Our planet is a phenomenal place full of magical mysteries, unimaginable displays, and bizarre occurrences. There are incredible natural phenomena all around our splendorous world. Sometimes, you just have to know where to look.
Cave of Crystals, Mexico
The Cave of Crystals, or Cueva de los Cristales, is connected to the Naica Mine in Chihuahua, Mexico, and lies 985 feet (300 meters) below the Chihuahua desert. This cave was accidentally discovered 17 years ago by two brothers. The crystals in the cave are massive. Some of them reach lengths of 36 feet (11 meters) and the largest are over 500,000 years old. This is truly a magical site to see, but one that requires visitors to wear a special cooling suit, because temperatures can reach 58°C/136°F with 90-99% humidity; prime conditions for giant crystal growing.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Bioluminescent plankton, Costa Rica
Bioluminescent dinoflagellates, a type of plankton, congregate in massive numbers in some special places around the world, including Costa Rica, Australia, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Japan, and Florida. These tiny creatures spark bright neon blue, purple, or green as a defense mechanism or when they are stirred up by outside movement, such as a hand running through the water. The collective effect is magnificent and like something straight out of a psychedelic vision.
Tidal bores, Indonesia
A tidal bore is caused when a very high tide is pushed into a narrow space such as a river mouth. The effect is a never-ending wave. There are multiple places around the world where this phenomenon takes place, but the tidal bore in Sumatra, Indonesia is rated one of the best by daring river surfers. The river is filled with snakes and crocodiles, but catching a wave here could mean the longest wave of your entire life. This tidal bore in Sumatra is nicknamed “the Bono.”
Turquoise ice crystals, Russia
When Lake Bailkal freezes over in the winter, the display of giant ice shards is quite mystical. Lake Bailkal is the largest freshwater lake in the world and holds about 20% of all the fresh water on the planet. The large pieces of ice that freeze on the surface of the lake are a piercing turquoise color and a gorgeous sight to see.
Sailing stones, California
The sailing stones of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley in California and Little Bonnie Claire Playa in Nevada are a geological phenomenon that is not yet understood. Stones dot the desert with long tracks behind them, which seem to imply that they have moved themselves across the desert floor. Some of the stones weigh more than 660 pounds (300 kilograms). There have been many experiments conducted and theories made, but no one is quite sure how these giant stones move themselves across the desert.
Underwater crop circles, Japan
According to the NOAA, only 5% of our oceans have been explored. The other 95% are full of beautiful mysteries and unimaginable natural phenomena. One such phenomenon was discovered off the southern coast of Japan. About 80 feet (24 meters) below the surface, exquisite geometrical designs were found, built into the sand. These patterned circles are perfectly symmetrical and rather complex. The artist behind the scenes turned out to be a tiny male puffer fish that works day in and day out for an entire week to create and maintain its circle as a grand gesture to attract a mate.
Lake Hillier, Australia
Lake Hillier, also appropriately called Pink Lake, is in Western Australia, on Middle Island. It is naturally colored the hue of strawberry milk, and must be seen to be believed. This saline lake is as salty as the Dead Sea, and the pink color is believed to be caused by a strain of salt-loving bacterium. The color varies from season to season, but it is at its pinkest on cloudy days after a good rain shower. There are several other pink lakes around the world, including four more in Australia, one in Canada, and one in Senegal.
Glowworms, New Zealand
There are several places to witness the iridescent blue glow of bioluminescent glow worms in New Zealand. These cave-dwelling worms paint a picture resembling a starry night sky on the ceiling and walls of the Waitomo, Waipu, Te Anau, and Kawiti caves. Most tours involve a dark guided kayak or rafting journey into the caves.
Aurora Borealis, Finland
You can’t talk about natural phenomena without mentioning the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights can be seen from multiple destinations, including Alaska, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Greenland, Iceland, and Canada. In Finland, however, you have the option of staying in a private igloo-shaped cabin with a glass roof, and this really is the optimum spot to witness this spectacular sky display. The Kakslauttanen Resort is located 155 miles (141 kilometers) north of the Arctic Circle, where the Northern Lights are visible around 200 nights a year.
Blue lava volcano, Ethiopia
The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is home to the only blue lava volcano in the world. This phenomenon only occurs at night and is caused by the mixture of fiery flames and sulphuric gases that reach temperatures above 360°C/680°F. The resulting display of electric blue lava is truly out of this world.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.