Whether you’re couchsurfing, swapping homes or renting an AirBNB, the globe has never been smaller. We all love to travel and, in the world we live in today, it’s simple just to book a tick And let’s face it, how many of us haven’t dreamed occasionally of packing a bag, saying a few farewells then cutting loose for the break of a lifetime?
But what about the places that aren’t so easy to name or point to on a map? Everyone knows where London, Paris and New York are but what about Cartagena, Maputo and Tonga?
The fact is that the world is full of vacation spots that aren’t overrun with tourists as yet and have so much to offer a curious traveller. So the question is which destination would you pick, if you could journey anywhere? Here are five of our top choices:
1. Raratonga, the Cook Islands
With a population of only 10,000, Raratonga is pretty small – indeed it’s population is only around 10,000 – although it’s still the biggest of the Cook Islands. Known for its flame coloured coral-reef and blue lagoons, it never fails to overwhelm visitors…its natural beauty is quite astonishing!
If you don’t want to lie on ab each, simply look for active pursuits – there are so many. Climb up a volcano and gaze down at the jungle below. Pick up a mask and fins and snorkel with brightly coloured fish. After the sun goes down, walk in the night market and try some of the local street food. Whether you want to relax or explore, Raratonga won’t disappoint.
2. Kandy, Sri Lanka
This charming and beautiful town was the last capital of the ancient Kings and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled in the hills of Sri Lanka, and surrounded by tea plantations (which CasaVersa highly recommends you visit), walk around the crystal clear lake and soak up the views. Kandy is also home to the sacred ‘Temple of the Tooth’ shrine as well as Dambulla Caves.
And if you want to venture a little further afield, hop on the train with a destination named Nuurawa Elya – jokingly called “Little England.” The rubber plantation and rice paddies you’ll see along the way will remain etched in your mind for a long long time…
3. Luang Prabang, Laos
Surrounded by mountains, Luang Prabang may well be the most beautiful place in Laos. With its French colonial architecture and golden temples. Visit the Royal Palace (famous for its logo, a three-headed elephant under a parasol) and Wat Chom Si Temple.
Luang Prabang is also home to a large Buddhist community – rise early and watch them walking the streets collecting alms (given to them by local people to sustain them for the day). And if you’re looking for more adventure, the Mekong Delta isn’t too far to visit. Laos is still not overrun with tourists so don’t delay…
4. Patagonia. Chile
Located at the bottom South America, incorporating the lower parts of both Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is a veritable paradise for hikers, animal lovers and adventurous travellers. Whether you’re walking in desolate landscapes, admiring natural beauty, watching birds or hiking mountains, this part of the world is so unspoilt you’ll never want to leave.
Spend a day at the ‘Perito Moreno’ glacier — a truly spectacular site, not just because of its size and colour but because it’s one of the few glaciers in the world that is still growing. Visit Bariloche, the ‘Switzerland’ of Argentina,Or travel to Torres Del Paine, the most well-known national park in South America, its landscapes dominated by soaring granite pillars. Another hot spot is Bariloche – known as the Switzerland of Argentina, it is famed for creamy chocolate!
Yes — Patagonia really has it all.
5. Vladivostock, Russia
For anyone who has spent 6 long days crossing empty landscapes on the Trans-Siberian railway journey, this is your final destination. An enormous Russian port, Vladivostock is a city undergoing huge expansion and renovation, and is a good starting point for anyone who wants to explore the surrounding lakes or even venture into Asia (think Korea and Japan).
Historically a city of fortresses, start your Vladivostock wanderings at number 7, which is quite unusual, as it boasts over 1.5 kilometres of tunnels underneath.
Stroll over to the cities famous landmark – the Monument to the Fighters for Soviet Power -a city landmark Admire the view from Zolotoy Bridge (a cable-stayed bridge) – you can take a funicular rude if you’re feeling lazy! And what trip to Russia would be complete without a visit to a tearoom. The city is full of them so sit down, relax and наслаждаться! (Or ‘Enjoy’ as we say in English!)