The world seems to be getting smaller and smaller – it’s increasingly harder to find places that aren’t overrun by tourists, but thankfully for now, there are still some relatively unspoiled destinations out there.
People who say not to visit this spectacular region of Croatia, are most likely hoping to keep it all to themselves. This still mostly undiscovered gem along the North Adriatic coast is lined with beautiful beaches that enjoy protection from soaring, forest-covered mountains. The Kvarner Riveria is also renowned for its archipelago of ochre-grey islands and fishing villages with narrow alleys and gardens.
Phu Quoc is still largely underdeveloped, but it’s primed to become Vietnam’s next hot destination. Fringed with white sand beaches as well as having large tracts that are still cloaked in dense jungle, it’s becoming a must-visit beach getaway for sun-seeking tourists. It offers the ideal antidote to busy Ha Long Bay, which is often filled with backpackers who like to party from atop the water on boats.
Puglia is located in the “heel of Italy’s boot” in the sunny southern region of the country. It has a unique character and charm that hasn’t been spoiled by hordes of tourists – yet. The brilliant blue seas, golden sands and olive groves that make up this spectacular area of Italy is still mostly undiscovered by outsiders. But with foodie travel on the rise, that’s expected to soon change.
After gaining its independence in 1991, post-communist Georgia suffered from an economic crisis and civil unrest until the Rose Revolution of 2003, when the new government introduced democratic and economic reforms. Due to its troubled history and only recently having been open to visitors, it doesn’t see many American tourists, but that’s a shame as it has a lot to offer, especially for hikers.
Roatan is rarely found on a beach lover’s travel bucket list of Caribbean islands, but that’s only because most have never heard of it. While it’s still relatively unknown for now, an increasing number of people are discovering its idyllic beaches, warm cerulean waters and authentic Caribbean charms. Divers come to the island for its perfect reefs – surrounded by the second largest reef on Earth, this is one of the best destinations for divers as well as snorkelers.
The Galapagos Islands and the Amazon may be two of the most famous destinations for wildlife encounters, but they’re certainly not the only places. The rarely mentioned Peninsula Valdes in Argentina has especially exciting opportunities for spending time around fascinating marine animals like elephant seals, penguins and whales. In fact, the beaches in this region are home to more elephant seals than any other continental destination on the planet.
The breathtaking country of Montenegro has only been an independent nation since 2006, and the coastal city of Kotor, which sits in a secluded tip of Boka Kotorsky Bay, offers extraordinary beauty few travelers get to experience. Many people aren’t even aware Montenegro exists, which means you should go sooner rather than later before the word gets out. Kotor offers a true untouched retreat from the chaos of the modern world, with the entire old town area declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Riga, frequently referred to as the Paris of the North, has also been called Europe’s best kept secret, but that’s expected to soon change since the city was named a European Capital of Culture for 2014. It also ranks high as one of the cheapest destinations for backpackers. This regal city has some of the largest and most impressive art nouveau architecture in Europe, including gargoyles and goddesses that adorn more than 750 buildings found along the stately boulevards.
The best time to go to Talalla in Sri Lanka is now – three years ago there was just one hotel here. Now there are five and that’s likely to increase before too long. During the dry season, October through April, the beach here is especially stunning and the sunsets are jaw-dropping. Talalla is a charming fishing village and its hidden bay is considered a “jewel of tranquility,” far off the beaten path.
The historic coastal town of Paraty is home to old churches and cobbled streets, while the nearby forests, waterfalls, islands and emerald-green sea are attracting an increasing number of tourists interested in visiting a more natural setting. Before it becomes too well-known and you have to bump elbows with other hikers, you may want to plan a trek on the Gold Trail.
In 2010, only about 300,000 visited the country of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Just three years later, that number skyrocketed to more than two million – and it’s expected to continue to grow. Before prices catch up, come see its numerous attractions. In areas like Bagan, there are so many that it would be impossible to see them all in just a single visit.
This small patch of land off the coast of southern Cambodia is accessible by a 30-minute boat ride from the town of Kep. Currently, there is just one part of the island where visitors can stay – right on the beach that boats land on. Stretched alongside it are dozens of small bungalows. There are no hotels or guesthouses, which means your only option for spending the night is a simple shack – but this also means that there are never any more than 200 people here at any given time.