Exploring new places is something everyone should do in their lifetime. You can learn so much from visiting a new city, country, or continent, not just about the culture, history, or people of that place, but also about yourself.
Travelling is rewarding in so many ways. You can gain so much life experience from opening yourself up to new adventures, new foods, new languages, new friends, and new challenges. You can gain skills, like communication skills, learn how to be flexible and overcome obstacles, learn how to think on your feet and learn how to face your fears and step out of your comfort zone. Regardless of how far you go, whether you travel to a city an hour away, five hours away, or twenty hours away, you can really get to know who you are, what you love, and what you value most in this world.
Of course, when you travel to new places, especially countries that are less fortunate or developed, it’s important to travel sustainably, respectfully and responsibly. Decide carefully on how you spend your tourism money, where you stay, where you shop, and where you eat. Choose local accommodations, restaurants, and shops, and pick tours or excursions that benefit the locals in some way.
With that said, travelling to the popular destinations is great, and most worldly explorers will want to check off those cities from their bucket lists, but maybe it’s time to change it up and choose a destination you would not normally think of. Sure, some of these destinations aren’t for everyone, especially if you have a specific kind of trip in mind and are maybe a little more inexperienced as a traveller. Not all of these destinations make for an easy trip, but if you are up for an adventure, try one of these places for your next holiday.
Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos, Corfu, and Crete are all islands that pop up on every travel blog’s list of the best Greek islands to visit, because of their world-renowned beaches, nature, sunsets, history, and nightlife. There are many other islands to visit that you may not have even considered, and a good one to mention is the island of Kelafonia.
The biggest of the Greek Ionian Islands, Kelafonia is known for its spectacular beaches and slow-paced, laid-back towns. Stay in one of the many luxury villas in Kelafonia, eat what the locals eat, and enjoy the stunning views the island has to offer. The landscape is mountainous, so if you want to go for a hike, there are plenty of picturesque trails to embark on. If you want to relax by the beach, there are many beautiful hidden beaches to choose from, and of course, the local hospitality is everything you would expect from Greece.
Latvia is a hidden gem with white sand beaches on the coast of the Baltic Sea. There is much to discover in Latvia’s capital Riga, which was named the European Capital of Culture in 2014. Check out all the history the city has to offer, as well as the historic towns that dot the countryside, including many churches and castles, rich with stories to tell anyone who visits.
If nature is more your calling, Gauja National Park is the largest national park in Latvia full of breathtaking landscapes. The park is most well-known for its sandstone cliffs, as well as the Gauja River, which borders Latvia and Estonia.
Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is a lesser-known travel destination but is full of culture and entertainment. The city is alive with bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, so if you’re a foodie, this is a good spot to head to. There are even floating lounges along the Danube and Sava rivers, which are essentially anchored rafts where club-goers can beat the summer heat, sip their favourite drinks, and listen to all kinds of music. During the day, you can learn about Serbia’s rich history and visit the ancient fortress Beogradska Tvrdava, which is made up of the old citadel and Kalemegdan Park and also puts on events during the summer months.
This south-eastern African nation is truly off the beaten path. Not open to visitors and travellers until fairly recently, not many people have ventured into this country. Now a safer place to visit, more and more people are discovering what a hidden gem it really is. Beautiful beaches, delicious food, and friendly locals await around every corner. Head to the capital city, Maputo, to take in the turn-of-the-century architecture, but the best Mozambique has to offer are in its coastal cities like Tofo where beaches are plentiful, beautiful, and most excitingly: free of tourists.
Canada might not seem like it’s off the beaten path, but if you skip the popular cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary, you can find some real hidden gems, like St. John’s, in Newfoundland. Located on the east coast of the country, Newfoundland and Labrador is a wonderfully diverse destination, best visited between May and September.
With nearly 29,000 kilometres of untouched coastline to explore, the views are remarkable. Choose from around 200 trails to explore, or grab a kayak and you just might be able to catch some humpback whales passing through the province. There are also icebergs that float off the coast from Greenland between late May and early June, so you don’t need to travel to the Arctic to see them. If you are heading to the area in autumn, you certainly won’t miss out on any views – take a boat ride down the Humber River and see the gorgeous colours of the forests that line the water. Plus, since St. John’s is a coastal town, there is an abundance of fresh seafood which the welcoming and friendly locals are more than happy to serve up for you.
No matter what kind of trip you’re looking for, or wherever you end up, remember to always explore your destination of choice fully and with as much of an open mind as you possibly can. You never know what kind of adventures await, especially if you venture out somewhere you didn’t think of before.