Travel can often become over familiar. It is all too easy to slip into the routine of venturing to the same locations year in, year out. The prospect of taking a ‘back to basics’ approach to travel and exploration can be daunting, especially when so many of us have become accustomed to the ease and accessibility of modern day tourism. This can be detrimental as it is possible to miss out on the huge array of locations that have been virtually untouched by modern day tourism and offer the most authentic travel experience possible. We have picked out five incredible locations varying from towns to entire countries often overlooked that should be on every travel lovers bucket list.
Chefchaouen is a secluded gem in the Moroccan countryside. Morocco has gained greater attention from tourists in recent years, especially its capital Rabat and the cultural cornerstone of Marrakech. In trying to steer clear of the tourist hotspots, Chefchaouen offers an urban retreat that is located in the Rif Mountains. Famous for its blue-washed buildings, the city is extremely picturesque, whilst being a tranquil sanctuary. The city is full of history with the imposing 15th century red-walled fort, known as the Kasbah being one of the favourite attractions in the city. Furthermore the Grand Mosque is definitely worth touring due to its modern Moroccan architecture and giving an insight into the religious history of Chefchaouen. Moroccan cuisine is bursting with flavour infused with various spices and one of the prime restaurants to experience Moroccan cooking at its best is Restaurant Morisco, which serves a wide variety of dishes including the famous ‘ftour beldi’, a local favourite for breakfast. For places to stay the Casa Perletais a peaceful hotel that has light airy rooms and is built around a courtyard full with greenery. It has traditional Moroccan décor and provides a romantic atmosphere for travellers in the blue-washed city.
Italy is synonymous with holidaying and travelling, however the alpine region of The Dolomites regularly goes unnoticed with many favouring the Amalfi Coast and the metropolitan hubs of Rome and Milan. The Dolomites are the unpolished, rugged area of Italy; a place for the exploring traveller to get their hands dirty, whilst enjoying the luxuries that the Italy is famed for. The dramatic landscape plays host to all types of alpine activity from hiking and mountain biking to skiing and climbing. With 18 major peaks, which tower over flower covered meadows, the Dolomite region offers a rural retreat amidst the spectacular mountain environment. In amongst the landscape are eateries and hotels offering some of the finest Italian cooking and hospitality. Ristorante Aga, found in San Vito di Cadore is a restaurant utilising the land, as many of its flavours come from mountain herbs, including the ‘Eggplant Ravioli with Elderberry Broth’. Furthermore La Perla Hotel located in Corvara in Badia, is a perfect blend of Italian style and luxury, with a renowned Michelin-star restaurant, alongside a spa and an array of experienced hiking guides, La Perla is a sanctuary within the Dolomites.
The country of Namibia is a true explorers destination. The 1,000ft sand dunes on the Atlantic Coast, the barren wasteland deserts and the diverse game reserves of the African nation, it is a true travellers haven. With the sand dunes extending hundreds of miles along the coast and penetrating 80 miles into Namibia, this is a jaw dropping landscape. With two deserts and countless game reserves, Namibia is recognised for its harsh environment. This makes it an ideal location for those looking to experience Africa in its rawest form. For a secluded stay, make sure to head to the Klein-Aus Vista. Book into The Eagle’s Chalets, which are stone built huts, nestled away in the Aus Mountains, with phenomenal views over the surrounding desert. Furthermore it is the perfect place to find the wild Namibian horses which roam free in the area around the Eagle Chalets. One of the culinary treats that is native to both Namibia is a Potjiekos. Through a combination of both Dutch and German influences a Potjiekos is a meat and vegetable stew that often contains beer, which is added for extra flavour and is a must try. De Wilde Pap and Grill in Swakopmund serves a traditional version of a Potjiekos and is the perfect place to try authentic Namibian cuisine.
The island of Corsica is wild, rustic and beautiful. At just over 3,000 square miles, the French paradise is easy to explore especially by car, although its hair raising mountain roads can be perilous! With a diverse landscape, the island offers both a traditional beach holiday with its sheltered coves and cobalt water, alongside more adventurous trips, with climbing and hiking available in the alpine regions of Corsica. For crystal clear snorkelling, head to the Lavezzi Islands, whilst for the more adventurous holidaymakers the Restonica Trail offers hikers waterfall streams and boulder fields with the final destination of two mountain lakes. Corsican culture is also fascinating with the French and Italian influences have created an interesting culinary, art and language mixture. With a strong identity of their own, Corsicans have a fervent sense of nationalism. For genuine Corsican dishes visit A Casarella, a rustic eatery in the mountains with breath-taking views over the countryside serving tapas bites; a restaurant that embraces the stress-free Mediterranean lifestyle. A hidden hideaway that is worth every penny is the La Dimora Hotel, located in Oletta. The small boutique hotel has quaint rooms and lush gardens, whilst being in an ideal location, between the hills and the coastline of the rugged island.
Hang En Cave, Vietnam
Romantic notions about far-flung destinations in Asia are rightly justified. Vietnam has become a staple location for holidaymakers, gap-year crowds, and inquisitive explorers and it is no wonder with the immense volume of attractions that the country has to offer. The Hang En Cave located in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is one of Vietnam’s best-kept secrets and is a travellers dream. Being one of the largest caves in the world, at just over 300ft in height and 600ft in width, the subterranean oasis is located deep in the Vietnamese jungle and requires a days worth of trekking but the result is stunning. The cave holds a bright blue lake and an ivory white beach, which is the area where trekkers camp overnight. Whilst there are no restaurants, boutique hotels or major attractions near the Hang En Cave, visiting this spectacle of nature is surreal and an experience that is unmatched.