By Mike Atkinson | Drive Producer
When you start building your itinerary for your big trip overseas which iconic attractions do you pick first?
If you’re heading to Paris The Eiffel Tower is a must see. Hop on a plane to New York and you’re guaranteed to be drawn to Times Square or Central Park.
But what about those breathtaking and stunning places that are slightly off the beaten track and, due to the lack of tourists crowding for a photo, still have a mysterious and enchanting reputation?
Antelope Canyon, USA
No, this photo is not photoshopped. It just happens to be one of the most photogenic locations on earth.
Antelope Canyon is situated in Page, Arizona and gets it’s aesthetically pleasing colour from the heavy rainwater in the monsoon season.
Flooding into the canyons, the rain water picks up incredible speeds, allowing the harder edges to be smoothed, and ultimately give the rocks that shimmering golden sand colour which you can see in the photo.
Bamboo Forest, Japan
Located in the outskirts of Kyoto, the western district of Arashiyama is a national designated historic site and is even classed as a place of scenic beauty by the Japanese government.
The popular Iwatayama monkey park and Tenryuji Temple are located nearby, but most tourists- many equipped with cameras — are quick to marvel at the forest. And lined with nothing but a small path amidst sprawling trees, walking through this mystical and tranquil forest filled with nothing but the beaming greens of the bamboos and the seeping rays of sun will most likely send you into a state of blissful contentment.
Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest in Germany has long been a paradise for painters, photographers and nature lovers for its fabled appearance. The forest extends over 150km and is home to an array of high-top mountains, placid lakes and stunning valleys.
It shouldn’t be surprising then, that in 2009 alone, almost 35m adventure-seeking tourists stayed overnight in the various hotels located within the forest.
Hang Son Doong, Vietnam
Located near the Laos- Vietnam border, Hang Son Doong is widely believed to have the largest passage cross-section in the world. More impressive, however, are the cave’s measurements.
For instance, in Son Doong’s largest chamber, it is more than 5 kilometres long, 200 metres high and 150 metres wide. With these measurements, the ominous darkness of Hang Son Doong is regarded as the world’s largest cave.
Lake Hillier, Western Australia
This one may be familiar to you.
Lake Hillier is a pink-coloured lake on Middle Island, the largest of the islands that make up the Recherche Archipelago off the coast of Esperance.
From above the lake appears a solid bubble gum pink. The lake is about 600 meters long, and is surrounded by a rim of sand and dense woodland of paperbark and eucalyptus trees. A narrow strip of sand dunes covered by vegetation separates it from the blue Southern Ocean.
No-one fully knows why the lake is pink. Scientists speculate that the colour comes from a dye created by bacteria that lives in the salt crusts.
Morning Glory Pool, USA
Located in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, this hot spring is bursting with an array of tropical colours. Believe it or not, the colouring is caused from certain bacterias within the waters.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni is home to the world’s largest salt flat, which encompasses an incredible 4,086 square miles. Akin to a human mirror, Salar de Uyuni’s glistening surface is a paradise for photographers and a haven for those seeking peace and solitude.
Shimmering Shores of Vaadhoo, Maldives
From shimmering night stars to glowing aquamarine coloured waters, these natural wonders are sights you’ll never forget.
Yet, whilst appearing magical, this amazing occurrence is caused by marine microbes, which are tiny organisms that exist in the waters. The organisms mainly contain bacteria and plankton, but can also include the viruses that come from the bacteria and plankton!
Tianzi Mountains, China
‘Tianzi’ was named after the Chinese farmer Xiang Dakun, who led a successful farming revolt in the area. Tianzi means ‘son of Heaven’, and with the mountains comprising of pure marble, it’s not hard to see why they were given such a name.
Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
The great cities of the world are known for their romantic monuments and idyllic settings.
For instance, Paris has the love locks on the Pont des Arts bridge, whilst the ancient city of Kyoto is home to an abundance of lush, romantic blossoms.
Yet a place less well known is an abandoned railway in Ukraine. Known by locals as ‘The Tunnel of Love’, the apple coloured arches stretch to 3km and is a favourite pathway for couples seeking a romantic stroll.