With so many fascinating places around the world, it’s easy to understand why people are passionate about traveling. There are certain destinations that are incredibly famous and beautiful which you may have already added to your bucket list. But do you really know the ins and outs of these places? Do you know the secrets behind the cities or the unique phenomena that locals know to be real life? Discover these cool facts about famous places you might not know!
*Trigger warning for anyone who is scared of snakes or tombs (no graphic photos but beware of the descriptions)!
Between the months of May through July, the sky doesn’t get dark in St. Petersburg — at all! This fascinating phenomenon is known as “White Nights”. Thanks to its high latitude location (and close proximity to the Article Circle) as one of the northernmost cities in the world, the sun does not set below the horizon enough for the sky to fully darken. This is a truly fascinating phenomenon to experience — imagine going out at night and returning from late-night dinners or nightclub ventures with it still being bright out. You can expect to see almost 24 hours of sunlight, and even when the sun shortly sets, the sky doesn’t get very dark. Explore this spectacular city for yourself as you plan your trip to Russia and take advantage of the warmer weather by going museum hopping, shopping, dining, or having a picnic in one of the beautiful evergreen gardens the city is known for.
Between historic sites, delicious dishes, and fascinating archaeological sites, Ecuador might be known for many things — but when you move away from the mainland and set out to explore the Galapagos you will feel like you’ve stepped foot into another world. Expect to see exotic animals like you’ve never seen before as you follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, the man who created the Theory of Evolution and explore the place where it was tested as you come face to face with giant tortoises and marine iguanas. You will be interested to know that 97% of the Galapagos is actually a National Park — which explains why it’s one of the most ecologically rich and widely protected areas in the world as the land is teeming with friendly and fascinating creatures who will let you get up close (just make sure not to touch them as this is not allowed). A cruise is the best way to explore the Galapagos!
While thousands of travelers make their way to Rome or Athens to get a taste of European history, contrary to popular belief, Plovdiv is actually the oldest city in Europe! This fascinating city boasts a rich history of over 8000 years which is oozing through its ancient architectural town, extraordinary Roman theater, spectacular Roman stadium, and centuries-old fortifications. Plovdiv alone is home to over 200 archaeological sites spanning throughout the city, while the rest of Bulgaria boasts approximately 40,000 historic and archaeological sites, some of which have been listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Get ready to see magnificent monuments dating back to Roman times, beautiful churches, dazzling mosaics, and a wide range of historic museums and art galleries for the ultimate adventure combining history, art, and culture as you visit Bulgaria with this cruise on the Danube!
Despite having good road safety laws, Bhutan is the only country in the world with no traffic lights! Instead, in cities like Thimphu, you will find policemen standing at the intersections directing the flow of traffic. The local government actually tried to implement traffic lights for a short period of time, until they came to the conclusion that they preferred having policemen take control of the roads and continue to signal drivers. Considering the country only opened itself up to travelers in 1974, there are many fascinating facts about this mysterious land you probably don’t know about, and a trip to Bhutan will turn your whole world upside down as you step foot into a land that is entirely different from anything you have ever known.
It may come as a surprise to hear that Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, and the Gateway to Mount Everest and the Himalayas was originally not a city at all — it was once a lake! According to geological and fossil evidence, it was found that roughly 2.8 million to 10,000 years ago a large lake, known as Paleo Kathmandu Lake covered the Kathmandu Valley. It is believed that the lake was eventually drained as the climate dried up during the Ice Age, or, according to Nepalese mythology, Saint Manjushri, a Buddhist Saint burst the walls open with his sword and drained the water as he believed a beautiful landscape would be revealed. Today, Kathmandu is a fascinating destination filled with riveting World Heritage Sites, powerful palaces, spectacular stupas, and truly exotic temples — not to mention it is surrounded by mountains with vistas that will absolutely take your breath away. You can even book a flight over Mount Everest with a trip to Nepal!
In the heart of Northern Italy, you will find many beautiful cities with Venice being one of them. You might have heard about the breathtaking canals and clear blue-green waters that make the city unique, as many locals and tourists make their way around with gondola boats or vaporettos (public transportation). But you may be surprised to know that you can’t take a bus, drive a car, or call an Uber anywhere in Venice as this one-of-a-kind city has no roads! With no motorized vehicles, your options for transportation include taking boats or walking down footpaths and canals, which shouldn’t be a problem as the city is relatively small and walkable within one hour. All of the taxis, buses, police cars and ambulances operate on water, which makes this city so distinct from other places you will visit in Italy, so staying here will definitely take some getting used to!
Between the borders of Jordan and Israel lies the Dead Sea. Despite its notorious name, this body of water is actually a large landlocked lake rather than a sea — which is referred to as “Dead” thanks to its high content of salt which is nearly 10 times higher than a typical ocean. This makes it impossible for fish and underwater plants to live here (although tiny amounts of microbial fungi and bacteria can be found). With its high salinity, it is also impossible for people to sink in the Dead Sea as you will simply float above the surface, which means you can lay back and relax and let the water lift you up. Not only is the Dead Sea one of the saltiest lakes in the world but this is also the lowest place on Earth, located roughly 413 meters below sea level. There are many reasons to visit this incredible place — but why not pair it with the biblical sites of Israel as you follow in the footsteps of Jesus and Moses and see the haunting sites of Petra and other Jordanian sites with this all-encompassing tour? You can discover more cool facts about these famous places with this incredible adventure.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a fascinating sight to see. While thousands of travelers flock to Pisa every year to take pictures of this remarkable tower, it was not intentionally built with its leaning design. The Cathedral started to lean during the construction phase due to the soft ground underneath until it was stabilized to a lean of 3.99 meters, which makes this the most famous leaning tower in the world. However, there is also a leaning tower in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, which leans over four times the amount of the Tower of Pisa, as the Capital Gate tilts an astonishing 18 degrees to the west! Unlike the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Abu Dhabi’s remarkable structure was actually designed with this form in mind. Architects wanted to stretch the rules of physics with its leading-edge design and make this the most tilted building in the world, pushing past the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and Germany’s Leaning Tower of Suurhusen (5.19 degrees)! You can see the Capital Gate and other cutting-edge buildings in the UAE with a tour of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Between its rich and fascinating culture, beautiful landscapes, and thriving nightlife scene, Argentina is known for many things. But when you make your way down south into Tierra del Fuego you will find Ushuaia — the southernmost city on Earth, which is commonly referred to as The End of the World. NASA commonly stages science flights from this remarkable city to go on their missions to map polar ice in Antarctica, and cruise ships regularly take off from here and are swept away into an otherworldly world of gorgeous glaciers and gigantic icebergs. Even if you don’t plan on venturing out into the ice-covered continent, Ushuaia itself is a fascinating place to visit. You can see breathtaking mountains and gorgeous coastlines that will leave you in awe. One of the best ways to explore Ushuaia is with this tour of Patagonia, which will take you through the most otherworldly places in South America as you venture out into the depths of Chile and Argentina.
Less than 100 kilometers away from Sao Paulo lies an island of snakes… filled with venomous creatures that can kill you in less than one hour. Ilha da Queimada Grande, otherwise known as “Snake Island” is home to some of the deadliest snakes in the world as thousands roam the lands, making this one of the most dangerous places on Earth. It is infested with approximately 2000-4000 golden lanceheads, one of the deadliest snakes on Earth thanks to its fast-acting venom. If that’s not enough to shake you to your core, keep in mind that due to evolution, the snakes on Ilha da Queimada Grande have evolved to become three to five times stronger than those on mainland Brazil with their vicious venom. For obvious reasons, the government of Brazil has strictly prohibited anyone from visiting the island, with the exception of trained scientists who are accompanied by doctors. Although, there was actually a lighthouse keeper who lived on the island in the early 1900s, who, according to a famous tale, was bitten to death as several snakes slithered in through his windows and took over his home.
The French capital may be portrayed for its luxury, glamor, and romance, but there is a secret behind (or shall we say underneath) this glamorous city that many travelers don’t know about. In the 1700s, cemeteries were overflowing as Paris was running out of places to bury their dead. Locals started to complain about the odors that were emitting from the cemeteries as there was not enough capacity for all of them. Between 6-7 million bodies were moved into what is now known as the Catacombs of Paris over a span of 12 years, part of which is now open for visitors to explore. Some say the grounds are haunted while many visitors have claimed to hear distant voices… which has to make this one of the spookiest places in the world. You can explore the catacombs for yourself with a trip to Paris — just make sure you stay within the permitted areas as it’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in the chambers.
When you think about surfing, sunny destinations like Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Australia come to mind. But did you know that some of the largest waves in the world, and the biggest waves ever surfed are in Portugal? A quaint town in the central region, Nazare is an outstanding destination for beach bums and holidaymakers. But thanks to the presence of the underwater Nazare Canyon, the largest submarine canyon in all of Europe, the gigantic waves here are formed to reach fascinating heights reaching up to 100 feet. Located only a 1.5-hour drive north of Lisbon, it will be easy to reach the Silver Coast with a day trip through the westernmost country in Europe or with this best-selling tour of Portugal. Come and see how high these waves can get for yourself — you might even spot daredevils trying to surf the waves!
Often referred to as The Place Where Heaven Meets Earth, Salar de Uyuni is one of the most breathtaking places in the world. It is the largest salt flat on Earth and the biggest natural mirror to ever exist, covering more than 10,000 square kilometers of land. The flat is filled with salt and other minerals such as magnesium and potassium. But what many people don’t know is that within the salt flat lies a large lithium reserve. According to NASA, geologists believe that underneath the salt flat lies the second-largest deposit of lithium in the world, although a very small quantity of it gets to be mined due to challenging weather conditions and high costs as other minerals would have to be removed in the process. You can step foot into the otherworldly world of the Uyuni Salt Flat for yourself with this magical tour of Bolivia, where you can also head thousands of meters up in the air with a ride on Mi Teleferico in La Paz, a world-famous cable car system, from where you will see some of the most breathtaking views of the city. You may discover more cool facts about these famous places that will leave you in awe.
Did you know the secrets behind these famous places? If you have any questions about traveling to one of these destinations or if you’re wondering about where else you can go, reach out to our travel experts who will help answer your questions or plan the trip of your dreams!
Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest offers and receive $50pp off your first Indus tour.