13 of the World’s Most Bizarre Tourist Destinations
From abandoned ghost towns and macabre museums to extraordinary manmade wonders, here are the weirdest places on Earth you’ve never heard of.
The Village of Dolls in Japan
What’s the only thing that could make an abandoned village creepier than it already is? Replacing its inhabitants with hundreds of terrifying, life-sized dolls in their likenesses. That’s exactly what happened in Nagoro, a small village in the Shikoku, Japan, where a local artist’s eerie effigies linger by the side of the road, occupy empty classrooms, and even appear to be doing road work. Consider visiting one of these “dangerous” countries that are safer than you think.
The Ghost Town of Namibia
The city of Kolmanskop in the Namib desert was once a thriving destination for eager European diamond miners, but today all that remains are deserted buildings being slowly swallowed up by sand dunes. Tourists are invited to explore the eerily breathtaking ghost town and learn more about its history from its on-site museum. These are the 10 most stunning desert scapes here in the United States.
The Underwater Museum in Mexico
At the bottom of the Caribbean Sea near Cancun, 500 life-sized sculptures have taken permanent residence, thanks to one enterprising sculptor. Visitors are invited to take in the monumental underwater exhibit—designed to promote the colonization of marine life—aboard a glass-bottomed boat or on a scuba-diving excursion.
The Upside Down House in China
Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz/Shutterstock
Did you know there are at least 20 upside down houses scattered across the globe—and possibly more? One of the most bizarre is a topsy-turvy structure in Fengjing Ancient Town in Shanghai. It was erected in 2014 so tourists could literally dance on the ceiling—well, sort of. Other upside-down houses can be found in Canada, Poland, Germany, Turkey, and in Indiana and Florida in the United States. See the most popular travel destinations in Asia.
The Underground Theme Park in Romania
Have you ever wanted to ride an underground Ferris wheel? All you have to do is descend 400 feet into a salt mine in Salina, Romania. There, you’ll also find an amphitheater, bowling alley, ping pong courts, and miniature golf course. The 2000-year-old mine was formerly a WWII bomb shelter, and then a cheese storage center. It was converted into an unlikely tourist attraction in the 1990s.
The “Spotted” Lake in Canada
This “spotted” lake in British Columbia appears only in the summer, when evaporation leaves behind 300 clustered bodies of water. Khiluk Lake contains such high concentrations of minerals, it’s long been considered a sacred place of healing. Its waters have been used to treat everything from body aches to battle wounds. You’ll also want to check out these photos of naturally beautiful pink lakes.
The Hair Museum in Turkey
In 1979, a Turkish potter had collected so many hair clippings from female visitors that he decided to display them in a museum beneath his studio in Cappadocia. Today, the walls and ceiling of the underground establishment bear locks donated by 16,000 women. The artist is so thankful for the contributions that once a year, he awards ten randomly chosen winners an all-expenses-paid trip back to his homeland.
The Fetish Market in Togo
In the West African country of Togo, you can find the world’s largest Voodoo fetish market. Its tables are lined with crocodile heads, elephant feet, monkey paws, and horse skulls—all coveted ingredients for traditional healers. The bone-chilling body parts are thought to cure everything from illness to relationship problems. Here are the parts of Africa that should also be on your bucket list.
The Glass Slipper Church in Taiwan
If a giant Cinderella should be looking for her glass slipper, she’ll find it in the Chiaya County of Taiwan. There, a 55-foot high-heeled shoe made of blue-tinted glass was built in 2016—as a church. True to its fairytale roots, the oversize slipper is a popular wedding venue. The monument holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s largest high-heel shoe-shaped structure, usurping a 6-foot-tall bootie by Kenneth Cole.
The Truk Lagoon in Micronesia
At the bottom of a giant lagoon in the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find hundreds of battleships, air crafts, and submarines that were destroyed during a brutal attack on the Japanese Imperial Fleet during WWII. Today, scuba divers are welcome to explore the wreckage at their own risk.
The Bone Church in the Czech Republic
If you can stomach the sight of thousands of human bones, take a day trip from Prague to visit Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic. More than 40,000 skeletons were used to create this macabre museum. Brace yourself for skull garlands, chalices made of femurs, and an epic chandelier artfully comprised of every single bone in the human body.
The Miniatur Wunderland in Germany
Germany’s most popular tourist attraction is also the largest model railway system in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Nine and a half miles of track cover an astonishing 14,000 square feet, but what’s truly fascinated are the painstaking replicas of major destinations in Europe and the United States., such as the Alps and the Hamburg airport.
Cat Island in Japan
It’s a cat’s life on Aoshima Island, where felines outnumber humans by at least six to one. The cats were first shipped over to the island to help clear out rodents, and things got carried away. The cats are fed and cared for by the elderly residents of the island—one of several “cat islands” throughout the country. Read on for 10 crazy things you can only find in Japan.