They say that even a short, 20-minute walk in nature can be great for boosting your mental health, but these forests are so beautiful that you will definitely want to stay way longer than that. By Andrea Romano
From the giant redwoods of California to the towering bamboo groves of Japan, the globe is dotted with plenty of breathtakingly beautiful forests that everyone should put on their bucket list. There’s something about spending time in nature that makes you feel whole. Maybe it’s the unplugging from social media or simply getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but a trip to visit a green, natural space can be a wonderful way to spend a vacation.
Luckily, there are forests all over the world that can fit the bill, so no matter where your next trip is, you’re likely to find a slice of nature wherever you end up. Even though the world is full of gorgeous and unique natural wonders, we could only include a few here. Check out some of these beautiful forests from around the world.
Redwood National and State Parks, United States
There are dozens of national parks (and hundreds of national sites) across the United States, so it’s hard to pick just one to visit. But Redwood National and State Parks take the cake because of their unique “residents” located in four parks in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The tall redwood trees (some close to 350 feet) in Humboldt Redwoods State Park are part of the largest contiguous old-growth coastal redwood forest in the world. The tallest in the forest, nicknamed Hyperion, stands at nearly 380 feet tall.
Amazon Rainforest, South America
The Amazon Rainforest stretches across Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, so this is a forest that belongs to nearly half of an entire continent. As the largest rainforest on earth, the Amazon is home to more than 60,000 species of plants and over 2,500 species of animals, including 1,300 bird species. Unfortunately, deforestation, industrialisation, and climate change have put the Amazon (and all the plants and animals in it) at risk of disappearing, which would be devastating to the entire planet, let alone the forest itself. Recent fires in the Amazon have raised many flags about the issue of climate change.
Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
No, it’s not a forest of clouds. Monteverde Cloud Forest got its name from the low-hanging fog that rests amongst the upper canopy of the forest. This fog offers some much-needed condensation to give the many plants a drink every day. This forest is particularly well-known for its excellent biodiversity, with 3,000 species of plants and over 100 different mammal species, 400 types of birds, and thousands of insect species.
Hallerbos Forest, Belgium
Sometimes, you don’t just visit the forest for the trees. The Hallerbos Forest is particularly known for its thick blanket of bluebell flowers that bloom in the spring, making it completely enchanting –– almost like a fairy tale. Honestly, it’s not hard to imagine Sleeping Beauty communing and singing with her animal friends in this place. If you visit Brussels in the spring, it’s quite easy to visit the forest, but it’s also a very popular tourist attraction, so you’re likely to run into crowds.
Black Forest, Germany
No, Black Forest cake is not named after this beautiful forest. In fact, it’s not even entirely black; it’s actually quite green with its thousands of pine trees. Although the trees themselves aren’t black, the forest gets its name because the evergreens are so thickly dispersed that the canopy blocks out a lot of daylight. So, even if it’s a sunny day, you’ll practically always be in the shade when you’re there. The forest also has a number of quaint villages and natural thermal springs throughout.
Wistman’s Wood, England
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in the Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones universes, this forest comes awfully close. This forest, located in Dartmoor National Park, is home to plenty of tangled, moss-covered trees that look like they belong in a fantasy book. And the trees themselves are rooted in history, with some of the forest dating back to 7,000 BC and some of the larger oaks estimated to be about 500 years old.
Dancing Forest, Russia
The Dancing Forest, located in Kaliningrad, Russia, is also known as the Drunken Forest because what better time is there to dance, even if you’re a tree? The reason why people gave it this name is because of the twisting, curving tree trunks that look like they got a little tipsy, so to speak (much like the Crooked Forest in Poland). The twists and rings of the trees are said to bring good luck, and climbing one can give you an extra year of life or a special wish, according to local lore.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
This forest is so gorgeous, it’s actually one of the inspirations for a Hollywood movie. Although some other forests around the world also served as inspiration (including Daintree Forest in Australia), Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is widely accepted as the inspiration for Pandora in the 2009 movie, “Avatar,” particularly the fictional floating “Hallelujah Mountains.” Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is home to large, pillar-like rocks that make this forest incredibly unique.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Japan
Just outside Kyoto, this bamboo grove is a particularly wondrous place to stroll and reflect after a visit to the many temples, gardens, and imperial palaces that this city is famous for. Although it’s a fairly popular tourist destination, many people go there to enjoy some peace and quiet, since the government of Japan encourages visitors to keep noise to a minimum so as not to distract others from listening to nature in its purest form.
Dragon’s Blood Forest, Yemen
This unique forest is located over 200 miles off the coast of mainland Yemen, and it’s particularly famous for its ancient, strange-looking trees. These Socotra trees are also known as dragon’s blood trees, named for the viscous, red, blood-like sap that they produce. The sap also is rumoured to have healing properties like healing wounds, lowering fevers, and treating dysentery. These trees, which have such dense leaves and branches that they look like umbrellas, can live up to 650 years and grow between 30 and 40 feet high.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
This UNESCO World Heritage site is called “impenetrable” for its thick groves of bamboo, trees, and vines. Bwindi Park covers 32,000 hectares (over 79,000 acres) of land and is home to more than 160 species of trees and over 100 species of ferns. Thousands of species of birds and insects (especially butterflies) are found in the forest, but it’s most known for being home to the endangered mountain gorilla.
Waipoua Forest, New Zealand
Here, you’ll find a beautiful tree that has reduced some visitors to tears, according to The Guardian. Located near Dargaville on New Zealand‘s North Island, the kauri tree nicknamed Tāne Mahuta is one of the largest on the planet (by girth). Tāne is the name of the Maori forest god, and the tree is also known as the “Lord of the Forest.” Standing at 51.5 meters (about 170 feet) tall with a girth of 18.8 meters (about 62 feet) around, it’s hard not to feel a little emotional around this ancient, gargantuan tree.