Photo: Luciano Santandreu/Shutterstock

The Most Alien Landscapes on Earth

Antarctica Bolivia Chile Egypt Israel Iceland Jordan Kenya Morocco Mauritania Namibia Philippines Tunisia Türkiye Yemen Arizona Hawaii Nevada Oregon Utah National Parks Galleries
by Hal Amen Jul 5, 2009

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Photo: Rickson Davi Liebano/Shutterstock

The largest salt flat in the world reflects the sky during the wet season…

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Photo: Endless Traveller/Shutterstock

…and in the dry winter months, it becomes a mosaic of salt tiles.


Photo: Foto 4440/Shutterstock

Icebergs drift in dark Antarctic waters.

The Richat Structure, near Ouadane, Mauritania

Photo: GLF Media/Shutterstock

A circular feature, 50km across, in the middle of the otherwise featureless Mauritanian Sahara.

Alvord Playa, southeastern Oregon, USA

Photo: zschnepf/Shutterstock

You might not expect to find a desert in the Pacific Northwest, but this dry lake bed averages only 180mm of rain a year.

Cappadocia, Turkey

The Love Valley, a great place to hike after a morning spent on a Cappadocia hot air balloon ride

Photo: Heracles Kritikos/Shutterstock

Fairy chimneys dominate the landscape between Cavusin and Zelve.

Socotra Island, Yemen

Socotra Island

Photo: Sergey Kilin/Shutterstock

Socotra’s isolation in the Indian Ocean has given rise to plant life you won’t see anywhere else. This is the dragon’s blood tree.

Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA

Photo: Neil Lockhart/Shutterstock

Best known as the staging grounds for Burning Man, the Black Rock Desert is also home to alien features such as the Fly Geyser.

Black Desert, Egypt

Photo: Parkjoongwon/Shutterstock

Egypt’s deserts come in many colors, including Black…

White Desert, Egypt

Photo: high fliers/Shutterstock

…and White.

Kauai, Hawaii

Photo: Adam Springer/Shutterstock

Seaside lava ledges make for otherworldly experiences on this often-overlooked Hawaiian island.

Namib Desert, Namibia

Photo: Oleg Znamenskiy/Shutterstock

Sand rarely gets as red as it does in the deserts of Namibia.

Torres del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine Mountains, Patagonia, Chile

Photo: Maciej Bledowski/Shutterstock

The most alien of the 8 Natural Wonders of Chile, Torres del Paine’s mountain spires cut into the blue sky.

Dead Sea, Israel/Jordan

Photo: Luciano Santandreu/Shutterstock

Lowest point on Earth, deepest salt lake in the world, saltier than the ocean…the list of the Dead Sea’s bizarreness is a long one.

Strokkur Geyser, southwestern Iceland

Photo: Beketoff/Shutterstock

Visitors to the Strokkur Geyser are rewarded with this display every five minutes or so.

Lake Turkana, Kenya

Photo: Moiz Husein Storyteller/Shutterstock

Lake Turkana lies in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Its salty waters comprise the world’s largest desert lake.

Four Corners region, USA

Photo: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

The Colorado Plateau gets funky at the Arizona-Utah border. That’s where you’ll find Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Four Corners region, USA

bears ears national park trivia

Photo: THoffman/Shutterstock

…and Monument Valley.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol, Philippines

Photo: Pelikh Alexey/Shutterstock

Over 1,700 naturally formed mounds (covered with chocolate brown grass in the dry season) dot the center of the island of Bohol.

The Sahara

Photo: Filipe B. Varela/Shutterstock

The world’s largest hot desert is as big as the entire U.S. Get stranded out here and you’ll wish you really were on an alien world.

The Sahara

Photo: Lizavetta/Shutterstock

“Tunisian Sahara: Desert Stop!”

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.