Just another installment of gorgeous photographs to (1) aggravate your travel itch and (2) remind you that this world of ours contains some mind-blowing natural wonders. To whet your appetite, in this Eastern European edition, we’ve got fairy chimneys, a “cotton castle,” a crooked forest, and a place nicknamed “Unicorn Cave.” Sound like a dream? Oh, it’s real. So real. Read/dream on.
1. Göreme National Park, Cappadocia, Turkey
Y’all. These are legit called “fairy chimneys.” What. They are also known as a “hoodoos.” See this Wikipedia article for proof.
2. Travertine Pools, Pamukkale, Turkey (Cotton Castle)
“Pamukkale” directly translates into “cotton castle,” and it’s pretty apparent why that is by looking at the photos. This region has hot springs and travertines (see Wikipedia again for an explanation of what the heck a “travertine” is). Basically, these are limestone terraces that you can bathe in. Get there. Also there are tadpoles in the pools. Cute!
3. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
4. Devetashka Cave, Bulgaria
I loved this place until I learned that it was also home to nearly 30,000 bats.
5. Dripstone Cave, Austria
AKA UNICORN CAVE.
6. Bigar Cascade Falls, Romania
Who doesn’t love moss?
7. The Crooked Forest, Poland
Yep, it’s a grove of crazy pine trees. About 400, total. Folks suspect that these trees, planted in 1930, were warped intentionally by a human to get naturally-curved timber, but I like to think that these trees just wanted to express their individuality. You go, pine trees. Be yourself. Together.
8. Island of Urup, Russia
Uninhabited volcanic island in the northwest Pacific Ocean, NBD.
9. “Lena’s Stone Pillars,” Russia
10. Lake Baikal, Russia
As these pictures prove, Lake Baikal is stunning in any season. Hey guess what? The ice is naturally turquoise.
11. Meteora, Greece
Blah blah blah, I know that the monasteries themselves aren’t exactly “natural,” but this deserves to be on the list because…well hello, just look at that landscape.
12. Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece
BRB, gotta go find a boat.