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20 of the World’s Strangest Places

By Jake Beardslee · April 28, 2024

Socotra Island, Yemen

Due to millions of years of isolation, the island of Socotra is home to 700 plant species found nowhere else on Earth, like the twisted dragon's blood tree. This island simply looks like an alien world, with landscapes and life forms you won't see anywhere else.  Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia/Wikimedia

Cat Island, Japan

On the remote island of Tashirojima in Japan, feral cats outnumber human residents. These cats roam freely and are revered by locals who built cat-shaped cabins. It's a quirky paradise for feline lovers to spot these frisky island residents.  暇・カキコ/Wikimedia

Lake Hillier, Western Australia

One of the islands off Western Australia's coast contains a vibrant pink lake that definitely catches the eye. The striking color of Lake Hillier persists year-round possible due to the organism Dunaliella salina. This bright pink body of water seems like something straight out of a fantasy world.  Yodaobione/Wikimedia

Pamukkale, Turkey

In southwest Turkey, you'll find the remarkable Pamukkale, meaning "Cotton Palace." Here, mineral-rich thermal waters have formed a surreal landscape of travertine terraces and pools. The ancient Greek ruins of Hierapolis only add to the strange, out-of-this-world scenery. Take a dip in the warm waters of this one-of-a-kind place.  Antoine Taveneaux/Wikimedia

The Tianzi Mountains, China

Jutting hundreds of feet into the air, the quartzite spires of China's Tianzi Mountains seem impossible and alien. Dense foliage covers the slim pillars, adding to their amazing appearance. It's easy to see why this bizarre landscape inspired the floating mountains in Avatar. A visit here truly feels like stepping onto another planet.  chensiyuan/Wikimedia

Badab-e Surt, Iran

In northern Iran, two mineral-rich hot springs have created a mesmerizing series of terraced pools in vivid hues of red and orange. Badab-e Surt looks like a rainbow was painted across the rock formations. This lesser-known wonder is one of the strangest and most photogenic places on Earth.  Samaee/Wikimedia

The Hand in the Desert, Chile

In the middle of Chile's barren Atacama Desert stands a bizarre sight - a giant concrete hand protruding from the ground. This eerie sculpture by artist Mario Irarrázabal was meant to symbolize human vulnerability, and its remoteness adds to its striking oddness.  Nicolas Valdes Ortega/Wikimedia

Spotted Lake, British Columbia

In the Canadian province of British Columbia, you'll find Spotted Lake. In summer when the water evaporates, it reveals a series of vividly colored mineral pools. The sight is striking and unexplained - the native Okanagan people consider this landscape sacred. See for yourself this odd, kaleidoscopic terrain crafted by nature.  Jack Borno/Wikimedia

The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

The result of an ancient volcanic eruption, the Giant's Causeway features around 37,000 tightly packed basalt columns. Their geometric perfection and surprising uniformity make this a bizarre natural formation. According to legend, a giant constructed this baffling rock landscape, lending an aura of mystery.  Maarlowes/Wikimedia

Thor's Well, Oregon

On the Oregon coast, a peculiar geological formation dubbed Thor's Well or Spouting Horn offers a dramatic spectacle. During rough seas, water relentlessly rushes into this gaping sinkhole only to erupt violently upwards. Witnessing the raw power of nature at this odd site is unforgettable.  Joe Mabel/Wikimedia

The Nasca Lines, Peru

Etched into the desert in Peru are hundreds of mysterious ancient designs depicting animals, plants and geometric shapes - the Nasca Lines. Dating back over a millennium, these massive lines can only be fully viewed from the air. How and why they were created remains an archaeological puzzle.  NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Space Systems, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team/Wikimedia

The Bermuda Triangle

This infamous triangular region of the western Atlantic hasatalyzed countless peculiar disappearances of ships and planes over the decades. Strange phenomena like compass malfunctions have been reported within its boundaries. Whether natural or supernatural, there's no denying the eerie mystique surrounding the Bermuda Triangle.  David Broad/Wikimedia

Chocolate Hills, Bohol Island, Philippines

The unusual landscape of the Philippine island of Bohol features hundreds of perfectly cone-shaped hills, earning them the name "Chocolate Hills." During the dry season, the green grass coating them turns brown, making the terrain resemble endless mounds of chocolate. A truly unique natural formation.  Jesse Alegre/Wikimedia

Red Beach, Panjin, China

Every autumn, the shoreline near Panjin, China turns a brilliant red as the Sueda seaweed covering the beach changes color. This vibrant ruby-colored coastline dubbed "Red Beach" creates a surreal, almost martian, scene for visitors to this odd locale.  吴张帆/Wikimedia

Plain of Jars, Laos

Scattered across miles in Laos are thousands of ancient stone jars - some clustered, some isolated. Their origins and purpose are a mystery. Local legends claim the massive jars were once used to brew alcoholic drinks for giants. An archaeological enigma.  Jakub Hałun/Wikimedia

Goblin Valley, Utah

Erosion has carved the sandy rock of a Utah valley into thousands of mushroom-shaped hoodoos, creating an otherworldly landscape nicknamed "Goblin Valley." Walking among these bizarre rock figures feels like being transported to an alien planet populated by stone trolls.  Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota/Wikimedia

Whale Bone Alley, Siberia

The arrangements of massive whale bones lining the shoreline of a remote Siberian island create an eerie, haunting scene. Dubbed "Whale Bone Alley," the origins and purpose of these grisly bone sculptures remain unclear. It's both fascinating and morbid.  National Ocean Service, NOAA/Wikimedia

Glass Beach, California

Years of waves pulverizing dumped glass have created a beach near Fort Bragg, California where the "sand" is actually millions of polished glass pieces. The result is a shoreline that sparkles in a mesmerizing rainbow of colors - an unintended wonder born from pollution.  Moximox/Wikimedia

The Catacombs, Paris

Beneath the streets of Paris lies a dark, macabre network of tunnels lined with the skeletal remains of millions of people. These eerie catacombs contain precise bone arrangements meant to honor the dead.  Shadowgate from Novara, ITALY/Wikimedia

Fly Geyser, Nevada

The stunning, kaleidoscopic hues of Nevada's Fly Geyser are accidental, resulting from a man-made environmental disaster. When drilling caused a small geyser, mineral-rich water coated the new landform in vivid colors. An industrial mistake turned into a weirdly beautiful attraction.  Ken Lund/Wikimedia


From vividly colored lakes to feline-dominated islands, these 20 weird destinations showcase the strange, bizarre and unexpected around the globe. Visiting them challenges our assumptions about what's possible and normal. These places beckon travelers to escape the mundane in search of extraordinary experiences unlike anywhere else. Immerse yourself in the uncanny - our world's weirdness holds the secrets to true wonderment.  ISS Expedition 26 crew/Wikimedia