Today's post is going to cover 10 off the beaten path destinations that you should check out. These places are from all over the world. I will try and cover as much as I can on each different place. Most of these places even I did not know about. I have a list of way more off the beaten track destinations but the list is just to big to put it on here. If you want me to do another post of destinations, please comment below.
Syros, the administrative capital of the Cyclades, is blessed with a rich history and diverse culture. As one of the only places in Greece to have experienced the Renaissance, Syros boasts stellar architectural gems, such as Ermoupolis’ city hall, the Apollo Theater, and the customs office. Here, you can wander around the streets bordered with neoclassical houses and picturesque squares — you won’t be disappointed.
There is no doubt that Syros has a strong cultural heritage, with the Apollon Theater being one of its best examples. Built in 1864 by an Italian architect named Pietro Sambo, the theatre’s construction was largely inspired by La Scala di Milano, among others. Home to the island’s many cultural events, theatrical performances and operas, the theatre is definitely an Instagram-worthy visit.
Housed in the spectacular town hall on Miaouli Square in Ermoupolis, the Archaeological Museum, one of the oldest in Greece, is home to an impressive collection of artefacts that help demonstrate the rich history of the island. After you visit, make sure to admire the building, constructed in 1876 and inspired by three different architectural styles.
Olomouc, Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is well-known for having some of the most beautiful castles in the world. Olomouc Castle is infamous for being the place where, in the year 1306, Czech King Wenceslaus III was assassinated. The castle itself has undergone many changes and the main buildings that make up the castle complex today are separate units, such as the Bishop’s Palace and St. Wenceslaus Cathedral. While little remains of the original castle, the many historical buildings here are more than worth a visit.
Located in the main square, the Town Hall is open to visitors. You can explore the inner courtyard, the ceremonial hall and the Chapel of St. Jerome (which features the oldest ribbed vault of its kind in the country). Walk up the steps of the mid-15th century tower to catch amazing views of the town center, the castle and Olomouc’s other impressive monuments.
Not much remains of the royal city of Olomouc, but if you know where to look you’ll find a number of ruins, fortifications and ancient gates. A good example is the Olomouc Fortress, located in Bezruč Park. Dating back to the mid-18th century, the circular fortress made it through several battles, including an attack by Prussian troops in 1758.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Holy Trinity Column sits in the city’s main square. Built between 1716 and 1754, the Baroque column is adorned with a number of sculptures, including the Holy Trinity, the Archangel Gabriel and 18 stone sculptures of saints, as well as numerous reliefs. While there, take a peak inside the tiny chapel housed in the column, which features unique relief sculptures – including images of Noah, Jesus’ death and Cain’s offerings.
Located 456 kilometers (283 miles) away from Tbilisi, at 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above sea level, Mestia is the starting point for many trips throughout the region. From here, you can hike up to glaciers, learn about the Svan culture at the museum, try local delicacies, and ski at one of Georgia’s ski resorts.
One of the most significant things to do here is to visit the Museum of History and Ethnography. You can also explore the house museum of the famous Georgian alpinist Mikheil Khergiani.
There’s a well-marked trek from Mestia to Ushguli—the most remote area of the region, a UNESCO site, and the highest settlement in Europe. The tourist information office in Mestia has all the information you will need to pursue the hike. Each village along the route has a guesthouse, so accommodation options are plentiful.
If you are not up for a hike, there are minibuses, called marshrutka, that travel from town to town. However, it might even be more comfortable to hire a taxi. Locals are friendly and are used to tourists and mountain climbers who wander through their small villages. Some of the communities to put on your itinerary are Mazeri, Lendekhi, Soli, and Mele.
The Becho community, situated in the valley of Dolora River west of Mestia, is a spectacular place and an area less visited by tourists. It’s also near the twin-peaked Ushba, Georgia’s mightiest and most dangerous mountaineering challenge.
The highest village is Mazeri, which also serves as an excellent base from which to explore the area. You can walk towards the Dolora River, the glaciers on the west side of Ushba or to the communities of Etseri and Laleti. Additionally, you can visit the fortress of the princes of Dadeshkeliani and the famous Shikhra Valley.
Landmannalaugar Hut, Iceland
Landmannalaugar is a place in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Highlands of Iceland. It is at the edge of Laugahraun lava field, which was formed in an eruption around the year 1477. It is known for its natural geothermal hot springs and surrounding landscape.
The Landmannalaugar hut is operated by Ferðafélag Íslands (The Iceland Touring Association, FÍ). The hut is big and comfortable and accommodates 78 people on two floors. The ground floor has a good entrance hall, a large sleeping quarters with bunk beds and a kitchen, fully equipped with gas stoves, hot and cold running water and all utensils. Upstairs there is one small dorm room and three large ones. There is a big charcoal grill outside.
A patio connects the hut with a big toilet/shower house that also serves the camping ground and the numerous day visitors to Landmannalaugar. The wardens live in a roomy hut beside the toilet house.
The huts in Landmannalaugar are located at the dark edge of the rhyolite lava field Laugahraun, close to a few hot springs which create excellent bathing conditions in a natural brook. The banks of the brook are boggy and people are kindly asked to use the wooden pathway across the bog to the brook.
Landmannalaugar is a part of a larger Fjallabak Nature Reserve and the surrounding area is dotted with unbelievably beautiful hiking trails, both short and long. The mountains are literally split with gullies and gorges in multiple colours.
Kota Kinabalu is a treasure trove of adventure and wonder. Travellers of this city can choose to explore from lush rainforests, crystal clear waters, stunning mountain peaks, to the contemporary landscape of the city’s architecture and heritage.
The tallest mountain in Southeast Asia and one of the highest trekkable peaks in the world, Mount Kinabalu is a stunning climb and a must for any adventurer.Slightly over 4,000 meters, the climb is relatively approachable for most, and the path is well-trodden. Experienced hikers can manage to finish the climb in a day or two, but it’s generally advised to take up to three days to fully acclimatise yourself.
If you’re in the area of Mount Kinabalu, nature-lovers should be sure to make their way to the Botanical Garden. This garden is one of Kinabalu Park’s best kept secrets and boasts one of the richest assemblage of flora in the world, with an estimate of over 5,000 plant species.
A relaxing and lovely way to enjoy the forest scenery of Kota Kinabalu is through taking a river cruise on the Klias River. This takes a day trip into the Klias Wetlands reserve near Kota Kinabalu. Sit back and be treated to gorgeous views of where the river meets the sea and a spectacular view of Mount Kinabalu. There, you can get the chance to cruise through a mangrove area all while trying to spot the incredible wildlife of monkeys, birds and, if you book a late-evening cruise, you could be lucky to catch some incredible displays of fireflies!
This floating mosque has a prayer hall which houses three madrasahs and accommodates up to 12, 000 people. As beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, travellers can venture inside for free; the mosque is open for public visits daily except Fridays.
Cullen is a village and former royal burgh in Moray, Scotland, on the North Sea coast 20 miles east of Elgin. The village had a population of 1,327 in 2001. Cullen is noticeably busier in summer than winter due to the number of holiday homes owned.
When most tourists think of Scotland they picture Edinburgh or Glasgow but I’m going to let you in on a little secret – the small, rural fishing village of Cullen. Cullen is nestled on the outskirts of the Scottish Highlands – exactly one hour from Aberdeen airport and one hour from Inverness airport. There is no train station and only a local bus once every hour or so. Situated on the Moray Firth coast it is home to award-winning ice cream and the world famous Cullen Skink soup – a seafood chowder-like dish which is made from fish likely caught less than an hour up the road.
Neighbouring the beautiful golf course is Cullen beach. The jewel in this village’s crown, Cullen beach’s golden sands rival tropical islands and during the Summer months you are guaranteed to spot a dolphin or 2 jumping in the bay. The best part, you will unlikely meet another person as you venture to the opposite end of the beach to the Bow Fiddle Rock – around a 1-hour walk. You may recognise the Bow Fiddle from a screensaver or postcard but very few have photographed this stunning formation in real life.
The village is part of a handful of North East villages that speak the Scot’s dialect of Doric, so no visit is complete without an amusing chat with a friendly local who, if you’re lucky, might point you in the direction of a few more hidden gems.
Darvaza Crater, Turkmenistan
Darvaza Crater, or “The Gates of Hell” is a large sinkhole in the Karakum Desert that has been on fire for over 40 years. It started out as a drilling accident where a the existence of an underground cavern caused a drilling rig to collapse. Gas started leaking and somebody thought it was a good idea to light it on fire to burn the gas out. 40 years later, it’s still on fire.
The crater is the country’s most popular destinations and many visitors take advantage of its 5 days transit visa to make a beeline to see the crater. Travelling outside the capital isn’t allowed in Turkmenistan, so hiring a guide through an authorized tour company is required. The visit usually involves an overnight camping close to the crater. I highly recommend it since it’s especially spectacular at night.
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada
Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) is a remote archipelago off the west coast of Canada. The islands can be reached by plane from Vancouver or ferry from Prince Rupert, but most of the archipelago can only be reached by boat or kayak. Kayak trips to southern Haida Gwaii start with a 3.5-hour zodiac ride even deeper into the wilderness. It’s hard to get more off the beaten path than this. Days are spent slowly kayaking past islands covered in pristine pine forests with grazing Sitka deer; seals, sea lions and whales swimming past; giant golden kelp floating on the surface; and bald eagles perched in the trees.
Nights are spent camping near pebbly beaches or in mossy glades in the woods. The trip culminates into a magical, mystical trip to Ninstints/ SG̱ang Gwaay – an abandoned village of slowly decaying totem poles gazing mysteriously out to sea, often semi-shrouded in mist. This is a special place few people are lucky enough to visit – and well worth the effort to get there.
Centuries of history have passed through Kyrgyzstan and many people know the country as the great meeting place of the Silk Road. A place where people from all walks of life, culture, religion and race would meet to trade. In that history alone is a reason to explore a country that has so much to offer, you’ll wonder why you didn’t book a longer trip. If the intrigue of the history isn’t enough consider that you’ll get an intimate look at the lives of the nomadic people of Central Asia while you learn about their traditional games. You’ll rub elbows with masters of Eagle hunting, a tradition that has been passed through generations. You’ll trek mountain ranges so remote and so rarely visited that you’ll feel alone in the world. Tying it all together with cuisine that will surprise you and smiles so warm you’ll have no choice but to smile back. Kyrgyzstan may be off the beaten path, but you’ll be rewarded for the adventure.
Off-the-beaten-path? Heck, this country doesn’t officially exist!Unrecognized by the United Nations, this tiny sliver of territory self-declared its independence from Moldova in 1991. Once part of the USSR, they carry on as though they are still part of the Motherland and have repeatedly asked (and been refused) to re-join the Russian Federation. To say the country is quirky is an understatement.
Tiraspol, the capital, offers lots of green public squares, colourful European architecture, and statues of Lenin everywhere. At the main parade square there’s an old Soviet tank and an ornate orthodox church, and if you position your camera just right you’ll get both in your photo. Where else could you tour a caviar factory, tour and sample award-winning cognacs, and have a cappuccino in the Mafia café. Do try the savoury borscht beet soup and tartine, a mouth-watering dessert made of layers of paper-thin sesame seed wafers, rich mascarpone cream, and sweet glazed strawberries. But stay clear of the chocolate-covered balls – the inside is lard.
Be prepared for the red tape at the military checkpoint to the country, but the upside is the stamped visitor card they give you back shows with the Russian version of your name in Cyrillic.
So there is 10 different off the beaten path destinations. I hope you enjoyed today's post.