As a child, you might have fantasized about travelling to mysterious places to see tall-tale creatures like Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. While you might know better now than to believe in age-old folklore, these trips don't have to stay in your childhood imagination. Some of the world' most unique destinations are home to not only fabled monsters that may or may not be real, but also one-of-a-kind attractions.
With these tips, plan a trip to the lands of mythical creatures - you'll never know what you might find:
The Loch Ness Monster is one of the world's most passed-down myths. Nicknamed "Nessie," the scaly sea creature said to be swimming deep within the murky waters of Loch Ness has been talked about for more than 1,500 years. Many visitors to the 37-kilometre lake that lies southwest of Inverness, Scotland, have claimed to spot Nessie each year. While you might not see the dinosaur-like animal on your next Scotland trip, the Scottish Highlands are certainly worth a visit. The historic region has become Scotland's main source of tourism over the years - with good reason. With a picturesque setting and lush green hills lined with towering castle-like lodges, the Highlands offer museums such as the Titanic Inverness Maritime Museum, pedestrian paths along River Ness and plenty of golf course options. If you're brave, take a Loch Ness cruise and remember to bring your binoculars and camera - just in case.
Less known than the Loch Ness Monster is Champ, a giant horned serpent that is rumored to live in the 201-kilometre lake that straddles the borders of New York and Vermont. Legend has it that the creature was first spotted hundreds of years ago by the American Indians living near the lake. Now, Lake Champlain is a major attraction for not only monster buffs, but also those who love the outdoors. The stunning region, which is nestled in the Adirondack Forest, features numerous trails that will take you through gorges and past rapids and waterfalls. Boat rides around Lake Champlain are also available, while the lakeside town Port Henry, N.Y., celebrates Champ Day each year in August. Fort Ticonderoga, the pivotal American Revolution base constructed in 1755, is also located on the lake and is open to visitors.
While it might be fun to read about dragons in books like the Harry Potter and Games of Thrones series, how would you feel about meeting one of those fiery creatures in person? Krakow, Poland, is home to the fabled Wawelski dragon, which according to locals lives in a cave on the Vistula River. To this day, the cave is marked with a statue of the dragon that lets out a small blaze of fire every few minutes. While the actual fire-breathing monster has yet to be sighted, this dragon's den is worth a visit, if only for the various other activities Krakow provides. After heading down "Dragon Street" to see the cave lair, visit the European city's historic centre for a stunning array of medieval architecture.
According to legend, the Gobi Desert is home to the Mongolian death worm, an oversized bright red monster that lives near the Mongolian-Chinese border. While coming face-to-face with a giant worm might not seem appealing, the Gobi Desert is brimming with exciting adventure options in both Mongolia and China. Camel and horseback rides through the desert sand are available in Mongolia, while those who enjoy geology can travel to the Yadan National Geological Park in Dunhuang, China, and check out the awe-inspiring rock formations.