Although all of the well-known wonders of the world are worth a visit, there are some that remain a secret to most tourists. If truth be told, at times it is best to get off the beaten path and visit places that have so much more to offer than we’d like to imagine – when paired with fewer crowds, certain lesser known tourist destinations are the perfect pick.
See, there’s more to the world than the same old hot tourist spots that guidebooks have long been mentioning for decades. Everyone visits the Eiffel Tower when they travel to France or that beautiful museum the Louvre. All of us know of the Golden Gate Bridge and Cathedrals in Vatican City. However, seeing all these destinations over and over again is going to make you miss something else – something that visiting the 10 secret or lesser-known destinations mentioned below is going to offer.
Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride as we present our list of 10 secret places that every tourist should know of:
10 Huacachina, Peruvian Desert
Located five hours south of Lima, Huacachina is a desert oasis that is the perfect destination for adventurous travelers. It features a naturally formed lake for which legend has it that a young bathing princess was suddenly discovered by a hunter. When she fled, she left behind a pool of water, which is this lake today. It is also believed that her flowing cloak formed the sand dunes surrounding the lake.
The most interesting adventure tour that is offered to visitors of Huacachina is the dune buggy and sandboarding tour. Not only is the tour thrilling, it is jaw-dropping too as you will be transported deep into the desert so as to witness huge sand dunes on the coast. Oh, and if you want to be a bit more adventurous, feel free to sandboard down the dunes – the experience is going to be nothing short of beautiful and surreal!
If that isn’t enough, you can take winery tours as well as flights over the famous Nazca lines to explore the beauty that it has to offer. Lastly, tourists can also enjoy boat tours to see Humboldt penguins and sea lions.
9 North Sentinel Island
This top secret island has most of its area covered by forest apart from a narrow beach. The only thing known about this island is that it has a network of pathways and a few small villages inside. Anyone who dares to approach the island is killed in the most brutal manner possible and eaten.
The Sentinelese people have long rejected any outsiders with extremely hostility. They are basically hunter-gatherers who have literally isolated themselves for the past 60,000 years from outsiders. With that, it is safe to assume that they are amongst the last groups of people who have remained unaffected by modern civilization and technology.
8 Samarkand, Uzbekistan
If you wish to visit a place where beauty, legend and history weave themselves together like a magical mirage, then Samarkand is where you need to go. This beautiful city is home to ancient mosques together with the famous mausoleum of Tamerlane. For all that it has to offer, Samarkand has been titled the ‘Crossroads of Culture’ by UNESCO – and for good reason.
Situated in the valley of Zerafshan, Samarkand is the second largest city of Uzbekistan and has long been termed as the “Rome of the East”, the “beauty of sublunary countries”, and the “pearl of the Eastern Muslim World” by poets and historians. Here, tourists get to witness unique monuments of ancient architecture, beautiful artisan workshops, an extensive heritage of scientific and arts school and a whole lot more!
7 Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives
This restaurant offers a dining experience that you just might not be able to find anywhere else in the world. This beautiful underwater restaurant is situated below the Indian Ocean and allows visitors to dine while witnessing schools of colorful fish and graceful sharks.
Ithaa was designed by a New Zealand-based design consultancy firm known as M.J. Murphy Ltd. The structure was shipped to Maldives in one piece after being assembled in Singapore. The dining experience here is simply incomparable with a varied menu that offers a blend of international and Maldivian cuisine.
6 Chefchaouen in Northwest Morocco
This is perhaps the only place on Earth where you will find special blue painted buildings. Chefchaouen is a beautiful small, quiet city that is located deep within the Rif Mountains found in Northwest Morocco.
To make things interesting, the ancient part of the city, which is known as ‘the medina’, is covered in many different shades of blue paint. Believe it or not every street, alleyway, wall and most homes in this part of the city are painted blue. I suppose that explains why this stunning city known as The Blue Pearl of Morocco.
5 Garajonay National Park, Canary Islands
This park looks like something out of a dream as most of it is shrouded in mists drifting in from the Atlantic all year long. The park is known for its twisted laurisilva trees, extensive carpets of mist and delicate flowers.
The dense forest found at Garajonay consists of various plant species that are usually surrounded by mist, giving the forest a somewhat magical appearance. To make it more interesting, the fog is intercepted by the forest itself, which assists in the production of moisture load that is necessary for the survival of a green territory located in an arid island. Most of the component tree species in this forest are similar to the laurel, which is the reason why it has been classified as one of the laurisilva forests or evergreen laurel.
4 Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is a famous historical region that is situated in Central Anatolia, largely in the Kayseri, Nevsehir, Nigde and Aksaray provinces of Turkey. It is basically a relief that boasts of a high plateau that is believed to be over 1000 meters in altitude. It features extensive volcanic peaks amongst which Mount Erciyes (ancient Argaeus) is the tallest at 3916m.
The most important towns and destinations that tourists should definitely check out when visiting Cappadocia include Kayseri, Nevsehir, Nigde, Aksaray, Ihlara Valley, Zelve, Avanos, Uchisar, Selime, Guzelyurt and Goreme. Tourists can also indulge in hot-air ballooning and trekking.
3 Lake Baikal, Russia
More than 5,000 feet deep (16437m), Lake Baikal holds nearly 20% of all the world’s fresh water and is the oldest lake in the world as well as one of the largest. The lake extends all through south-eastern Siberia to north of the Mongolian border. According to geologists, Lake Baikal is a reflection of what the seaboards of North America, Europe, and Africa used to be like before they separated millions of years ago.
The beautiful clear waters of Lake Baikal are home to a number of marine species that are found nowhere else. This includes the world’s only freshwater seal and the seals’ favorite food known as the golomyanka.
2 Green Lake, Austria
Located just below the Hochschwab mountains alongside the town of Tragoess is Grüner See (“Green Lake” in English). Why is this lake so special? Well, because of the fact that unlike other lakes, this one LITERALLY changes with the seasons.
During winters, Green Lake remains about three to six feet deep and has a parkland that is perfect for explorations and hiking surrounding it. But as soon as spring begins and the temperature rises a bit, the snow and ice from the surrounding mountains starts melting and then makes its way to the land below. During the summers, the lake becomes about 40 feet deep and becomes a major attraction for scuba divers. The green color of the lake is due to the foliage and grass that is found on the bottom of its basin.
1 Spanish Synagogue, Prague
A true cultural jewel, this ancient synagogue is found in Prague’s historic Jewish Quarter. It is known for its outstanding displays of Moorish-styled design and architecture that is considered one of the best in the entire world.
The reason why it came to be known as the Spanish Synagogue is because of its Moorish interior design that is influenced by the famous Alhambra. Its permanent exhibitions include the Synagogue Silver from Bohemia and Moravia and The History of the Jews in Bohemia and Moravia, Part 2.