November 25, 2016 ·  5 min read

World’s 10 Most Magical Places You Can Actually Visit (For Free!)

The world is full of breathtaking places. It would be impossible to visit them all without a massive bank account and a private jet, which is why we’ve narrowed it down to ten. From floating mountains to underwater museums, take a look at these ten magical destinations you’ve got to visit. Or, at least look at the pictures. 

10 Of The World’s Most Magical Places

1. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China, magical places

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It’s a mouthful to say, but once you visit the floating mountains of China’s Zhangjiajie National Park, you won’t ever forget it. Over 3,000 pillars covered in dangling vines and twisted pines rise up from the fog in this mystical land. Rumor has it these were James Cameron’s inspiration for his Hallelujah Mountains in the movie Avatar.

Now you can get even closer to these misty pillars since park authorities have built a glass bridge that stretches 1400 feet over the valley. Brave enough to walk across? The bridge appears to be very safe, as no accidents have been reported. Yet…

2. Klevan, Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

 Klevan, Tunnel of Love, Ukraine, magical places

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These train tracks in Klevan, Ukraine look like something out of a romance novel. Nature has used trees to form a perfect tunnel for the local lumber train, now an ideal place for a stroll with someone special.
Take your true love down this overgrown railway, and legend has it your wishes will come true. The key word here is true love, though. Don’t take anyone you’re only lukewarm about – the trees in Klevan can spot a faker. Don’t linger too long, either. The train still carries wood down these tracks 3 times a day.

3. Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia, magical places

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This might be the closest you’ll ever get to exploring another planet. These otherworldly salt flats near the crest of the Andes in Bolivia feel a bit like alien territory.

The Salar de Uyuni are the largest salt flats in the world, a whole 100 times larger than the Bonneville Flats in Utah, and more than 10 times the size of New York City. They were left behind by several giant prehistoric lakes that dried up with the dinosaurs.

You’re probably carrying a piece of the Salar salt flats with you right now. This is where at least 40% of the world’s lithium comes from, so there’s a good chance you can thank these supernatural flats for keeping your phone working.

4. Antelope Canyon, Nevada

Antelope Canyon, Nevada, magical places

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You might not find any Antelope running through these canyons, but you may find the next wallpaper for your computer.

This slot canyon in Nevada was once a roaming ground to the Navajo Natives. It was formed by years of flooding and rain, carving it into a photographer’s playground.

Plenty of natural lighting means good pictures are almost guaranteed. A nice shot of you smiling in the middle could make for a jealousy-inducing Christmas card, but pay attention to the warning signs. Flash floods still occur, sometimes sending visitors running for higher ground.

5. Red Beach, China

Red Beach, China, magical places

Courtesy of Kashif Pathan via Flickr

Aren’t you tired of golden, sandy beaches? Okay, maybe not, but a little variety never hurt anyone.

It’s not the sand that gives Red Beach its name. It’s the plants that grow here, known as suaeda salsa, which cover the shore in a field of red.

Home to a large collection of rare birds, this protected wildlife area in Panjin, China is one of nature’s most unique gifts, inviting a visit from bird watchers, explorers, and anyone who’s never seen a red beach.

6. To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa

To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa, magical places

Courtesy of Michael via Flickr

To Sua might be the most magical place you’ll ever swim. The turquoise waters of this tropical swimming hole are fed by ocean currents through an underground lava tube. Sound cool? To Sua tops it off with a surrounding of lush plant life and unforgettable cliff top views.

The perfectly blue water of this Samoan trench is 100 feet deep, and comes complete with a ladder, dock, and a host of tropical fish. The ladder is available for diving, so you’ll have plenty of time to practice your cannonballs and mid-air filming skills.

7. Cancun Underwater Museum, Mexico

Cancun Underwater Museum, Mexico, magical places

Courtesy of 2il org via Flickr

Classic cars and dedicated churchgoers are just some of the sculptures you’ll find in this eerie underwater museum off the coast of Cancun.

Most of the 500 sculptures in this underwater museum were crafted by Jason deCaires, who wanted to help save local reefs by giving divers somewhere new to explore.

Some of the statues are a bit freaky, but you’ll be fine if you don’t mind a set of stony eyes following you while you swim.

8. The Faerie Glen, Scotland

The Faerie Glen, Scotland, magical places

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This rolling pasture feels right out of a children’s fairy tale. Perhaps that’s where it got the name Faerie Glen, although the fairies all seem to have left for somewhere more private.

Hollywood felt the magic here, and used it to shoot the fantasy film Stardust starring Robert De Niro. This is a great place to let your inner child run free and roam the cone shaped hills.

It also might be the world’s best place for an epic game of hide-and-seek.

9. Lake Retba, Senegal

Lake Retba, Senegal, magical places

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Before you ask, nobody dumped a truckload of kool-aid packets into the water here. Lake Retba (or Lake Rose, in French) in Senegal gets its pink color from a special kind of algae. The algae have adapted specially to survive in Lake Retba’s ultra-salty waters. When the sun hits the algae, it gives off a pink tinge.

Maybe mother nature just felt like showing off. Like the Dead Sea, the salty water here means you could float comfortably for hours.

10. Chocolate Hills, Philippines

Chocolate Hills, Philippines, magical places

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Have you ever looked at a hill and just thought, I’d really like to eat that? If not, the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines might be a first. During the dry season, the grass covering these rolling hills turns brown, making it look like a field of giant Hershey’s kisses.

Still hungry? No one’s really sure how they were formed, but one local legend claims it was a battleground for two giants, who muddied the place up tossing huge boulders at each other.