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While Earth is infinitely diverse in its nature, certain regions are known for their distinct landscapes. Tourists flock to Kenya for the safari grasslands, Egypt for the rolling desert sands, and the Old West of the United States for the Rocky Mountains.

But Mother Earth is not so simple.

The following photos show gorgeous landscapes in destinations you could just never expect. Read the titles and see if you can guess the location before reading each description. And keep score—you’ll need it out at the end.

1. Australia or the Netherlands?

Unbelievable Landscapes Collab | Packs Light
Photo by Eniko Csilla

The Netherlands are famous for many things, including their cheese, windmills, green fields with cows, bikers, canals, and tulips fields… But endless beaches are not what come to mind.

The Hague is connected to the Scheveningen, where this photo was taken. It is one of the most famous beaches in the Netherlands for its uniqueness. It is usually windy, but countless colorful cafeterias are waiting for you with umbrellas and windshields to enjoy the sea and sun.

No offense to Australia though—you still have some stunning landscapes!

2. China or Washington State?

Unbelievable Landscapes Collab | Packs Light
Photo by Daisy Li

In the media, China is usually associated with pollution and a fast-paced city lifestyle. Lesser known about China is that there are so many regions with moderate temperature, crystal clear lakes, and beautiful blue skies.

I did a double-take looking at this as it could definitely have been taken in Oceania, or even in the Western U.S.! But, all credits to China for this stunning scene.

3. UAE or Ethiopia?

Hatta Dam, Dubai, UAE, Landscapes | Packs Light
Photo by  Robert Haandrikman

The United Arab Emirates is renowned for the stunning metropolis of Dubai and the vast deserts that make up the rest of the country. Or so you thought.

Hatta Dam lies in the Hajar Mountains a mere hour from Dubai and was constructed in the 1990s to provide electricity and power to the area. Now it’s a popular tourist destination and a quick getaway from Dubai City—you can even kayak on the reservoir!

4. Lithuania or Outerbanks, NC?

Lithuania Landscape Collab | Packs Light
Photo by Jacky Kulkarni

Did you think Lithuania was all concrete and Soviet-style high rises? Think again.

Located on the shores of the Baltic Sea, Lithuania has some of the purest and most beautiful sandy beaches you will ever see. And the best part is they are virtually untouched by tourism.

Now, if only the water weren’t so cold…

5. New Mexico or Egypt?

Unbelievable Landscapes Collab | Packs Light
Photo by Sally Elbassir

 The White Desert of Egypt is located in El Farafra, just a few hours outside of Cairo. While the majority of Egypt is covered in the flat desert sand, the White Desert has alien-like rock formations made of limestone, stretching for miles and miles.

Over the years, many have eroded into fun shapes such as the “mushroom” and the “chicken and the tree.” It’s a popular place to camp overnight with Bedouin guides, where you can experience the silence and beauty of the desert.

6. Namibia or California?

Photo by Henning Supertramp

When I think of Namibia and southern West Africa, I think of jungles, grasslands, and crowded communities.

This view of Luderitz, Namibia shows just how peaceful Namibia can be. With those bluer-than-blue waters and jagged rocks, you can practically smell the ocean breeze.

I could really believe this was off the coast of San Diego!

7. Canada or China?

White Sands Lake China - Landscapes Collab | Packs Light
Photo by Josh

China has many landscapes, from the cityscapes to the mountains, to the… deserts?

Yes! White Sand Lake is a stunning example of another daring landscape of China. This is White Sand Lake as seen alongside Karakoram highway on the Pamir Plateau. Shot in Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County, Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.

In a nutshell: heaven.

8. Scotland or Australia?

Outer Sebrides, Scotland, Landscapes | Packs Light
Photo by Aga Zastepa

Turquoise water, white powdery sand. These paradise-looking beaches are not tropical islands, but instead can be found in the west and northern parts of Scotland! Some of the best ones are located in the outer Hebrides–like the photo above in Seilebost, in the Isle of Lewis and Harris.

9. Morocco or Colorado?

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado | Landscapes Collab | Packs Light
Photo by sayakaphoto

Landscapes native to Colorado include the Rocky Mountains which have snow-covered peaks, lush green valleys, streams and rivers, and lakes. So, the Great Sand Dunes is an extraordinary patch dry of magic in an otherwise lush state.

The dunes were formed by tributaries of the Rio Grande, glacial melting, and strong western winds!

10. Brazil or Bolivia? 

Lençóis Maranhenses Brazil Landscapes Collab | Packs Light
Photo by Danielle Pereira

Looking at this beautiful water and sand, you may never have guessed that this is in Brazil!

The Lençóis Maranhenses Desert is made of stark, white, sweeping dunes with rainwater that collects in its valleys and low points, making an almost river-like image. Fish can even swim upriver from the Rio Negro and populate these inlets.

What’s your score, out of 10? Share below!

Screenshot or download the image below and repost it on your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook stories with a score out of 10, and tag @packslight (I’m on every social platform) so I can reshare your score!

Also drop x/10 your score in the comments so we can all compare, and tell me which was the trickiest landscape shot.

Gabby Beckford

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26 thoughts on “Tricky Landscape Challenge: Guess where each photo was taken!

  1. Ruth

    Your post illustrates so well why travel is important or relevant. We have so many preconceptions of how a place looks. By actually visiting a place, you find out those preconceptions are not necessarily true. I love to discover places like the ones you show in here (places that you would not expect in a country).

  2. Kris

    This is so cool! I guessed about half of them right, mostly by thinking about which seemed least likely. It’s amazing how diverse the landscapes are around the world.

  3. Suzy

    This is an AWESOME post! Really amazed at the variety of landscapes offered by some countries. Who’d have thought China has so many hidden gems? Definitely adding all of these beautiful spots to my travel list!

  4. Maggie

    I love this! I often post photos from destinations and people are shocked to hear where they actually are! This is the best part of travel, finding the unexpected!

  5. Bridget Williamson

    What an awesome post! These pics really were surprising, makes you think again about knowing a destination. The Scotland one was the biggest surprise, I always think of Scotland with dark gray rain clouds and dark colored seas, certainly not this color!

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