11 Real Places That Look Like Optical Illusions
You'll need to take a second—or third—look at these natural landmarks.
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.
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.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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.
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