Extraordinary Europe

Forget the dizzy heights of Machu Picchu, the glistening waters of The Great Barrier Reef and the amazing depths of the Grand Cayon, head to Europe and visit some of the World’s most unique natural attractions, all this beauty on your own doorstep, how could you refuse a visit?!! Here’s a glimpse of some of Europe’s unique natural attractions

No Photoshop needed….yes it is really this beautiful!…

The Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

If you happen to be holidaying in Croatia this summer then a visit to the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park should be organised. Lying on the coast of Croatia, the National Park is situated between the cities of Zagreb and Zadar and encompasses an area of 300 square kilometres and has been granted the UNSECO World Heritage status. The beauty of this park lies in the 16 lakes which are all interconnected by numerous waterfalls and the National Park is also home to plenty of wildlife including rare bird species, deer, wolves, boars and bears all which roam the deep woodland. As enticing as the waters look no swimming is allowed in any part of the National Park and if you’re not one for walking then there is a boat which takes you from one end of the lake to the other as well as a shuttle bus which runs around the park. The Plitvice Lakes National Park is definitely a must see for all those nature lovers.

Heavens Above……

Meteora, Greece

Situated on mainland Greece in the province of Kalambaka and just to the east of the Pindos Mountains lies the UNESCO protected area of Meteora. The region of Metora is infamous for the sandstone peaks and pinnacles of rock which rise starkly above the Peneas valley and the small town of Kalambaka. The pinnacles and rock formation of the area were originally thought to have been formed over 60 million years ago, caused by weathering and earthquakes that have shaped them over many years to their current form today. Not only is the natural formation of these rocks a sight to see but more interestingly what has been built on top of the pinnacles that have tourists flocking from all over the world. Despite the almost inaccessibility of this area and almost impossible building conditions Monks settled here in the 11th century and built 24 monasteries on the very top of these ‘columns in the sky’, which is a pure achievement in itself. The area was named Meteora, which is Greek for ‘suspended in air’ an aptly fitting name for this wonderful spectacle. Although it does make you wonder how the Monks got to the Monasteries at the top of the rocks, apparently large ladders or nets were used to climb up to the monasteries, just hope you’re not scared of heights and you’ve got a bit of spare time on you hands!

The White Cliffs of Dover….. Turkey!

Pamukkale, Turkey

If you’ve been on holiday to Turkey this summer then you will have more than likely been sold a visit to Pamukkale. Situated in the Denizli Province of Turkey and approximately 189 kilometres inland from the popular tourist resort of Kusadasi, this natural wonder is known by the local people as the 8th wonder of the World. Pamukkale which means ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish is known for its spectacular formations of stalactites, basins and calcium pools and is apparently the finest example of the most elaborate calcium formation in the World. Reasons why tourist visit the area is not only to admire the stunning and unique landscape but also to enjoy a dip in the hot water calcium pools which cling to the rock formations. Taking a dip in the hot water springs of the pool supposedly works wonders on the circulatory and nervous system and is also recommended for people suffering with high blood pressure. So even if you’re not up on visiting natural wonders whilst holidaying, a visit to this ‘white wonderland’ will guarantee that you’ll leave feeling refreshed and revitalised

Mind the Gap!…

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Now this would be on my list of to do’s….if only I could dive! The Thingvellir National Park is located 48 kilometres inland from the capital, Reykjavik. Set around the Lake Thingvallavatn the National Park is of great importance to Iceland, the oldest parliament of the world was founded here in 930 AD, so not only does the park have historical importance but also geographical importance. Iceland uniquely sits right on the Mid-Atlantic ridge where both the Eurasian plate and the North American plates both meet and separate, the ridge runs all the way from the Mid-Arctic ridge located just northeast of Greenland down through Iceland and the Thingvellir National Park and all way down south to Bouvet Triple Junction in the South Atlantic and is currently moving apart at approximately 2.5 cm per year. This unique feature of Iceland is one of many things which attract tourists every year to the island. There is one particular type of attraction which is becoming increasingly popular in Iceland…the chance to plunge to the depths of the Silfra rift located in the Thingvellir National Park to dive between the cracks of the two continents. For your chance to see the meeting of two continents then head to Iceland and enjoy a spot of tectonic diving.

Have you visited anywhere extraordinary in Europe? Feel free to share….

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