The world is big and beautiful. It has a lot of places to offer that you won’t believe exists before you see it with your own eyes. Let me give you here an overview of Top 10 places that I could not believe exist until I was standing in from of it. My selection is really limited and the countries mentioned below have a lot of more to offer, I just took a pick of the places that impressed me the most.
The Álftavatn Lake is located in the highlands of Iceland and can only be reached by foot on the long distance trail Laugavegur. The trail can be started in Landmannalaugar or Þórsmörk. Even that Iceland has a ton of unique stunning places to offer, this was the one that stand out the most for me. Even that The Lord of the Rings were filmed in New Zealand, when wrote the books he was in Iceland. Names and places in the books are inspired a lot of what he saw in this beautiful country. The Álftavatn Lake felt like standing in the middle of the lands described in the books.
Thailand is mainly known for endless beaches, night markets and a tropical escape. But to our surprise it has a lot of more to offer, for example huge caves to explore. We chose to visit the Phraya Nakhon Cave, it is located in the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. From the Bang PO Beach it is possible to take a boat to the Laem Sala Beach. The boat ride will take 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the waves. In case you want to save the money, it is also possible to walk from the Bang PO Beach directly to the Cave. It is around 2 km.
When thinking about Africa, I had the picture in my mind of game drives with animal watching. I could have never imagined that South Africa has such great hikes to offer. One that stood out for me was the Amphitheatere Hike in the Royal Natal National Park. The hike is 14 km long and provides an amazing view over the Dranksberg Mountain range.
The Patagonia region in the South of Chile and Argentina has endless pictures side to offer, that it was really hard to pic one. On your Carretera Austral tour we stop at the Lago General Carrera with the small town of Puerto Rio Tranquilo. The main attraction of the small town are the marble caves. Even that the caves are really popular, it is an attraction that should not be missed on a trip to Patagonia. The marble caves are a natural wonder of beautiful set of caves carved into marble. Due to the white color of the marble the water shows an unreal blue color, which give the formation an unreal, not from this earth looking. As the caves are located in the Lago General Carrera, the only way to see the caves are through a boat. This can be done at the beach of Puerto Rio Tranquilo. There are a couple of providers to choose from, tours are around 30 to 90 minutes long.
If you are into trekking, there is no way around the small town of El Chaltén in Argentina. Which is also located in the Patagonia region of the country and is the capital of trekking and climbing. Even that all the mountain ranges of the Andes in Argentina are impressive, the range of Fitz Roy stand out. El Chaltén offers a lot of hiking opportunities, that can be started right from the center of the small mountain town.
La Réunion has to offer endless hiking opportunities from the black beaches to the highlands. The island is not short of amazing landscapes and hikes that are ending mostly at a waterfall. The one hike that stood out for me was La Chapelle (Cilaos). It was an adventures hike as we crossed several streams and the entrance to the cave was so full of water that we did not have a chance to enter. Nether the less we had a lot of fun trying.
With the filming location New Zealand for The Lord of the Rings, the country got a lot of attention. Even that the places shown in the movie are beautiful, for me the place that stood out was the Kepler Track. It is one of the Great Walks of New Zealand. Camping at the Brod Bay was fantastic and hiking to the Burn Hut overseeing the Mountain Ranges was a unique experience. The nature seems such out of a landscape book.
One place that I never had on my radar was Slovenia. I had no picture in my head about of the beauty of the Triglav National Park until I visited the place. Outstanding in the park for me was the Soča Valley. Cristal clear blue water, surround in a stunning mountain range. Untouched nature with charming wooden bridges of the water. Nature lover could not ask for anything more.
With nature sides of Madeira I could have filled this whole list here. This island is so full of amazing hikes with waterfalls, levadas, mountains and green environment. Outstanding is the hike Boca Do Risco, which lead from Porto da Cruz to Canical (Ponta do Bode). The hike lead along the cliff side and provides amazing view at the ocean.
Skellig Island, mainly known from the last Star Wars Movies. The Island can be visited from the harbor of Portmagee. As a landing on the Island is very limited, it needs to be book way ahead. Boot tours around the island are also popular but the chance to book this tour is higher. Even that the weather for us was not picture perfect, as in the Star Wars movies, the experience made up for that. The guide on the boot was great, and we had a lot of birds viewings. This rock formation in the middle of the sea just look unreal and as it is so isolated, it was just another reason to make this list.