The world is a richly diverse and endlessly fascinating place, so why return to the same old places? Escape the crowds, get back to nature and see sights you’ll never forget by stepping off that well-worn path and choosing somewhere the package deals won't take you. Featuring incredible places from all seven continents, choose from our list of 10 off the beaten path travel destinations in the world.
All roads start as a track or a path and over the years they become worn as humans make their mark. From popular beach resorts to well-trodden backpacker trails, it’s easy to find yourself on the same journey as everyone else. But to leave the beaten path means to take a different route, to venture where others don’t go and discover places other travellers miss. It’s both a literal and metaphorical travel concept.
Is anywhere more off-the-beaten-track than the world’s only uninhabited continent?
Although trips to Antarctica are becoming more popular, it remains one of the least visited and unexplored places on Earth. Itineraries typically include guided hikes and even the chance to camp on the ice. Home to other-worldly glacial structures, 12 million penguins and 10 species of whales, the only way to discover the continent is via an expedition boat tour.
This tiny Central-West African state of Gabon is more than four-fifths rainforest.
Comparable in size to Queens of [New York City, packs in no less than 13 national parks. Despite its small stature, it’s home to a surprising array of landscapes from thick jungle to sandy coastline and grassy savannas, all unchanged for millions of years. For those who want to explore truly natural African landscapes, away from the established holiday resorts, this is the destination for you.
Whilst nearby Iceland has long pulled the crowds, Greenland has remained off the global travel itinerary.
With flight access from Iceland or Denmark, Greenland is the world’s biggest island mostly covered in a vast ice sheet. Explore the country, including admining the picturesque landscapes of the cute, bright, colorful houses. Discover the midnight sun, the Northern Lights and being as close to the North Pole as you are probably ever going to get.
This place is literally called ‘paradise’ and it’s like nowhere else on Earth.
Few of New Zealand’s 3.8 million annual visitors make it to Paradise in the Mount Aspiring National Park, South Island. Experience clear night-sky views, majestic snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and a good chance of not even seeing another person (except the ones travelling with you) during the hike. Pack your hiking boots and discover why it was chosen as a location for the Lord of the Rings films.
Bhutan is often overlooked by visitors who tend to go to Nepal instead (itself fairly off the beaten track!)
The country also offers access to the Himalayas, but currently, travellers can only arrive on flights flown by about two dozen approved pilots. Why? Paro International Airport is known as one of the most challenging airports in the world due to its location and tight landing strip. For a real adventure head to Gangkhar Puensum, the world’s highest unclimbed mountain. Take an excellent glimpse into Bhutan's scenery that has remained unchanged for centuries.
The presumed jewel of Eastern Europe and lesser-visited Macedonia is a secret many travellers want to keep.
With nearly a quarter of the country’s two million population living in Skopje, take the time to explore beyond. You’ll find a hiker’s paradise of near solitude and pristine natural landscapes. Macedonia evokes an ancient, forested Europe from the age of fairy tales with its snowy mountains, deep valleys and vast, clear lakes.
Despite having many exciting destinations to visit in South America, how about the continent's smallest country, Suriname?
Venture beyond the busy capital, Paramaribo and discover wild jungles, a network of rivers, waterfalls and some of the richest biodiversity in the world. Ethnically diverse, you’ll encounter a range of languages and cuisine; it is a melting pot of Indigenous, Caribbean, Latin, European and African cultures.
Kamchatka is Russia’s far-east peninsula and one of the most unexplored places on Earth.
A wild natural region, bigger than the whole of the UK, it is home to 160 volcanoes, 19 of which are active. The Kamchatka Peninsula also has world’s densest population of brown bears, wolves, Arctic foxes, lynx, wolverines and golden eagles. The best time to visit is during summer.
Any one of the Central Asian countries (Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan ) are worthy of a place on this list and has been overlooked by global tourists.
Kyrgyzstan is home to snowy peaks and nomadic camps so plan a stay in a yurt and go horse trekking. With even fewer visitors, neighbouring Tajikistan is wilder and more remote. Those seeking culture and history should head to Uzbekistan, a significant silk route stop with beautiful cities, such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent.
If you want to leave the beaten path but don’t want to compromise on luxury, Oman is the perfect destination.
Set your sights on this lesser-visited sultanate on the Arabian Peninsula’s southeastern tip. Base yourself at one of the new luxury resorts near the capital, Muscat, but be sure to get out and explore the unexplored. Travel by camel to the Wahiba Sands, be one of the few people each day allowed to visit the turtle nesting site at Ras Al Jinz, and discover the wet wilderness of Musandam, known as the ‘Norway of Arabia'.
If travelling is on your radar for 2021, be sure to book a flexible ticket so that changes can be easily made to your booking. In 2021, would you want to fly somewhere nearby or somewhere farther? Whenever that timing will be, don't forget to come back to BudgetAir to check our flight deals.