Five Popular Travel Photos That Are Too Good To Be True (And Are)

From the floating lanterns in Thailand to Arizona's Antelope Canyon, travel photos can be some of the best and most beautiful types of pictures out there. However, some of these popular shots that have graced image boards time and time again aren't the real deal. From clever cropping to extreme color correction, a handful of these well-known photos don't actually depict how that city, monument, or landscape really looks. And sometimes, the place doesn't event exist! Determined to get to the bottom of these too-good-to-be-true photos, we've compiled a list of some of these deceptive shots and the real stories behind them.

1. The photo: The popular photo below practically has a permanent spot on Pinterest's travel page. However, this photo, claiming to be a place in Dublin called "Castle Island" actually doesn't exist at all.

castle island

The truth: Blogger Tricia's Things debunked this photo back in 2011 but that hasn't stopped it from going viral. The island and the castle both exist, however they're about 12,000km away from each other. Koh Tapu, or James Bond Island (pictured below on the left), is located on the southwest coast of Thailand, while the Lichtenstein Castle (pictured below on the right) is located in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.

thailand/lichenstein Left: photo via / Heinz Albers, right: photo via

2. The photo: The photo below has been floating around Pinterest with a caption claiming that these ancient beachside ruins are the "Forgotten Temple of Lysistrata" in Greece.

forgotten temple of lysistrata

The truth: This eery photo (although beautiful) is really just a clever Photoshop job. The creator of this picture simply combined a photo of the Pantheon in Rome (photo on the bottom left), with a shot of the Benagil Cave in Algarve, Portugal (below on the right).

pantheon/portugal Left: photo via Labrador, right: photo via

3. The photo: The dreamy photo below claims to be taken on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The vibrant purple trees and gorgeous light blue water seem too good to be true.

isle of skye

The truth: The blog Escape Normal did some research on this photo in September of 2011 and discovered that this photo is actually a picture of Shotover River in Queenstown, New Zealand (pictured below). The colors were obviously altered, meaning those beautiful purple trees are not real (sigh).

shotover river \ Photo via Proimos

4. The photo: This viral photo shows a star-shaped island inside a larger moon-shaped island. The photo is said to have been taken off the coast of Maui.

star moon islands

The truth: This photo is only half fake. Although the crescent-shaped Molokini island does exist off the coast of Maui (as Snopes users figured out), the star island is simply a Photoshop addition.

Molokini Photo via / Forest & Kim Starr

5. The photo: This creative photo depicts a subway running through a clear underwater tunnel, with captions claiming this awesome train route is located in Venice.

underwater train in venice

The truth: Unfortunately, there is no underground subway in Venice, but how cool would that be?! And even if there was, we're pretty certain the water would not be this crystal clear. From the photo, you can see the train is a Danish 'H' train, running from Copenhagen to Frederikssund. It's likely that the Photoshopper combined a photo of a train station platform with a photo of a Danish train, and threw that into a photo of an aquarium tunnel.

train aquarium Left: photo via / Niels Karsdorp, right: photo via

While investigating this one on Pinterest, we saw one person post the Venice subway photo with the caption "I've been to Venice three times and never knew this existed. I have to go back!", which is a bit depressing. Stop misleading travelers, you clever Photoshoppers!

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