Let’s be real: we all have a carefully-curated travel bucketlist by now that’s filled with some of the most beautiful places in the world, like Bali and Iceland. But what about the lesser-known destinations out there that you might not have heard of or seen while scrolling through your Instagram feed? Here are some of the best secret travel destinations that deserve a spot on your list.
1. Ostuni, Puglia, Italy
Nicknamed “The White City” and sitting along the coast of the Adriatic sea, it’s easy to forget that you’re not actually strolling through Mykonos, Greece while walking through the winding streets. This city is lesser known than its more famous counterparts, such as Tuscany, and won’t be quite so busy. If you’re heading to Italy, make sure to spend a day in Ostuni!
2. Gozo, Malta
Gozo is an island in the Mediterranean with a long and rich history, with evidence of occupation dating back to 5000 BCE. It’s even said to be Calypso’s isle from Homer’s Odyssey, for all you mythology lovers out there. This island boasts beautiful beaches and clear waters and is rumoured to be a prime diving destination, and best of all, it’s tranquil and relaxing there these days. Pro tip: don’t miss the Blue Lagoon on your trip to Gozo. Total Instagram goals.
3. Cienfuegos, Cuba
When you think of Cuba, chances are your mind immediately travels to Havana (thanks, Camila Cabello). Cienfuegos deserves more attention than it currently gets, but that also means that it’s less busy than Cuba’s capital city. Its wide streets are home to picturesque, colourful colonial-style buildings, and it’s no wonder why it’s been nicknamed Perla de la Sur, or Pearl of the South.
4. Puerto Escondido, Mexico
If your travel bucketlist consists of the best places in the world to surf, you can’t miss this one. Puerto Escondido is located in the state of Oaxaca, and its main beach, Playa Zicatela, is 3.5km of gorgeous sand and a pipeline most surfers dream of riding. Though it still has an urban feel to it, Puerto Escondido is a vibrant town full of travellers and backpackers, and with a lively nightlife, there’s something for everyone here.
5. Huacachina, Peru
If this isn’t on your travel bucketlist, what are you doing? This little desert oasis (literally) is located near the southern tip of Peru, and is an absolutely must if you’re heading to Macchu Picchu. Aside from walking around and exploring South America’s only natural desert oasis, which you can do in about two hours, make sure to try your hand at sandboarding and climbing the sand dunes, as well as take a dip in the lagoon (which is said to have healing properties!).
6. Corfu Island, Greece
Located off of Greece’s northwest coast, Corfu Island is another place with a long history, dating back as early as 1300 BCE. It’s often overlooked by international travellers in favour of Mykonos or Santorini, but it’s considered one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. There are sites on the island linked to mythology, namely, Homer’s Odyssey, and with beautiful beaches and a vibrant city to explore, it’s no wonder Corfu Island belongs on every travel bucketlist.
7. KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
If you’re looking for the quintessential South African experience, look no further. Located in the southeast, KwaZulu-Natal is home to pristine beaches, impressive mountains, and dry savannahs. It’s a province rich in African culture as well, so be sure to take a stroll through the marketplaces and soak it all up! BRB, adding to our travel bucketlist ASAP.
8. Margaret River, Australia
This is another town that has a little bit of something for everyone. From beaches and surfing to vineyards and caves, you won’t be bored visiting this little slice of Western Australia. Don’t miss out on a tour through one of the many jaw-dropping caves, and if you plan your trip just right (like, say, between June and November), you just might get to see whales as they migrate through the waters.
9. Western Brook Pond, Canada
Fjords? In Canada? What? That’s right, you don’t have to travel all the way to Europe to see fjords in person. Located on the west coast of Newfoundland in the Gros Morne National Park, it’s likely you’ve seen pictures of the iconic Western Brook Pond. If you’re up for the hike, you’ll be rewarded with views that rival even the greatest European fjords. Can you say, beautiful?
10. Faroe Islands, Denmark
If you haven’t heard of the Faroe Islands yet, you’re not alone. Comprised of 18 volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands are home to some of the most stunning natural beauty you’ll find. From a rugged coastline to steep, grass-covered cliffs and waterfalls galore, you could explore the islands for a week and still have more left to see. It’s a wonder unlike any other, and deserves a spot on that travel bucketlist of yours.