Travel destinations are like high school kids: The popular ones get most of the attention, and some amazing ones are overlooked because no one has taken the time to get to know them. To correct this injustice, below you’ll find seven amazing travel destinations that may not get the same love as their more popular counterparts, but just may be the best places you never heard of.
1) Parati, Brazil
This colonial gem along Brazil’s Costa Verde is an all around complete destination. You can explore the rain-forested jungle and mountainous backdrop, take a day trip to empty beaches on pristine islets in emerald waters, or just lose yourself in the cobblestone streets of the charming historic center. Though only a 5-hour drive from Rio, you’ll feel as if you’re worlds away.
2) Jodhpur, India
This jewel in the deserts of Rajasthan boasts a bustling market scene, heritage hotels, and the monstrous Mehrangar Fort perched atop a sandstone cliff that dominates the city skyline. The best part? The old city is painted in varying hues of hyacinth blue, creating a monochromatic palette stretching out in all directions – truly a magical place.
3) Kasane, Botswana
While most visitors head for Botswana’s (rightly) famous Okavango Delta, small Kasane – just an hour’s drive from incredible Victoria Falls – is the gateway to Chobe National Park, which straddles the Bostwana/Namibia border. A safari cruise on its namesake river will bring you face to face with giraffe, hippos, crocs and the largest elephant population in Africa. And did I mention that its close to Victoria Falls?
4) Kalambaka, Greece
This tiny hamlet is the starting point for touring the Meteora – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a surreal landscape of towering pillars of rock, many of which are topped by ancient monasteries built by ingenious (and brave) monks. Though most head right for the islands, Kalambaka and the Meteora are a worthy reason for visiting the Grecian mainland.
5) Antigua, Guatemala
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Once the capital of Spanish Central America, this authentic town is surrounded by more than just history. Three volcanoes provide the perfect (and sometimes smoky) backdrop to the quaint colonial architecture that pervades everything from the cathedrals to the main square to the boutique hotels that populate the shady lanes.
6) Ponza, Italy
As a former hangout of the Roman Empire’s elite, Ponza wasn’t always off the beaten track. With sapphire coves, quaint hotels with amazing sea views and one of the most picturesque ports to be found anywhere, the main island of the Pontine archipelago won’t stay ‘undiscovered’ for much longer.
7) Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Though little more than a small town on New Zealand’s wild west coast, not only can you trek on the area’s namesake glacier, but you area also in striking distance to the stunning scenery of several national parks – particularly tiny Paparoa National Park and its famous attraction - the Pancake Rocks. While not as popular as better-known Milford Sound to its south (which is, incidentally, the most beautiful place on Earth) Fox Glacier and the other stops on the lonely western highway are worthy of a few days’ distraction.
This list is by no means complete. In fact, mine keeps on growing with each voyage I take. The reason why is simple: Much like it was in high school, when you take the time to get to know more than just the most popular ones, you’ll find that there are amazing things all around you. All you have to do is give them a chance.
- Tags: Travel and Adventure