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All you need to do is scroll through your various social media accounts to discover that, when it comes to holiday destinations, people aren’t very inventive. The usual suspects: NYC, London, Paris, Bali, Venice, and Rome immediately spring to mind. In a way this makes a lot of sense – you’re unlikely to blow thousands of dollars travelling to a place you’re unfamiliar with, just on the off chance that it could be great. Having said that, if you are looking for a holiday destination that is both amazing and not the usual Eiffel Tower-selfie-stick fare — and not too far off the beaten track either — check out this list of places that not everyone has on their wish list, but should.
During the ‘50s and ‘60s Tangier was a popular location for beat poets, visual artists, musicians, and those wishing to drop off the map for a lazy while – Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Bob Dylan are among the iconic artists who developed a love affair with the region.
An independent international zone at one time, Tangier was beloved for its lawless nature – seen as the gateway between Europe and Africa, the region was also rife with strong hash, crime, and cheap living conditions, and the fact that it wasn’t officially governed by Morocco made it perfect for rail-hopping, whiskey slugging beatniks.
While those days are long gone, the city retains its exotic, otherworldly charm, and has blossomed into a major city, with numerous industries popping up in the past half-century. Ride the TGV express train to Casablanca for a remarkable day trip, and double your fun.
Close enough that the flights aren’t daunting, and breathtaking in its natural beauty, Samoa is an overlooked holiday destination, mostly due to the congestion of seemingly-similar tourist experiences on offer. But beyond the crystalline beaches you see on postcards lie a number of stunning natural hotspots.
The To Sua Ocean Trench in Lotofaga is one of the world’s most beautiful watering holes – surrounded by lush foliage, boasting clear, unpolluted water, and a series of caves that link to the nearby Pacific Ocean.
If less tranquility and more action is what you’re seeking, check out the Alofaaga Blowholes on the Savaii island – naturally developing over thousands of years, the blowholes shoot jets of water some 25 metres into the water, a spectacle which is only matched by that of locals showing off to the tourists and throwing massive items into the streams, to be destroyed by the forceful blasts of water.
A country in the Balkans, Montenegro is tiny – it really feels like a number of disparate locations were smashed together in unique harmony – like a film set too beautiful to believe CGI isn’t involved.
Mountains lean out of the sea, villages are split by pulsing rivers, and ancient, unique structures dot the landscape. Villages are ancient and walled like the day of old, with centuries-old churches, mosques, villas, and the like effortlessly transporting you back hundreds of years. Which isn’t to say the place has been left behind by technology – it’s just that you’ll lean on it less.
Slovenia is often overlooked when it comes to European trip itineraries, despite its favourable proximity, and the stunning blend of lakes, ice-capped mountains, Venice-style canal villages, and medieval castles. Perhaps at stark odds with the pristine beauty of the place, Slovenia boasts a thriving punk music scene – as well a number of notable techno DJs.
More traditional tourists can enjoy breathtaking hiking trails, the numerous ski resorts, and shopping and dining in the lively, quaint villages dotted around the land.
Arriving in Cappadocia is “like landing on another planet” according to the tourism slogan, with striking rock formations, quaint ancient valleys, and inactive volcanos giving a fairytale edge to the place.
Aside from the interesting terrain, what makes this a singular holiday destination is the series of underground caves, many of which have been transformed into fully-liveable hotels. Imagine staying in a cave carved out thousands of years ago, before surfacing in the morning and taking a luxurious hot air balloon ride across the skies, looking down at rock formations so wondrous the locals call them “fairy chimneys.” Bless!
Posted by Nathan Jolly
Images sourced from Shutterstock.
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