The 14 most surreal landscapes in the world

Curated by BuffaloTripSeptember 10, 2015 Viewed: 1856

From vividly coloured waters to dramatic rock formations, here are some of the world's most unusual landscapes.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Picture: Fotolia/AP

The world's largest salt flat, formed from several prehistoric lakes, is laid out over a source of brine which contains nearly half of the world's lithium reserves.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Wyoming

Picture: Fotolia/AP

Stretching 250ft by 380ft, the Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park and the third largest in the world. Set in the Midway Geyser Basin, green algae forms its inner circle, followed by a yellow rim that fades to orange and red on its outermost border.

Lake Natron, Tanzania

Picture: Alamy

This salt and soda lake looks like something you might expect to see on the planet Mars. A blaze of cracked magenta, the lake is deadly and calcifies any animals that have the misfortune to take a dip in its fiery shores.

The Wave, Arizona

Picture: Fotolia/AP

The colourful sandstone rock formation in the Coyote Buttes North Area of the US state features a pattern of beautiful curves and dates back to the Jurassic age.

Mendenhall Glacier cave, Alaska

Picture: Fotolia/AP

These caves have icy walls in varying depths of blue, that shimmer as meltwater seeps over them. There are several caves within the glacier, some that can be reached on a trek, others that are much harder to get to.

Shubazakura Hill, Japan

Picture: Hitsujiyama Park, Japan (Alamy)

Set in Hitsujiyama Park overlooking the city of Chichibu, around 400,000 pink moss flowers come to bloom between April and May on this hill spanning 17,600 square metres. Nearly 1,000 cherry trees also blossom in April.

Dallol, Ethiopia

Picture: Fotolia/AP

At Dallol, in the Denakil Depression, Africa dips to a depth of 116m below sea level, and the temperature soars. Dallol has the highest average air temperature in the world, calculated at 34.4°C. Head across the salt plain to the Dallol volcano, the lowest on earth, if that's not hot enough for you.

Rice terraces, Vietnam

Picture: Fotolia/AP

The rice paddies in Vietnam form one of the most striking green landscapes in the world. The country is the second largest exporter of rice in the world.

Read more Vietnam Travel Guide.

Quebrada de Humahuaca, Argentina

Picture: Fotolia/AP

This Unesco World Heritage site is set in the Jujuy province of north-west Argentina. The region has been populated for at least 10,000 years. The Rio Grande river runs through the valley during the summer.

Fly Geyser, Nevada

Picture: Alamy

This geyser is said to have been "accidentally" created as a result of well drillings which took place nearby in the mid-Sixties, which caused the build-up and eruption of dissolved minerals. Its colours come from thermophilic algae which thrive in high temperatures.

Kelimutu craters in Flores, Indonesia

Picture: Fotolia/AP

Local legend holds that at least one of these lakes is inhabited by evil spirits. Each crater lake changes colour and in the past they have been variously brown, red, turquoise and blue. They can turn as dark as an inkwell.

Caño Cristales, Colombia

Picture: Alamy

This river, famous for its red-coloured underwater plants in the remote La Macarena National Park, is a good illustration of locals taking a hand in tourism. A local community, formerly controlled by FARC, a revolutionary guerrilla organisation, now manages the river and Colombian tourists are already coming to explore an area they had only previously read about in newspapers, writes Chris Moss, Telegraph Travel's Colombia expert.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Picture: Alamy

The mouth of the upper Antelope Canyon is one of the most popular and accessible slot canyons in the south-western United States, writes Telegraph Travel's Jolyon Attwooll, who visited the area where Danny Boyle's 127 Hours film was shot.

Painted Desert, Arizona

Picture: Fotolia/AP

Stretching eastward from Grand Canyon National Park to Petrified Forest National Park, the Painted Desert is packed with deposits of iron and manganese, responsible for staining the host rock red, orange, pink and purple, writes Telegraph Travel's Pamela Petro.


Written by Soo Kim. This article originally appeared on