Last Updated on January 13, 2023
The desert landscape is mystical and eerie with its almost total absence of life forms, at the same time traveling in the desert offers once-in-a-lifetime thrills, breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences.
Between endless expanses of stunning sand dunes, rocky canyons and salt floors, discovering the most spectacular and extraordinary deserts, here is a list of the six most beautiful deserts in the world.
1) Namib Desert – Namibia
Arid land for more than 80 million years, the Namib Desert is believed to be one of the oldest deserts in the world. This huge expanse of sand occupies the coastal part of Namibia, the part facing the Atlantic Ocean, and stretches from north to south for about 1,300 km. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that between its colossal dunes of fine red sand are the famous pan (dried-up salt lakes) with their now-dry trees. The landscape is surreal, to say the least.
2) Wadi Rum Desert – Jordan
Wadi Rum is a valley carved over millennia by the flow of a river into the sandy, granite rock soil of southern Jordan. It has been home to human settlements since prehistoric times (about 8000 B.C.) and is characterized by a striking landscape of sandstone gorges and red sand dunes.
An experience not to be missed is an overnight stay in one of the many Bedouin camps scattered across the desert. This stunning desert is famous for being one of the locations where the Star Wars movies were filmed.
3) Sahara Desert – North Africa
The Sahara is possibly the most famous desert and also the largest hot desert on the planet, with an area of 9,000,000 sq. km. Crossed by the Tropic of Cancer, it is located in northern Africa and includes territories belonging to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan.
The Sahara Desert has been a source of inspiration for authors of famous novels, big-screen filmmakers, explorers, caravaners, adventurers and, even today, thrill-seeking travelers among soft wind-smoothed dunes, oases and endless sunsets.
4) Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia
This blinding desert is hidden among the towering peaks of Bolivia and is one of the most incredible places on the planet. In fact, the Salar de Uyuni is known for being the largest salty expanse on earth; formed by the draining of a prehistoric lake, the Salar de Uyuni is an immense desert, a magical place that is disorienting and confusing with its whiteness.
In addition to being a salt mining center of course, the salar (below the surface) is rich in lithium, and it is estimated that 50 percent of the world’s lithium deposits are found right here!
5) Gobi Desert – Mongolia
The Gobi Desert is a cold desert and the fifth largest desert in the world, and stretches more than 3600 km without interruption from the Pamir to the borders of Manchuria. Although summer temperatures can reach 60 °C (140 °F), the Gobi is a cold desert because it is positioned on a plateau, and in winter it is not unusual to see snow-covered sand dunes.
The Gobi Desert hides a real treasure trove in terms of paleontology; dinosaur skeletons dating back as far as 80 million years are frequently found, but the real attraction are the spectacular Khongoryn Els, majestic sand dunes that hiss when lashed by the wind.
6) Atacama Desert – Chile
Among the most fascinating deserts in the world this is one of the most peculiar, we are talking about the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. This desert is one of the driest coastal deserts in the world: in 1971 it was estimated that rain had not fallen on this area for about 400 years, and it is fifty times drier than the U.S. Death Valley!
It is precisely because of this extraordinary clarity of the sky and the total absence of moisture in the air that the Atacama Desert is an ideal place for stargazing. It is no coincidence that most of the telescopes on the planet are located here.
On top of that, the soil of the Atacama desert is special because it has been compared to that of Mars, comprising red sands, rock canyons and craters.
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