5 Unforgettable Holiday Destinations off the Beaten Path

These hidden gems are waiting for your visit

Jan 17, 2018
On the banks of the Wall Lake, Alberta, Canada

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Popular tourist destinations certainly have their perks, but when going off the beaten path, tourists can experience the true authenticity of a new place while enjoying a non-tourist holiday. At the lesser-known travel destinations below, true adventure seekers can discover incredible hidden gems while avoiding large crowds and kitschy attractions.

1. GOA, INDIA

While many may not consider Goa the “real India”, this gorgeous state in the southwest of the country has 101 km (63 mi) of coastline stretching along the Arabian Sea. For a resort destination on a smaller scale that still feels authentic, tourists can escape to a paradise of pristine, remote beaches while exploring waterfalls hidden in the surrounding jungle. The north of the state has plenty of parties in places like Anjuna or Arambol while other, more secluded beaches offer a quiet, relaxing holiday. In a place where time doesn’t exist, travelers sunbathe and enjoy a cold drink by sunset before feasting on delicious curries and naans.

Tropical beach in Goa on a background of palm trees

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2. GEORGIA

A trip to Georgia literally goes off the beaten path, offering ample activities for active travelers like horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. In between copious servings of wine and cheese, visitors can walk off the calories while taking in the views of Georgia’s breathtaking mountain scenery and green valleys dotted with old churches and vineyards. A trek through the Caucasus Mountains leads to Ushguli, the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe. Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, provides a more cultural experience with impressive architecture, hot bathhouses, delicious dining, and funky bars.

View of Ushguli village and grand ridges that lights up. Location Lamaria Church Jgrag, Upper Svaneti, Georgia, Europe. Main Caucasian Ridge.

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3. VANUATU

Nestled in the South Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu is an archipelago consisting of 83 islands formed by volcanoes some 1,750 kms (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia. Visitors can go island-hopping by inter island ferries or tiny prop planes to explore Vanuata’s secluded beaches. Many of the villages don’t have any roads at all, and tourists get around by all-terrain vehicles and 4WD trucks. A truck ride takes travelers up to one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes, Mount Yasur on Tanna Island, spewing red hot magma every few minutes. Meanwhile, the reefs and shipwrecks in the surrounding waters give divers world-class scuba diving and snorkeling.

Red canoes sit on the beach in Port Olry, Vanuatu

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4. NEPAL

Tourists follow in the footsteps of the world’s great mountaineers on a trip to Nepal’s Everest base camp. The trek brings hikers on the adventure of a lifetime right to the foot of the world’s highest mountain peak. Along the way, trekkers rest in Nepalese tea houses while also encountering Sherpa villages and the ancient Thami and Tengboche monasteries. Although not for the faint of heart, active travelers get a dramatic and picturesque view of the Nepalese Himalaya while learning about the local traditions and cultures.

Goup of climbers in the Himalayas, view on peaks Lingtren, Pumori and Khumbutse. Rescue helicopter in action, Nepal

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5. DORSET, ENGLAND

While many tourists tend to stay within the confines of London when visiting the UK, a few hours drive southwest brings passengers to the picturesque Dorset County. With miles and miles of golden, sandy beaches and postcard villages in the countryside, the stunning Dorset landscape has inspired artists, writers, and scientists alike over the years. Travellers can hunt for fossils or look out from the top of peaks along the Jurassic Coast, England’s only World Heritage Site. Quaint villages like Lyme Regis offer a quintessentially English experience with its dog-friendly pubs, inns, and gardens overlooking the English channel. Visitors can also shop for local delicacies while snacking on fresh seafood and, of course, the obligatory fish and chips.

Famous view of Picturesque cottages on cobbled street at Gold Hill, Shaftesbury Dorset England UK Europe

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.