Despite human activities affecting our world on a planetary scale, and often not in the best way—just think about the global warming and its possible consequences—there are still places left on Earth that are completely untouched by man. Some of this places may look surprising weird or unearthly, but all of them are undeniably beautiful, each one in its unique way.We’ve made a selection of the most unexpected, amazing and just incredibly aesthetically pleasing landscapes you many find on our planet. Some of them may not even look real, but rest assured—these are the places that actually exist, and you can visit them (although it many cases it may be significantly harder than just booking a flight—some of these places are quite hard to get to).
Atacama Desert, Chile
The Atacama Desert in Chile is located to the west of the Andes mountains and covers a total area of 1000 kilometers. It is the dries deserts in the world, not counting the polar regions. Some weather stations that are situated in the Atacama desert have never received a drop of rain in several decades. According to scientific evidence, in many places of this desert it never rained since 1570—the desert seen the last drop of water during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
Most of the desert is covered with sand, rocks, salty lakes and lava, but there are several oases. Scientists say that the Atacama desert is in many ways similar to the surface of Mars. That’s why it was used as a location for filming many Mars scenes in different movies and even to test Mars rovers.
Surely, everyone knows about Tibet. In fact, this is exactly the reason why Tibet is always crowded with tourists; it has its charms, but you can hardly find a completely untouched place in there. If you want to see Himalayan mountains in all their natural splendor, you should make a trip to Bhutan—a landlocked Asian country at the eastern end of the Himalayas. Bhutan’s natural heritage is still largely intact, and over quarter of the country’s territory has a status of national parks or protected areas.
Fiordland, New Zealand
Fiordland is a part of New Zealand located in the south-western region of the South Island. This territory never had any significant permanent population—even the Maori visited it only for short periods of time, mostly for fishing and hunting. The area is mostly cover with forests, deep lakes, valleys and mountains; most of it is designated as a national park. With no cities or industry around, the air in Fiordland is extremely clean. The remoteness of the region limits tourism; most people who go here only visit a few major tourists sites. Many places in Fiordland are inaccessible without a boat, and of those that are many require a several day long hiking trip to get to.
Gobi Desert, China and Mongolia
The rain shadow of Himalayan mountains prevents rain clouds from the Indian Ocean form getting into the Gobi Desert. It is not as dry as the Atacama Desert, as some moisture still manages to get here either as rain or as snow. The most prominent feature of the local climate is the rapidly changing temperatures. In the Gobi, it can be as cold as -40 degrees Celsius in winter, and as hot as +50 degrees Celsius in summer. Sometimes temperature can change by over 35 degrees Celsius in over the course of one day. Such climate makes the Gobi desert one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, thereby ensuring that it stays mostly untouched by humans.
While Russia does not strike most people as the most hospitable tourist destination, the country has many beautiful and pristine natural landscapes. Most of these areas a located in the northern part of the county, where the population is extremely sparse and the transportation infrastructure is virtually nonexistent. Should you find a way to get there, you will be able to enjoy a truly wild nature with no signs of any human activity.
The Kamchatka Peninsula is one of such desolate places; most of the peninsula is unpopulated, but has a diverse and abundant wildlife and flora. The area is covered with glaciers and volcanoes and has a mostly subarctic climate. The volcanic belts here contain over 160 volcanoes; 29 volcanoes are active ones. In the center of the peninsula there is also a geyser valley.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea, an Oceanian country in the eastern part of the island of New Guinea, has extremely rugged terrain with some places accessible only by plane (or if you are a professional climber). A country is larger than Germany or Japan, but its population is rather small—just over 7 million people; most towns here are located along the coastline.
The New Guinea Highlands mountain ridge crosses the whole island. The mountains are covered with a tropical rainforest, a home for a plethora of birds and mammals. Scientists regularly find new species here, as the inner parts of the jungle remain largely unexplored.
Deception Island, Antarctica
Deception Island is a caldera of an active volcano. Usually, it is considered to be a safe harbor for ships in Antarctica, unless, of course, the volcano is erupting. Several countries tried to establish scientific stations here, but all the stations were abandoned because of the volcanic activity. At this moment, scientists visit Deception only for short periods during the summer.
Over half of the island is covered by glaciers, and its center is flooded by sea, forming a large harbor. The island itself is covered with numerous mountains and crater lakes. Because of the volcanic activity, the temperature of the water in some lakes can be as high as 70 degrees Celsius.
The island is home to several colonies of chinstrap penguins, numerous species of birds and some rare plan species thriving on island’s unique volcanic substrates.