From pink lakes to flaming gas craters, here is our guide to the strangest and most wonderful, by Joanna Simmons, of Responsible Travel.
The cone-shaped rock formations are the topographic USP of Cappadocia in central Turkey, a landscape of wrinkles and valleys, sculpted by volcanic activity and water erosion. People have long taken advantage of the region’s soft rock to create underground houses, cave architecture and rock-cut churches.
Exodus offers an eight-day walking holiday in Cappadocia from GBP 649 excluding flights.
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Salines Uyuni, Bolivia
The largest salt mine in the world covers more than 10,000 km2. It is blindingly white, but when covered with water, the whole perspective bends as the surface reflects the vast plateau sky above. Go through it and you have the feeling of flying through the clouds. At 3,656 m above sea level, this is also a very cold prospect.
Latin America Journeys offers a 26-day tailor-made tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats, starting at $ 3,895 (£ 2,895), excluding international flights.
This wild panorama of blue lakes, jagged peaks and glaciers is located at the tip of South America. The Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park shines bright blue, while the granite towers that give Torres del Paine National Park its name produce uninterrupted drama.
Adventure Life operates a nine-day tailor-made hiking route in Patagonia from US $ 2,795 (£ 2,075) without flights.
Snow-covered fir trees are a surreal sight, like the imposing shaving foam sculptures. The best way to see them is to stick to your snowshoes and go hiking. Oulanka and Riisitunturi National Parks are ideal places to explore in winter, with abundant snow-covered trees, but also icy lakes, icy rivers and starry waterfalls.
Exodus has an eight-day group sailing trip in the area from GBP 1,099 without flights. .
This idyllic mountain retreat in the Guangxi region of southern China lies beneath the high pinnacles of limestone on the banks of the Li River. It can be busy, but the views are never disappointing: water buffalo grazing by the river, farmers tending the land, tall bamboo stables, all arranged under exquisitely strange mountains.
World Expeditions offers a 12-day group trip between Beijing and Hong Kong, which takes Yangshuo, from GBP 1,850 without international flights.
One of the most remote shrines in the world, it is a desert of hot springs, rivers with fish, wild coast and 300 volcanoes. Despite covering 500,000 square miles, Kamchatka has the human population of Bristol – you are more likely to find bones, walruses and reindeer.
Heritage Expeditions offers a 14-day adventure cruise to Kamchatka from US $ 8,000 (£ 5,942) without flights.
You just have to venture a little outside Reykjavík to stumble upon vast fields of moss, towering escarpments, glaciers and regularly erupting geysers. The northwest of Iceland is an especially wild corner, with black sand beaches, spectacular lava fields, volcanic craters and serene lakes.
Wild Photography Holidays offers an 11-day photo tour of the region from GBP 2,950 without flights.
Thorny forest, Madagascar
An ecoregion in the south of the island, this surreal and inhospitable habitat is filled with cactus-like shrubs and trees that have adapted to withstand droughts and are not found anywhere else in the world. Ring-tailed lemurs, turtles and mongooses have been adapted to survive here.
Pioneer Expeditions offers a tailor-made 11-day trip south of Madagascar from GBP 2,150 without flights.
The Namib Desert, Namibia
The imposing rusty red dunes of Sossusvlei are some of the tallest in the world. You can climb the S-shaped Dune 45, which is more than 170 m high.
Intrepid Travel’s 22-day trip to Victoria Falls in Cape Town with the Namib Desert costs from £ 1,870, without flights.
Lac Rose, Senegal
Anyone with basic French can guess that this lake, just an hour from the capital Dakar, will not be blue. Bacteria attracted by salt and the high concentration of minerals in the water give it a pink hue, the most vivid during the dry season, from November to June.
Native Eye Travel has a 15-day group tour of West Africa visiting Senegal and the lake from GBP 3,175 without flights.
The Darvaza gas crater, Turkmenistan
Travel miles through the desolate Karakum Desert and suddenly reach this 30-meter-deep flaming methane pit, also known as the “Gate of Hell”. Its origin is still unknown, but it has been burning for 40 years.
Wild Frontiers has a 14-night tour of the Silk Road visiting the crater, from £ 2,995, excluding international flights.
Don’t come on holiday here, go on an expedition, sailing for days, traversing the notorious spicy Drake Passage, before reaching this vast polar desert. The accessible Antarctic Peninsula is an icy expanse of the Andes, but it is also full of life, from leopard seals and penguins to whales.
Chimu Adventures has a 12-day Antarctic cruise from GBP 5,295 without flights.