Humans have built towering skyscrapers, breathtaking bridges, and incredible pyramids. But, our skills are no match for Mother Nature’s architecture. Taking decades and even centuries to form, the natural wonders of the world bring us beautiful scenery that centers the soul in this chaotic world. Nature brings a necessary balance to our digital world, providing us with much-needed tranquility via natural artistry.
From epic mountain ranges to bubbling volcanoes, there’s a vast number of natural wonders to see before the sun sets for your last time. Death is what makes life so grand because just like your favorite TV shows, life can’t last forever (or it will get boring as hell). As we searched for the very best of nature’s artwork, we realized there are way more than seven. After careful analysis, based on what makes each place truly special, along with its history and vivacity, we settled on 20 natural wonders of the world that are picture perfect landmarks straight out of dreamland.
Spanning eight countries, the Amazon Rainforest is a mythically enormous 5,500,000 square kilometers. You could spend a lifetime discovering the wonders it holds in its 1.4-billion acres of dense forests, which makes up half of Earth’s remaining tropical forests. There are 4,100 miles of winding rivers cutting through the lush green land, providing hydration for the plants and various species living there. This legendary rainforest doesn’t just provide breathtaking scenery to give our eyes a break from the digital world, it’s crucial to the health of our planet, as it contains 140 billion metric tons of carbon helping to stabilize the global climate.
Take a boat ride into the Blue Grotto sea cave and witness the waters glow a brilliant blue. Two holes in the cave cause the miraculous illumination, as red reflections are filtered when light passes through the water into the cavern. The entranceway is only large enough for a tiny rowboat to enter, but once you make your way inside you’ll be transported into a fantasy land filled with neon water. You can even dip your hand in the water and see it glow instantly. Located in Campania, Italy, this cave of wonder defies the odds by lighting up a place meant for darkness.
Tucked in the British overseas territory of Bermuda lies the grandiose Crystal Cave. Formed during the Ice Age, the cave is a spectacular sight to behold, as the cave walls are littered with stalactites and crystallized soda straws. Famous Author Mark Twain was the first tourist to descend into the majestic cave, calling it “the most beautiful cave in the world.” Filled with azure blue water and decorated with unique chandelier clusters, walking through the cave feels like you’re walking into a fantastical amusement park built by nature.
A majestic lake with turquoise waters in Israel, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth at 430.5 meters below sea level. Golden brown hills surround the lake like a crown and salt crystals protrude out of it. The body of water was named the Dead Sea because it’s eight times saltier than the ocean, making impossible for algae and fish to survive in its waters. Take a dip in the lake and you’ll soon find out that you can float effortlessly, as the water is super buoyant. In addition, its rich black mud can be used for therapeutic purposes, making it a peaceful sanctuary to hit the pause button on life.
The Grand Canyon overwhelms the senses with its massive size as it plummets to a depth of 6,000 feet. The beautifully carved rocks that began to take shape some 70 million years ago are older than the dinosaurs. Arizona’s legendary landmark is home to 70 different species of animals and it carries a great spiritual significance for the Hopi Native American Tribe who believe it’s a gateway to the afterlife. Stretching for 18 miles, there’s no denying that the photogenic copper-colored canyon is a member of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World club.
Grand Prismatic Springs
Scorching water makes its way up the equivalent of a ten-story building from deep inside the Earth to reach the surface of this magnificent spring. A mix of brilliant bands of green, orange, and yellow surround the deep blue waters that give off steam like a fresh cup of coffee. Flying over Yellowstone’s Midway Geyser Basin, the Grand Prismatic Spring stares at you as if it’s Earth’s beautiful eye. Accompanied by the Teton Mountains and endangered grizzly and elk, this place will take your breath away without even trying. At 360 feet long and 160 feet wide, the spring can only be described as grand.
Great Barrier Reef
Located in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, consisting of 900 islands and 2,900 individual reefs. Each island is picture perfect, making it a must-see for those with wanderlust. The natural wonder invites adventure in many forms, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and aircraft or helicopter tours. These days, the word ‘epic’ is thrown around to describe mediocre things, like an enormous cheeseburger. The Great Barrier Reef is truly epic, as it’s one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, longer than the Great Wall of China, and the only living thing on Earth that’s visible from outer space.
Harbor of Rio De Janeiro
Recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Harbor of Rio De Janeiro is iconic on the silver screen as well as in the real world. The largest bay on the planet is surrounded by the wonderful city of Rio, the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the hills of Tijuca, and Corcovado peak where the world famous Jesus statue stands tall to oversee the city. European explorers were intrigued by the huge bay surrounded by voluptuous mountains and named the harbor after the month they discovered it.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Hawaiian islands are a beautiful creation by this planet, but the experience that’s most sought after there is an encounter with a live volcano. You can watch the Kilauea Volcano erupt molten lava, which is a unique experience that no one should pass up. The Earth opens up to bleed fire at Kilauea and Mauna Loa, a volcano that’s taller than Mt. Everest. If you’re up for it, you can even take a backpacking trip on the rough lava trails. Named an international biosphere and a World Heritage site by the United Nations, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a place you must visit in your lifetime.
The inspiration for the iconic Disneyland attraction, the Matterhorn is the most recognizable peak of the Alps, sitting on the Swiss-Italian border. Sure, there are larger mountains, but this 15,000-foot tall snow-covered beast is an eternal pop culture icon. The pyramid-shaped mountain continues to be a popular destination for experienced mountain climbers looking for an unforgettable adventure. If you decide to ascend up the monster peak, you can visit the igloo village at the base of the Matterhorn as well to catch some interesting tales of the epic mountain.
Reaching the heavens at 29,029 feet, Mt. Everest earns its “Top of the World” badge. It is a dangerously beautiful mountain located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. Sherpas and Tibetans worship it as ‘Mother Goddess of the Earth,’ praising its powdery peak and shear mass. Many experienced mountain climbers roll the dice trying to reach the top with plenty of obstacles along the way, including altitude sickness, high winds, and avalanches. But if you happen to conquer the colossal mountain, we hear the view is a masterpiece. Although it’s an obvious pick, Mt. Everest stands tall as one of the best natural wonders to see before the lights dim.
Straddling the international border between Canada and New York, three waterfalls make up the magnificent Niagara Falls. With over 168,000 cubic feet of water flow, the Niagara Falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the United States. The 165-feet vertical drop of the waterfalls is an amazing sight to see. The thunderous natural wonder is the product of the Wisconsin glaciation that occurred around 10,000 years ago, which also created the Great Lakes and the Niagara River. Not only a visual treasure, the Niagara Falls is also a source of hydropower, producing huge amounts of electricity.
The Northern Lights are formed by a collision between electrically charged particles from the sun sliding into the Earth’s atmosphere, forming the eerily gorgeous green lights known as the Aurora Borealis. Aboriginal people believe the lights to be spirits of the dead passing on to the heavens with the whistling noise of the occurrence being the voices of those spirits. Although it does look supernatural, these wondrous strokes of paint in the night sky are breathtaking. Take a trip to Alaska or northwestern parts of Canada to enjoy this phenomenon.
Back in 1943, the Paricutin volcano swelled and gushed from the cornfield of local farmer Dionisio Pulido, attracting immediate attention from news reporters and scientists. Fire and lava from the Paricutin volcano buried two villages, but in 1952, the volcano eruptions finally came to a halt. It reached an elevation of 9,210 feet and became one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World in 1997. Now, you can visit one of the youngest volcanoes on Earth, as the beast remains dormant. The crater of the volcano stretches 200 meters across and intrepid souls can climb the cone and walk around the perimeter of the once fire-spewing monster.
Redwood National Park
Visit the Redwood National Park and encounter the giants of our planet. Walking through the park, nature gives you a hint at just how immense our planet is, dwarfing all of life’s little problems in a serene manner. Take a look at the park’s 1,500-year old Big Tree, which is an enormous 350 feet tall with a circumference of 68 feet. You can even go to a galaxy far away right in California’s famous park by visiting the Star Wars Tree, a section of the park that was transformed into the Moon of Endor where Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia chased stormtroopers on lightning-quick landspeeders.
Reed Flute Cave
There are many sites to see in China, but the Reed Flute Cave is a natural wonder you must experience. Known as “the Palace of Natural Arts,” the landmark natural limestone cave features a variety of stalactites, stalagmites, reeds, and pillars throughout the 262-yard stretch. The walls are adorned with over 70 inscriptions written in ink, which are dated as far back as 792 A.D. in the Tang Dynasty. Illuminated with multicolored lights, the cave is a fantasyland with a surreal atmosphere. Making your way through the illuminated 180-year-old formations will make you feel like you’re on another planet.
Spanning a massive ten countries total, the Sahara Desert is the third largest desert in the world. The United States can fit inside the 9,200,000 square kilometer desert and still have a few thousand square miles of wiggle room. Over a thousand species of plants grow in this epic desert and some areas contain 400-foot tall dunes. The marvelous desert is also home to the toughest marathon ever. The Marathon De Sables is an annual run in southern Morocco held in April, costing $4,500 per runner. For adventurers who want a challenge, the 150-mile marathon is run over seven days and participants must carry all of their supplies.
Salar de Uyuni
Resting in the Andes in southwest Bolivia is Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. When a prehistoric lake became bone dry, it left behind a desert-like 11,000 square kilometer salt flat. Sometimes there’s even a thin layer of water that covers the surface to form a natural mirror, allowing you to feel as if you’re actually walking on water. There’s about 11 billion tons of salt at Salar de Uyuni, forming a smooth, flat surface. Within Salar de Uyuni, there’s a popular cemetery for trains, featuring locomotives that were used for mining in the 1940s.
Follow the Zambezi River and you’ll run into the largest waterfall in the world. Forming a border between Zamia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls spills over 500 million cubic meters of water per minute, forming a massive curtain of falling water that plummets into a gorge more than 100 meters below. Make your way to the Knife-Edge Bridge and absorb the panoramic view of this ferocious waterfall nicknamed “the smoke that thunders.” And, you guessed it, the Victoria Falls qualifies to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
A cinematic hideaway, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the inspiration for James Cameron’s Avatar. One of the pillars, originally named the Southern Sky Column, was renamed ‘Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.’ Its pilar-like formations were created by years of physical erosion and now stand tall, as if they’re the homes of mythical creatures. From the view on the ‘First Bridge under Heaven,’ the mystical floating rocks will make you feel like you’re in an alternate universe, especially when the park is littered with clouds. There are 243 peaks of quartzite-sandstone formations at this natural wonder in China.
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