Have you ever been fooled by a Photoshopped image? Today’s CGI and image editing software is so good that sometimes a convincing fake can look close to reality than a real photograph.
We covered almost all of the world’s continents – from famous North American river valleys to beautiful Norwegian coastal highways – to track down 10 amazing places you just can’t believe aren’t artificial.
1. Colorado River, United Sates
This horseshoe bend in the Colorado River is absolutely amazing. Captured by James Neeley at just the perfect moment, it has everything – a great reflection of the sun on the river’s surface and a background that’s truly unbeatable.
Can’t believe it’s real? Travel there for yourself. The famous horseshoe bend is half a mile from U.S. Route 89, which travels past the town of Page, Arizona. Make sure you don’t forget a good camera.
2. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
This incredible piece of coastline was formed approximately 50 to 60 million years ago by intense volcanic activity on Ireland’s northern coastline. Giant concentrations of lava cooled to form these amazingly beautiful natural pillars.
Irish legend says that the pillars were built by a giant, hence the Giant’s Causeway name. Matching rock formations can be found at Fingal’s Cave in Scotland, fueling local legends that the giant may have traveled all the way to the Hebrides.
3. Highlands, Iceland
Travel to Iceland at the right time of year and you’ll forget you’re still on Earth. This amazingly isolated country is covered in mind-blowingly beautiful glaciers, craters, and some of the most picturesque lakes and geysers in the world.
Better yet, you can see this incredible scenery underneath the Aurora Borealis – the world famous Northern Lights. Travel during the Scandinavian winter and, provided you can tolerate the short days and cold weather, you’re in for a special experience.
4. Guilin, China
Guilan is truly something incredible – an entire region that looks like a mix between a James Cameron movie environment and an Elder Scrolls game. From amazing rice terraces to beautiful limestone mountains, Guilan is truly natural sensory overload.
Travel there during the Chinese summer and see the amazing limestone ‘teeth’ that jut out of the ground up close. Guilin’s caves, rivers, and limestone mountains might not look ‘of this world,’ but believe us – this destination is very real.
5. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Enjoy amazing natural isolation, with only your own reflection as company. Located in rural Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat – an entirely reflective lake made entirely from salt located on the crest of the Bolivian Andes.
While Salar de Uyuni’s biggest attraction is the truly massive salt flat, the desert area is also home to a creepy train cemetery. Stay in a salt hotel (yes, the hotels are made out of salt) or visit the remote Incahuasi island in the center of the salt lake.
6. Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway
Real life or Gran Turismo track? Norway is full of amazing landscapes, but nothing combines humanity and nature like the Atlantic Ocean Road. Built as a connection from the European mainland to a remote island, the road is breathtakingly pretty.
Popular with automotive companies shooting commercials, the road looks equally real and unreal during the Norwegian summer. Motorists called this amazing road the world’s best road trip destination in 2009.
7. Morondava, Madagascar
Relax, you didn’t just step into a Salvador Dali painting. Morondava is a remote part of the African island nation of Madagascar. Home to some of the world’s strangest plant life, this remote and amazing region is equal parts LSD trip and PC game.
Famous for its bizarre baobab trees – some of which are more than 100 feet – the region is a favorite of nature photographers seeking something that’s equal parts Morrowind and tropical wonderland.
8. Aogashima, Japan
Jurassic Park Aogashima. This unusual volcanic island is located about 200 miles off the coast of Tokyo and is inhabited by about 200 residents. We’re not sure about the island’s dinosaur population – one would suspect it’s scarily high.
What makes Aogashima so amazing? Aside from its CGI-like looks, it’s one of the few volcanic islands that’s home to a volcano inside another volcano. Check it out – inside the giant caldera is a second active volcano, surrounded by residents’ homes.
The perfect home for a James Bond villain, this volcanic wonderland is surprisingly safe. It last erupted in 1785, killing off more than a third of the island’s population.
9. Mendenhall Ice Cave, Alaska
Most glaciers look impressive from the outside. The Mendenhall ice caves – located in remote Alaska – are even more impressive from the inside. As the glacier above melts away, the caves are revealing earth left untouched for thousands of years.
Scientists and archaeologists have discovered incredible ancient trees located inside the caves that are thousands of years old. Visit for yourself and see natural life from before the last ice age just as nature left it.
10. Leshan Giant Buddha, China
This 223-foot tall Buddha statue is the tallest pre-modern statue in the world. Built in the year 713, the giant Buddha was built by a Chinese monk called Haitong, who wanted to calm down the turbulent and dangerous Minjang River.
Amazingly, he succeeded. During the construction of the giant Buddha, so much rock fell from the cliffs that it changed the depth of the water and made the stormy river suitable for trading ships.
Question of the day:
Have you ever seen something you couldn’t believe was real?
Tell us your can’t-believe-it-isn’t-Photoshop moments in the comments section!