As the global tourist industry continues growing, there are certain destinations which are becoming increasingly popular. Such destinations typically attract thousands of tourists during their peak season. The end result is overcrowding which can somewhat diminish the experience. If you want to avoid the crowds, one strategy is to opt for some of the off the beaten track destinations. Some of these destinations seldom appear in standard travel brochures. However, visiting them can offer plenty of adventure, fun and excitement. The 7 must see off the beaten track destinations are the following:
Palagruza – Croatia
This scenic archipelago is one of the most breathtaking, yet least visited islands in Croatia. Its location in the remote south of the country, about 2 to 3 hours by boat from Korčula Island, is the reason why to visit it. Those brave enough to take the journey are rewarded with idyllic beauty, rich history and endless servings of myth, mystery and adventure. Its largest island, Velika Palagruza is surrounded by pristine-blue waters, pebble beaches and lush forests full of colorful plants and birds. It is also home to 6th Century BC Roman ruins, and Medieval Greek and Roman battlements. The island is also rumored to be the burial place of King Argos, the antihero in Homer’s Odyssey. Palagruza is also home to Veli Zal, considered by many as the most beautiful beach in the Adriatic. Visitors to Palagruza can enjoy numerous adventures including hiking, snorkeling, trekking, diving, fishing or exploring the many uninhabited islands.
Blue Holes, Vanuatu
Vanuatu’s Espiritu Santo Island is home to some of the most delightful natural spectacles in the world. They are large, deep pools of freshwater called Blue Holes. The water comes from the ground through layers of coral and limestone. It is emerald-blue, fresh and breathtakingly beautiful. It offers exciting opportunities for swimming, diving or snorkeling. The pools are located deep in the tropical forests, surrounded by lush green plants with colorful flowers. Trekking to each blue hole takes you through beautiful landscapes filled tropical birds and colorful butterflies. Basically, visiting the blue holes enables you to experience nature at an intimate level.
Hang Son Doong, Vietnam
Located deep in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Han Son Dong is the largest cave in the world. It is also one of the most mysterious, having been discovered only in 2009. The cave known to the locals as “mountain river cave” is part of a cave system composed of 150 caves, most of which are yet to be explored. Given that it is situated remotely near the border with Laos, only the most ardent adventurers visit it. However, to cave enthusiasts, Han Son Doong is nirvana. It is almost 650 feet high and 500 feet wide, contains giant calcites, a pool which resembles a mini-lake, and lots of unexplored crevices. Its location deep in the jungle means that accessing it offers its own challenge thus spicing up the adventure. Aside from visiting the cave, you can also check out the other treasures found in the National Park. The park is home to numerous endangered species, ancient caves and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This seaside city about 3 hour’s drive from Marrakesh is one of Morocco’s best kept secrets. It is a city rich in history, architecture, art and beautiful natural environments. The city has a rich history stretching back to the 1st Century. The city’s historical treasures include medieval fortresses, a Genoese citadel, an 18th Century Dutch canon and the iconic Castle in the Sand. Essaouira also has elegant Sea Walls, numerous architectural masterpieces and the Medina which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit all these various historical treasures. You can also go windsurfing or kite-surfing on the city’s numerous bays. And, if you are a Game of Throne’s fan, by visiting Essaouira, you will be setting foot in the fictional Slaver’s Bay (where Daenerys Targaryen led her army of freed slaves into an invasion of Westeros).
This ancient city is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Africa. Archaeological excavations have unearthed settlement stretching back to 5000 BC. However, the city in its current form was built in 353 AD. It is a treasure-trove of various architectural styles. The city features Byzantine, Persian and Roman building styles. Those are the civilizations which have controlled the city during its illustrious history. Axum also has deep Biblical roots. The Queen of Sheba is said to have resided in the city. The Ark of the Covenant is said to be housed in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. Of course visitors are not allowed inside. However, there are annual celebrations in honor of the ancient relic. Axum is the perfect destination for anyone who has a taste for history, culture and ancient architecture.
Located about 80 km to the west of Paris, Giverny is one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was the rural retreat of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. It is petite, cute and colorful, the perfect destination for those who desire peace and quiet. One of its main attractions is Monet’s House, a building beautifully decorated with a selection of colorful flowers and plants. The house has only a few of the painter’s works, the majority of which can be found in the village’s Impressionist Museum. The village also has colorful gardens and breathtaking nature trails for those who love hiking. It also has a rich culinary and wine tradition which makes it the perfect destination for epicureans. A visit to Giverny can provide the perfect opportunity for those who want an intimate experience of French rural life.
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
Considered one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, Kaieteur Falls is the perfect destination for any lover of nature. However, its location in the deep jungles of Guyana means that not many people get to visit it. Those who do so witness a truly breathtaking spectacle. The falls shoots out 30,000 gallons per second over a whopping 820 feet, which makes it 4 times higher than the Niagara Falls. You can watch the amazing site from a distance or stand at the top of the falls and watch the water pouring into the river below. Of course you have to trek through a tropical jungle to get to the falls. Nearby is the Kaieteur National Park which has a rich variety of plant, animal and bird species.
In a nutshell, those are the seven must see destinations for any off the beaten track enthusiast. Therefore, if you are looking for a truly unique travel experience, then visiting any of those destinations will do you good. However, before you set off on your adventure, there are a few things you need to know: The first (and most important) one is that, unlike most tourist destinations, off the beaten track destinations may not have fixed transport and accommodation facilities. As such, ensure that you make your own arrangements well ahead of time. Secondly, you may also want to take out an adventure travel insurance policy to have you covered just in case. Finally, go out and have a great time!