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A lightening strike over Catatumbo bay | © Karen Gutierrez Sarmiento / WikiCommons
A lightening strike over Catatumbo bay | © Karen Gutierrez Sarmiento / WikiCommons
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The World's Best Travel Destinations for Extreme Weather

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 11 October 2017
Ever wanted to witness 10-hour long lightning strikes? Or experience what it is like to live in some of the hottest places on Earth? Then read on to discover 11 awesome travel destinations that are renowned for their unique, extreme weather.

Death Valley, USA

Death Valley straddles the frontier between California and Nevada in the USA. This vast desert ranks among the hottest places in the world and during summertime the temperature frequently rises above 50°C. In spite of the area’s extreme weather Death Valley is a popular travel destination and feature some of the most naturally beautiful landscapes in North America including Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes or Badwater Basin.

Badwater Basin in Death Valley
Badwater Basin in Death Valley | © Kolin Toney / Flickr

Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

Massive lightning storms engulf the skies above the mouth of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela for around 10 hours, 260 days of the year. These incredible atmospheric anomalies occur due to extremely specific environmental factors that are only found in this part of the world.

Lightning above Lake Catatumbo
Lightning above Lake Catatumbo | © Fernando Flores / WikiCommons

The White Desert, Egypt

Although there are many places in the Sahara that could make it onto this list, the White Desert in Egypt deserves special consideration due to the area’s famous rock formations. These white, mushroom-shaped structures were chiselled out over thousands of years by countless sandstorms.

A rock formation in the White Desert
A rock formation in the White Desert | © pixabay

Wellington, New Zealand

Because of the city’s notoriously tempestuous weather patterns, New Zealand’s capital is commonly known by the nickname Windy Wellington. In fact, Wellington is recognised as the windiest city in the world and heavy gusts barrage its streets all year round.

Glen Etive, Scotland

This stunning glen in the Scottish Highlands experiences heavy rainfall all year round and is regularly cited as one of the wettest places in the UK. The region features several famous white-water kayaking spots and has appeared in several big-budget movies such as Braveheart and Skyfall.

Sapporo, Japan

Unlike most other larger cities in the world, Sapporo in northern Japan receives heavy snowfall over winter. The city celebrates this phenomenon every year by hosting a weeklong snow festival which revolves around hundreds of gigantic ice and snow sculptures.

San Francisco, USA

Although the climate in San Francisco is usually quite agreeable, thick clouds of fog regularly sail into the city and often blanket landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge in layers of heavy, white mist.

The Golden Gate Bridge submerged in fog
The Golden Gate Bridge submerged in fog | © pixabay

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Cliff-scaling rainbows regularly appear at Victoria Falls making it one of the best places in the world to witness these amazing meteorological wanders. During a full moon it is even possible to see rainbows at night!

A rainbow descending over Victoria Falls
A rainbow descending over Victoria Falls | © pixabay

Banzai Pipeline, Hawaii

The waves at Banzai Pipeline are notoriously massive and dangerous. Even though many people have died or suffered serious injuries while riding the waves at Banzai Pipeline, surfers still flock there every year to test their skills on the reef.

Tampa Bay, USA

It is quite common for large waterspouts to form off Tampa Bay’s coastline and these swirling, vortexes are often visible from the seashore. The area also regularly experiences lightning storms and tornadoes during summertime.

Tampa Bay at sunset
Tampa Bay at sunset | © pixabay

Svalbard, Norway

Even though the Northern Lights are visible from many other inhabited spots around the globe, none are quite as extreme as Svalbard. This rugged, frostbitten archipelago lies midway between Norway and the North Pole which places it well within the Aurora Borealis’s purview.

The Northern Lights above svalbard
The Northern Lights above svalbard | © pixabay