20 Astonishing Destinations That Defy Belief

By Jack Ripley | March 6, 2024

Dead Vlei, Namibi

There are extraordinary places on Earth where reality blurs and nature displays its most bizarre creations. From Antelope Canyon in Arizona, where swirling rock formations paint a dreamlike scene, to the Tunnel of Love in Ukraine, a passage with intertwined trees resembling a fairy tale corridor, it's hard to believe these places are real. These are not scenes from a fantasy movie; these are real places that challenge our perceptions of what the Earth can craft. Here are 20 bizarre places that look like they don't exist.

 

test article image
Getty Images

Dead Vlei in Namibia is an almost unbelievable place that appears like a scene from a fantasy movie. There's a vast, white clay pan surrounded by towering red sand dunes. In the middle of this lunar-like landscape, you'll find the eerie remains of ancient trees, their skeletal forms contrasting sharply against the white desert.

The juxtaposition of the lifeless trees against the stark background creates a stunning landscape. The trees, believed to be over 900 years old, stand as silent witnesses to a time when the area was a flourishing oasis. Now, the pan is dry, and the trees are preserved in a hauntingly beautiful way.

The play of light and shadows throughout the day adds to the otherworldly feel of Dead Vlei. It's a place that challenges our perception of reality, making you wonder if you've stepped into a dream. Visiting Dead Vlei is like stepping into one of Salvador Dali's paintings.

Vinicunca, Peru

test article image
peru travel

Vinicunca, often referred to as the Rainbow Mountain, is a picturesque landscape in the Peruvian Andes. This place looks like it doesn't belong to our world, with its vibrant, multicolored stripes resembling a giant painted canvas.

The mountain's unique hues, ranging from deep reds and purples to bright yellows and greens, are a result of different minerals, like iron and sulfur, present in the soil. Over millions of years, geological processes have sculpted these patterns, creating a rainbow-like spectacle. These stripes are due to 14 different minerals. Ice once covered the region, and when the ice melted, the melting ice mixed with the Earth's minerals, creating a cascade of colors.

Trekking to Vinicunca feels like embarking on a journey to an undiscovered realm, where each step reveals a new layer of color. The high altitude and challenging terrain add to the sense of adventure, making the final view of the Rainbow Mountain even more rewarding.