Off-the-beaten-track travel allows you to have unique experiences rather than simply following in the footsteps of millions of travelers before you. Whether you’re dreaming of a rustic tropical paradise or castes you thought only existed in storybooks, there’s a place for you to visit. Following are just five exceptional destinations.
Greenland is not typically thought of as a tourist destination. However, an increasing number of travelers are falling under its spell. Mesmerizing landscapes, pristine fjords full of mysterious icebergs, and a unique culture are waiting there to be discovered and enjoyed. Greenland’s largest city, Nuuk, has less than 20,000 citizens. Despite its small size, Nuuk has a vibrant cultural scene, with outstanding restaurants and nightlife. Nuuk even has an international airport.
Chena Hot Springs
Situated approximately 50 miles east of Alaska’s second-largest city, Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs offers an ethereal ambiance complete with a natural light show in the form of the aurora borealis. The geothermal hot springs keep guests toasty warm even when temperatures plunge to well below freezing. Accommodations in the area include modern lodges and restaurants. Those who would prefer to visit during summer won’t be able to view the aurora, but they may feel as if the midnight sun makes up for it.
The Cook Islands
Visitors to the Cook Islands are treated to crystal clear waters, some of the most diverse marine life on the planet, and the charming hospitality of the Polynesian people. There are 15 islands here, each one with its own special charm. Whether you choose to go island hopping or remain in one place during your stay, you’ll enjoy an unspoiled tropical paradise. Snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts particularly love this location because of its stunning coral reefs and colorful fish. Because the weather is beautiful all year round, there is no bad time of year to visit the Cook Islands.
Situated off the eastern coast of the African continent, Madagascar is the biggest island in the Indian Ocean. It offers incredible biodiversity, including its iconic lemurs, orchids, birds, and baobab trees. Because Madagascar was cut off from the African mainland millions of years ago, its animal and plant life evolved in isolation, leading to the island’s renowned diversity. Human civilization in Madagascar is also relatively undeveloped, and the lifestyle of the locals is relaxed and unhurried.
Antarctica is the farthest you can go off the beaten path without leaving Planet Earth. Accessible only by cruise ship, Antarctica offers amazing natural beauty. You’ll see iconic penguins, whales, seabirds, seals, and icebergs. The polar sunsets are magical to the point of being otherworldly. Their bright red, orange, and pink hues are reflected back in crystal clear waters near the Antarctic Peninsula, making a stunning spectacle among the icebergs. Traveling to Antarctica is also an incredible learning experience. The cruise ships have onboard scientists who provide presentations about the continent’s ecology and history. With no noise or light pollution, Antarctica offers immense peace and quiet.