Atlantis! Valhalla! Shangri-La! Paradise locations shown over and over in movies, games and TV. Places of wealth, beauty and happiness that belong entirely in myth. If you found out one of them was real, you’d probably get on a plane before finishing this…oh, there you go. Well, while you’re readying that road trip, you can read up on some of the places of legend you can actually check out.
Hold on to your butts, gang, because while Shangri-La might not be real, you’d be amazed to find out some of the incredible mythological landmarks that are.1
10. Mount Olympus, Home of the Gods
Olympus, home of the gods. A golden, sparkling, iridescent paradise where no mortal man dare tread. In Greek mythology, the likes of Zeus, Hera, and Ares shared a pad at the top of a mountain in what would certainly have been the greatest Real World season of all-time. As with most things in myth, it’s also based on a very real place.
The highest mountain in Greece, Mount Olympus, to be exact. You probably could have guessed that, considering that’s what it was called in the myths, too. You’ve got to hand it to the Greeks – they could find any number of new and inventive ways for Zeus to take advantage of a mortal woman, but coming up with fake names for physical locations was where they drew the line with creative license. Rising high above Greece and its citizens, you can visit this treacherous terrain yourself, if you don’t mind climbing a large and snowy mountain. Don’t expect gods at the top though, just a beautiful view.
9. Troy, Site of the Trojan War
Troy. You might know it more from the Brad Pitt movie than from mythology, but it’s a well-spring that fueled the works of Homer. Here is where the Trojan war was fought, and heroes of legends were made, including Odysseus, and Achilles of the treacherous heel and even more wobbly accent that Pitt decided to give him. Ending with sea monsters and started by the Goddess of Discord, the Trojan War and its home were long thought myths. But Troy is a real place, because again – the Greeks sucked at creating fantasy lands.
Discovered in the 1800s, Troy is located in Turkey and was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1998. Though it is not in the same shape it was during the war, you can still touch the walls of Troy, behind which the Trojan Horse was rolled in.
The Fountain of Youth. The spring of eternal life and ultimate desire of Ponce de Leon. Sought after by early settlers of North America, the Fountain of Youth is up there with El Dorado (the Lost City of Gold) with myths of the New World.
However, unlike that shining Mecca, the Fountain of Youth does exist. Despite its name, however, there’s no everlasting life to be found for you here. But there is wonderfully pure mineral water, a lovely tour, and Florida’s sunny weather. Located in St. Augustine, it really seems all-too fitting that the Fountain of Youth would be in Florida, doesn’t it? Suddenly we’re realizing why everyone’s grandparents move down there as soon as their social security checks start rolling in.
7. Atlantis of the Sands
Atlantis, the sunken city of Greek myth is, sadly, not real. However, its cousin city – a city consumed by sand, not water – is.