Hidden Places: Bowen Island, British Columbia

Hidden Places: 9 World Wonders You've (Probably) Never Heard Of

When it comes to many of the world's wonders that weren't on maps for a while—the citadel of Machu Picchu, the tombs of Luxor, the Delta Sky Club lounge at DFW—the secret is definitely out, and those landmarks have the crowds to prove it. 

If travelers are going for that eureka moment that comes with encountering a long-hidden sublime sight—whether made by nature or human hands—they must now search for alternatives.

Fortunately, a bucket list addendum for such seekers has arrived in the form of Hidden Places (Amber Books Ltd), a wanderlust-sparking photo book that highlights off-the-beaten-track marvels in North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific. 

Informative text by author Claudia Martin accompanies 180 color photographs showing off storybook woodlands, golden temples, towering desert dunes, prehistoric artwork, and unique natural phenomena from Arctic wastes to lush Amazon rainforests. Each awe-inspiring locale serves as a welcome reminder that the world still contains surprises.

Scroll on to see nine incredible places featured in the book, along with captions provided by the publisher.

Pictured above: British Columbia's Bowen Island

Secret world wonders: Inle Lake pagodas in Myanmar
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Inle Lake Pagodas, Myanmar

From Hidden Places: "Myanmar is a country of countless stupas, more than 1,400 of them exceeding 8.2m (27 ft.) in height. Stupas are bell-shaped, tiered structures, often known as pagodas, that house sacred relics, including those associated with the Buddha and arhats (enlightened people)."

Pictured above: Aung Mingalar pagoda and monastery along Inle Lake in the Shan Hills

Unique road trip: Transfăgărășan highway in Romania
Piotr Piatrouski/Shutterstock
Transfăgărășan Highway, Romania

From Hidden Places: "Closed by snow between late October and June, this switchbacking road climbs to 2,042m (6,699 ft.) in the Făgăraș Mountains, giving access to the lovely glacier lake of Bâlea. The road was built by military personnel from 1970 to 1974, during the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Official estimates put the number of deaths during construction at 40." 

Prehistoric cave art: Carnarvon Gorge in Australia
Carnarvon Gorge, Australia

From Hidden Places: "In central Queensland, Carnarvon Gorge is significant to the Bidjara, Karingbal, and Kara Kara peoples, the rock art on the gorge’s sandstone walls testament to their long histories. Much of the work here is stencil art, created by blowing watery ocher pigment over an object held against the wall, such as a hand, boomerang, shield, or ax. The gorge’s oldest sites have been in use for over 3,000 years."

Unsolved mystery: Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan
Matyas Rehak/Dreamstime
Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan

From Hidden Places: "In the Karakum Desert a 69m (226-ft.)-wide crater has been burning since 1971, earning it the nickname ‘Door to Hell.' The most widely believed story concerning its provenance is that Soviet geologists were exploring this vast natural gas field when the ground beneath their drilling rig collapsed. They ignited the crater to stop the spread of methane gas—and it has burned ever since."

Strange building: Casa do Penedo in Portugal
Rui Vale De Sousa/Dreamstime
Casa do Penedo, Portugal

From Hidden Places: "Located between Celorico de Basto and Fafe in the northern Portuguese district of Braga, this house was built in 1972–4, using four large boulders for portions of its walls and foundation. Despite being next to a wind farm, the house has no electricity supply."

Best place to see spring flowers: Hitachi Seaside Park in Japan
Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan

From Hidden Places: "Each spring, this vast public park in the city of Hitachinaka blooms with 4.5 million baby blue eyes flowers. Summer brings poppies, zinnias, and sunflowers; autumn offers kochia and cosmos flowers; while winter is the time of ice tulips. A small amusement park onsite boasts a Ferris wheel 100m (328 ft.) tall." 

Uncrowded hiking trail: Cape Wrath Trail in Scotland
Michal Szymnski/Shutterstock
Maol-bhuidhe, Scotland

From Hidden Places: "This hut south of Loch Calavie is one of the most remote habitable dwellings in Scotland. It is left unlocked and ready to use by hikers taking the Cape Wrath Trail. Running through the Highlands for 330km (205 miles) from Fort William to Cape Wrath, the route is one of the United Kingdom’s most challenging and rewarding walks."

Mountain to see: Mount Sanqing in China
Weiming Xie/Shutterstock
Mount Sanqing, China

From Hidden Places: "This sacred mountain’s name means 'Three Pure Ones’ in reference to its three summits—Yujing, Yushui, and Yuhua—symbolizing the Taoist trinity, the three greatest gods in the pantheon. The mountain is home to many rare plants, including the Chinese Douglas fir and countless bright rhododendrons."

Unique European village: Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
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Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

From Hidden Places: "The only way to reach the village of Civita di Bagnoregio in central Italy is by a footbridge from the neighboring town of Bagnoregio. The clay and tuff crag on which the village balances is prone to devastating erosion, earning the settlement the nickname of ‘The Dying City.'"

"Hidden Places" by Claudia Martin, published by Amber Books Ltd
Amber Books Ltd

All of the preceding images were taken from the book Hidden Places by Claudia Martin, published by Amber Books Ltd and available from bookshops and online booksellers for $29.99.