There are so many things about a forest to be enthralled over: dense jungles, evergreen pines, and towering bamboos. From Germany to Japan, it is clear that Mother Nature has instilled much diversity – including shapes, sizes, and colours – into many forests across the globe to captivate the senses.
In a digitised age where dwellers of the concrete jungle are yearning for more access to flourishing greenery, some are returning to the age-old pastime of exploring these wild forests to connect with nature. Apart from admiring the natural beauty on display, did you know that just looking at flora – directly in real life or indirectly via images – can quickly reduce stress and improve one’s mood?
To satiate this imperative need and cure your undoubtedly aching wanderlust, we’ve compiled a visual guide with some of the world’s most stunning and magical forests for you to peruse through.
Hallerbos Forest, Belgium
Known for possessing a thick blanket of blooming bluebell flowers each spring, the Hallerbos Forest is utterly enchanting with its fairytale-like scenery that feels like a Disney dream come true. This protected area is also home to some of the cutest roe deer, foxes, squirrels, and over 100 species of birds.
Black Forest, Germany
Surprisingly, this isn’t the source of inspiration for the iconic cake of the same name. Germany’s Black Forest houses thickly dispersed evergreens that form a daylight-blocking canopy – enveloping the area in alluring shades of black.
Wistman’s Wood, England
In Devon’s remote high altitude lies the mystical Wistman’s Wood that harbours tonnes of ancient moss-covered trees, granite boulders, and moorland birds that belong in Lord of the Rings.
This ancient forest has been left to grow undisturbed by any destruction or shaping, which are often caused by humans and large wild animals — making it even more of a special place.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan
Evoking calmness and tranquillity at first glance is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, just outside of Kyoto. Soak in the marvel of the soaring stalks of bamboo while strolling along the paved walkway.
Dragon’s Blood Forest, Yemen
Reminiscent of dandelion stalks, the strange-looking trees in the Dragon Blood Forest of Socotra Island earned its eerie name from the viscous, blood-like sap it produces — oozing with medical properties.
Wondae-ri Birch Forest, South Korea
Experience a true Winter Wonderland at the Wondae-ri Birch Forest, filled with thousands of birch trees that showcase slender trunks that blend into the snow. This forest is beautiful all year round, so worth a visit and taking part in any one of the guided tours.
Saguaro Forest, USA
Named after the acres of giant cacti that inhabit the desert valley, the Saguaro Forest in Arizona looks like a picturesque backdrop straight out of a traditional Western film.
Forest of Dean, England
From Merlin to Doctor Who, the Forest of Dean – specifically the Puzzlewood area – embodies the ultimate degree of magic. During Victorian times, this forest was a major industrial site, and presently, it remains a working forest that supplies timber for the UK market.
Hayedo De Otzarreta, Spain
Resembling elongated zombie fingers, the tree branches in the Otzarreta Forest or the Spanish-translated Hayedo De Otzarreta is a hauntingly beautiful sight to behold.
Mount Dulang Dulang Mossy Forest, Philippines
Another possible pitstop for Frodo Baggins may very well be the Mount Dulang Dulang Mossy Forest, steeped in utterly enchanting greenery. This second-highest mountain in the Philippines is dubbed by the locals as ‘D2’.
Rold Skov, Denmark
Embody the Christmas spirit at Rold Skov (‘Skov’ translates to ‘Forest’ in Danish), filled with hundreds of snow-covered spruce trees that belong on a card that reads, “Seasons Greetings!”
Goblin Forest, New Zealand
With a name that instantly reminds one of The Hobbit franchise, the Goblin Forest is primarily home to native kamahi trees that flourish atop other plants in a twisted manner. We promise, no goblins will jump out to eat you here.
Giant Forest, USA
Instantly making one feel like a teeny tiny ant are the over 8,000 gigantic sequoia trees that inhabit the Giant Forest in California, including the world’s largest tree by volume: the General Sherman Tree. The majestic Giant Forest is also home to some of the longest-living trees on Earth, and if that doesn’t impress you, we don’t know what will.
Crooked Forest, Poland
Don’t let the hook-shaped trunks in the Crooked Forest, referred to as ‘Krzywy Las’ in Polish, throw you off balance. Instead, embrace the mystery of their 90-degree bend that all oddly face north. Rumour has it that local farmers manipulated the unnatural curves of the trees, but the mystery of their eerie shape remains to this day.
Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
Once stood within a dense tropical forest, the acres of unique but towering trees in the Avenue of the Baobabs remain as living relics with canopies that resemble roots. It’s also one of the more famous and most-visited places in Madagascar, and we can understand why.