Beauty In Barren Landscapes: Earth’s Desert Gems

by Julie on September 26, 2018

Vacations often draw tourists towards water and greenery; what many people are missing out on is the wealth of experience to be had in the desert. It may come as a surprise that deserts cover 33% of all land on the planet, according to NASA. In those sun-baked spots, some of the most incredible scenery the planet has to offer has sprung up. Ranging from contemporary glitz to ancient history, towns and cities across the world offer a surprising but rewarding trip to the desert.

Marrying modern fun and desert sun

Cultural events in the 20th and 21st century have seen the stock of desert escapes rise. The notorious Burning Man festival is just one example of that; however, not all desert escapades involve festivals in barren land. Scottsdale, AZ, is a great example of this. Like nearby Phoenix, Scottsdale is an engineering marvel, risen from the desert. Where Scottsdale differs is its idiosyncratic appeal. What was once known for cowboys, and even featured one in its city crest, has a burgeoning artistic appeal. According to the UK’s Independent, this artistic appeal is matched with vibrant nightlife, with a bespoke Scottsdale bottle service and panoramic views from atop numerous resorts. Scottsdale offers a curious and exhilarating break from the bustle of big cities.

Exploring Uyuni, Bolivia

Not every desert is entirely sand-based. The vast tundra expanses of Northern Canada and the Antarctic can be classed as deserts, despite being cold, and are worth visiting. For something completely different, considering Bolivia’s Uyuni. A late 1800s trading post, it features intriguing architecture of the time and preserves an almost late colonial look. What it acts as the gateway to is the Uyuni Salt Flats, the world’s biggest. The vast expanses of reflective are incredibly unique, with the floor a shifting blue sky on clear days from the reflective qualities of the salt.

Experiencing Petra’s architecture 

No discussion over desert cities is complete without mentioning the original – Petra. Built over 2,000 years ago – and with some descendants still resident in - this Jordanian relic is a testament to the ingenuity of architects with much more limited means than those today. In an entirely arid environment, Jordan was built inclusive of features that enabled it to collect rainwater for inevitable times of drought. Today, it can be explored in full and archaeologists continue to find new areas. Made famous in the US by Indiana Jones, it’s maintained with a close guard by the Jordanian authorities to preserve its beauty.

The desert might not be the first environment you look to take your vacation in, but perhaps it should be. Across the world, there are countless environments lending themselves to fascinating and fulfilling trips away. Pack your sunhat, engage your mind, and enjoy a trip to one of the world’s driest climates.

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