Tourists travel from all over the world to visit some of the most famous attractions. There are several attractions that everyone has heard of, such as, The Eiffel Tower, The Taj Mahal, and The Grand Canyon. These attractions have millions of visitors coming from all over the world. These destinations are covered in textbooks and discussed by the most brilliant minds. Each attraction has its own unique history and story that is passed down through generations. The famous destinations are well known to the public and engrained in popular culture.
However, there are other places on the planet that people visit that falls into a different category. These locations are unique, bizarre and legendary. Many of these locations were believed to be a myth but actually exist. Tourists travel to the darkest ends of the earth to visit some of the most fascinating places. They have a history and story like no other place on the planet. These mythical and legendary locations have tourists coming from all over the world to get a glimpse of history. Here is a look at 30 Places People Go To For The Stuff Of Legends.
29 The Legend Of El Dorado - Lake Guatavita
Lake Guatavita is a famous tourist destination located in Colombia. The Lake is often associated with the legend of El Dorado. According to Muisca mythology, the lake is one of their scared lakes. The Zipa (Ruler) would cover himself in gold dust and dive into the lake. The worshippers would then throw in gold, jewelry, and other valuables. Starting in 1537, there were several attempts made to drain the lake to find the rumored gold empire at the bottom. In 1965, the Colombian government made it illegal to drain the lake. It’s now a major tourist attraction in Colombia.
28 The Castle of Camelot - Winchester Castle
King Arthur is an iconic British king that fought off the invading Saxons in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Legend of King Arthur is composed of fiction and folklore. Much of his history is debated amongst historians. According to legend, his residence was Camelot Castle. There are many castles believed to be the real Camelot. Winchester Castle is the closest to Camelot that exists today. It includes the famous King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. It’s one of England's popular tourist attractions.
27 Xibalba Cave - Guatemala
The Chiquibul Cave System is the largest in the world and includes 4 of the most famous caves. The system stretches throughout parts of Central America. One of those caves is the historical Xibalba cave located in Guatemala. In Mayan mythology, the cave is believed to be the entrance to the underworld and is ruled by the Mayan gods. The historic location is both a breathtaking and terrifying sight. Additionally, Xibalba roughly translates to “The Place of Fear”.
26 The Town of Kolmanskop - Southern Namibia
The abandoned town of Kolmanskop is world famous ghost town and tourist attraction. It's located in Southern Namibia. In 1908, diamonds were discovered in the area and it quickly became a rich settlement. The town was named after a transport driver, Johnny Coleman, who abandoned his ox wagon opposite the settlement during a sandstorm. The small town exploded into a rich community with a hospital, theater, casino, and school. The town declined and was abandoned not long after World War I. Tourists from all over the world visit the area despite the sand being up to their waist.
25 Mansion Tales of Disneyland - Florida
Disneyland is one of the most famous amusement parks in the world. They have a large number of guests each year that come to see all the amazing attractions. However, the theme park is also known for its many ghost stories. In 1963, construction began on the Haunted Mansion. According to rumors, three ghosts haunt the famous ride, including, a man with a cane, a crying boy at the exit and a woman.
24 The Fountain Of Youth - St. Augustine, Florida
For centuries explorers have searched for the mythical Fountain of Youth. Legend has it that anyone that enters the Fountain will restore his or her youthful looks. The Fountain of Youth is located at a privately owned 15-acre park in St. Augustine, Florida. However, this Fountain does not have to ability to restore youth. In 1513, explorer Ponce de Leon landed in Florida in search of the Fountain. It is unknown if this was the fountain he was in search of.
23 The Sunken City of Ys - Baie de Douarnenez Bay
Douarnenez is a small town in northwestern France. One of the most famous tourist attractions is the Baie de Douarnenez. It’s a popular bay that is known for its pristine beach. According to legend, beneath the bay is the mythical city of Ys. Gradlon The Great built the city Ys for his daughter Princess Dahut at her request. There are several different versions of the story but in all Dahut gets a hold of the only key to the gate. She opened the gate to let in her lover but the city flooded and sunk.
22 The Loch Ness Monster - Scottish Highlands
Loch Ness is a deep and large loch located in the Scottish Highlands. It’s a popular tourist destination and one of the most infamous locations in the world. The freshwater Loch Ness is reportedly the home of the Loch Ness Monster or Nessie as its also known. The first reported sighting was in 1933 although there were sightings as early as the 6th century. This has made the Loch Ness a major tourist destination and includes other Loch Ness attractions as well as souvenir shops.
21 The Goddess Athena - The Parthenon
The Parthenon is a former temple in Greece that is best known for its association with Greek mythology. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Athena and is on the Athenian Acropolis. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, craft, and warfare. The Parthenon’s regarded as one of the highest points in Greek art and culture. A majority of the structure was destroyed throughout its existence. Restoration of the historic and ancient site started in the 90’s. It’s become a popular Greek mythology tourist attraction.
20 The Golem In The Attic - The Old New Synagogue
According to legend, the city of Prague summoned a mythical creature known as a golem. It’s believed that the golem eventually grew too powerful and evil. It began to terrorize the very people it was to defend. A Rabbi captured that golem and hid the body in the attic of the historic Old New Synagogue located in Prague. The Synagogue was completed in 1270 and is Europe’s oldest active synagogue. The attic was closed off for years until recently but there were no signs of a golem’s body.
19 The Land Of The Dead - Matsue, Japan
In Japanese mythology, Yomi is the land of the dead. According to legend, it’s where the souls gather in the afterlife. A deity known as Izanagi was heartbroken after his wife Izanami died. He goes to the underworld Yomi to reunite with her. She’s furious that he arrives there and sends both the God of lighting Raijin and the horrible hag Yomotsu-shikome after him. Once he escaped he placed a large boulder at the entrance. The entrance to Yomi is located in the city Matsue in Japan. The boulder that was used to seal off the entrance still remains.
18 The Fairy Tale Castle - Neuschwanstein Castle
In 1869, Ludwig II of Bavaria began construction on the Neuschwanstein Castle. It’s located in Bavaria, Germany and was completed after Ludwig’s passing in 1886. The castle is a popular tourist attraction and is visited by 1.3 million people a year. It also served as the inspiration behind two of Disney’s most iconic castles. The stunning castle inspired the Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella castles. Ludwig used his own personal money and borrowed the rest to pay for the castle. He did not use Bavarian public funds to build the incredible structure.
17 The Abandoned City - Xanadu
Xanadu was once the summer capital of Kublai Khan’s Yuan dynasty in China. Khan then moved his throne to the Jin dynasty capital, which is modern-day Beijing. In 1369, the Ming Army destroyed much of what was left of the city. The city was eventually abandoned for hundreds of years. In 1872, it was reported that many artifacts remained but were gone by the 90’s. In 2002, a restoration began and in 2012 it was made a World Heritage Site. Many of the temples and tombs were restored. The city inspired the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem Kubla Khan.
16 The Archeological City - Petra
The archeological city Petra is an ancient location in Jordan. It was once the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom and was a major trading hub. The city is known for the incredible architecture and stone carvings. Access to the city is through a 1.2 km gorge called the Siq. The city declined throughout the years and was largely forgotten until Johann Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered the city in 1812. In 1985, it was named a world heritage site and in 2007 was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It’s a major tourist destination with roughly 600,000 guests in 2017.
15 The Lost Inca City - Vilcabamba
In 1539, Manco Inca founded the city of Vilcabamba as the capital of the Neo-Inca State. It was a paradise isolated from the rest of civilization. The small village in Peru was the last of the Inca Empire that fell to the Spaniards in 1572. The city was then destroyed and largely forgotten in time. In 1911, Hiram Bingham journeyed to the location and rediscovered the ancient city. It has become the site of archaeological studies and is believed to the mythical lost Inca city. It’s also become a popular tourist attraction and includes a museum.
14 The Mythical City In The Himalayas - Shangri-La
Shangri-La is a mythical city that appears in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon. According to the myth, the city is located in the Himalayans and is a paradise. The book depicts the residents as being practically immortal and living hundreds of years. Many Himalayan cities claim to be the one that inspired Shangri-La. The former Zhongdian County in China is one of many to make that claim and shares many similarities with the fictional city. In 2001, the city was renamed Shangri-La and has become a major tourist destination.
13 Dracula's Castle - Poenari Castle
Dracula is one of the most iconic horror characters of all time. The character first appeared in the 1897 novel Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s believed that the 15th century Prince Vlad The Impaler inspired the famous character. In fact, he was also known as Vlad Dracula. Poenari Castle is located in Romania and was first built in the 13th century but was eventually abandoned. In the 15th century, Vlad repaired the structure into a great castle. The famous citadel sits on top of Mount Cetatea and can be accessed by climbing 1,480 concrete stairs. It’s become a popular tourist destination in Romania.
12 The Legend Of Robin Hood - Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest is a popular tourist attraction due to its connection to folk outlaw Robin Hood. He was known for stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. The royal forest is located in Nottinghamshire at the Sherwood National Nature Reserve. It covers 1,045 acres and features several Robin Hood themes. The forest attracts close to 1 million visitors each year. Every August Sherwood hosts the Robin Hood Festival. Additionally, the forest is home to the roughly 1,000-year-old Major Oak, which was reportedly Robin Hood’s hideout.
11 The Seven Gates Of Guinee - New Orleans
According to Voodoo mythology, Guinee is the underworld where souls roam. Ioa Baron Samedi guards the spirit world, Guinee. He’s usually depicted as a skeleton wearing a top hat and tuxedo. There are seven entrances to the underworld known as The Seven Gates of Guinee. It’s believed that these seven gates are located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It’s believed the gates are scattered along Canal Street at various cemeteries, such as, Saint Louis Cemetery, Greenwood Cemetery, and Cypress Grove Cemetery.
10 The Shire - The Hobbiton Move Set
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most popular film series. It was shot at several breathtaking locations. Parts of a 1,200-acre farm in New Zealand were converted into the iconic Shire Village. Peter Jackson felt it was the perfect location to build the home of the Hobbits. The movie set is now one of the top tourist attractions in the world. It features Bilbo and Frodo’s famous home Bag End and includes the Dragon Inn.
9 Greek Gods - Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece. It’s also the home to several Greek gods in the Greek mythology. In particular, it’s home to the powerful Zeus who unleashes his wrath from the mountain. The mountain is often covered in a thick fog, which only makes it more mysterious. Mount Olympus is located in Greece’s first National Park. It has become one of the worlds most famous tourist destinations and has thousands of visitors each year. The breathtaking sight includes a tour of the phenomenal mountain.
8 The Entrance To Hades - Alepotrypa Cave
The realm of Hades is the Greek underworld. It’s where souls go after they’ve died. It’s regarded as the dark counterpart of Mount Olympus. It’s described as being at the ends of the earth. The Aleoptrypa cave is an archaeological site in Greece. It was discovered that the cave is actually a burial site and has possible cult connections. It’s one of the largest burial sites in Europe. 170 remains have been found in the cave. The oldest two skeletons date back to the 4th millennium BC. It’s speculated that the cave is linked to the Tainaron, which might be the entrance to Hades.
7 The Valley Of Scarecrows - Nagoro Scarecrow Village
Nagoro is a small town in the gorgeous Iya Valley in Japan. The mountainous area is known for its breathtaking scenery. Nagoro once had a population of 300 but it dwindled down to 30 by 2016. The near-ghost town is known for a large number of realistic scarecrows in the village. They either represent a current or former resident although some are fictional. In fact, one classroom is made up of entirely scarecrows. This has turned the small village into a popular tourist destination.
6 Kingsroad - The Dark Hedges
The Dark Hedges is quickly becoming one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations. It’s best known as the shooting location for the Kingsroad in the HBO series Game of Thrones. In 1775, James Stuart built Gracehill house, named after his wife, in Northern Ireland. He planted 150 beach trees along the entrance to the large mansion. The trees created a tunnel-like atmosphere that is breathtaking and eerie. For years stories have swirled that the Dark Hedges is haunted by various spirits including James Stuart’s daughter.
5 The Mythical City - The City of Troy
The city of Troy was the site of the epic Trojan War, which was described in Homer’s classic poem Iliad. The war began with the kidnapping of Helen and is famously known for the Trojan Horse. A new capital was built on the site and Troy largely disappeared. Eventually, the city was believed to be a myth. In the 1860’s, archaeologist Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann discovered the remains of the city and determined it as the site of Troy. The site is now known as Hisarlik located in modern-day Turkey and is a major tourist attraction.
4 Homer's Odyssey - Cyclopean Isles
The Cyclopean Isles are located off the coast of the Sicilian town, Aci Trezza. The three isles are near Mount Etna and were formed roughly 500,000 years ago. They are of volcanic origin and might have been attached to Sicily. Homer’s Odyssey follows Odysseus journey back home after the Trojan War. He encounters the one-eyed, six-headed monster Cyclops. According to legend, the Cyclops threw three great stones at Odysseus. It’s believed the Cyclopean isles were the three rocks Cyclops threw.
3 The Witch City - Salem
The historical city of Salem is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The city is best known for being the main site of the witch trials of the 1690’s. Despite being a dark period in Salem’s history, the city has embraced it as an important lesson. Salem has strong witch-related tourism and is even known as The Witch City. The Witch House is the only building with ties to the witch trials that remain. It’s now a historic house museum.
2 The New Wonder Of The World - Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu was once the grand estate of the Inca emperor Pachacuti. The 15th century Inca citadel sits on top of a mountain ridge located in Peru. The breathtaking structure was built in 1450 but the Incas abandoned it a century later during the Spanish Conquest. During that time, the Spanish did not discover Machu Picchu and only locals knew of its existence. It was unknown to the world until 1911 when historian Hiram Bingham brought attention to it. In 2007, it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
1 The Goddess Pele - Kīlauea Volcano
Pele is the goddess of fire, lighting, wind, and volcanoes. The Hawaiian religion believes that she created the Hawaiian Islands and that her scared home is the volcano Kīlauea. It’s located in the historic Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Both Kīlauea and the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater are considered sacred ground and Hawaiians often visited the crater to offer gifts. According to legend, anyone that removes one of the rocks from the area will suddenly encounter a string of bad luck until returning it.