The 10 Hottest Under-The-Radar Destinations
PHOTO: 12 Apostles, Port Campbell, Australia. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Many places have been made famous for stunning architecture or extreme natural beauty and, as the world grows smaller, it may seem that nearly all of the most scenic places have surely been uncovered and overrun with tourists.
However, despite globalization, there are still hidden gems that remain out of the mainstream tourists’ eyes. Here are some destinations that remain off the beaten path.
Koh Lipe, Thailand
Head to this remote island in Thailand for a relaxing beach getaway on an island paradise in the South Andaman Sea. The island is famous for its white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters.
Getting there is a little trickier than some other more frequented spots. Boats run from Langkawi and in high season boats run between Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe. From Bangkok, visitors get a flight to Had Yai and then take a minibus or taxi to Pak Bara and then take a boat to the island.
Slovenia offers a number of hidden gems — capital city Llubjana is a stunner in its own right — but the town of Kobaris is a special place tucked away in the Soca Valley. There are numerous archeological sites in the area that hold a number of historic findings, including an Iron Age burial ground. It also has a more recent historical significance — the city saw a 1917 World War I battle where Austro-Hungarian troops broke through the Italian front line and gained a victory.
Schonau am Konigsee, Germany
Surrounded by the Alps, this Bavarian mountain town is located at the northern end of Lake Konigssee — and is a land full of adventure. It is home to the world-class Konigssee bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track, one of the oldest tracks of its kind in the world, constructed in 1968.
You can visit in January, when many international championship bobsleigh competitions take place, or you can visit in the summer months, spending time on the lake. There are a number of hikes to do and boating around the lake.
Often flying under the radar, the island nation of Sri Lanka offers visitors a rugged land filled with jungles, rainforest, wildlife and untouched beaches. The country is well-known for its Buddhist ruins and the sacred city of Anuradhapura.
READ MORE: Revisiting Sri Lanka in a Post-Civil War Era
Over the last seven years, the country has been rebuilding after a decades-long civil war and, finally, tourism is returning to the island and visitor numbers are beginning to grow.
Lombok is an island in West Nusa, Indonesia, part of the Lesser Sunda Islands and across the Lombok Strait from its more famous counterpart, Bali.
As travelers look for alternatives to Bali, Lombok is coming up more frequently as a substitute. It has all the trappings of a fabulous vacation destination — good surf, pristine beaches, lush forests, hiking and more.
Those looking for an adventure will have found it in Greenland. It’s the world’s largest island and one of the most exciting Arctic destinations. Visitors will find rugged lands, ice sheets, Arctic deserts, sheep farms and a distinct culture as well as welcoming people. Greenland could be one of the only places in the world where dogsledding and skateboarding coexist side by side and where the people feel that navigating around icebergs is old hat.
Malta will be the European Capital of Culture in 2018 and, if you get there first, you will be able to say you discovered what makes Malta one of the top weekend getaways for European travelers. More likely, U.S. visitors are drawn to the country for its culture and history, but many visitors go for the beach towns with authentic Mediterranean charm.
READ MORE: Malta's Calling
The island is steeped in history. The original capital, Mdina, was fortified by the Phoenicians, and its current capital, Valetta, holds weapons used in the Ottoman's Great Siege of 1565.
Montenegro won’t be flying under the radar for long. Its Mediterranean port city, Kotor, was recognized on the Lonely Planet’s 2016 Best in Travel list of destinations to visit this year. The country is one of the oldest European states, situated on the Balkan Peninsula and, like Turkey, it is at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Montenegro is known for its beaches, mountains, lakes and is home to what is sometimes referred to as the southernmost fjord in Europe.
Kotor is perched on the edge of the Adriatic Sea, surrounded by mountains all around, making it one of the most picturesque places in Europe. It also has one of the best-preserved medieval cities on the Adriatic and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mount Sanqingshan National Park, Shangrao, China
Mount Sanqingshan is a renowned, sacred Taoist mountain in Shangrao, China. The entire national park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has an otherworldly appearance. Granite peaks jut into the sky like pillars and waterfalls, valleys, lakes and springs, hover below. The mountain is made up of three peaks, Yujing, Yushui and Yuhua.
Port Campbell, Australia
As long as we are talking otherworldly destinations, Port Campbell is on the top of the list. Its 12 Apostles are limestone stacks that jut out of the ocean. Visitors can take a helicopter ride to get a view of them from above or admire their enormous size on a boat journey. Port Campbell is the perfect stop for those caravaning around the country or journeying along Australia's Great Ocean Road.
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