PHOTO: Sunset at Lake Iseo, Italy. (Photo via Flickr/Davide Zampatti)
The Internet is loaded with destinations to dream about. Our social media feeds overflow with photos of blue skies, blue water, and people having fun. Yet, doesn't it seem like it always comes down to the same handful of places we all seem to be dreaming about visiting? Santorini. Bora Bora. Alaska. Venice.
There's nothing wrong with any of those dreams, but here's a list of little-known spots worth considering as well.
This seaside town surrounding an idyllic harbor is straight from the Middle Ages. There are cobblestone streets and castle walls. Venture into the surrounding rural areas to see orange and olive groves and ancient ruins.
There are wineries and distilleries to tour, hidden beaches to explore, and sea walls to hike. The amazing Arvanitas walk along the shore is a must-do.
Athens is the closest major airport. From there, you can rent a car and make the drive to Nafplion on a modern highway in under two hours. There are several hotels to choose from, ranging in price from $40 to $200. Look at Nafplio Palace for stunning views of the harbor.
The Abaco Islands, Bahamas
Imagine a charming Bahamian island with white sand beaches, welcoming people, modern conveniences, and no cruise ships. Then, surround that island with a string of shelter Islands, each with its own character and most with only golf carts as transportation on land.
These are the Abacos. Life slows to a stress-relieving pace as you explore Great Abaco and its out islands by rental boat or water taxi. Snorkel, scuba dive, or picnic on uninhabited stretches of sand. Dolphin and sea turtle sightings are almost guaranteed.
American offers flights from Miami to Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco. Accommodations include a couple of large resorts, a handful of small inns, and numerous vacation rentals. Look at Abaco Beach Resort for easy access to the marinas for boating and scuba diving.
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Lake Iseo, Italy
Just over an hour north of Milan is the delightful village of Iseo, set on the shore of its namesake lake, Lago d' Iseo. The Medieval history of the town includes the eleventh-century Olfredi Castle, and time as a bustling port receiving iron mined from the Alps and floated down the Oglio River.
Today's attractions include boat rentals, hiking the Ancient Valeriana Road along the lake into the pre-Alps, and touring the wineries of the surrounding Franciacorta wine region. You can ferry across the lake to towns and villages on the opposite shore and on the island of Montisola.
The nearby town of Brescia is served by regional trains, but a rental car would be necessary to fully explore the region, particularly the widely scattered vineyards and cellars. Lodging choices include hotels and a variety of rentals. Relais Franciacorta sits on a hillside amid an olive grove with beautiful views of the mountains.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
No matter the season, Pagosa Springs in Southwestern Colorado has something to offer. Perched along the along the San Juan River, at an elevation of just over 7,000 feet, Pagosa has the feel of a Swiss Alpine village. In ski season, the nearby Wolf Creek Ski Area boasts an average of 430 inches of natural snow annually.
The rest of the year enjoy camping, hiking, horseback riding, and hot air balloon rides. And at the end of every day slip into the waters of the world's deepest geothermal hot springs. At The Springs, the steaming mineral waters are channeled into a variety of soaking pools scattered on the hillside above the icy river. Go full Nordic with a plunge and float down the river following your soak in the soothing waters.
United and American both offer flights into Durango where you can rent a car for the hour-long scenic drive to Pagosa. Accommodation choices range from standard hotels, including independents as well as a Wyndham and a Quality Inn, to stunning mountain cabin rentals on VRBO.