36 Unforgettable Travel Destinations and Hidden Gems Around the World
For those seeking secluded beauty, the answer is found outside the most-visited travel destinations. From a tropical oasis in the Peruvian desert to a stunning lake in China, these forgotten gems will leave you in awe.
While the Grand Canyon and the Taj Mahal are certainly impressive, a new generation of travelers is searching for secluded sublime sights.
1. Huacachina Oasis
Huacachina is a dreamy oasis nestled in the heart of Peru’s desert, where visitors are enchanted by towering sand dunes and a tranquil lagoon. It’s a popular spot for tourists who are looking to escape Lima and experience the best of the south.
It’s also the perfect place to hone your photography skills, as the breathtaking landscape offers an array of picturesque scenes. Be sure to capture the awe-inspiring sight of the sun dipping below the horizon, bathing the sand dunes and lagoon in warm hues of gold and pink.
Take a day trip to this otherworldly destination from Lima and explore its captivating beauty. From sandboarding and dune buggy rides to relaxing spa treatments and authentic Peruvian cuisine, this hidden gem has something for everyone. Whether you’re visiting on a luxury vacation or budget adventure, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from.
2. Jiuzhaigou Valley
The Jiuzhaigou Valley is a paradise of ethereal beauty where you’ll find serene lakes, plunging waterfalls and colorful forests. The best time to visit is during the autumn, when the colors of the forest are at their most vibrant. The valley is home to more than 114 lakes, five major waterfalls, vast forests, a rich biodiversity and seven (inhabited) Tibetan villages.
The park is a natural habitat for two of China’s most iconic species, the giant panda and the Sichuan golden Snub-nosed monkey. Visitors can also see more than 140 bird species and a variety of endangered plants and animals.
I spent three days exploring the lakes, waterfalls and forests of Jiuzhaigou and was mesmerized by its beauty. The most popular stops include Arrow Bamboo Lake which is named after the tiger-like appearance of the lake when seen from above, Panda Lake which is filled with bamboo – a favorite food of pandas – and Pearl Waterfall which is one of the most dramatic in the whole park. Shuzeng Village and a Buddhist temple are also worth visiting as they offer an insight into traditional mountain life.
3. Mount Bromo
Unlike the pyramids and Machu Picchu, many of these wonders aren’t on every traveller’s bucket list. But these 36 hidden gems around the world offer sublime beauty and awe-inspiring experiences for anyone who takes the time to seek them out.
Located in East Java, Mount Bromo is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia and offers spectacular views over the Sea of Sand and other mountains. It’s also a sacred place for Hindus who visit for the annual Yadnya Kasada or Kasodo festival where they appease the Gods by bringing offerings of vegetables, chickens and money to be thrown into the crater.
It’s best to visit Mount Bromo during the dry season. Arrive in the city of Surabaya or Malang and take a train to Probolinggo, from where a colorful local bus called a Bemo will leave for Cemoro Lawang once it’s full (be warned that touts are abundant). From here you can trek across the sprawling black sand plain towards Mount Batok and then onto Mount Bromo.
4. The Wave
A mesmerizing natural phenomenon that has been retold, renamed, rumored and misrepresented over the years, The Wave is the place where geologists, lovers of psychedelics and Victor Vasarely fans come together to stare in awe at the world’s most mysterious phenomenon. A must-visit for every traveler looking for something out of the ordinary, The Wave is located in Coyote Buttes, which you can reach by turning off US 89 between Kanab and Page in Utah.
Paradise on earth is a phrase that has been used by many travellers, but few places have the ability to exceed all expectations like Queenstown in New Zealand. Featuring awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets, jagged mountains that are made for adventurous hikers, and pink beaches that are home to sea life like manta rays and world famous Komodo dragons, this is truly a destination that has to be seen to be believed.
5. Isle of Mull
The Isle of Mull is a stunning Scottish island, famous to many as the home of Springwatch and Coast presenter Gordon Buchanan. But the Isle of Mull has even more to offer visitors, from awe-inspiring beaches and wildlife to beautiful ruins and a unique culture.
Foodies will love the local produce on offer, with fresh seafood a speciality of the region. The quaint town of Tobermory is a culinary hub, with restaurants like Cafe Fish and Ninth Wave serving up mouth-watering meals.
The islands of Mull and Iona are also known for their natural beauty, with countless scenic walks to discover and secluded coves to explore. The Isle of Mull is dominated by its highest mountain, Ben More, a spectacular granite peak that stands over a kilometre high. Its distinctive triangular shape and otherworldly appearance make it a must-see attraction for hikers. There are also historic ruins and evocative deserted villages to explore across the island.
6. Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge
When it comes to stunning natural landscapes, the world is full of mesmerizing destinations that have yet to be discovered. Whether you’re looking to delve into an ice cave in Alaska, explore the iconic Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland, or take in the enchantment of Chefchaouen in Morocco, these hidden gems will transport you to another world.
A dazzling new addition to the list of must-see travel destinations is China’s Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, designed by Tel Aviv architect Haim Dotan. This 430-metre-long transparent bridge offers vertigo-inducing views and is suspended 300 metres above the surrounding canyon. To prove the bridge’s robustness, visitors are even invited to hit its panels with sledgehammers to show how it can withstand such force. For the ultimate thrill, book our best-value 1-Day Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge Tour that includes tickets and access to this extraordinary wonder. People with heart disease, acrophobia, psychosis, or drunkenness are not allowed on the bridge.