Unusual and Fascinating Tourist Attractions(2)

Unusual and Fascinating Tourist Attractions(2)

This is part 2 of a 10 part series that focuses on 100 unusual and fascinating tourist attractions from around the globe.

Some we have been lucky enough to visit, yet some we yearn to set foot. From the weird and wacky, freaky to wondrous… Take a stroll through the series.

APTOPIX Minnesota Daily Life Ice Castle

Mall of America Ice Castles, Bloomington, Minn

This winter, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., added a chilling attraction to its entertainment offerings. On its north parking lot, visitors will see a series of icy structures. The Ice Castles, as they are named, are slowly “grown” by fusing icicles together with water. They’ll rise throughout the season, eventually reaching over 40 feet high and stretching across two acres. The Ice Castles will remain open until about late February, weather permitting.

Mont St. Michel, France

Mont St. Michel, France

Up until a few years ago, quirky Mont St. Michel, a tidal island (tides vary as much as 50 feet) located off the coast of Normandy, France, was in danger of losing its maritime identity. In the 8th century, a bishop established a small chapel there. A Gothic abbey, used during the French Revolution as a prison, followed a few centuries later. Then in the 19th century a causeway connecting the island to the mainland was built, preventing the sea from washing away silt that collected around the island. A dam that rose in 1969 had a similar effect. Land slowly crept up on the island. Now Mont St. Michel, which receives almost two and a half million visitors a year, is undergoing a face-lift aimed at turning back the accumulated sands of time.


Icehotel, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden

During the winter, you may be inclined to seek warmer weather on your travels. Not visitors to the Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden. Not only is the hotel located about 124 miles above the Arctic Circle, it’s made of ice, even its beds. It features a church, main hall and an ice bar that serves drinks in glasses carved from ice.


Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas

There may be bigger and more impressive blue holes, but Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island in the Bahamas is the world’s deepest at more than 600 feet deep.

Blue holes, named for their vibrant color as seen from above, are subsurface voids that contain fresh, marine or mixed waters that extend below sea level. They are open to the surface and may provide access to submerged caves.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon, Ariz.

Just south of the Arizona side of Lake Powell is Lower Antelope Canyon, a maze of abstract shapes carved from sandstone by wind and water.

From above, the slot canyon looks like any other stretch of Arizona desert. But descending into this canyon, you feel as if you’ve stepped into some elaborate art installation.

Some parts of Lower Antelope Canyon are so narrow that only one person can pass in either direction.

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park, Ariz.

The stunning Petrified Forest National Park — the only national park to protect and encompass parts of Route 66 — includes Indian petroglyphs and the Agate House, built from petrified wood by native tribes.

Tarragona Spain human tower competition

Tarragona, Spain human tower competition

Each year, thousands gather in Tarragona, a city in Spain’s Catalonia region about 50 miles southwest of Barcelona, for its annual castells competition, where teams made of up to hundreds of people collaborate to build human towers.

Building human towers, or castells, is an old Catalan tradition dating back over two hundred years. Each castell (a Catalan word for castle) is built by a team, called a colla, consisting of between 75 to 500 men and women. Young and light members form the top of a tower while heavier members form the base. Music plays as a team erects its tower, usually between six and ten levels high.


Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Mammoth Cave National Park, located in southern Kentucky about 95 miles south of Louisville, lives up to its name. No, woolly mammoths never dwelled in its bowels, but the park’s namesake is the longest cave system in the world, with over 390 miles of passageways, more than double that of the runner-up. The park also includes more than 200 additional caves disconnected from the main system. Over 200 animal species live in the cave, including 42 that survive in complete darkness.

alberobello Italy

Alberobello, Italy

Alberobello, whose population is about 11,000, dates to at least the mid-14th century when it was colonized by the Count of Conversano. The town’s distinguishing feature is its trulli, cone-shaped dwellings made from limestone. In this prehistoric construction technique, structures are built from interlocking rocks without the use of mortar. This made buildings easy to dismantle and reassemble. Alberobello contains some of Europe’s best examples of this architecture style. The trulli of Alberobello were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.

Ithaa Undersea restaurant Maldives

Ithaa Undersea restaurant, Maldives

Ithaa Undersea restaurant sits 16 feet below sea level at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, a hotel resort in Hilton’s luxury brand that occupies two islands. Maldives is a country of almost 1,200 islands about 300 miles from the southernmost points of India and Sri Lanka.

Diners eat beneath glass walls at the Ithaa Undersea restaurant. The cuisine is decribed as Maldivian-Western, and the restaurant seats about 12. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, according to the resort’s website.

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