25 of the Most Surreal Landscapes on Earth

Planet Earth is full of landscapes that are as beautiful as they are strange. Some are earth formations shaped over thousands and thousands of years by Mother Nature, while others are simply man-made creations that have altered the known natural landscape in some way.

Table of Contents
div class="wp-block-image">
most surreal landscapes on Earth

From Tanzania to China to Mexico, these are 25 landscapes that could well serve as inspiration for the best surrealist painters. You may not believe what your eyes are about to see, but these places that we will see in this collection really exist.


Grand Prismatic Spring.

Grand Prismatic Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, is a hydrothermal vent that features a variety of bright colors. These colors are due to the existence of films of thermophilic bacteria. The blue zone contains boiling water and is free of bacteria; while areas ranging from green to orange are areas where bacteria grow at successively lower temperatures.

The Salinas de Torrevieja.

The Salt Flats of Torrevieja

Near the town of Torrevieja, in southwestern Spain, there are two salty and very pink lakes called Las Salinas de Torrevieja. The color is caused by a type of algae that releases a red pigment under certain weather conditions.

Dead Swamp.

Dead Vlei

Dead Vlei in Namibia is surrounded by the world’s tallest sand dunes, the plain is littered with dead trees that are more than 900 years old.

Danakil Depression.

Danakil Depression
Wikimedia Commons

The Danakil Depression, in the desert of the same name in Ethiopia, is one of the hottest inhabited places on the planet, with temperatures ranging from 35 degrees Celsius when cool, to close to 60 C when hot.

Lake Natron.

Lake Natron
Wikimedia Commons

Lake Natron in Tanzania is known for its blood-red color. The lake is part of East Africa’s Rift Valley, and gets its color from algae that grow in saltwater from nearby volcanoes.

Tsingy of Bernaraha.

Tsingy of Bernaraha
Forest Rocks

Tsingy de Bernaraha, in Madagascar National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The limestone spike forest was made when groundwater eroded the existing limestone.

Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon.
Wikimedia Commons

Antelope Canyon in Arizona is the most photographed canyon in the southwestern United States. It was formed by flooding and erosion, which gave the smooth rock this reddish-wave texture.

Fly Geyser.

Fly Geyser.
Wikimedia Commons
Fly Geyser Nevada 2
Fly Geyser Nevada

Fly Geyser is a little-known tourist attraction in Nevada (USA), which was created by accident in 1916 during the drilling of oil wells. Water heated by geothermal energy escaped to the surface, creating this multicolored spectacle. Does it remind anyone else of the Mario Bros. setting?



Huacachina is an oasis in the Peruvian desert. It is a resort town built around a small natural lake in the southwestern region of Ica.

Badab-e Surt.

Badab-e Surt
Wikimedia Commons

Northern Iran is home to a naturally formed staircase, known as Badab-e Surt. Two thermal minerals deposited carbonate on the mountain over thousands of years, creating these all-natural water wells.

Salinas Grandes.

Salinas Grandes

Salinas Grandes is an immense salt desert in Argentina. The 2,300-square-kilometer field is filled with puddles created by mining companies that extract salt from there.

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park.

Lençóis Maranhenses

At first glance, the Maranhenses dunes in northeastern Brazil resemble any set of average sand dunes, but the valleys are filled with water, from the lowest parts, often flooded during the rainy season. It is even possible to find fish in these huge natural pools.



Petra, in Jordan, was the capital of the Nabataeans, a pagan civilization. The famous city was built from the surrounding red sandstone.

Rice terraces.


The rice terraces of Yunnan, China, are carved into the hillside. The different types of vegetation lend their alternating colors to the landscape.

Cappadocia Valley.

Cappadocia Valley

The Cappadocia Valley in Turkey is home to ancient caves. Many of the old underground houses are still occupied.

Caves of Naica.

 Naica Caves
Wikimedia Commons

The crystal caves of Naica, Mexico, were discovered in 2000. They believe that the immense crystals formed over around 500,000 years, due to the cave’s unique conditions.

Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon in southwestern Utah is home to multi-colored geological structures called hoodoos, which were formed by ice and erosion.

White Sands National Monument.

White Sands National Monument

The white sand dunes at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico look like snow, covering 275 square miles of desert.

Salinas de Uyuni.

Salinas de Uyuni
Wikimedia Commons
Salinas Bolivia

During the rainy season, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni is covered by a thin layer of water, creating surreal reflections of the sky on earth.

Lake Retba.

Lake Retba
Cris Benton

Retba Lake (Pink Lake) in Senegal is located in the north of the Cap Vert peninsula. The strawberry smoothie color is due to the Dunaliella salina algae that gives the color to the water during the dry season. The lake is also famous for its high salt content, allowing people to float on its surface.

The Gates of Hell.

Wikimedia Commons
Gate to Hell
Door Beginning

The Derweze in Turkmenistan is known as the gate of hell. This terrible attraction is located in the middle of the Karakum Desert, about 260 kilometers north of Ashgabat. Soviet geologists entered a cave filled with natural gas during a drilling, and due to the collapse of the ground, a large hole was created, resulting in this tower burning gas from the depths.

Skaftafell Cavern.

Skaftafell Cavern
Orvar Thorgeirsson

The ice cave at Skaftafell, Iceland, appeared as a result of glacial weathering: rain and water flow were melting cracks and ice caves shaped like long walls and intricate ceilings. The cold wind finished the job.

Cotton Castle.

World Travel List

Pamukkale (Cotton Castle), is a natural attraction in the province of Denizli in southwestern Turkey. The white terraces of Pamukkale are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water flowing from hot water springs.

Hidden Beach.

Hidden Beach

The Hidden Beach, in Islas Marietas, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, remains hidden from the eyes of outsiders. This wonder of nature has a unique marine ecosystem and is a paradise for diving and snorkeling lovers.



Socotra is considered a unique archipelago in the Indian Ocean due to the diversity of its flora and fauna. Its bizarre plants are the result of the island’s geological isolation, along with unbearable heat and drought. One of the most unusual plants is dragon’s blood tree, which resembles a strange umbrella. The Aborigines believed that its red sap was the blood of a dragon.