Our planet and its natural beauty is simply jaw-dropping. From hot springs and salt pans to mountains and ice caves, our world is filled with awe-inspiring natural wonders bursting with color. In a time when we all need a little pick-me-up, here are some of the best sights on Earth – click on ‘full screen’ to see these photos at their best.



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The kaleidoscopic Fly Geyser in Black Rock Desert is a totally unique sight as it was actually formed due to human error. In the 1960s, a geothermal energy company drilled on the site in the hope of striking a usable power source. The water the workmen hit wasn’t warm enough but they failed to properly seal the opening they made. Today, the geyser still spews water and steam, and the brilliant colors are formed by the algae it’s covered in.



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The Highlands of Iceland are renowned for thermal springs and mirror-like fjords but Landmannalaugar is unlike anywhere else in the world. Inside Fjallabak Nature Reserve on the edge of the Laugahraun lava field, this unique and unusual landscape was formed during a volcanic eruption around 1477. Famed for its geothermal springs and azure rivers, this rugged region also benefits from candy-colored hills that appear to be painted by hand.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


These vibrant rice terraces in China’s Yuanyang County have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013 and no wonder. Built on red-soil mountains over 2,500 years ago and reaching up to 6,561 feet (1,999m) above sea level, the rice terraces fill with cascading spring water from the forests above, creating a unique scenery in shades of green and brown.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Within the Sierra de La Macarena National Natural Park in Colombia, this exquisite river is aptly nicknamed the River of Five Colors. Caño Cristales is considered one of the most beautiful waterways in the world and for several months each year, it dazzles with interchanging hues of pink, green, yellow, blue and black. This natural display occurs thanks to an endemic aquatic plant that changes color when exposed to sunlight.



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Despite being one of America’s most attractive regions, the Palouse often slips under the radar. This major agricultural area, which also encompasses parts of Idaho, is known for picture-perfect pastoral fields that shimmer in shades of purple and green. These idyllic hills were formed over tens of thousands of years, from wind-blown dust and silt from dryer climes.



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Hand-carved into the mountains 2,000 years ago, the rice terraces in the Philippines’ Ifugao province are staggeringly spectacular. There are five vast, UNESCO-listed terraces stretching hundreds of feet into the air. Local law has it that if you joined all the paddies end to end, they’d reach halfway round the Earth. The terraces are at their most beautiful in late spring when the young rice give the terraces a lush green color.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The island’s most famous natural wonder, the Seven Coloured Earths are colorful sand dunes surrounded by a dense tropical forest. The dunes were created as basaltic lava gradually transformed into clay minerals, and due to various cooling temperatures of the rock, resulted in seven different colors. True to the name, the dunes are red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The Great Barrier Reef is famously so vast it can be viewed from space. It’s the world’s largest reef system, made up of nearly 3,000 reefs and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. It’s also home to whales, dolphins, sea turtles and thousands of species of fish. Even without all that, the dazzling, dappled expanse of blue is pretty lovely to look at.



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Located high up in a natural reserve close to the Chilean border, this shallow, red salt lake is considered to be one of Bolivia’s most beautiful natural landmarks thanks to its striking appearance and large flocks of flamingos that hang out here. The water gets its unique color due to red sediments in the water and pigmentation of some algae.



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China’s Jiuzhaigou Valley is on the UNESCO World Heritage list for very good reason and Five Flower Lake is perhaps its most dazzling feature. This serene lake is considered holy by many locals, thanks to its interchanging colors and the fact it doesn’t freeze, even in winter. Yet the mystery behind this unique wonder can be easily explained – home to hot springs, the pool also has aquatic plants which change color when exposed to sunlight.



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The gorgeous forest-covered cliffs of the Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kauai Island are an exquisite sight to see. Like something straight out of Jurassic Park, some of the rugged red and green rocks of the coast look more suited to a different planet than Earth. Nā Pali means high cliffs in Hawaiian – a very fitting name when the tallest mountains here soar to 4,000 feet (1,219m).



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Waves crashing into solid calcium carbonate for 6,000 years is what created Chile’s incredible marble caves locally known as Capillas de Mármol. Their swirling blue pattern changes color and intensity throughout the year. Located in the middle of Lake General Carrera, the caves are one of the most isolated treasures of the natural world.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


While it may look like a giant paint palette, this pink landscape is actually made up of salt flats and is situated in the seaside resort of Colonia de Sant Jordi in Mallorca’s Ses Salines district. Salt is a major export here and a great source of local pride – a symbol of a salt mound even appears on the area’s coat of arms. The colors – earthy pink, deep tan and rich nude – pop when captured from up high.



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A result of the divergence of three tectonic plates, Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression is a sight like no other. Here, steam spits out from openings in the Earth’s crust and chemicals released by the hot springs color the rocky mineral deposits yellow, orange and green. This eerie lunar-like landscape of sulfur springs is also one of the hottest places on Earth.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


One of the most mind-blowing rock formations in the States, the Wave is situated in the Coyote Buttes, pressed up against the Utah border. The dramatic sandstone landmark looks almost as if painted by hand, its face colored with rippling bands of white, salmon and orange. It was formed millions of years ago, as sandwiched rocks were gradually eroded.



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The pretty Maltese island of Gozo is famous for its Neolithic sites and rugged stretches of coastline, but it’s also notable for its salt production and in the north you’ll find large clusters of salt pans. They’re at their most picturesque when seen from above: the pans appear like a mosaic with hues of earth brown, white and sand punctured by emerald-green water.



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High in the Western Ghats, this hill station and former resort for the upper echelons of the British Raj looks out over lush plantations and mist-covered hilltops. Dotted by tea estates, which were originally established by the Scottish, the green landscape here is simply breathtaking. The region is also famous for the elusive neelakurinji flowers, which only bloom every 12 years. The next event is due to happen in 2030.



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There are thought to be just a handful of pink beaches in the world and one of the most famous (and most spectacular) can be found on Komodo Island in Indonesia. The beach’s pastel hue is created when the red shells of tiny creatures called foraminifera combine with white sand. Sandwiched between crystalline waters and a rugged green landscape, this pink sand strip is almost too pretty to be real.



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The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, might not be found on the ground, however, the natural light display occurring between late September and late March deserves a mention thanks to its striking appearance. Although these majestic purple and green bands of light cover a wide geographical area, some of the most spectacular shows happen above Iceland, as seen in this image.



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Most people have heard of the Northern Lights, but the dazzling show offered in the Southern Hemisphere is equally as captivating. The aurora australis, or the Southern Lights, is a dancing curtain of light that glows in every shade from pink to green. The result of energetic electrons colliding with atoms and molecules, this otherworldly multicolored show can be seen in Antarctica, New Zealand, southern Australia, Chile and South Africa.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


This multicolored mountain in the Peruvian Andes is not man-made despite what its perfectly symmetrical layers might make you think. The colorful bands, ranging from pink and red to yellow and green, are the result of sedimentary layers forming from mineral deposits over the years.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The rainbow-hued mountains in Zhangye National Geopark look just like an artist’s brush strokes. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this stunning formation was created by natural erosion, when layers of sand, silt, iron and minerals blended together to create a kaleidoscope of colors. The incredible park appears to have been decorated by Mother Nature herself.



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