Breathtaking natural wonders of the world that everyone should see

Put these on your travel bucket list

Dead Sea seashore with palm trees and mountains on background
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From Jurassic sculptures to otherworldly rock formations, powerful waterfalls and glittering weathered caves, the world is full of some of the most extraordinary natural wonders.

We take a look at some of the most beautiful and unusual places on earth that have evolved over millions of years which continue to amaze us.

Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

A huge seastorm rushes in onto the Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland

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Taking pride of place as Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 40,000 hexagonal columns of the iconic Giant’s Causeway are comprised of basalt and are continually pounded by the Atlantic Ocean.

Believed to be carved by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this is a spectacular formation that has to be seen to believed and has become the stuff of Irish legend.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Heart Reef in the Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef

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Stretching around 1,600 miles, Australia’s shimmering barrier reef is a haven for marine life and is the world’s largest coral reef system as well as the largest living structure on earth.

Comprised of over 2,900 smaller individual reefs, it has been designated a World Heritage site since 1981. Today this natural wonder continues to play a crucial role as home for so much of Australia’s sea-dwelling wildlife including fish, dolphins and six species of marine turtle.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, America

A woman looking at Grand Canyon and Colorado River from Toroweap Overlook at sunrise, North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

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This massive canyon was shorn into the rocks by the raging waters of the Colorado River through Arizona over what is now believed to be the course of five to six million years.

Up to 18 miles wide and 277 miles long, this landmark’s impressive scale and surrounding landscape in the Grand Canyon National Park provide spectacular views.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, America

This massive canyon was shorn into the rocks by the raging waters of the Colorado River through Arizona over what is now believed to be the course of five to six million years.

Up to 18 miles wide and 277 miles long, this landmark’s impressive scale and surrounding landscape in the Grand Canyon National Park provide spectacular views.

Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Scenic view Of Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya), the worlds largest waterfall located on the Zambezi River

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Towering over the Zambezi River between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall by volume in the world. Historically known as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’, in the rainy season, it carries around 625 million litres per minute over the edge.

Spray from Victoria Falls can be also seen from miles away and these often reflect the sunlight into hazes of dazzling rainbow colours.

Marble Caves, Chile

The Marble Caves of Patagonia, Chile. Turquoise colors and splendid shapes create imagery of unearthly beauty carved out by nature.

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Perhaps one of the most isolated natural phenomena, these beautiful caves in Chile have gained their smooth, curved appearance due to thousands of years of wave erosion on the rock.

Enhanced by the clear waters of Carrera Lake beneath them, the colours of these caves vary in intensity and colour depending on the time of year.

Lake Baikal, Russia

Elenka Island, Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russi

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Located in southern Siberia, Lake Baikal is not only the largest freshwater lake in the world, but also the oldest lake, estimated to be at least 25 million years old.

Its water is famous for being some of the clearest on earth and when winter hits and the lake freezes over, shards of ice form on its surface. When reflected by sunlight, they take on a shining turquoise hue.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley, Young woman with raised hands

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With truly amazing views, waterfalls, granite cliffs and meadows, to name just a few of its awe-inspiring features, this national park has it all – including ancient giant sequoia trees, the largest trees on earth. The diversity of the terrain makes this beautiful area an ever-evolving marvel as well as the perfect habitat for a variety of plants and animals.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, reflection of clouds

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These unusual salt flats in south western Bolivia are all that remains of a prehistoric lake that has long since dried up, leaving just these hexagonal shapes behind. Stretching over 10,000 square kilometres, this haunting landscape and the surrounding area also act as home for several species of flamingo when they arrive to breed in November.

The Zhangye Danxia Landform, China

Zhangye Danxia National Geopark, Gansu, China. Colorful landscape of rainbow mountains

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The stunning landscape of Zhangye National Park is a vision of burnt oranges and reds on the horizon and is unique to China.

The colourful rock formations of the Danxia landform have arisen as a result of sandstone and mineral deposits over millions of years.

During this time, natural elements have helped shape the rock into various patterns, colours and sizes, rising from the earth to make an impressive display.

The Dead Sea, Jordan and Israel

Two young women floating on back in Dead Sea The unusual buoyancy caused by high salinity

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One of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, the Dead Sea lies on the border of Jordan and Israel and is so salty that no organisms can survive in it. This fascinating landlocked lake is over 400 metres below sea level and is considered to be the lowest point on earth. The salty waters and mineral-rich mud are also celebrated for their alleged health-boosting properties.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Halong bay, Vietnam

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Located in northern Vietnam, Hay Long Bay is a popular tourist destination, with wonderful limestone karsts, emerald waters and floating fishing villages. Comprised of over 1600 islands and islets covered with plant life, the majority of which are uninhabited and undisturbed, this idyllic bay has been designated a World Heritage Site since 1994.

Bryce Canyon, Utah, America

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

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Though not in fact an actual canyon, this site of beauty in Utah is well known for its unique russet structures, called hoodoos, formed by weathering on the original sandstone cliffs. With various vantage points dotted throughout the Bryce Canyon National path, the views across the landscape are truly stunning.

Tianzi Mountains, China

Tianzi Mountain column karst at Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Hunan, China

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These stunning sandstone pillars have an almost otherworldly quality to them and rise out of the leafy landscape of China’s Hunan Province. Formed by sedimentary rocks millions of years ago, shaped by the elements and slowly turned into quartz stones, these mountains have become the stuff of many a Chinese legend.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.

Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for

After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!