London, Tokyo, Paris, New York, great places but hardly hidden travel gems. These are the traditional and orthodox cities that come to mind whenever you’re planning your vacation getaways.
However, most of these famous world cities are extremely crowded with tourists and are overly expensive destinations for planning a trip most of the time.
In short these cities are safe bets. Not to say they are unexciting, far from it. However as original travel ideas go they have had their day when it comes to seeking originality. The reliable big cities will always be there but there is far more to see.
World travelers seeking original hidden travel gems need to look further afield for untapped adventure.
10 Hidden Travel Gems
This list of hidden travel gems is different and original and you probably have not seen many of the places on the list before.
Our bucket list for 2016 consists of 10 unique hidden travel gems and exotic destinations that you can travel to with your loved ones and enjoy all the benefits of an unforgettable vacation.
Go to these amazing original places before they are invaded with a global wave of tourists. So buckle up your hiking shoes and get ready for an amazing adventure around the globe and beyond!
Tofino, Vancouver Island Canada
Do you love the smell of the ocean and the feeling of soft sand beneath your feet? Does your heart leap every time you see waves crashing against the rocks, does it make you want to swim far out into the sea?
If yes, grab your surf board and explore the magical land of Tofino in Canada. Tucked away in the west islands of British Columbia, Tofino is a hidden treasure for surfer junkies and paddle boarders. It has the most wicked and adventurous aquatic activities such as kayaking, canoeing, whale watching, zip lining and flightseeing.
The Eagle Aerie gallery offers an insight into Canadian history, while the Tofino Brewing company offers a taste of the finest beer on the west coast. Tofino is a hotspot for anyone who love the rush of adrenaline and is willing to dive into the thrill of new experiences. At the same time, Tofino is rich with culture and heritage and is definitely an adventure of a lifetime.
Porto the Coastal City in Portugal
If you’re a wine fanatic, chances are you have heard of this gem before. However, it is still a hidden coastal city located in northwest Portugal. Filled with cheerful people and high-spirited festivals, Porto is a city oozing with culture and diversity.
Visiting Cais de Gaia is an opportunity to view the cities breath-taking skyline and wander along the cobbled streets to explore the several cafes and bars which offer delicious Portuguese food and the finest of wine. You can even venture into the Port Wine warehouses and discover the architecture and landmarks of 19th century Portugal. Porto is truly among the greatest of hidden travel gems.
If you fancy a taste of heaven, visit the preserved 14th century Sao Franciso church, known for its extravagant and intricate carvings and the fact that it is covered in over 400kg of Gold. It is an exemplar of the alluring and tasteful architectural landscape that Porto embodies.
Furthermore, there are several more activities you can indulge in such as viewing artwork by the country’s top artists at the Soares Dos Reis museum, or cruising in a banana boat under the Dom Luis bridge. Porto is the opportunity of a lifetime and definitely a destination you will always keep in your heart.
Kota Kinabalu for Mountains and Beaches
Prepare yourself for an adventure of a lifetime because Kota Kinabalu will immediately overwhelm you with its buzzing and lively culture, endless markets, mouthwatering delicacies and enormous mountains and beaches.
Kota Kinabaiu is a coastal city surrounded by a rainforest, and is home to the 4095m high Mount Kinabalu, to which many climbers voyage each year. Highly populated with expats, Kota Kinabalu has an amalgamation of luxurious hotels and cruises to offer, as well as its old school charm and fisherman culture restored.
The city of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia is known for the incredible variety of fresh seafood, as well as its aquatic adventures like scuba diving and snorkeling in the turquoise blue waters near the coast.
One thing you simply cannot miss out on is the night markets, where there is a vast collection of food, artefacts and souvenirs to take home, as well as one of a kind Malaysian music and entertainment to keep you dancing through the night.
This tropical destination that is Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia is definitely a hidden gem and far away from the life of stress and tension.
Koh Samui Tropical Paradise, Thailand
Have you ever ridden through a forest on the back of an elephant before? Have you ever rented a moped and ridden along beautiful tropical streets with your best friends by your side? If not, Koh Samui in Thailand needs to be your next travel destination.
One of our tropical hidden travel gems. A beautiful island located in East Thailand, Koh Samui possesses picturesque beaches, rainforests and posh spas. It also boasts a large 12m tall golden Buddha as its most famous local landmark, which can be seen from miles and miles away.
Known as a ‘backpacking’ hotspot, it has some of the most affordable and amazing night markets and bars, filled with delicious Thai food delicacies such as ‘sticky mango rice’ and ‘tom yam goong’, which is a unique combination of sweet and sour seafood paired with soup and rice.
Koh Samui has waterfalls scattered all along the island, and is famous for its secret Buddha garden and cabaret shows along Chaweng beach. It is the perfect mix for any tourist who enjoys laid back days and rowdy nights.
Muscat Where Summer Never Ends, Oman
Explore the land where summer truly never ends. It is the buzzing and beautiful capital of Oman surrounded by mountains, beaches that seem to go on forever and the majestic Arabian sands.
Muscat in Oman is famous for its peaceful culture and ‘souqs’, which are traditional Arab markets that sell artefacts and jewelry.
In Muscat, you can start your mornings by going dune bashing and camel-riding in the Wahiba sands, spend your afternoons exploring the Grand Mosque and learning about the Omani culture, and end your evenings strolling along the Muttrah corniche with your loved ones, under the crimson red sunset.
You can rent your own boat and set of jet-skis for a day at the beach, or explore small towns like Muttrah and Ruwi to buy all your holiday souvenirs. Muscat is truly an undiscovered hidden travel gem because it encompasses so many beautiful tourist activities, and yet still manages to offer a laid-back and stress free environment.
Gaspé Peninsula, Southern Quebec, Canada
Gaspe Peninsula is an isolated and remote region in southern Quebec that is ideal for anyone who wants to get away from the noisy and monotonous city life. Gaspe is one of the more isolated hidden travel gems on our list. It is perfect for relaxing by the water and exploring the attractions amidst the rolling green hills.
One of the most renowned tourist attractions is the Musée de la Gaspésie, where you can learn about Jacque Cartier’s travels and excursions, as well as learn about the fight and struggle for preserving the French culture in the Quebec region.
Gaspé also consists of incredible sight seeing spots, such as North America’s largest gannetry, located in the island of Bonaventure. As a lot of the residents of Gaspé rely on fishing, the Perce coast is a lovely attraction if you want to immerse yourself in their lifestyle and learn about their community.
Salida, Wilderness Hiking Colorado, USA
If your eyes widen at the thought of mountaintops and your feet start to itch at the thought of hiking in the wilderness, then Salida is a spectacular destination you simply cannot miss out on. The town encompasses just about everything an outdoor junkie looks for.
With an endless assortment of options like hiking, camping, skiing and rafting, you can spend days exploring the Colorado forests and still be begging for more. As a bonus, it has several affordable hotels in the main city area that you can stay at without paying extravagant amounts of money!
To experience something new, you can go zip lining and river rafting at the national parks or even horseback riding tours with your entire family. If you’re feeling craftsy, you could even go to the Maverick Potter and build your own clay creation to take back home as a reminder of your beautiful stay.
Salida offers beautiful viewpoints and sightseeing tours to feast your eyes on, and is a destination where you can truly realize the gifts of nature and the great outdoors.
Seville for Spring Fiestas in Spain
Located in Southern Spain, this city is famous for its lively culture and flamenco dance. Soaked in glowing sunlight all year round, Seville is renowned for its spring fiestas and its rich history.
In Seville visitors can dive into the culture by visiting Alcázar, the 11 century old fort founded by the Codoban governors. Heavenly in sight and intricate in architectural detail, a simple visit to Seville will take you on a historical rollercoaster and teach you about the struggle that occurred to form modern Spain. Truly one of the great hidden travel gems of the world.
Additionally, Seville is known for its romantic aroma so grab your loved ones and roam through the endlessly sun-kissed streets, or climb up the Giralda tower just before sunset to catch a skyline view of the city that will stay embedded in your heart and mind forever.
Before you go, don’t forget to taste the spicy and delicious tapas by meal hopping through the local bars and parlors of Santa Cruz. Once you travel to Seville and experience its magic, it’s hard to say you’ll ever want to return to your old life.
Perdido Key, a Unique Beach in Florida
In Spanish, “perdido” means “lost” or “hidden”, referring to how this bay was discovered in 1693. With such a riddling name and perplexing history, there’s no surprise as to why this is one of the most interesting places to visit for your next holiday.
As one of our 10 carefully selected hidden travel gems. Perdido Key in Florida is a unique beach location scattered with sandy dunes and lush vegetation, offering an array of relaxing and fun activities for all.
For example, the Blue dolphin cruise is a luxurious boat cruise designed for the entire family, where you can watch the local wildlife and tan under the summery sky. The Blue Lagoon state park is perfect for a day trip as it offers lengthy wooden walkways under the rainforest canopies, as well as lakes where you and your loved ones can go kayaking and canoeing. Perdido is a versatile destination. Perdido is perfect for solo travelers, couples seeking a sunny getaway and family days out.
To relax at night, head over to The Flora-Bama lounge and enjoy entertainment by the top musicians and performers in the state of Florida. Perdido Key is a destination to discover yourself and have amazing experiences, whilst dancing all your worries away.
Amritsar, Rich Culture and Temples in India
Are you ready for an exotic, religious and cultural adventure? Then head on over to Amritsar: home of the legendary golden temple, to which pilgrims from all over the world travel just to bathe in its sacred waters.
In Amritsar you can walk along a marble pathway called ‘the parikrama’ surrounds the temple and observe the mesmerizing mix of Islamic and Hindu styles of architecture, which themselves hold volumes of history and cultural value.
Once you’ve feasted your eyes, you can view the Wagah ceremony on the crossing border between Pakistan and India (occurs at 5pm every day). It is a truly mesmerizing and humbling experience to watch soldiers marching and lowering their respective flags as a symbol of unity and understanding for other cultures, and can be a heavily moving experience for all spectators involved.
With its charming culture and enchanting landmarks, Amritsar in India is definitely a unique destination you can’t pass up on. Amritsar wholly deserves its place on our list of hidden travel gems.
There you have it, 10 hidden travel gems to foster a fully revitalized appetite for exploration. Exotic and infrequently traveled places from across the world that you probably haven’t been to before.