One of the joys of travelling to new and exotic destinations is the abundance of things to see, whether cultural, historical or natural. The latter, many would argue, is by far the most impressive, with hundreds of spectacular sights just waiting to be discovered across the world.
Here is just a small selection of some of the spectacular natural wonders you need to see.
The glowing beaches of the Maldives
Take a stroll down the beach at Vaadhoo Island, and you’ll be met with an unforgettable sight. The lapping water and surrounding sand glow with blue pinpricks, as if the stars have fallen from the sky. In reality, these fallen stars are large blooms of bioluminescent phytoplankton, emitting an otherworldly glow that continues to enchant those who happen across it.
Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
What if we told you that you could find 72 waterfalls in one breath-taking valley? Lauterbrunnen actually means ‘many fountains’, but it isn’t just these thundering falls that make Lauterbrunnen Valley such a natural wonder. You’ll also find secluded valleys, alpine meadows bursting with colour and looming mountains: the stuff sweet dreams are made of.
Turkey’s Travertine Pools
While Turkey is known for its picturesque beaches, hidden coves and wealth of history, it is also home to a particularly special natural wonder. Pay a visit to Pamukkale and you’ll find the Travertine Pools: mineral-rich hot springs in the troughs of carbonate terraces. Visit as early or as late in the day as possible to avoid the hordes of tourists, and admire the milky blue water in peace.
A gathering of giants in Mexico
Just off Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, between July and August, the sea fills with thousands of giants. Around 800 whale sharks and 300 manta rays gather to feast on the eggs of a spawning fish known as the ‘little tunny’. So rich is the abundance of eggs that these filter feeders make a special pilgrimage where no-one goes hungry.
The bats of Deer Cave, Malaysia
Bat-fans won’t want to miss the swirling spectacle gliding out of Deer Cave in Sarawak. It’s the world’s largest publicly-accessible cave, and is home to some two or three million bats of 12 different species. Come evening, they leave the cave in a chittering cloud to devour (reportedly) 30 tonnes of mosquitos!
Yunnan stone forest, China
Given its formidable size, it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to travelling around China. We recommend Yunnan stone forest in Kunming, an eerie, 186 mile expanse of ancient rock formations. Discovered way back during the Ming Dynasty, it is thought the stones are more than 270 million years old.
China is home to so many natural wonders that we just had to include another: Zhangye Danxia National Park. Situated in the Gansu province, the Park is a feast for the eyes, containing undulating rock formations tie-dyed by 24 million years of red sandstone and mineral deposits. The patterns of red, orange, yellow and white look more like a painting than a real-life landscape.
Mexico’s magnificent monarch butterfly migration
Every year, millions of monarch butterflies make a pilgrimage from the USA to Michoacan in Mexico, to escape the chilly northern winters. So captivatingly colossal is the gathering of butterflies, that visitors are consumed by a seemingly impenetrable orange cloud. When the mass of butterflies comes down to roost on surrounding trees, it is even large enough to bend branches.
Whether you are travelling solo, as a couple or as a family, you won’t fail to be awe-struck by these natural wonders. Where will your next adventure take you?