With unreal colours and dizzying visual tricks, these places look like they have come from a film set. But these amazing landscapes are all real and show the true majesty of nature.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The largest salt flat on earth, Salar de Uyuni covers over 10,500 square kilometres near the crest of the Andes. The whole area is covered in salt crusts a few metres thick and there is almost no variation in altitude across the entire surface. The ground and the sky seem to merge into one, creating mind boggling optical illusions and a mirror-like effect across the sparkling surface. There are even hotels made of carved salt blocks, from the walls and floors right through to the furniture.

Lavender fields in Provence, France

Provence is the world’s largest producer of lavender and each year between June and August you can find endless rows of bushes bursting with bright purple flowers. Drive or cycle along the unofficial “Lavender Highway” – the Plateau de Claparédes – for an endless carpet of lavender fields, with the occasional charming chateau or farmhouse perched within the blooms.

Tianzi Mountains, China

These eerie peaks look like they belong on the set of Avatar, rising dramatically from narrow bases to over 1,200 metres in the air. A cable car runs to the top giving birds’ eye views over the deep valleys and thundering waterfalls that run down many of the mountains. The area is often covered in clouds, creating a mystical atmosphere and giving the impression that the rocks are floating in a foggy sea.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, USA

Yellowstone is home to numerous hot springs and gushing geysers, but what sets this one apart is its startling colour pattern. The water radiates out from the centre in bands of blue, green, yellow, orange and red – a pattern that matches the rainbow dispersion of white light through a prism, hence the name. The colours are a result of the pigmented bacteria that live around the edge of the spring and thrive in the 70 degrees Celsius water.

Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia

These remote dunes are said to be the tallest in the world with some rising to almost 400 metres. You can climb them, but the sand is soft and fine as talcum powder so it’s torture on the legs. The surrounding desert is stark and forbidding, and the winds will blow away any footprints almost as soon as they are made. The dunes are best viewed at sunrise or sunset when the red sand seems to glow from within.

Lake Hillier, Western Australia

This bubblegum pink lake is found on Middle Island off the coast of Esperance and is the most famous of a number of pink lakes found across the state. Scientists are unsure why the water is such a vibrant hue, but speculate that it might be from a dye created by the bacteria that live in the lake’s salt crust. It is most spectacular when seen from above – just a thin strip of lush green vegetation separates it from the blue of the Southern Ocean.

Images: Getty

This article first appeared on Over60.