Whether you are planning for your summer vacation or for a monumental multi-leg trip, consider visiting some off-the-beaten path countries. This year’s list of best places to travel has options for the culture lover, the foodie, the sunbather, the explorer and more, most of them are only just experiencing major tourism.
1. Juneau, Alaska:
Although Alaska is not necessarily the first place people think of when planning a vacation, Juneau has a lot to offer for culture seekers. Get a piece of mining and the city’s history by visiting the Last Chance Mining Museum or learn more about the area’s pioneer history at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.
Old mansions, ancient religious buildings, Amazonian rainforests, volcanoes and a coastal port are now easily traveled to from Quito, the capital city, by the country’s extensive railway network. Shop at Andean villages, renowned for their colorful textiles and sprawling markets, and spend the striking sunsets dining on fresh seafood.
Slow-paced and cobble-stoned lined, most of Portugal embodies the quaint appeal expected of little European towns. Culture lovers will enjoy the Medieval architecture of churches and monasteries. With pastry shops and taverns tempting you from every corner, Portugal will lure you with its charm and keep you spellbound.
Unexpectedly scenic and recently inexpensive, Iceland has been voted the most tourist-friendly by Lonely Planet. Horseback riding, glacier walks, sea kayaking and hunting are just some of the options available to active tourists. If you are more of a wildlife fan, whale-watching tours and visits to nesting sites of puffins are a few of the unique activities in Iceland.
Turkey offers something for every traveler, and with new, inexpensive airlines flying into the country, exploring historic towns and ruins is easier and less expensive than ever before. Explore Istanbul and view Mount Erciyes; take cruises and hot air balloon excursions, or try out the new walking trails—Turkey’s exoticism and accessibility makes it a must-see before it becomes overrun with tourist traps.
Thailand has just about everything any travel can ever want. From stunning beaches, amazing natural beauty and bustling vibrant cities, and with the development in its transport infrastructure moving from one place to the next has never been simpler. However as the word spreads about just how amazing Thailand is, every day it is becoming more and more touristy, so be sure to visit Thailand as soon as possible to make sure you do not miss out on its ancient beauty.
Breathtaking views and beautiful beaches are the main draws, but far from the only attractions, Montenegro offers a little something for everyone. Viewing historic towns, hiking in mountains, or taking a cycling tour along the countryside, Montenegro is an affordable option for a trip to Europe.
8. Destin, Florida:
If snorkeling, sailing and building intricate sand castles are on your to-do list this summer, you’ll definitely want to take the opportunity to visit this side of Florida. Experience the beach side life with Destin condo rentals and learn how to scuba, swim with the dolphins and much more.
Namibia is ideal for the budget traveler who wants to explore southern Africa. Etosha National Park and the Skeleton Coast are just a few of the main attractions of Namibia, but the striking landscape of this desert country is not the only thing that Namibia offers. The country also offers a variety of fun day activities for adventurous, outdoorsy travelers. Swakopmund, a quaint, German-inflected town, offers nearby quad-biking, sand-boarding, sand-skiing, parasailing and dozens of other guided adrenaline inducing activities.
Picturesque and small, Slovenia is less expensive place than usual places in Europe to ski, trek, hike and raft to your hearts’ content. Ideal for active tourists and culture lovers, the quaint towns and scenic destinations are located close to one another, so exploration of the country is easier on the wallet, especially with their extensive public transportation.
Whatever you plan for your trip, consider these locations as a destination. Budget-friendly, relatively untraveled, and offering a wide variety of activities, any of the countries on this list will make finicky travelers happy.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from California whose writing covers several different industries, including travel, health, manufacturing, technology and more. She loves traveling around the world with her family.