “frozen bubbles” under the ice which are seemingly trapped in time under the huge lake surface and create an eerie scene.
The bubbles happen when plants on the bottom of the lake release methane gas which rises through the water until it gets to the much colder surface where it freezes. During the depths of winter, this spectacle is at its peak when all the bubbles stack up under the frozen lake and is a huge attraction for tourists and photographers.
These bubbles, set against the clear ice on the surface, look like the water would be textured but as soon as the thaw comes they disappear again for another year and the lake goes back to its usual appearance.
With 20 square miles of lake, this reservoir on the North Saskatchewan River has plenty of room for everyone to get a shot of this crazy phenomenon.
14 Lake Baikal, Russia
Sticking with the cold theme (make sure you pack a warm coat!) Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia, might be a trip out into the wilderness, but what you will find will make the journey worth it.
This is the world’s deepest lake and has a mysterious folklore and superstitious history surrounding it. The incredibly clear water means you can see down into this lake for 40 meters and it is home to some unique animals.
But it is when this lake freezes over that it really becomes magical. Snow building up over the frozen lake surface leaves huge 50ft high blocks of ice jutting from the ground and these massive ice floes glow with a clear blue light as the sun shines through the beautiful clear water. It gives the appearance of precious gems resting on the surface of the ground or perhaps a mystical light breaking through the snow itself.
13 Lake Hillier, Western Australia
Known as “The Pink Lake,” which is a pretty self explanatory name, this relatively small body of water has a rather pretty color.
The striking pink color is made all the more noticeable by the fact it sits next to the Pacific Ocean itself which is of course its usual shade of blue. It remains a mystery why the lake has this crazy color but some scientists think it is due to a micro algae which inhabits the salt water. It was first found by navigator Matthew Flinders in 1802 and who knows what he thought?! Ever since then it has been a popular tourist destination and people love to take a glass down to the water’s edge and scoop up some of this pink water (it still stays pink even when it is in a glass!)
It doesn’t look as pink when you’re at ground level but from a helicopter or plane ride above you can really appreciate its otherworldly appearance.
12 Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, USA
At first glance, you might think this has been painted by a lazy artist who has swiped a thick bristled brush over a canvas. But this stunning rock formation, called “The Wave” is a real place in Utah. It sits within 112,500 acres of wilderness in the state but it is well worth packing your hiking boots and taking a trip out there – just take plenty of water and don’t get lost!
This sandstone rock formation has perfect stripes and smooth hills which give the whole place a magical feel.
The best time to take photographs is about midday when there are no shadows. But it is harder to get to this stunning area than most. Due to its popularity and fragile system there are only ten permits given out per day for people wanting to visit. If you want to go, you must enter into a lottery and ten names will be drawn for people to visit the next day.
11 Rainbow Mountains, China
Another mountainous miracle is in China.
You might feel like you’ve slipped into a cartoon but these incredible mountains are a real location in Gansu province, North West China. Red-colored sandstone has been eroded over years to create these stunning rock formations of a myriad of different colors. This natural wonder is within the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park where visitors can see the red, yellows, oranges and greens formed around the hills.
Minerals and salts are what give the rainbow mountains their amazing colors and you can see them at any time of the year although summer is a great time to visit as the light will be best to show off the brightness of the colors. Weather also plays its parts and geologists love to study these formations which were formed before China’s Himalayan mountains.
10 The Trulli, Italy
Looking at the Trulli, you might feel you’ve stepped into an entirely different world where magical creatures live in these weird conical homes with drawings and symbols on the pointed roofs. But these man made constructions have been around in Italy since the prehistoric age and the oldest Trulli still in existence are in Alerobello and date back to the 14th century.
Historians think this way of building homes was designed because of the way the population lived. These huts are built without any cement so they can be dismantled in a hurry – a good way to avoid paying taxes brought in on new settlements! They’re made of limestone which give them their striking white appearance and could be just at home on the set of a Lord of the Rings film as they are in the Italian countryside.
9 The Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
Imagine the world has been created just for you and your lover as you stroll through this beautiful woodland escape. The dreamlike tunnel has a train running through it in a surreal touch which adds to its magical atmosphere.
It is about 5km long and due to the soundproofing of the surrounding woodland, a walk through this leafy passageway is often nearly silent save for the scurrying of wildlife or birdsong.
What could be quite a dull stretch of industrial railway line has become one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on the planet. The train, which travels through the tunnel three times a day to a nearby factory, has created its own pathway through the thick trees and it attracts photographers and couples from all over the world. Visit in the snow for an incredible scene which could have come straight out of Narnia.
8 MUSA Underwater Museum of Art, Mexico
Although this is a man-made gallery, the surreal nature of these underwater sculptures and art installations give you the sense of being in a film. This attraction, in Cancun, Mexico, sees thousands of divers and snorkelers visiting every year.
Created in 2009, there are 500 sculptures on the sea bed which give you an almost post apocalyptic view of the world – it’s as if the sea came and swallowed up the land.
If you’re not a fan of the water, you can still see the artwork from a glass bottom boat ride but for the full, immersive experience you really need to don a mask and fins to check out the dreamlike world for yourself. And as well as being an incredible spectacle, this museum actually helps sea life thrive around Mexico’s coast.
7 Portmeirion, Wales
You would be forgiven for thinking you had walked into a TV show when visiting Portmeirion as it was actually used for the iconic show The Prisoner. But this North Wales town is actually a real life, working community.
It was made between 1925 and 1976 by architect Clough Williams-Ellis who wanted to develop a natural beauty spot without spoiling it and give future town planners ideas for how to enhance an area – rather than just concrete it over.
Based on Italian architecture, the village is a place for entertainment and concerts. It has colorful houses, a central square and ornamental garden. This designer knew how to pack a lot of character in a small space and create a little pocket of fairy tale wonderment in windy North Wales.
6 The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
This impressive stepped creation looks as though the giants themselves have made it as a pathway to another world.
These huge polygonal columns are actually layered basalt in the Antrim area which has become the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. The incredible structures were formed in a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago and has been attracting tourists for years.
The causeway is steeped in folklore and mythical tales, some people say it was carved out of the coast itself by a huge giant, Finn McCool, who left clues of his life behind him in the Giant’s Boot and the Wishing Chair. From the roof of the visitor centre, you can see 360 degree views of the entire causeway but if you want to get up close to this huge attraction then there are four walking (or climbing!) trails for people with any ability.
5 Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, New Zealand
Wandering into these eerie caves you feel as though you’ve left our planet altogether and are an explorer on a different planet. But these caves can be found in Waitomo, New Zealand, and are just waiting for you to get lost amongst the shimmering lights.
Thousands of tiny glow-worms light up the roof of these magical caves and create an otherworldly experience.
You can walk through the caves for a once in a lifetime experience and you can even glide silently on a boat trip through the caves themselves. The Waitomo River runs right through the caves and straight into the Glow-worm Grotto meaning you can take a boar and a guide to see these amazing creatures as they light up the caverns.
For the best experience, leave phones and flashlights behind to make sure the only light you will see in these amazing caves are the glow-worms themselves.
4 Cave of the Crystals, Mexico
Another crazy cave is in Mexico – the Cave of the Crystals. It doesn’t sound all that incredible but take a look at some of the breathtaking formations in this cave and you will feel like you’re stepping right into a movie.
Remember that scene in the first Superman film? It’s easy to imagine you’re standing in Kal-El’s crystal palace in a wasteland once you enter this amazing place. Selenite crystals have formed in this cave, some of the largest naturally occurring crystals ever found. The largest found so far is nearly 40ft long!
Take some light clothes with you if you want to explore, it is a scorching 136 degrees inside with up to 99% humidity! This means you can only get inside for around ten minutes at a time so make sure you have your cameras out and ready!
3 Minack Theatre, UK
This world-famous open air theatre would look perfectly at home on a Greek island or starring in a mythical film about the ancient Gods, but it is nestled in the unassuming location of Cornwall in the U.K.
Sitting high on cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean, guests can stare out to see as they watch performances, musicals and opera at the theatre every summer.
It is open all year round and visitors can hear about Rowena Cade, who built this incredible attraction. With its stone steps and seats carved straight out of the hillside, it is easy to forget this is a fairly modern addition to the British landscape and be whisked away into a world of Shakespearean plays and Greek tragedies.
The crashing of the waves on the rocks below only adds to the dramatic scene created by talented actors as they tell the stories of old.
2 Petra, Jordan
You might be thinking, “I’ve seen this before somewhere...” and you’d be right. Petra in Jordan has been used as a backdrop for several big budget Hollywood movies including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Mummy Returns. So if you ever wondered how film crews created such interesting and huge sets, wonder no more. It was all real!
This city was quite literally carved out of the reddish rock, giving it a nickname “the Rose City” for its pinkish hue. It was hidden from most of the world until Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt stumbled across it in 1812. The incredible city is accessed through a narrow path and includes several different areas including a monastery and tombs.
If you visit nowhere else on this list, Petra is an absolute must see as even in pictures you cannot truly get a feel for the overwhelming size and history of this ancient city.
1 Sea of Stars, Maldives
The Maldives has got to be one of the most romantic places on Earth and has been a popular honeymoon destination for years. By day, sandy white beaches and stunning views are a perfect place to relax and unwind.
But on Vadhoo Island, the night time is even more unbelievable.
The sea itself turns into a shimmering, magical creation with waves of beautiful light sweeping the shore as the water comes in. This incredible affect is created by bioluminescent plankton which inhabit the water around the Maldives. These tiny little organisms create pin pricks of light that turn the blackness of the sea into a shimmering carpet of what looks like stars.
On clear nights, it almost looks as though the water has become a mirror and is reflecting the stars in the sky above. It could truly be the most romantic light in the entire world.