10. Cappadocia Turkey
Above ground, Central Anatolia’s Cappadocia region is known for the unique “fairy chimney” rock formations into which dwellings were carved (some of them have been “converted” into rock hotels in recent years). In towns such as Ürgüp and Göreme you can make arrangements to see this surreal landscape from a hot-air balloon. Below ground, Cappadocia has myriad Bronze Age cities, whose dwellings and other structures were carved into stone cliffs, several floors deep, by troglodytes. You can tour a handful of these underground metropolises, including Derinkuyu.
9. Bubblegum Alley
Bubblegum Alley is an attraction you can be a part of. The wall of chewed bubblegum in San Luis Obispo, Calif., has been growing since the 1970s. The sticky, colorful wall is a must-see for gum chewers and those who want to ick out their germaphobe travel companions.
8. Beppu, Japan
Located on the island of Kyushu, Japan, Beppu is a city smack in the middle of the sea and mountains. Beppu is known for its hot springs, called onsen in Japanese. Here you will find eight different geothermal hot spots, often dubbed the “eight hells of Beppu.” This unusual amount of hot springs, condensed in one small region, is what makes Beppu so unique in comparison to the rest of Japan and the rest of the world. It continues to be a popular tourist attraction for visitors every year.
7. Mount Cook
We expect nothing less than spectacular from the home of middle earth. The Lord of the Rings took full advantage of this stunning country. It’s almost paradise no matter where you go in New Zealand. We’re particularly fond of Mount Cook. It is the highest mountain in the country. Mount Cook is lucky enough to enjoy 300 in of rainfall a year. This makes for some great scenery. You never know if Smeagol is lurking around the corner. But, we think it’s worth the risk.
6. Derweze, Turkmenistan
This giant desert crater in Central Asia’s Karakum Desert has been on fire for decades, resembling a scene from a sci-fi movie. Known by locals as the Door to Hell, it was created when the Russians drilled here for natural gas, causing the earth to collapse, gas to be released and fires to rage. Geologists believed that the fires would quickly go out — but that was back in 1971. The crater, now quite a tourist attraction, is 160 miles south of the capital, Ashgabat. Most visitors use the nearby village of Derweze as their base.
5. Zorb in Zealand
Zorbing in New Zealand is a travel experience not to be missed. What else do you do with a huge plastic sphere? Climb inside and tumble down a grassy hill! What were you thinking? Luckily the balls are reinforced with a layer of air between you and the ground. That would be interesting, but probably very painful. And what’s the best part? The water inside each ball creates your own mini water park while you hurl yourself across a New Zealand farm. At $40 a pop, we think the hilarious ride is well worth it.
4. Northern Lights, Iceland
Northern Europe spends much of the year shrouded in darkness, though the night skies are often lit with the ribbons of green, red and purple light known as the aurora borealis. The chance to see this depends on timing, weather and simple luck, but in Iceland a good bet is to visit between September and March. The lights are visible from Reykjavík, though geothermal pools in rural locales, some just a 30-minute drive from the capital, make for great viewing points.
3. Yunessun Spa Resort
If you’ve always wanted to soak in your favorite beverage, a visit to Japan’s Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Hot Springs Amusement Park & Spa Resort is in order. Not only can you take a relaxing dip in your run-of-the-mill jacuzzis, but you can bathe in spas filled with sake, green tea, coffee or red wine.
2. Lake Nakuru, Kenya
Due to vast amounts of algae in the water, Lake Nakuru is known for attracting one of the largest flamingo populations in the world. At any given moment, there can be anywhere from thousands to millions of flamingos lining the shore. Nowhere else in the world can this most unusual site of herds of flamingos be seen.
1. Blue Lagoon
Just a 20 minute drive from the Keflavík International Airport in Iceland will get you over to Blue Lagoon. It sits in the center of the Grindavik lava field, and is surrounded by luxurious accommodations. The warm 98–102 °F water of Blue Lagoon is rich with valuable minerals. It’s often thought to have health benefits, particularly for the skin. And nearby is the Blue Lagoon Clinic hotel, which is only available to its spa guests. Spa guests get to choose from in water massages, Silica massages, and various beauty treatments. The luxury hotspot is complete with a cafe, restaurant, and bar. We’re kind of hating the people that over there right now.