Worlds Strangest Tourist Attractions Explored

By Ruby Collins | Published on  

Traveling can often fall into a predictable pattern: iconic landmarks, scenic vistas, cultural museums, and bustling markets. But what if you’re craving something different—something weird and whimsical that ignites your imagination? If so, then read on to explore ten unusual tourist attractions that are sure to make your next vacation unforgettable.

This attraction in Seattle is as sticky as they come. Yes, I’m talking about a wall adorned with chewing gum. Believe it or not, the Market Theater Gum Wall began innocuously enough in 1993 when a few theater-goers decided to brighten up a dull, brick wall. Over the years, this wall transformed into a one-of-a-kind mosaic, complete with gum sculptures and graffiti. Not for the faint-hearted or germophobic, this quirky spectacle might disgust some, yet captivates many. For a similar, yet different, experience, Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California also beckons. Either way, it’s free gum—if you dare!

Move over, La Tomatina; there’s a new fruit fight in town. Welcome to the Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea, Italy. Every February, the town transforms into a citrus battlefield, where teams donning medieval garb reenact historical revolutions. The result? A thrilling, juice-soaked spectacle that will have you dodging orange projectiles and connecting with locals in the most unexpected of ways. This isn’t just a food fight; it’s a full-blown historical reenactment, ripe with zest and zeal.

Forget the romantic sunsets along Croatia’s coastline, Zagreb offers a melancholy detour that you’ll find oddly uplifting. Created by two former lovers, the Museum of Broken Relationships is an anthology of sentimental objects and narratives from ended affairs. Each exhibit—from Amish pickles to furniture-chopping axes—tells a unique tale of love lost but not forgotten. It’s poignant, it’s cathartic, and it might just be the therapy session you didn’t know you needed.

Kissing the Blarney Stone in Cork, Ireland, has been a longstanding tradition for those in search of eloquence. However, the practice involves leaning backward to plant a smooch on a centuries-old rock, an activity that, when considered outside its mystical context, is quite peculiar. In fact, it was once named the world’s germiest attraction. However, don’t let urban legends (or local mischief) dissuade you. Sometimes, folklore is worth the germs.

Religion and wildlife intersect at Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan, where rats are considered sacred. Yes, you read that right: the temple houses around 20,000 rats believed to be reincarnated relatives of a Hindu goddess. Though not for the squeamish, this unique sanctuary offers a glimpse into a different realm of spirituality—and hey, any food these rats nibble on is considered blessed. A visit here is an experience you won’t soon forget, especially if you have a penchant for the peculiar.

While most flock to bustling cities and serene nature reserves, Kolmanskop in Namibia offers something entirely different—a ghost town that once epitomized opulence. Its ruins, half-buried in sand, speak of a bygone era of prosperity brought about by diamond mining. These abandoned homes and theaters now serve as surreal canvases for photographers and adventurers eager to traverse these sand-claimed relics.

Wang Saen Suk, a garden in Thailand, takes you on a tour through Buddhist conceptions of hell. It’s an eye-opening and, quite frankly, terrifying experience that challenges your notions of karma and cosmic justice. Here, graphic statues depict scenes of sinners facing gruesome fates. And while the gore might initially shock you, the garden serves as a stern reminder to live a virtuous life—lest you reincarnate as a bird with a human head, as the legends warn.

Imagine a place ruled by cats—no, it’s not a sci-fi novel, but a real island in Japan. Eoshima Island, off the coast of Shikoku, is a haven for cat lovers, boasting a feline population that far surpasses its human residents. Walk down any lane, and you’ll encounter dozens of cats in various poses and moods. It’s the ultimate destination for anyone obsessed with these adorable, whiskered rulers of the Internet.

A regular spa day is so last season. In Hakone, Japan, you can dip into pools filled not just with warm water, but red wine, green tea, coffee, and even sake. This isn’t just a spa; it’s an experiential playground for the senses, and a dream come true for anyone who’s fantasized about swimming in their favorite beverage.

Nestled in the Czech Republic, the Sedlec Ossuary is not your typical Roman Catholic abbey. Known colloquially as the “Bone Church,” it houses intricate artworks, chandeliers, and garlands created from human bones. Disturbing? Perhaps. But also mesmerizing and strangely beautiful. It serves as a poignant reminder of our mortality, making it not just an attraction, but a life-affirming experience.

Life is too short for conventional experiences. Step out of your comfort zone and venture into the world’s strangest, yet most fascinating corners. After all, who wants to stick to the beaten path when the road less traveled is this intriguing?

Our world is a trove of curious phenomena, from the oddly endearing to the inexplicably grotesque, and that makes the experience of travel an unending adventure, to say the least. The world is not just a conglomerate of mountains, seas, and concrete jungles; it’s also a museum of human eccentricity. Whether you want to lose yourself in a maze of chewed gum in Seattle or relive a historic battle in Italy—with oranges as your weapons—there’s something for everyone. Isn’t it comforting to know that you can hug a host of unusual experiences without having to leave the planet? Even for the avid traveler who believes they’ve seen it all, these peculiar destinations offer a tantalizing promise: the joy of discovering something you didn’t even know you were looking for.

So, why go the conventional route when planning your next holiday? Sure, you can join the throngs of tourists posing with iconic landmarks, but there’s a special thrill in seeking out the bizarre and unexpected. After all, life is too short to settle for the ordinary. These uncanny tourist spots serve as an invitation, luring us out of our comfort zones and into a world that consistently defies our understanding of ’normal.’ It’s a call to rekindle your sense of wonder, to shake up your travel plans, and to find joy in the oddities of the world around us. Each of these unique places holds the power not just to entertain, but to inspire, jolting us out of our everyday routines and into a realm of endless possibilities. So here’s to the quirky, the mysterious, the downright strange—and the memories we’ll make as we explore them. Because in the end, it’s not just about collecting photos or souvenirs, but about gathering stories so captivating that they can only be believed because you were actually there to witness them.

The safety of visiting these attractions varies widely, depending on factors like location, time of year, and the nature of the attraction itself. For example, joining the Battle of the Oranges in Italy requires a willingness to get pelted by fruit, while the Gum Wall in Seattle poses minimal risk unless you’re extraordinarily concerned about germs. As with any travel plans, do your research and maybe even consider getting a local guide.

Preparation can be almost as varied as the destinations themselves. A trip to the Karni Mata Temple in India, with its thousands of revered rats, may require you to brace yourself emotionally, perhaps even mentally, especially if you have a fear of rodents. On the flip side, a day at the Hakone Kowakian hot springs in Japan just requires a swimsuit and an open palate for unconventional bathing liquids like wine or coffee. In short, be prepared for anything and always read up on local customs and guidelines.

Not all of these peculiar spots are kid-friendly. While a child may get a kick out of the Gum Wall’s gooey aesthetic or enjoy the abundance of cats on Eoshima Island in Japan, the graphic displays at Wangsensuk in Thailand might be too intense for younger audiences. Always consider the nature of the attraction and your child’s temperament and interests when planning a visit.

Ethical considerations can indeed come into play, particularly with attractions that involve animals, religious sites, or culturally sensitive themes. Visiting Karni Mata Temple means respecting the rats and the religious beliefs that venerate them, and not just viewing the temple as a “quirky” destination. Similarly, remember that the Battle of the Oranges is a historical reenactment for the townspeople of Ibrea; it’s not merely a spectacle for tourists. Do your research and approach each place with respect and understanding.

Seasonality can be a crucial factor. The Battle of the Oranges, for instance, happens annually in February, whereas the Museum of Broken Relationships is a year-round heartache fest. Attractions like the Blarney Stone in Ireland or the eerie ghost town of Kolmanskop in Namibia may offer a different atmosphere depending on the weather conditions, adding another layer to their inherent strangeness. As always, planning ahead and being flexible with your dates can help you make the most of your unusual travel experience.