Nature is pretty cool. It has moulded some fairly bizarre and unusual structures over the course of millions of years. Volcanic eruptions, mineral deposits, and wind and water erosion have contributed towards the creation of these 10 surreal landscapes. So walk along the salt pans, travel in the footsteps of giants, dive into the deep or take a warm bath in these memorable spots.

1. Like White?

If you're a fan of white, this is the place for you. Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat. There are more than 10,000 square kilometres of nothing but white salt crust. The 25,000 tonnes of salt taken from the plain each year hardly dents the surface. It's seemingly endless, spectacular, incredibly flat and very white. Brilliant photo opportunities abound.

2. A Bridge For Giants

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The Giant's Causeway is a spectacular site on the coast of Ireland featuring 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. Most of the columns are hexagonal and the highest are a staggering 12 metres. A volcanic eruption that cooled down really quickly is what caused this. But the local legend is more believable – an Irish giant and a Scottish giant wanted to have a fight so they built the causeway across the north channel. (It depends whose version of the tale you hear as to which giant wins.)

3. A Hole In The Sea

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If you're a scuba diver, chances are you've heard of this stunning place. It's the Great Blue Hole, a sinkhole in the barrier reef off the coast of Belize. At 300 metres wide and 124 metres deep, it makes for some pretty spectacular diving. The hole was formed when the area was above sea level, and stalagmites and stalactites feature in the submerged caves.

4. Stark Red Earth

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Namibia's Namib-Naukluft National Park is home to salt plains and clay pans surrounded by large dunes. One of these regions, Deadvlei, used to be a desert oasis growing acacia trees. The river running through it changed course, the oasis dried up, and now the blackened trunks of the acacias remain. The dead trees are a pretty stark visual against the intense red of the dunes. It's almost spooky.

5. 'Avatar' Mountain

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China's Tianzi Mountain is known locally as 'the monarch of the peak forest'. The view from the top of the mountain, across the narrow, tower-like peaks explains why. The rock pillars provide a spectacular scene – so spectacular that the peaks were inspiration for the setting of the movie Avatar. (By the way, this area is also home to the Bailong elevator – the world's highest outdoor elevator, going straight up the side of one of the cliffs.)

6. The Perfect Warm Bath

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The travertine terraces of Pamukkale, in Turkey, create a stunning scene of pure white stone and clear aqua water. The terraces were formed by mineral deposits left behind by the calcite-laden waters flowing from the hot springs. For centuries the springs and pools were used for bathing and the kings of Pergamon established a thermal spa at nearby Hierapolis. Visiting the site, you get the double bonus of nature's best work plus the amazing structures of the ancient Greeks. Win.

7. Erosion At Its Best

The Colorado Plateau in south-western USA gives us some pretty amazing land formations. Think the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley – but there's loads more where they came from. The Wave in Arizona is one such spectacular site. This sandstone rock formation was created by a series of erosion events that are too complicated to explain. But, whatever, it sure makes for a pretty spectacular photo.

8. A Black Beach With The Works

On the southern coast of Iceland, where wind batters the shore and rain falls almost every day of the year, there is a beach of the blackest of black sands. It's not only the sand that makes the beach at Vik surreal. Jutting from the water offshore are a series of jagged, spiky, basalt towers. Plus, there's a section of cliff behind the beach that is made up of bizarrely precise vertical rock columns. But wait, there's more. Further down the coast, the beach also holds the abandoned wreckage of a US military aircraft. All up, pretty surreal.

9. Heavenly Cascades

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Plitvice Lakes looks something like heaven. Pristine turquoise waters flowing from pool to pool in little waterfalls, surrounded by lush green vegetation. All it needs is a few cherubs and some harp music to complete the scene. This beautiful network of cascading lakes in Croatia was formed by waters depositing travertine, which built up dam systems and thus lakes. The water changes colour regularly, depending on the organisms and minerals in the water. It's perfection.

10. White Ventifacts

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Egypt has its fair share of awesome stuff and then it gets this, as well – the White Desert, with totally bizarre rock formations. It's isolated and remote, and an almost mysterious place to spend time. These strangely shaped rocks are ventifacts. Word of the day: ventifact – a rock formation that has been eroded by wind-driven sand crystals. Don't say we don't tell you interesting stuff.

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