5 Surreal Places To See Before You Die

5 Surreal Places To See Before You Die

Posted by Adam Smith on 23rd Dec 2017

There are plenty of delightful city break and beach holiday destinations to choose from, but many locations have lost some of their charm due to increasing numbers of tourists.

To help you consider something different from the norm, we’ve looked at some unique destinations that provide truly spectacular experiences unavailable anywhere else in the world.

Whether you want to see breathtaking animals in their natural habitat, invest time in a fascinating new culture, or visit some of the most cherished sites in history, there’s sure to be some tantalising options for you in the list below.

Explore the vast beauty of Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Measured at almost 9,000 sq km and spread across the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, the Yellowstone National Park is a spectacular destination that is home to a wide range of species, including bears, wolves and bison.

With more than 300 geysers, over 290 waterfalls, and thousands of trails, the world’s first national park will be a bucket list destination for all outdoor types. Marvel at the Grand Prismatic Spring (the largest geyser in the US), take a boat ride along a stretch of the 692 mile Yellowstone River, or head to the Fishing Bridge and watch grizzly bears. Don’t worry - you can use binoculars so you’re within safe distance of them!

Millions of tourists visit Yellowstone every year, yet its landscape remains unspoilt and it continues to be a shining example of the world’s natural splendour.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia - one of earth’s true wonders

Great Barrier Reef

Though its beauty has made it a household name, the Great Barrier Reef remains one of the wonders of the world and continues to wow visitors worldwide. Stretching over 2,300km and made up of over 3000 individual reef systems, the structure’s sheer enormity means it can be seen from space!

However, the best way to enjoy this wonder of the world is up close. Snorkel through the majestic blue waters, explore some of the 900-plus islands, or take on a bush trek in this idyllic tropical paradise. Such a unique ecosystem means visitors can look forward to an array of wildlife, including around 30 species of whales and dolphins and over 100 types of shark.

Although the devastating effects of coral bleaching and climate change are taking their toll on the Great Barrier Reef, its beauty remains unparalleled. Offering way more than a relaxing getaway or an adrenaline-fuelled adventure holiday, the magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef makes it incomparable to anywhere else on the planet.

Experience unspoilt nature in the dreamy Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

Part of the Republic of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are based in the Pacific Ocean around 1,000km off the coast. The unique biodiversity of the region has made it a goldmine for wildlife enthusiasts, and it is home to many species that exist nowhere else on the planet, such as the Galapagos Giant Tortoise and the Galapagos Land Iguana.

There are 18 main islands, which experience a variety of different climates and landscapes, ranging from bare volcanic rock to tropical woodland. The waters between the islands are unique, too. Expect Hammerhead, Great White and Whale Sharks, which feed off the local population of Green Sea Turtles and Galapagos Sea Lions.

In fact, the Galapagos are so biologically significant that they have a close connection with Charles Darwin. The legendary naturalist studied their ecosystem in the 1830's and used them as evidence in his theory of evolution. Scientifically historic, idyllic, and benefiting from minimal human intervention, this area of the world is truly one-of-a-kind.

Step back in time 12,000ft in the air at Meteora National Park

Meteora National Park

Immense, otherworldly, and spiritual, Meteora National Park in Greece offers a travel experience like no other.

Home to historic monasteries standing on rock formations 12,00ft in the air that date back to the 14th and 16th centuries, this site has become a sacred destination for Greek Orthodox Christians across the world.

The monasteries were built by monks who transported the materials to the summits on their own backs, and six of the developments still remain today. While their numbers have dropped over the centuries, there is even still a population of monks living on Meteora.

The Monastery of Great Meteoron in particular should not be missed. It boasts a museum that provides fascinating insights into the area and awe-inspiring views of the Pindos Mountains - perfect for your Instagram feed!

Swing at the edge of the world at Casa Del Arbol, Ecuador

Casa Del Arbol

Ever wanted to swing off the edge of a mountain overlooking an active volcano? Well, if your answer is yes, firstly, you’re more daring than me and, secondly, Casa Del Arbol in Ecuador is the perfect destination for you!

This nail-bitingly precarious swing is part of a treehouse overlooking the Tungurahua Volcano, which has been active since 1999. Due to the potential for eruptions, climbing is not allowed and the swing is the closest you can get to the fiery summit. In fact, the volcano erupted as recently as 2016, and equipment constantly monitors its activity in case local towns need to be evacuated.

If you’re unsure whether the swing is safe, you’ll be pleased to learn you’ll be buckled into the seat and the views as you glide over the edge are sure to be worth any doubts about your mortality!

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