See the world’s most exciting architectural optical illusions.

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Look, we’re not telling you to see the world just per gram. After all, this crazy planet is big and full of all kinds of adventures. But who among us hasn’t felt at times that a really good photo can be the icing on an already delicious travel cake? You don’t have to be a photographer to appreciate the power of a stunning photo or two (or 12). We get it, we really do, which is why we’re here to help these smart buildings. Dazzle your eyes, dazzle your senses, and fill your social media feed with our global picks for the best architectural optical illusions.

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Le Mur des Canuts. Lyon, France

Flickr CC: Greger Ravik

The three-dimensional painting technique “trompe l’oeil” literally translates as “tricking the eye”. Le Mur des Canuts in Lyon is one of the best representations of the art form. Europe’s largest painted wall (created in 1997 and updated in 2013) depicts life in a French city, with characters climbing grand staircases. The sense of depth is only enhanced by its position, conveniently painted between neighboring buildings.

The Other Place Guilin Litopia Hotel in Guilin, China

The Other Place Guilin Litopia Hotel in Guilin, China

If you’ve ever dreamed of jumping inside one of MC Escher’s mathematically inspired works, featuring his signature inverted staircases and doors leading to nowhere, then The Other Place Hotel in southwest China could be for you. The 10-room boutique property features two rooms, Maze and Dream, inspired by the Dutch artist’s impossible mazes, as envisioned by design firm Studio 10. And you won’t be there just for the fancy hotel room. Guilin is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations thanks to its magnificent otherworldly karst mountain cliffs along the Li River and its picturesque terraced rice fields.

A magical knock from Philip Till. Cadiz, Spain

Wiki CC: Emilio J. Rodríguez Posada

Visiting Spain by cruise ship? In the port city of Cádiz is a magical faucet (artist Philip Thiel) that flows 24/7 despite having no visible connection to the ground. Is it Spanish witchcraft? Or just a prop hidden in the water? Who cares, embrace the magic and the selfie.

WonderWorks House: Orlando and other cities

WonderWorks in Orlando, Florida

WonderWorks in Orlando, Florida | PHOTO COURTESY OF WonderWorks

If you’ve been to Orlando, you’ve probably noticed this classic upside-down building. According to WonderWorks legend, the building was a top-secret research lab located in the Bermuda Triangle before it was torn from the ground by a powerful tornado created by lab scientists. Stories aside, the building’s design was designed by architect and Orlando native Terry O. It’s the brainchild of Nichoson from Nichoson Design International, and what’s inside is just as fascinating for curious kids. Described as a “fun park for the mind,” Wonderworks offers more than 100 hands-on, interactive “edutainment” exhibits such as a twisting tunnel, extreme weather zone, physical challenge zone, live comedy magic dinner show and more. You’ll find similar buildings at WonderWorks locations in Pigeon Forge, Myrtle Beach, Panama City Beach, Branson and Syracuse.

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Chicago Magic Lounge bathroom. Chicago

Vortex Illusion at Chicago Magic Lounge

Vortex Illusion at Chicago Magic Lounge

If you’re going to have a drink or two at the Chicago Magic Lounge, a Windy City magic club where you enter the laundromat, please be careful when entering the bathroom. Otherwise, the wildly swirling black and white tiled maelstrom could threaten to sweep you away. It’s an illusion (like most things in this pub), but you can never be too careful.

Invisible mirror cube. Tree Hotel, Harads, Sweden

Whatever your motivation, booking a room at the Tree Hotel in Harads, Sweden is a good idea with its upscale and basic ethos. But if you’re looking for a little visual inspiration, you could do worse than a night or two in their Invisible Mirror. Located in the treetops and completely covered in mirrors, the only thing you’re likely to see is what you’re there for: pure, unspoilt nature. It’s like you’re sleeping in nothing.

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Tagged: Asia, Chicago, China, Europe, Florida, Japan, Korea, Las Vegas, Midwest, Orlando, Spain

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