Sure, we’ve all heard of the Galapagos Islands, the Eiffel Tower, and the Eye of London. Some of us have even visited these beautiful locations. But today we want to bring you the world’s top 10 less-known tourist destinations, because sometimes you just want to stray off the beaten path. You want to enjoy sights and sounds that not many have access to, simply because a bit of privacy and exclusivity are what you need, in order to recharge. So here are our top 10 picks:
10. Albarracin, Aragon, Spain
This tiny town, with a population of a little over 1000 inhabitants in the province of Teruel, is part of an autonomous region called Aragon. It’s beautiful, though, set among stony hills worth exploring at leisure. Its touristic and historic value not only puts it at number 10 on our list of less-known tourist destinations, but has also seen it declared a Monumento Nacional in Spain, in 1961.
9. The overhanging gardens of Marquyessac, Dordogne, France
Situated in southwestern France, these incredible gardens look almost too beautiful to be real – as if they were taken out of a picture story book. Like many other locations on this here list, they’re also a National Historical Monument. Visitors to this magical realm can enjoy walks down more than 6 kilometers of pathways in the shade, on the edges of which lie 150,000 boxwoods pruned by hand and more than one century old.
8. Swallow’s Nest, Crimea, Ukraine
As of the date this article was written, visiting Crimea was not such a good idea, given the imminence of an armed conflict in the region. Hopefully, though, the beautiful decorative castle built in 1911-1912 will survive the war, should one begin there. It’s located in the small spa town of Gaspra, close to Yalta and oversees the landscape that opens atop Aurora Cliff. You can see the Cape of Ai-Todor on the Black Sea Coast from there, as well as the remains of an impressive Roman castrum.
7. Chefchaouen/Chaoue, Morocco
This dream-like town in northwestern Morocco is famous all around the world for its beautiful blue buildings, but it also boasts an impressive location, in the Rif Mountains. Both Tangier and Tetouan lie close to this ancient city, built in 1471. There is a lot of history here, from Moriscos and Jews, to Portuguese invasions, to many other tales of war and prosperity.
6. Sintra, Portugal
Have you ever visited Lisbon? Then you have no excuse for having missed Sintra, a small town that boasts some 45 castles and palaces. To boot, it’s only a 45 minute train ride away from the Portuguese capital, so if you’re in the area, then you definitely have to go visit it. Pictured above is perhaps the most beautiful palace in Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira – but there are plenty others to see, too. The town, a popular favorite of the British Romantic poets, has preserved much of its historic charm.
5. Popeye Village, Malta
The cute little homes pictured above are located in Popeye Village, otherwise known as Sweethaven Vilalge. They’re located in the northwestern corner of the Mediterranean isle of Malta, two miles away from Melliena, another quaint little village. The village pictured above was actually built to serve as the set for the 1980 live-action musical Popeye, starring Robin Williams. Today it serves as both an amusement park and a museum.
4. Taormina, Sicily, Italy
The commune of Taormina is too lovely and quaint to have been omitted from our list of less-known tourist destinations. It’s located in Messina, on the east coast of the world-renowned Italian island of Sicily. There are so many things to enjoy here, it’s almost ridiculous: from beautiful beaches to an aerial tramway, warm waters, and, of course, the amazing local food to be found all over Italy.
3. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK
Ever wondered what the fairies’ home looks like? Look no further than the Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle. This large glen on the southern coast of Scotland’s Isle of Skye opens into a sea loch and is towered over by the massive Cuillin, the largest of the mountains on the island. But by far the main attraction here is the stream with waterfalls, which everyone lovingly refers to as the Fairy Pools. Take a walk, a hike, or even bike there – you will love it!
2. Zhangye Danxia, China
The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Parks in southwest China are usually referred to as ‘the Rainbow Mountains’, or simply the Danxia landforms. They look surreal, thanks to the presence of red sandstone and several other minerals, which have been amassing there for the past 24 million years. Each layer you see in the picture above is a different mineral – and this type of formation cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. That’s why this is one of the few landforms on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
1. Mont Saint-Michel, France
Of the many beautiful sights to see in France in general, but also in Normandy particularly, there is none more impressive than the Mont Saint-Michel. It tops our list of less-known tourist destinations for its sheer size and beauty: there’s so much appeal and history on this island of just 100 hectares and 44 inhabitants. There are ancient fortifications there’s an abbey, but there’s also the beautiful sight of the sea and Couesnon River.