Are you tired of visiting the same old tourist hotspots? Are you looking for something a little more off the beaten path? Look no further! Here are some obscure travel destinations that you should definitely add to your bucket list.
These hidden gems offer a unique and authentic experience that you won't find at a crowded, over-commercialised destination. From a remote island in the Pacific to a hidden valley in Europe, these places will take you on a journey you'll never forget.
Whether you're looking for adventure, culture, or just some peace and quiet, these destinations have something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to discover some of the most beautiful and lesser-known places on earth for a unique getaway!
Obscure Travel Destinations To Add To Your Bucket List
Travel is something I really regret not doing when younger. For some reason it never appealed to me in my late teens, but since becoming older and now having the responsibilities of children and a mortgage I feel the urge to travel more than ever. But because of these responsibilities I can’t. I definitely should have travelled when I was in my late teens or early twenties and explored the world before settling down.
There’s no point in living with regrets though and I now plan to travel when I am older or retire! I’m keen to stay in good health by living super healthily with the aim of lots of travelling once the kids are adults and have moved out. If Ben and I can manage to retire early then I’d love to travel for weeks on end, or even satisfy my travelling the world bug then! Perhaps we’ll even sell the house, buy an RV and hit the road as two very cool OAPs!
For now we will enjoy family holidays as and when we can afford them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream about the future and all the incredible countries we wish to visit.
I have plenty of travel destinations I wish to visit, some lesser-known than others. Here are a snippet of the places I’d love to see one day:
1. The Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are a hidden gem in the North Atlantic, an archipelago located between Norway and Iceland, is a destination that offers an unspoiled and raw nature, a unique culture and an authentic experience. The islands are home to stunning landscapes, including rugged cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush green valleys.
The unique culture and way of life of the Faroese people are also a major draw, with traditional turf-roofed houses, and a rich seafaring history. The Faroe islands are also known for its birdlife and its possible to spot Puffins, Gannets, and many more seabirds. Visitors can hike to the top of Slættaratindur, the highest peak in the Faroes, for panoramic views of the islands.
Take a boat tour to see the famous Risin og Kellingin sea stacks, or visit the charming capital of Tórshavn for a taste of Faroese culture. With a population of only about 50,000, the Faroe Islands offer a sense of isolation and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.
The Maldives, an island nation located in the Indian Ocean, is a destination that offers a true tropical paradise experience. The Maldives is known for its crystal clear waters, powdery white sandy beaches, and an abundance of marine life.
The Maldives is a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, as it boasts some of the best dive sites in the world. The Maldives is also home to many luxury resorts, which offer overwater bungalows and villas, making it an ideal destination for honeymooners and couples.
The Maldives is also a destination that is actively working towards sustainability and environmental conservation, with many of the resorts running on renewable energy and promoting sustainable practices.
Like paradise on Earth! Crystal clear turquoise waters and pure white sands with palm trees sprinkled all around. There are holiday villas on stilts in the ocean just oozing luxury. I can imagine it’s a place that I’d never want to return from. Just look at the gorgeous holidays available here and you’ll see exactly why it’s a must-see bucket list destination: https://www.destination2.co.uk/destinations/indian-ocean/maldives
3. Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island, located off the coast of New Zealand, is a destination that offers a true sense of isolation and tranquility. I saw this on Ben Fogle’s TV programme Lives in the Wild and I’ve been obsessed ever since! It looks like the perfect place to even relocate to as it’s remote and off-grid, but there is a friendly community there and even a shop and pub, along with a couple of schools.
The island is known for its rugged landscapes, including dense forests, rocky cliffs, and secluded beaches. It's an ideal destination for those looking for a nature-based adventure, with opportunities for hiking, fishing, and sea kayaking.
Great Barrier Island is also home to an array of wildlife, including the endangered kiwi bird and the little penguin. Visitors can take guided tours to spot these creatures in their natural habitats. The island also has a rich Maori history, visitors can learn about the island's cultural heritage by visiting the Kaitoke Hot Springs or popping to the Aotea Heritage Centre.
Great Barrier Island is only accessible by ferry or small plane, making it an obscure destination for those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With a population of only about 900 people, the island offers a true sense of isolation and a chance to reconnect with nature. It's a really stunning place to visit that wouldn’t be overrun with tourists.
Kenya, a country located in East Africa, is a destination that offers a true safari adventure. Known for its vast savannas, diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. Kenya is home to some of the most iconic wildlife in Africa, including the big five (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros) as well as other animals such as zebras, giraffes, and wildebeests. Visitors can take guided safari tours to spot these creatures in their natural habitats. You can book your Kenya Safari Holiday with Nelson Travel for the ultimate safari itinerary.
Kenya is also home to a diverse array of cultures, with over 40 different ethnic groups living in the country. Visitors can experience the unique culture and traditions of the Maasai and Samburu people by visiting their villages and learning about their way of life.
The country also boasts a wide range of landscapes, from the lush rainforests of the Aberdare Mountains to the vast deserts of the Northern Frontier District. From exploring the wild to immersing in the culture, Kenya offers a unique and authentic travel experience.
Kenya is not a usual tourist destination, but it offers a great opportunity to see the wild in a different perspective, away from the typical mass-tourism, and it's a destination that should be considered for those looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure.
Namibia, a country located in southwestern Africa, is a destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural diversity. Almost four hours away from Kenya by flight is Namibia, home to Etosha National Park, an incredible wildlife sanctuary. Apparently it has a salt pan so large, it can be seen from space! They are home to a diverse range of animals who are able to roam freely in Namibia with little influence from humans.
Known for its vast deserts, rugged mountains, and diverse wildlife, Namibia is a destination that offers a true sense of adventure. The landscape of savannahs, open grassland, salt pans and desert looks stunning.
One of the main attractions of Namibia is the Namib Desert, which is considered to be the oldest desert in the world and home to some of the most spectacular desert landscapes. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the desert, including hot air balloon rides, quad bike excursions, and 4x4 safaris.
Namibia is also home to a diverse array of cultures, with over 11 different ethnic groups living in the country. Visitors can experience the unique culture and traditions of the Himba people, known for their distinctive red ochre body paint and traditional clothing, by visiting their villages and learning about their way of life.
Namibia is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including elephants, lions, cheetahs, and many species of birds, which can be observed on guided safari tours. It's also a great destination for stargazing, thanks to its low light pollution.
Namibia is a destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and adventure, making it an obscure but intriguing destination for those looking for a unique travel experience.
6. Easter Island
Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, is a remote island located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, known for its mysterious ancient statues and rich cultural heritage. The island is home to more than 900 Moai statues, which are believed to have been carved by the Rapa Nui people between the 13th and 16th centuries. The Moai statues are considered one of the most important examples of ancient Polynesian culture and continue to be shrouded in mystery, with researchers still trying to uncover the meaning behind their creation and placement.
Visitors can take guided tours to learn about the island's history and culture, visiting the quarry where the Moai statues were carved, and the ceremonial village of Orongo, which was the center of the island's birdman cult. The island also offers the opportunity to hike around the volcano Rano Raraku, where the Moai were carved and dispersed around the island.
Easter Island is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including the endangered Rapa Nui Sparrow and the Easter Island Rail, which can be observed on guided tours. The island also offers a unique opportunity to experience the traditional Rapa Nui culture, with local artisans and craftspeople still practicing traditional skills such as carving, weaving, and tattooing.
7. The Dolomites
The Dolomites, located in northeastern Italy, is a hidden valley that offers a true blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. The Dolomites are characterized by their jagged peaks, picturesque alpine meadows, and crystal clear alpine lakes. The area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and skiing.
One of the main attractions of the Dolomites is the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, a group of three peaks that offer some of the most spectacular views in the area. Visitors can take guided tours to hike to the summit and witness the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and peaks.
The Dolomites are also home to a rich cultural heritage, with the area being home to several traditional alpine villages, such as Cortina d'Ampezzo, which offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Dolomites' inhabitants. Visitors can also experience the local cuisine, which is heavily influenced by the surrounding alpine environment and features dishes such as canederli (dumplings) and goulash.
8. The Azores
The Azores, an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, is a destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. The islands are known for their stunning landscapes, including lush green hills, volcanic craters, and cascading waterfalls. The Azores are also home to an abundance of wildlife, including dolphins, whales, and a wide variety of bird species. Visitors can take guided tours to spot these creatures in their natural habitats.
The Azores are also known for their unique culture and traditions, with strong influences from Portugal, the Azores offer a unique blend of Portuguese and Atlantic cultures. Visitors can experience the local culture by visiting the traditional villages, trying the local cuisine and experiencing the local festivals and events.
9. The Tromsø Region
The Tromsø Region, located in Northern Norway, is a destination that offers a true winter wonderland experience. Known for its picturesque landscapes, including snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes and fjords, the Tromsø region is a popular destination for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. The region is also home to the Northern Lights, which can be observed during the winter months. Visitors can take guided tours to witness this natural phenomenon.
10. The Danakil Desert
The Danakil Desert, located in northeastern Ethiopia, is a destination that offers a true land of extremes experience. Known for its otherworldly landscapes, including salt flats, volcanic craters, and hot springs, the Danakil Desert is a popular destination for those looking for a unique and unusual adventure. The desert is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including desert animals such as the desert warthog, desert fox and desert hare. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the desert and learn about the traditional way of life of the Afar people.
11. Glass igloo experience, Lapland, Finland
Finland, a country located in Northern Europe, is a destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. Known for its stunning landscapes, including forests, lakes and rivers, Finland is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, snowmobiling, and canoeing.
The Northern Lights manage to make their way onto many a bucket list. It isn’t hard to understand why, the natural beauty can illuminate the sky and creates an unforgettable moment. Most people aim for a remote spot and hope for the best - you need a clear sky and no light pollution. Did you know you can stay in a glass igloo in Finland and sleep under the stars? One of the unique experiences that Lapland in Finland offers is the opportunity to stay in glass-roofed igloos.
These igloos offer visitors the chance to witness the Northern Lights from the comfort of their bed, as well as the chance to experience the unique Finnish nature in a different way. These igloos are also equipped with all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay and provide an unforgettable experience.It is a luxurious experience, bringing you all the wonders of nature in a cosy and comfortable setting.
12. Opera Tours, Italy
If you have a passion for classical music, why not combine it with your next getaway? There are some amazing opera holidays available. You can explore the beautiful country and experience opera the way you’re meant to, in beautiful, historic buildings with just the right acoustics. Take a sip of Italian wine, listen to the opera and take in the scenery. Your senses will be blown away and you’ll leave with memories that are sure to last you a lifetime.
Some of the most popular destinations for opera tours in Italy include:
- Milan: Milan is home to La Scala, one of the most famous opera houses in the world. La Scala is known for its acoustics and is the home of the La Scala Opera Ballet and La Scala Theatre Chorus.
- Verona: Verona is home to the Arena di Verona, an ancient Roman amphitheater that is still in use today for opera performances. The Arena di Verona is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world and is known for its impressive acoustics.
- Florence: Florence is home to the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, an opera house that is known for its beautiful architecture and acoustics. The Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is the home of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, an annual music festival that features opera, ballet, and concert performances.
- Rome: Rome is home to the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, an opera house that is known for its beautiful architecture and acoustics. The Teatro dell'Opera di Roma is the home of the Rome Opera Ballet and the Rome Opera Chorus.
- Venice: Venice is home to the Teatro La Fenice, one of the most famous opera houses in Italy. It has a rich history and offers a variety of opera performances throughout the year.
These are some of the most popular destinations for opera tours in Italy, but there are many other opera venues and festivals throughout the country that can be visited as well.
Visiting Italy as a family? Here's how to make the most of exploring Italy with kids.
13. Biking and Barging, Croatia
When you hear Croatia, you’re most likely to picture crystal blue waters and ancient cities. You can get the best of both worlds by exploring the beautiful country by bike and boat. It can be a tour like no other as you get to experience the best that Croatia has to offer. You can cycle through pieces of history, before boarding a boat and absorbing all of the beautiful sights of this gorgeous country. A biking and barging holiday in Croatia is a unique getaway idea that combines the excitement of cycling through beautiful landscapes with the relaxation of cruising along the waterways on a traditional barge.
Croatia is known for its stunning natural beauty, with a diverse range of landscapes that include lush green forests, rolling hills, and crystal clear waters. Biking through these landscapes allows visitors to experience the natural beauty of Croatia in a unique and intimate way, while also providing a sense of adventure and freedom. The country also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with picturesque villages and historic towns that are steeped in tradition, offering a unique opportunity to experience the local culture.
Barging along the waterways of Croatia allows visitors to experience the country from a different perspective, cruising along the coast and through the islands, with the opportunity to explore the many hidden coves and beaches that are only accessible by boat. The traditional barges, known as "kompas," are comfortable and offer all the necessary amenities for a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
One of the best regions in Croatia for a biking and barging holiday is the Dalmatian Coast, which offers a wide range of activities and attractions, including beautiful beaches, historic towns, and National Parks. The region is well-known for its beautiful islands, such as Hvar and Brač, which are easily accessible by boat. Biking along the coast allows visitors to experience the natural beauty of the region, while also providing access to charming villages and historic towns.
14. Asturias & Covadonga Convent, Spain
This has previously been voted as Europe’s top hidden treasure. Asturias and Covadonga Convent offers a unique blend of natural beauty and spiritual significance. Asturias, located in the northwest of Spain, is a region known for its stunning natural beauty, including lush green forests, rugged mountains, and crystal-clear rivers. The region is also home to the Covadonga Convent, which is considered one of the most important spiritual sites in Spain.
The Covadonga Convent is located in a stunning natural setting, nestled in the mountains of Asturias. It is dedicated to the Virgin of Covadonga, the patron saint of Asturias, and is considered the birthplace of the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The Convent is also home to a church, a museum, and a pilgrimage center, which offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the history and spiritual significance of the site.
The Covadonga Convent is a unique destination that offers a blend of natural beauty and spiritual significance. Visiting the Convent allows visitors to experience the natural beauty of Asturias while also learning about the region's rich cultural and spiritual heritage. The Convent is an ideal destination for those looking for a unique getaway that combines outdoor adventure and spiritual exploration.
Spain has something for everyone: historic sites, glorious beaches for sunbathing, numerous hikes and delicious dinner spots. It's no wonder people want to live in Spain and many move there. It is adrenaline, adventure and ancient all wrapped into one. You can make your holiday exactly what you want to be. You can go kayaking or quad biking. Equally you can spend an entire day exploring important places of Spanish history. Just make sure you go out and discover this gem for yourself.
15. Brasov, Romania
How about paying a visit to the land of Dracula? Except for Bran Castle, aka Dracula Castle, which is the country's most popular tourist attraction, Romania truly is one of Europe's hidden gems. There are plenty of exciting things to do in Brasov other than visiting medieval castles, and one of the most popular activities is to go on a bear-watching tour.
Yeah, you read that right! Romania is home to the largest brown bear population in Europe and is considered to be the continent's last wilderness reserve. And besides bears, many wild animals live in the mountains (wolves, lynx, deer, wild boars, etc). So if you're into hiking, you can see them with a specialist wildlife guide. Where else can you do this in Europe?
This is just a snippet of some of the most obscure places to visit on Earth and how to get the most out of your travel experience with off-the-beaten-track destinations and activity ideas. There are so many incredible places around the world and I have this feeling that we are only here once and I’m running out of time to see them all...!
Looking for an unusual travel activity too? How about walking the Camino de Santiago?