The 10 Top-Rated and Must-Visit Rock Formations In The World

Spread the love
St. Stephen Monastery atop the Meteora in Greece.

The world is full of mysterious but famous rock formations that became tourist attractions. They are incredible landscapes chiselled from million years of erosion and sculpted by the elements drawing visitors from far and wide, unmindful of the difficult journey just to admire and explore these geological wonders.

Nature indeed is a force to always consider with, a great thing that we can not take no notice of it. From chocolate-colored mounds and wave-like canyons to volcanic fairy chimneys and multi-colored mountains, it is really awe-inspiring how diverse our world is in its structure and topography. Read on in no particular order some of the earth’s intriguing formations that will inspire you to travel and explore them soon.

Chocolate Hills – Bohol, Philippines

Viewing point to the Chocolate Hills from the town of Carmen, Bohol.

Found in the island of Bohol in the central part of the Philippines, these conical-shaped rock formations of 1,268 are of karst limestone covered in grass. During the dry season from the months of February to May, the grass turn to brown and the mounds appear like the chocolate kisses hence the name Chocolate Hills. A famous tourist attraction in Bohol, no one knows exactly how the hills were created but there are local legends of how they were formed, one version is that they’re the tears that hardened into hills, shed by a giant named Arogo when the mortal Aloe whom he fell in love with has died.

The Wave – Arizona, U.S.A.

The Wave rock formations in Arizona, U.S.A.

A geological wonder found in the slopes of the Coyote Buttes in Arizona, U.S.A. near its border with Utah, The Wave is a sandstone rock formation that looks like an ocean wave. Famous among hikers and photo enthusiasts for its colors of brick red, orange and beige including its swirling form, reaching the area needs a difficult trek and only 20 permits for entry per day are given out via an online lottery basis. It is believed that The Wave belongs to the Jurassic Period, formed at least 190 million years ago and the place was only discovered in the 1990s when it was featured in a German travel magazine.

Goreme Fairy Chimneys – Cappadocia, Turkey

The Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is Turkey’s prime tourist destination and well known in the world for its rare rock formations and hot air balloon tours. The town of Goreme in Cappadocia boasts its “fairy chimneys” or Cotton Castles which are the result of volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago, the thick ash had solidified into tuffs that look like chimneys. During the Roman times, Christians fled to Goreme and converted the soaring rock pinnacles into homes and churches to avoid persecution. At modern times, they’ve been transformed into hotels where you will not only spend a restful night but enjoy the stunning view of Cappadocia.

Uluro or Ayers Rock – Northern Territory, Australia

Ayers Rock or Uluro in Australia.

A must-see site when you’re traveling in Australia and the most famous natural landmark in the world, Uluru or Ayers Rock is within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park near the city of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this globally-famous sandstone formation is of 348 meters high and it’s impressive for its unusual changing of color from rustic orange during the day to deep red at sunset. The Uluru is a living cultural heritage of the Anangu indigenous people of Australia, the true owners of this “red center” and lease it to the national government to allow travelers and visitors to see see it in person.

Prekeistolen – Rogaland, Norway

The Prekeistolen or Pulpit Rock during winter in Norway.

Voted as the “Most Breathtaking Viewing Platform” by Lonely Planet (a famous blog) and CNNgo in 2015, Prekeistolen/Preacher’s Chair/Pulpit Rock is a steep cliff that rises 1,982 feet above the Lysefjord in Rogaland, Norway. On top of the precipice is a flat surface of which about 200,000 visitors climb it during summertime to view the amazing fjord below. Formed during the ice age around 10,000 years ago when edges of the glacier reached the crag, Norway’s famous mountain hike has been featured in the movie Mission Impossible:Fallout in 2017 when actor Tom Cruise hang on to the sides of Prekeistolen.

Walingyuan – Hunan, China

Avatar Mountains in Walingyuan, Hunan, China.

With over 3,000 quarts size sandstone pillars and peaks that rise up to 660 feet in height, Walingyuan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in Hunan, south-central China. In between these peaks are ravines and gorges with streams, waterfalls, some 40 or so caves and 2 big natural bridges. Formed during the Devonian period about 400 million years ago from a mix of tectonic uplift and water erosion, the area was discovered in the 1980s and these days, tourists can view it via a cable car or through the Bailong Glass Elevator. Acclaimed as China’s version of the Grand Canyon, Walingyuan is sometimes known as “Avatar Mountains” as it served as an inspiration for the floating mountains in the movie Avatar.

Giants Causeway – County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Sunset over the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.

They are 40,000 interlocking columns made from basalt in well defined hexagonal shape that appear like stepping stones located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland. The Giants Causeway is the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. A tourist magnet in Northern Ireland, it’s called Giants Causeway based on a legend that the columns are the work of an Irish giant named Finn McCool who created them to be able to cross the Scottish shore easier and fight his nemesis, Benendonner.

Meteora – Kalambaka, Thessaly, Greece

The Meteora in Thessaly, Greece.

Meaning “suspended in the air” and featured in the James Bond movie, “For Your Eyes Only” Meteora is a group of eroded sandstone rock situated in Kalambaka, Central Greece with an elevation of 1,027 feet and of which it houses the largest and most important building complex of the Greek Orthodox Church. During the Byzantine period, monks have constructed monasteries on top of these rocks for the belief that it would bring them closer to God. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1988, out of the original 24 monasteries only 6 of them are now functioning with 10 remaining monks in each priory. To visit Meteora, the only way to access the it is through climbing a series of stairs, the most popular of all is the Holy Monastery of St. Stephen which is connected to a walking bridge then up to 140 steps.

Ha Long Bay – Quang Ninh, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Visited by millions of tourists every year, the stunning region of Ha Long Bay is a group of 1,900 islands of limestone karsts found in Quang Ninh province in the northern part of Vietnam. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and included in the list of New Seven Natural Wonders of the World in 2012, the natural rock formations that comprise the area can be traced back to 3 million years with evidences of human existence for tens of thousands of years. Ha Long Bay is quite shallow, its deepest depth is merely 33 feet and it has an area of 1,553 sq. km. of which around 1,600 people live in 4 floating villages that you can visit. While there is no exact theory regarding the origin of the bay, however, a legend goes that the gods sent dragons to protect the Vietnamese from invaders with the dragons dropping jewels from their mouths that became the rocks, hence in the local language Ha Long means “the bay where the dragons landed.”

Rainbow Mountains – Cusco, Peru

The Rainbow Mountains in Cusco, Peru.

Regarded as a sacred site in Peru, Vinincuna a.k.a. Mountain of 7 Colors or simply Rainbow Mountains lies around 62 miles from Cusco. Only discovered in 2015 when the snow covering them has melted due to global warming, this geological wonder was formed after various sedimentary rocks have settled over 2 millions of years on the Andes mountain ranges. Revealing a striking hues of emerald, lavender, gold and other colors, the Rainbow Mountains has been listed in National Geographic “Top 100 Places To Visit Before You Die.” A hot spot for international visitors, hiking up the area is cold and you need to prepare for an unpredictable weather in a day, from sunshine to rain and snow.

These are just some of the famous rock formations in the world that you should consider in your travel bucket list. Truly a Mother Nature’s work of art, seeing them will be an amazing experience to cherish forever in your lifetime. As the great Lao Tzu once said: “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”, now is the time to pursue your travel goals.


rock formations, famous rock formations, rock, cliff, butte, natural rock formation, geological, famous natural landmark

External links:

Earth Trekkers

Culture Trip

Internal link:

One Comment

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.