TR Robertson –As the world slowly begins to open, after several years of restrictions on travel and stringent policies for entrance into various countries, travelers are once again making their travel plans for exploring places both in the U.S. and beyond our borders. There are numerous destination spots to include on your itinerary but after looking at the places listed below you may want to change your travel plans to include some of these locations considered some of the most beautiful and magical spots in the world.
Antelope Canyon, Nevada – Located on Navajo Nation tribal land in Northern Arizona near Page, Arizona, and Lake Powell. Guided tours are the recommended way to enjoy the spectacular beauty of this part of the United States. Visitors should pay close attention to the weather as flash floods can quickly form from downpours miles away. The magnificent and famous slot canyons, with walls reaching over 120 feet, is a photographers paradise featuring the amazing colors of the sandstone formations. The canyons were formed over millions of years ago from water and wind erosion. Tours will take you to the Upper and Lower Canyons to take in the amazing formations and color of the sandstone walls. The area was named after the herds of pronghorn sheep that used to roam this area years ago. Also located within driving distance are other incredible formations known as The Wave, Sand Cove, Boneyard and Melody Arch.
The Faerie Glen, Scotland – Located on the Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye in the hills above the village of Uig, these unusual formations are caused by landslips. The formations are covered with brilliant green grassy round topped hills, many with ponds in between the formations. From a distance the formations resemble walls and sections of a castle. Many visitors say there is an other-worldly feeling to the place, leading to the name Faerie Glen. Most who visit the site also combine it with a tour to The Quiraing, Kilt Rock and the Old Man of Storr.
Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, Wyoming – This amazing, colorful hot spring is one of the most photographed features of Yellowstone National Park. The hot spring is 370 feet in diameter and deeper than a 10-story building. Located in the Midway Geyer Basin it is close to Excelsior Geyser, Opal Pool, and Turquoise Pool. The basin is a short drive from Old Faithful on the west side of the Grand Loop Road. The bright bands of orange, yellow and green ring the deep blue water of the hot spring change colors depending on the season. The water temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mendenhall Ice Caves, Alaska – The Mendenhall Glacier is located less than ten miles from Alaska’s capital, Juneau. The 12-mile-long glacier, like all glaciers, is suffering the effect of global warming. It has receded two miles since 1958. The ice caves are difficult to reach and can be extremely dangerous. For those wanting to see the stunning blue ice caves a tour guide is highly recommended. Many try to see the caves by paddling to the bottom of the glacier in kayaks and climbing over the glacier, a dangerous adventure since falling chucks of ice occurs regularly. Tour guides take those daring enough on a long hike to the glacier from the upper regions of the park and getting to the ice caves from the top of the glacier. Many of the ice caves have disappeared in the last few years so the presence of caves is inconsistent depending on the season. Those that do see the ice caves describe the experience as “otherworldly” and “surreal.” Cave collapse is an ever-present danger. This is one of those magical places that may not be around in less than 10 years.
Arnold Ice Cave, Oregon – An ice cave system 12 miles southeast of Bend, Oregon. There are 19 caves in the Ice Cave System with a total of 4.5 miles of caves. Some are only a hundred feet deep. The cave system is about 80,000 years old formed from a network of lava tubes. Some of the caves are called Dark Hole, Bat Cave, Charcoal Cave and Hidden Forest Cave. Several of the caves are not open to the public due to the large bat population in the caves. The park where the caves are located is closed from November through April.
Tulip Fields, Netherlands – From mid-March through June the country of Holland becomes a dreamy, colorful sea of flowers. Beginning in March Crocus, followed by Daffodils then Hyacinths blossom followed in mid-April until May by the amazing landscape of Tulips. Most of the flower fields are in the Noordoostpolder in the province of Flevoland. The Keukenhof each year is the world’s biggest flower exhibition. If you are looking for one of the most beautiful and colorful places on earth, Holland in May is the time to visit.
Lake Hillier, Australia – This unusually colored saline lake is located is located on Middle Island off the south coast of Western Australia. The 600-meter lake has a bright pink shade of color due to the presence of Dunaliella Salina, a red algae. The lake is a popular destination for boaters and is safe to swim in, but you must have the approval from Western Australia Department of Environment Conservation. The lake appears a Bubble Gum pink from above and a lighter shade of pink when standing next to the lake.
Meteora Monasteries, Greece – This majestic part of Greece embodies both the natural beauty and the incredible ingenuity of humans in the unbelievable creation of the building of monasteries on top of sandstone pillars, some over 600 meters tall. Originally, there were 24 monasteries built on these rock formations in central Greece. The formations are located near the town of Kalabaka. They were built in the 13th and 14th centuries and the site of Eastern Orthodox religion, although the pillars and the mountains were always a site of worship of ancient people. The name Meteora means “suspended in the air” which all these monasteries appear to be. Looking down from the six monasteries that still exist you look across a spectacular landscape. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. The Holy Monasteries that now exist are Holy Trinity, St. Stephen, St. Nicholas Anapafsas, Rousanou, Varlaam and Metamorfossis.
Goreme National Park, Cappadocia, Turkey – This incredible park was millions of years in the making and humans have lived in the area thousands of years. The unusual formations and soft volcanic rock lead early settlers to carve hundreds of homes into the rock. Over the years Cave Hotels, Uchisar Castle, the Underground City of Kaymakli and individual homes have been established in Rose Valley. These underground communities still exist today and are popular destination stops for vacationers. One of the most popular activities is to take a hot air balloon ride over the park to see the unreal sites from above.
Black Forest, Germany – This forested mountain range is in south-west Germany. It is home to award winning thermal spas, beautiful hiking trails, the Grimm Brothers fairytales, cuckoo clocks, Black Forest Ham, Black Forest Cherry Cake, and in the 14th century the beginning of glass blowing. For the foodie there are 17 Michelin restaurants in the region. Twenty-two rivers either begin in or flow through the Black Forest. The Famous Rhine Valley can be found to the southwest of the forest. The Black Forest is considered one of the most beautiful areas in Europe.
Part 2 of Beautiful and Magical Places in the world will give you more spots to visit as you begin to travel once again.