There’s a lot of incredible things to be found around our planet. From natural marvels to manmade structures, there’s no end to the various attractions a traveler can come across. While people are quick to flock to the more awe-inspiring areas, there are plenty who would prefer to seek out more unique and strange sights. If that piques your interest, you’re in the right spot! Here are seven of the most bizarre tourist attractions you can find across the globe.
1. Bubblegum Alley (California, USA)
If you’re heading to southern California and want to check out a funky local spot, consider checking out San Luis Obispo’s Bubblegum Alley. The sight to be seen is in the name itself; Bubblegum Alley is a 70 foot long and 15-foot high wall that is completely covered in chewing gum left behind by past visitors.
Sound gross? It kind of is, but it is also a colorful and lighthearted attraction that has been featured on a number of television shows and in many newspapers. Perhaps what is most interesting is that this is actually not the only gum wall in existence. Seattle tourists can check out the Market Theater Gum Wall for another chewy experience.
2. Nagoro Scarecrow Village (Tokushima Prefecture, Japan)
This creepy feature is also known as The Village of Dolls. This now deserted town only ever boasted 300 inhabitants in its heyday and is now known for the many numerous life-sized scarecrows built in the likeness of its former residents.
The scarecrows are positioned around Nagoro as if going about daily activities, such as children-sized scarecrows in classrooms, a man fishing beside a river, or utility workers posed to do roadwork. While it may seem like too much like a horror movie setting to some, but the village is now a popular tourist attraction for the small mountainous area.
3. Salina Turda (Turda, Romania)
What was once a salt mine is now an underground theme park, ranked as one of the top 25 hidden gems around the world that are worth the extra effort of getting to. There are sweeping cascades of carved salt, all framing a delightfully strange set of attractions for tourists.
There are alternative medicinal spas, a bowling alley, an underground lake with paddleboats for exploration, minigolf, and even a Ferris wheel. The bright lights give it a feel straight out of a science-fiction novel, and there are many who refer to the sight as the most beautiful place on Earth.
4. Akodessawa Fetish Market (Togo, West Africa)
Dare to set foot in what is considered the largest Voodoo market on the planet? While Haiti may be better known for the ancient and mystical religion, it actually originated in West Africa and continues to have a strong and loyal following. The Akodessawa Fetish Market helps supply countless practitioners all over the continent.
You can find just about anything here, each thing more bizarre than the next. From monkey heads to alligator skulls, skins, furs, and more. It certainly isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but that hasn’t stopped the enormous open-air market from being a popular tourist attraction in the area.
5. The Bioluminescent Bay (Vieques, Puerto Rico)
This incredible area looks like it was picked from a fantasy world, yet it is right here on Earth. It is listed as a national natural landmark, and the bioluminescence is actually created by a microorganism. The microorganism lets off it’s signature blue glow whenever the water is disturbed.
There are a few bays in the area that are explorable to tourists, but the most well-known and brightest is Mosquito Bay. In fact, in 2018 the bay was listed as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.
6. The Gnome Reserve (Devon, England)
Created by Ann Atkin in 1976, the Gnome Reserve is precisely what its name suggests: A large four-acre garden overflowing with more than two thousand gnomes. Ann welcome and encourages photographers, and visitors are also given matching gnome hats and fishing rods without charge so that they can feel more emersed in their surroundings.
You can explore the many woodland settings, including a pond, stream, and a meadow that is home to at least 250 labeled wildflower, herb, fern, and grass species. If you are still feeling a craving for small dwarvish creatures after your visit to the Gnome Reserve, there is an entire gnome themed amusement, Gnome Land, also located in North Devon.
7. Dinosaur Kingdom II (Natural Bridge, Virginia)
Also known as Escape From Dinosaur Kingdom, this utterly wacky roadside attraction features a variety of fiberglass statues depicting dinosaurs, Union soldiers, a cowboy gorilla, and even Abraham Lincoln. Opened in 2005, the exhibit is the work of local artist Mark Cline.
The strange story told by the figures is one in which dinosaurs were discovered in 1863 Virginia. In this alternative timeline, Union soldiers tried to harness the dinosaurs as weapons of war, and the dinosaurs retaliated by turning on and attacking the soldiers. The whimsical nature of the place has kept a steady stream of tourists visiting to take in the odd sights.