There are some tourist attractions that definitely can’t be missed: The Vatican in Rome, Eiffel Tower in Paris, Westminster Abbey in London are among a few places that’s on every traveler’s bucket list. But there are plenty of places under the radar that deserve a chance to make it to that list as well. The Week spoke to a few frequent travelers to find out some less promoted destinations that they think we should consider the next time we make travel plans. Here are five such places you can pick from.
Yap and Palau (Instead of Fiji, Bora Bora) There are hidden gem islands all over the world (for instance, the Andaman islands) but Yap and Palau are incredibly easy to get to as well. Yes, there will be some connecting flights for us Nepalis but these islands with all the beauty of other pacific islands and some really interesting twists are worth the long flight hours and layovers. Yap has an untouched culture and some of the best diving spots in the world. And Palau is also a great dive spot, but it is also incredibly scenic with unique dome rocks scattered with mazes of crystal blue water. Not only is this place beautiful, and less touristy (and hence less crowded), it will actually give landlocked people like us plenty of opportunities to explore the water world.
Zakynthos, Greece (Instead of other Greek/Mediterranean islands) Zakynthos is perhaps the most underrated travel destination. It isn’t completely unknown as its famous Navagio beach is getting plastered everywhere since TripAdvisor made it prominent in their design. But the amount of tourism it gets is nothing compared to so many other Greek islands. Also, the culture and food resembles that of Italy a lot due it being ruled by the Italians for many years. It is a fabulous mix of the best of Greece and the best of Italy. From the culture to the crystal clear water, this is a must visit. And those who have been there say that Zaknythos in Greece is a trip of a lifetime. There’s something that’s truly fascinating and unique about this place.
Sri Lanka (Instead of Thailand) Sri Lanka has everything but since it’s limited to a comparatively smaller area, you can explore and enjoy all that it has to offer in a 10-day trip. People who have been there confess that Sri Lanka is a less intense and more tourist friendly version of India. Few places have as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area. Sri Lanka’s history, culture and natural beauty are undeniably alluring. Here you can discover a favorite beach, meditate in a 2000-year-old temple, stroll through villages each with its own unique culture while marveling at birds and wildflowers, and try to keep count of the little dishes that come with your rice and curry. It has beaches, safaris, mountains, culture, food – anything you want to make sure you trip is worth the time and effort and that you come back recharged. Also, the tea plantations in Sri Lanka is a must visit. You can choose to trek there or just see them from a spectacular train ride.
Colmar, France (Instead of Venice, Italy) Forget taking an overpriced gondola ride in Venice and visit one of the most romantic cities in Europe, Colmar. This French town is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the border of Germany, and looks like something straight out of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. If you really want a gondola ride along picturesque canals then that’s there in Colmar too. You can also stroll down the cobblestone streets that are lined with colorful, half-timbered houses, or take a romantic boat tour down little Venice, the town’s winding river. Known as the “Alsatian wine capital” along France’s famous Alsace wine route, you should make sure to explore one of the many vineyards in the area, and clink glasses over some of the best wine you have ever tasted. People who have been there say Colmar is so pretty that it doesn’t feel real. And because the historic center is pedestrianized and compact you can explore much of it on foot.
Hamburg, Germany (Instead of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Like Amsterdam, its old city flanks a series of mirror-like canals and its character-packed buildings have brick facades and copper roofs. This historic city core has its undeniable charms, but the more industrial Hafen City area is the new heartbeat of Hamburg. Here you’ll find a handful of concept shops and indie brand flagships. One of Germany’s wealthiest cities, Hamburg got the nod for its welcoming atmosphere, excellent public transportation, the closeness of major attractions and the welcoming nature of its people. Among Hamburg’s many other facets are a network of canals reminiscent of Amsterdam; lakes, parks, and verdant suburbs full of gracious houses; elegant shopping arcades; richly endowed museums; and a vibrant cultural life. These are among the attractions that have contributed to a growing tourist industry. Although it was badly damaged during World War II, Hamburg has succeeded in maintaining a sense of old-world grace alongside its thriving commercial life.