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Feeling Blue? 10 Blue Places Around the World That’ll Cheer You Up

Strap on your blue suede shoes for a visit to some of the best and bluest destinations in the world.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Vermont travel writer Jen Rose Smith covers adventure, remote places, and traditional cuisine from a home base in the Green Mountains. Her articles have appeared in National Geographic Adventure, American Way, Nexos, Condé Nast Traveler, Backpacker, AFAR, Rolling Stone, USA Today, and Outside Online.

While seeing the world is a natural mood booster, it turns out there’s more to travel therapy than spinning the globe. The color of where you go might matter, too, since researchers have found that seeking “blue spaces” offers an extra dose of restoration. Rivers, lakes, and oceans of any kind are a natural balm for the soul—and, as far as we’re concerned, the bluer the better. That means booking a trip to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon or the Great Blue Hole in Belize isn’t just fun—it’s a thrilling way to re-energize. With such a color-themed journey in mind, we rounded up 10 beautiful places in every shade of cobalt, azure, teal, and ultramarine.

1. The Blue Lagoon

The steaming Blue Lagoon waters in Iceland.
Iceland is known for its hot springsBildquelle: Jacksoo999 / Shutterstock

Iceland

Iceland’s abundant geothermal energy heats the otherworldly, artificial lagoon of silica-rich water. One of Iceland’s most famous attractions, the Blue Lagoon is often a stop on a full-day tour of the top sites around Reykjavik, but it’s easy to while away half a day in the warm, steamy outdoor pools with their distinctive, milky hue. Although the lagoon might be artificial, that color is all-natural, the result of the sun’s reflection on silica in the water.

2. Lake Louise

Fall foliage on the shores of blue Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies.
Fall foliage on the shores of Lake Louise.Bildquelle: BGSmith / Shutterstock

Canada

The turquoise water of UNESCO-listed Lake Louise mirrors a spectacular backdrop of summits in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Snow-capped Mount Temple, Mount Whyte, and Mount Niblock frame the scene within Banff National Park, all visible from the 2.8-mile (4.5-kilometer), mostly flat Lake Louise Shoreline Trail that follows the northern shore. Most tours of Banff National Park stop at Lake Louise, along with other scenic highlights of the spectacular Icefields Parkway.

3. Great Blue Hole

An aerial view of the Great Blue Hole in Belize.
An aerial view of the Great Blue Hole in Belize, known for its diving possibilities.Bildquelle: Ps-Fotos / Shutterstock

Belize

Measuring 984 feet (300 meters) across and plunging to a depth of 410 feet (125 meters), the Great Blue Hole is part of the UNESCO-listed Belize Barrier Reef System and is one of the world’s most spectacular places to scuba dive. (Jacques Cousteau even named it as one of his top 10.) Snorkelers can explore fringing reefs close to the surface of this dramatic natural feature, while divers will enjoy excellent visibility while descending along a wall of coral.

4. The Blue Eye

The Blue Eye in Albania, near Seranda, surrounded by lush green trees.
The Blue Eye in Albania is surrounded by lush foliage.Bildquelle: RossHelen / Shutterstock

Albania

Ice-cold fresh water bubbles up from beneath the surface at Albania’s Blue Eye, a natural spring wrapped in oak and sycamore trees. Deeper water at the center of the pool creates a darker hue—some locals say it looks like the pupil of an intensely blue eye. No diver has ever reached the bottom of the pool, in part because intense upwelling makes downward swimming arduous.

Insider tip: Depart from the port city of Saranda for tours of Blue Eye Natural Park, where the pool is located.

5. Bisevo Blue Cave (Modra Spilja)

A boat takes backpackers through the Bisevo Blue Cave.
Get on the water to explore the cave best.Bildquelle: Stjepan Tafra / Shutterstock

Croatia

When sunlight enters this Croatian sea cave just so, the interior glows a luminous azure color, while everything below the surface of the water turns a ghostly pink. It’s a phenomenon that’s most dramatic around noon on clear days—in those conditions, expect crowds at this popular spot. To visit the Bisevo Blue Cave, book a boat tour departing from Split, Hvar, or Vis, with the option to add stops at surrounding islands and seaside villages.

6. Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni explorers enjoy reflections of the sky on the water.
Photographers are especially fond of Salar de Uyuni.Bildquelle: Rickson Davi Liebano / Shutterstock

Bolivia

For most of the year, the largest salt flat on Earth stretches out in a perfect white sheet to the horizon. During the wetter months of December, January, and February, however, rainfall turns the Salar de Uyuni into a pristine mirror, creating surreal optical illusions that are the stuff of photographers’ dreams. Day tours from Uyuni take in the most accessible sites on the salt flats, but some destinations—such as far-flung lakes home to brilliant flamingoes—are more accessible on multi-day tours that go farther afield.

7. Lake Pukaki

Blue Lake Pukaki and the snowy New Zealand mountains beyond.
New Zealand is a land of lakes and mountains.Bildquelle: Nur Ismail Photography / Shutterstock

New Zealand

In a country famed for gorgeous scenery, Lake Pukaki (aka Turquoise Lake) is among the most photographed places … and for a good reason. It has intensely blue water that offers a dramatic contrast to the snowy summit of nearby Aoraki/Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. The secret to the dramatic color? Finely ground rock dust left in the wake of retreating glaciers is suspended in the water, reflecting sunlight as it enters the water. Lake Pukaki is an included stop on many tours of Aoraki/Mt. Cook, from private day trips to small-group adventures.

8. Perito Moreno Glacier

Explorers head into the blue depths of Perito Moreno Glacier.
Join a tour to explore Perito Moreno Glacier.Bildquelle: Denys.Kutsevalov / Shutterstock

Argentina

A highlight of Argentine Patagonia, the imposing-yet-accessible Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the country’s UNESCO-listed Los Glaciares National Park, and is part of the third-largest freshwater reserve on the planet. Milky-blue water surrounding Perito Moreno Glacier adds contrast to the glacier’s craggy edge; when the glacier sheds massive chunks of ice, they plunge into the lake with a thundering roar. Travelers can don crampons to explore the glacier on foot, or simply take in the dramatic view from a sightseeing cruise across the lake.

9. Marble Caves (Capillas de Marmol)

The Marble Caves (Capillas de Marmol) sit in bright blue waters.
The Marble Caves (Capillas de Marmol) are otherworldly.Bildquelle: R.M. Nunes / Shutterstock

Chile

The Spanish name for the Marble Caves translates to “marble chapels,” and the natural formations do feel like a kind of sanctuary. Colorful layers in the calcium carbonate cliffs whorl into intricate designs reminiscent of marbled paper, forming a maze of brilliant stone suspended over the intensely blue waters of Lake General Carrera. These remote caves can only be accessed by boat, on tours following the lake’s intricate fringing of coves and inlets.

10. Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, with snow along the rim.
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is an amazing visit at any time of year.Bildquelle: Matthew Connolly / Shutterstock

Oregon, US

This azure lake in the crater of dormant volcano Mount Mazama is America’s deepest lake, with pristine water that goes to 1,949 feet (594 meters). Since no river feeds into the south-central Oregon lake, every drop comes from rain and melted snow. That means it’s one of the clearest and cleanest lakes on Earth, which only amplifies the dramatic hue. Catch a glimpse of the lake from the 32.9-mile (52.9-kilometer) Scenic Rim Drive that wraps all around the caldera rim, or join a tour from Klamath Falls or Eugene. Crater Lake is also included in many multi-day tours of Oregon.

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