19 Unreal Places from Myths That You Can Visit Today

Written By Jill Taylor

Appearing in folklore and religious texts, mythological tales are set in enchanting scenes that seem to be only storybook destinations. However, that’s not always the case; these 19 mythical places that really exist are just as wonderful in reality as they’re painted in narratives!


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Cyprus played a major role in Greek mythology as the birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis, two Greek legends. It was also said to be the home of King Cinyras, Pygmalion, and Teucer. However, it’s a real island country, and its rich heritage is bursting with tales of gods and goddesses.

Stonehenge, England

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Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument consisting of large standing stones arranged in a circular pattern, believed to have been constructed around 2500 BC. Michigan State University shares the countless legends of Stonehenge, which include stories about giants, aliens, the devil, and Merlin the Wizard.

Mount Olympus, Greece

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As the highest mountain in Greece, Mount Olympus is a haven for adventure seekers. Ancient Greeks believed it to be the home of the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology. It was said to feature marble and gold palaces where the likes of Zeus resided. We’re not sure you’ll find those, though!

Machu Picchu, Peru

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Often referred to as the ‘Lost City of the Incas,’ Machu Picchu is one of Peru’s most popular tourist destinations. This ancient Incan city nestled in the Andes Mountains is said to have unique, energetic, and mystical powers. Some even claim it was built by aliens!

The Fountain of Youth, US

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Located in Florida’s St Augustine, the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth is a mythical spring said to restore youth to those who drink from it. Associated with the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León’s search for eternal life, many people flock to the Fountain of Youth, whether for mythical powers or tourism.

El Dorado, Colombia

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In the depths of the South American jungle, you’ll find the breathtaking El Dorado. This sacred Colombian spot has a legend telling of a tribal chief who is said to have covered himself in gold dust and treasures, sinking to the bottom in worship of the goddess of water.

Xanadu, Mongolia

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First referenced in the famous poem Kubla Khan, Xanadu was made more famous by the 80s musical starring Olivia Newton-John. It’s considered to be a mythical place of contentment and beauty, but it actually exists and is a World Heritage Site in Inner Mongolia. That’s an epic road trip for the future!

Timbuktu, Mali

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Many think Timbuktu is just a made-up destination, often used to describe a place of mystery and intrigue. However, it’s actually a city in West Africa that became symbolic as a faraway and exotic location. UNESCO recognizes this ancient city as a World Heritage Center, and it’s worth visiting for its natural beauty.

Easter Island, Chile

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Famous for its massive stone statues called Moai, Easter Island is shrouded in mystery and has been the subject of numerous theories and legends. The megaliths of the island made it famous, and the Moai are protected by local law, meaning that if you touch them, you will be fined.

The City of Petra, Jordan

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An ancient city carved into the rock face of cliffs, Petra is renowned for its impressive architectural and archaeological significance. It’s a biblical place that is said to have been a stopping point of Moses’ journey, as well as the burial place of his brother Aaron.

Loch Ness, Scotland

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The breathtaking Scottish highlands are home to countless lochs, but none are more famous than Loch Ness. Famous worldwide as the home of the legendary Loch Ness monster, this freshwater lake is shrouded in legend. The verdict is still out on whether Nessie is real, but the loch is certainly worth a visit.

Troy, Turkey

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Troy, made famous by Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, was the site of the Trojan War, a legendary conflict in Greek mythology. Archaeologists excavated the site, and plenty of evidence was found to support the story of the Trojan War, which you can visit for a learning experience to this day.

The Pyramids of Egypt, Egypt

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These iconic structures, built by ancient Egyptians as tombs for pharaohs and queens, continue to captivate imaginations and inspire wonder. The Pyramids are one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and there are multiple rumors about how they were built, including a huge myth that they were constructed by aliens!

The Bermuda Triangle, Atlantic Ocean

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The Bermuda Triangle is a section of the Atlantic Ocean steeped in myths and legends, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Many aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, although the National Ocean Service says the frequency of disappearances is no more common than anywhere else.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Iraq

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One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Gardens, was said to have been built in the ancient city of Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife, Queen Amytis. Until recently, the gardens were purely legendary, but new research has found evidence of their existence in Iraq!

Sherwood Forest, England

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Home to the legend of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest is a real place in the heart of England, and it’s a must-visit! The forest has been the fictional backdrop to Robin Hood’s adventures for over 600 years, but it’s really a Royal hunting forest that is now a stunning nature reserve.

Cyclops Riviera, Italy

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The huge lava rocks of Italy’s Cyclops Riviera are connected to multiple Homeric myths; the islets of the coastline are said to have been the rocks thrown by Polyphemus during the conflict with Odysseus. It’s also said that the cyclops Galathea turned her lover into the river that flows along the coast!

Shangri-La, Tibet

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While the exact location of Shangri-La is still up for debate, there is plenty of evidence that it actually exists. This supposed fictional Himalayan city was first mentioned in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon; multiple communities claim to be the inspiration, but the city of Zhongdian officially renamed itself Shangri-La in 2001.

Lapland, Scandinavia

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Finally, Santa is undoubtedly the most legendary figure of all time, but where he comes from is actually real! Lapland is a vast region of the Arctic Circle, straddling the borders of Scandinavia. Visit Finland calls it Europe’s last great wilderness, where you can enjoy a winter wonderland vacation, complete with a visit to the big man himself!

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