Geological wonders like the Grand Canyon, the Swiss Alps, and Belize’s Blue Hole are at the top of many people’s bucket lists. These spots are all astonishing, but our beautiful planet is packed full of other geological wonders that are equally awe-inspiring. Here are five fascinating geological wonders you’ve never heard of that deserve a visit.
Sarakiniko Beach, Milos Island, Greece
Greece is best known for having some of the world’s most famous archeological wonders like the Acropolis and the Island of Delos. But many people overlook the nation's amazing natural beauty, from its Mediterranean sunsets and beaches to mountains and groves of olive trees. Sarakiniko Beach on Milos Island is one of the most unique beaches in the world. Instead of sand, this beach has a shore made out of white lava rock that can be described as otherworldly. The grayish white hills and crevasses devoid of any vegetation are the closest thing that most people will get to visiting the moon. Cliff jumping into the shimmering turquoise sea and snorkeling to a nearby shipwreck are popular activities here.
Marble Caves, Patagonia, Chile
Amidst the towering snow capped mountains of Patagonia National Park is the sparkling General Carrera Lake, the largest glacial lake in Chile. Located in the middle of this lake are the astonishing Marble Caves. These caves are only accessible by boat or kayak, making them a unique wonder that many people don’t get to see. Picture this. It’s a nice warm sunny day, your kayak paddle cuts smoothly through the crystal clear water as you pass by a group of secluded rock islands. The marble caves will come into view and as the tip of your boat enters the caves, you’ll look up to a cave ceiling covered in every shade of blue imaginable- cobalt, turquoise, seafoam. Spring is when the cave’s colors are the brightest, but any time of year is a great time to visit.
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, U.S.
Bolivia’s salt flats tend to get all the attention, but equally stunning salt flats exist all around the world. Bonneville Salt Flats, located just 110 miles from Salt Lake City in Utah are some of the best salt flats in the United States. At first glance, the salt flats look like a large lake covered in snow, but upon closer inspection you’ll find a thick, blindingly white crust of salt at the bottom of what was a lakebed millions of years ago. In the evening, the pinks and purples of the sunset will reflect across the salt flats, bringing out the interesting hexagonal pattern of the salt. Fun fact – aside from being a geological wonder, Bonneville Salt Flats is also an international racing hub and popular place to shoot car commercials!
Ban Gioc, China/Vietnam
Each year, millions of people visit the cross-border waterfalls of Niagara Falls and Iguazu Falls to check these iconic sites off their bucket list. But in the deep-green forested mountains along the China-Vietnam border is another marvelous cross-border waterfall that not as many people know about. Ban Gioc is technically a group of two waterfalls but during the rainy months, the waterfalls converge into one to create the largest waterfall in Asia. The waterfall drops about 98 feet through trees, cliffs, and limestone pools. Throughout the valley, the thundering sound of the powerful, breathtaking waterfall can be heard.
Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Located below the rich green sea cliffs of Northern Ireland is perhaps one of the most perplexing geological wonders in the world. Giant’s Causeway is a collection of over 40,000 hexagonal columns of ballast. The result of volcanic activity that took place in the area more than 60 million years ago, the columns' unnaturally straight edges and uniform stepping-stone shape make it hard to believe that these stones formed naturally. Giant’s Causeway gets its name from a local legend. Locals believed that these ‘stepping stones’ were created by a giant hero named Fion Mac Cumhaill to help him walk across the sea to fight a rival giant from Scotland.