10Cappadocia, Turkey

Colorful hot air balloons before launch in Goreme national park, Cappadocia, Turkey

The Turkish region of Cappadocia is straight out of the pages of a science fiction book.

Some 30 million years ago, the three volcanoes that surround the region erupted, blanketing the plateau in volcanic ash and mud. Over time, this ash and mud compressed into a rock material referred to as tuff. Wind and flood waters that passed over the plateau in the successive millennia transformed its smooth surface into an uneven landscape of gullies via erosion. The end product is the steep sloped rock formations that we today refer to as fairy chimneys.