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11 Real Places That Look Like Optical Illusions

You'll need to take a second—or third—look at these natural landmarks.

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Sun light at empty bridge of norwegian Atlantic Road, one of the most scenic roads of the world. Norway.Nikiforov Alexander/Shutterstock

Atlantic Road

This scenic road in Norway—widely regarded as one of the most dangerous roads in the world—looks like it just drops off into the sky. The bridge really just curves down, but when captured from the right angle it looks like a potentially dangerous optical illusion.

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Girl in red on Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia covered with water with cloudy sky reflectionsOlga Kot Photo/Shutterstock

Salt flats

When these salt flats in Bolivia are covered in a thin layer of water, the surface becomes reflective and makes it appear as though any person or thing on them is simply floating.

Here are more natural wonders you’ve never heard of.

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Russia, Kamchatka, a view of the volcanoes Flat Tolbachik and Ostry,lenticular cloudMichael Dorogovich/Shutterstock

Flat Tolbachik and Ostry volcanoes

No, that’s not Photoshop. These strange-looking clouds are actually real and they’re called lenticular clouds. These UFO-looking clouds form when moist air flows over a mountain creating standing waves on the mountains downwind side. If the temperature at the crest of the waves drops to the dew point, the moisture in the air condenses and forms lenticular clouds.

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Magnetic Hill is a gravity hill located near Leh in Ladakh, IndiaTappasan Phurisamrit/Shutterstock

Magnetic Hill

This optical illusion is a little hard to understand in a picture. Magnetic Hill is a gravity hill near Leh in Ladakh, India. Because of its surroundings, it appears to slope upward, but it actually slopes downward. There is also another theory that there is a strong magnetic force emanating from the hill that pulls vehicles towards it when they drive on the road. Thus, even though they are driving “uphill” they don’t need to use the gas.

We’re counting down the world’s most extreme travel adventures.

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Aerial view of Mauritius island panorama and famous Le Morne Brabant mountain, beautiful blue lagoon and underwater waterfallMyroslava Bozhko/Shutterstock

Mauritius Island

It looks as though there is a waterfall underneath the Indian ocean off of this island, but that’s not the case. This optical illusion is actually just sand being pushed off of an underwater shelf called Mascarene Plateau.

Take a look at the islands that will disappear in the next 80 years.

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Impressive sunset in Azalea and Rhododendron Park Kromlau, Germany, Europe. Picturesque autumn view of Rakotz Bridge (Rakotzbrucke, Devil's Bridge). Traveling concept background.Andrew Mayovskyy/Shutterstock

Rakotzbrücke Devil’s Bridge

This bridge was built in Germany in 1860. It was built in a perfect half-circle so that when the light hits it in just the right place, the bridge appears to be a never-ending circle.

Feast your eyes on the beaches with the best seashells.

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Dead Camelthorn Trees and red dunes in Deadvlei, Sossusvlei, Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibiajavarman/Shutterstock

Namib-Naukluft National Park

This natural optical illusion looks like a painting. These dead camelthorn trees remain standing due to the dry climate. When you capture the contrast between the claypan’s white floor, the dark trees, and the sun reflecting off of the sand dunes in the back it almost doesn’t look like a part of nature.

Discover the best places to visit, according to your zodiac sign.

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The Wave, Arizona, Canyon Rock Formation. Vermillion Cliffs, Paria Canyon State Park in the United StatesKatrina Brown/Shutterstock

Paria Canyon State Park

This natural optical illusion in Arizona is known as The Wave. The stripe patterns on the rock really throw off your depth perception, making it hard to determine the shape of the rocks.

Don’t miss these stunning natural rock formations from around the world.

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Traelanipa cliff is seen rising over the ocean next to lake Sorvagsvatn in the Faroe IslandsSky Cinema/Shutterstock

Lake Sørvágsvatn

This lake on the Faroe Islands in between Iceland and Norway appears as though it sits hundreds of feet above the ocean. In reality, the lake only sits about 90 feet above the sea and has a waterfall at the end that goes into the ocean but when capture from the right angle it looks magnificent.

For beauty closer to home, check out the most beautiful waterfalls in Canada.

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young woman at the Pedra do Telegrafo, Barra de Guaratiba, Rio de Janeiro / BrazilRegiane_Ferraz/Shutterstock

Pedra do Telegrafo

This rock formation in Brazil is the perfect spot to trick your friends into thinking you had a vacation filled with death-defying excursions. What you can’t see is that another flat rock is only about three feet below.

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Horsetail Falls Yosemite NPGregory B Cuvelier/Shutterstock

Horsetail Falls

If you time it just right, you can see this beautiful optical illusion in the waterfall that cascades down El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Towards the end of February at sunset, Horsetail Falls reflects the setting sun making it appear as though it’s on fire.

Next, check out these gorgeous travel photos from around the world.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest