Sweden Hills – An Idyllic Piece of Sweden in Japan

Walking through the streets of Sweden Hills, with its traditional read-and-white Swedish houses, Swedish flags and traditional Swedish outfits, you’d never guess you were on the island of Hokkaido, in Japan.

Located in Tōbetsu, about 30 kilometers from Sapporo, the largest city on Hokkaido, Sweden Hills (スウェーデンヒルズ) was inspired by the visit of a Swedish ambassador in the area. During their visit, the Swedish diplomat remarked how similar the climate and landscape were to his native land, and that inspired developers in the area to build a settlement modeled on idyllic Swedish towns. Planning started in 1979, and the actual construction began in 1984. Today, Sweden Hills or Suēden Hiruzu is home to about 400 permanent residents, as well several hundred who only vacation here. It’s safe to say they are all massive fans of Swedish culture.

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World’s Largest Rhythmic Spring Stops Flowing Every 15 Minutes

Just east of Afton town, at the foot of a rocky mountain in Wyoming, lies one of the world’s most mysterious natural wonders – a rhythmic spring that intermittently stops and starts flowing around every 15 minutes.

Only a few rhythmic springs exist in the world, and Intermittent Spring in Wyoming’s Swift Creek canyon is the largest of them all. As its name suggests, this peculiar spring flows intermittently. You will see a large quantity of water using out of a hole in the mountain and then flowing down forming a large creek for about 15 minutes, and then dry up for another 15 before the cycle starts all over again. The reasons for this intermittent flow are not entirely understood, but scientists have a pretty sound theory.

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This New Zealand Lake Is the Clearest Body of Fresh Water Known to Man

Rotomairewhenua, also known as the Blue Lake of New Zealand’s Nelson Lakes National Park, is officially recognized as the clearest body of fresh water in the world.

Blue Lake is spring fed by the neighboring glacial Lake Constance, and the water passes through a natural debris damn formed a long time ago by a landslide. This debris acts as a natural filter that retains most of the particles suspended in the glacial water, making Blue Lake almost as clear as distilled water. New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) carried out scientific tests of the water and determined it to be the clearest natural body of fresh water known to man.

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Brazil’s Unique “Coca Cola Lagoon”

Ever dreamed of swimming in a lake of Coca Cola? Well, you can actually do just that at the unique Coca Cola Lagoon in Rio Grande del Norte, Brazil, where the water has the exact same color as the popular soft drink.

Looking at the water of Lagoa da Araraquara, it’s easy to see why it is popularly known as Coca Cola Lagoon. It has the same dark hue, but very different ingredients and no carbonation. Instead of caramel, the water of this popular lagoon is colored by a concentration of iodine and iron, in combination with the pigmentation of the reeds near its shores.

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Mount Thor – The World’s Tallest Vertical Rockface

Named after the Nordic god of Thunder, Mount Thor is the world’s tallest vertical rockface, which also makes it one of the most difficult rock formations to climb.

A part of the Auyuittuq National Park, on northern Canada’s remote Baffin Island, Mount Thor isn’t the park’s tallest peak, but it is definitely the most intimidating, especially when viewed from the west. It’s a 4,101-foot rock face, which makes it the longest vertical drop on the planet. But really, Mount Thor is steeper than vertical, as it is 105 degrees, making it more of an overhang. Many have tried scaling this monster overt he years, but dozens of rock climbers failed, until an American finally reached the summit in 1985, at the end of a grueling 33-day climb.

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Cono de Arita – Argentina’s Mysterious Natural Pyramid

The Salar de Arizaro, Argentina’s second largest salt flat, is home to one of the world’s most mysterious natural formations – Cono de Arita, a 200-meter-tall conical pyramid that’s so perfectly shaped that it appears man-made.

In fact, all through the early twentieth century, everyone was convinced that Cono de Arita, like the actual pyramids of Egypt, had been built my man. However, scientific research has since showed that this imposing formation is actually the tip of a small volcano that lacked the power to burst through the Earth’s curst and spew lava or develop a crater. Today it is considered the most perfect natural cone in the world.

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Burj Al Babas – Turkey’s Famous Ghost Town of Fairytale Castles

Burj Al Babas is an abandoned housing development in Turkey, which consists of hundreds of miniature Disney-like chateaus stretching out almost as far as the eye can see.

It was supposed to be a bustling holiday retreat for the world’s super-rich, a neighborhood of castle-inspired villas spread around in a picturesque valley, near the the historic village of Mudurnu, in northwestern Turkey. Instead, today Burj Al Babas is one of the world’s largest ghost towns, featuring hundreds of unfinished villas, some of which have already started to deteriorate. It’s a story of big ambitions, sky-high property prices and economic woes that ultimately spelled the end of the dream that was Burj Al Babas.

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Breiðamerkursandur – Iceland’s Stunning Diamond Beach

A black sand beach littered with huge chunks of glistening ice has become one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, and for good reason, it looks like something out of a fantasy movie.

Known as Breiðamerkursandur in Icelandic, Diamond Beach takes its name from the chunks of pristine ice scattered across the black volcanic sand and glistening like giant, uncut diamonds. It is located next to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on the South Coast of Iceland, about six hours away from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. Although it’s not part of the popular Golden Circle Tour, Diamond Beach has become one of the country’s top tourist attractions in recent years, and looking at photos of it, it’s easy to see why.

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Dubai’s Love Lake – Two Hearts in the Middle of the Desert

Love Lake, a heart-shaped, man-made lake located in the desert near Dubai, is probably one of the most impressive attractions for romantic couples visiting the Middle-East.

From its iconic palm-shaped island, to skyscrapers like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai has no shortage of world-renowned attractions, but there is a lot more to discover in the desert around the most populated city in the UAE. One such hidden gems is the man-made Love Lake, technically two intertwined heart-shaped lakes situated near the Al Qudra Oasis. Measuring a whopping 550,000 square meters, this stunning tourist attraction is even visible from space.

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Island in Middle of German Lake Is the Perfect Pandemic Retreat

Wilhelmstein Island, an artificial island on Lake Steinhude in the Hanover region of northwestern Germany, looks like the perfect place to isolate yourself during a pandemic.

The story of Wilhelmstein Island began in 1761, when Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe, ruler of the County of Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg and an important military commander in the Seven Years’ War, ordered the construction of a military fortress in the middle of Steinhude Meer, the largest lake in northern Germany. The military defensive complex originally consisted of 16 islands built on large foundations of stone transported to the middle of the lake by local fishermen in their boats. A star shaped fortress was built in the middle of the main island, and later a military college designed to train the leaders of the next generation.

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The Hottest Place On Earth Feels Like Walking on a Hot Iron Pan

Iran’s Dasht-e Lut desert is only the 25th largest desert in the world, but it holds the record for the highest ;and surface temperature ever recorded, over 70 degrees Celsius.

Dasht-e Lut (Persian for “Emptiness Plain”) is a large salt desert that, scientists believe, formed on the bottom of a sea. Millions of years ago, tectonic shifts caused the bottom of the sea to rise, with the water slowly evaporating due to the high temperatures. Today, it’s a barren land about 51,800 square kilometers in size, surrounded by mountains on all sides, which contributes to the record-setting temperatures recorded here, as they prevent humid air from the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas to reach it.

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Unique Ice Volcano in Kazakhstan Attracts Tourists From Far and Wide

The steppes of Kazakhstan’s Almaty region are not the most inviting place, especially in winter time, but one unusual phenomenon has been attracting a lot of tourists there lately.

Located between the villages of Kegen and Shyrganak in the middle of a snow-covered plateau is a 14-meter-high ice tower that continuously spouts water which turns to ice almost instantly. The unique structure looks like a miniature volcano, only instead of hot lava, it spouts water. The sight has become popular both among locals, but also Instagram fans and influencers looking for special backgrounds for their social media posts.

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The World’s Oldest Coal Fire Has Been Burning For 6,000 Years

A coal seam approximately 30 meters under Australia’s Mount Wingen has been burning continuously for approximately 6,000 years, earning the place its famous nickname, Burning Mountain.

Underground coal seam fires are not at all uncommon, in fact it’s estimated that about 1,000 coal seams are burning around the world at any one point. Such fires usually occur in coal-rich but less-developed countries, and are usually put out in a matter of days, a month at most. That’s not always the case though, and India’s Jharia coalfield, which has been burning continuously for over 100 years, is a perfect example. But even this century-old fire pales in comparison with the world’s oldest coal fire, an underground coal seem that has been smoldering for about six millennia.

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This Fairytale Castle Is Actually a Four-Star Hotel in China

Located on a small island, in the middle of Wanfeng Lake in southwestern China’s Guizhou Province, is one of the most stunning fairytale castles on Earth. Only it’s not actually a castle, but a four-star resort.

Built in 2011, the Jilong Castle Country Club, aka Jilongbao Resort, is one of the most impressive, yet unusual sights in all of China. On one hand, the location, the attention to detail and bridge linking it to the mainland are breathtaking, but on the other, it looks like something you would expect to find in a European country like Germany or France, where medieval castles actually still exist. Although China’s fascination with castles, and European architecture in general is well-known, it’s still a bit of an unusual tourist attraction.

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The Stunning Twin Temples Atop China’s Holy Mount Fanjing

Mount Fanjing, in southwestern China’s Wuling mountain range, is home to one of the most otherworldly sights on the planet: two small temples built atop a split rock spire, connected by an arched bridge, overlooking a stunning natural paradise.

Perched at the top of the natural rock spire known as the Red Clouds Golden Peak, the two small Buddhist temples have a history that goes back over 500 years, to the Ming Dynasty. How Buddhists managed to carry the needed materials up that precarious rock formation without modern technology remains a mystery, but the temple complex we see todays has been rebuilt according to its original look, only using sturdier materials like iron tiles, in order to resist the strong winds and overall harsh environment.

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