I’m always looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations. It may be a dislike of crowds, or it may be something else. But traveling somewhere that isn’t one of the “typical” spots. Sure, I loved Paris and London when I visited each. Rome as well. These are some of the most common stops for American travelers abroad, the “blogging circuit”, if you will.
But there is so much more out there. Here are 5 places on my radar (4 that I haven’t visited) that would make for a great next trip:
This tiny country sandwiched between Austria, Croatia and Italy shouldn’t be overlooked. If stunning Triglavski National Park and picturesque Lake Bled aren’t enough, there are many more cultural sights and wonders of nature hidden in this European gem.
It is also inexpensive compared to its neighbors to the west. If prices in Switzerland and Austria are keeping you from visiting, consider planning a trip to Slovenia instead. It won’t quite have the same alpine valleys you see in the Swiss postcards, but I cannot imagine that you’ll be disappointed.
Avgeek bonus question: did you know that Slovenia has its own airline? Do you know its name?
Besides having the best airline in Africa by any reasonable estimation, this landlocked country holds a lot of appeal for me. From castles in Gondar, to amazing natural beauty including waterfalls and volcanoes, to food that (I hear) is utterly amazing, it’s a place that I really want to visit.
I have friends who have been to Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Liberia. While I would love to visit any of those countries as well, but Ethiopia tops my short list in Africa. It’s hard to decide between here and a visit to Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
This Canadian island tops of my list of places I want to visit again. My wife and I traveled to Newfoundland as part of a nearly 3-week trip through Canada in 2015. Our first stop was Prince Edward Island, as she has a lifelong love of the Anne of Green Gables stories and movies (Kevin Sullivan series). But I would find that the second islands holds more charm for me.
Between its rugged beauty, lack of people, and amazing wildlife, I was mesmerized by Newfoundland. A tour of Witless Bay Ecological Reserve was one of the highlights, where I got to see puffins nesting. We moved on to the north of the island after the time in St. John’s, staying in a charming bed and breakfast for our anniversary. The final thrill was spending a day in Gros Mornre National Park (which really deserves at least a week!).
It was too little time for such a cool island. I’ll make it back someday. If you haven’t visited, add it to the list.
All of the Caucasus region is worth visiting, but if I had to pick one country to top the list, it would be Armenia. Azerbaijan holds its own appeal, as well as Georgia, which receives by far the most tourists of the three. This whole mountainous region sandwiched between the Black and Caspian seas should be on your radar. Armenia in particular looks lovely, and I would love to visit Mount Ararat and beautiful Lake Sevan. (Commenter note: I guess I better go to Turkey for Mt. Ararat. I’d always thought it was on the border or the two. Guess I was wrong!)
My points and miles tip: sometimes you can score a decent cash deal to this region of Eurasia, but often economy flights hover ~$1,000. Never fear, some airline programs place Armenia and Georgia in the Europe region. When Flying Blue offers their promo awards, you can sometimes score seats to Yerevan or Tbilisi cheaply. American Airlines is another good program during off-peak times.
If you’re looking for picturesque cities, beautiful castles, and lovely countryside, all on the cheap, look no further than Poland. From Gdansk along the Baltic Sea in the north to Krakow and Wroclaw in the south, there is a lot to explore. If you’re looking at ways to stretch your dollars for a longer stint in Europe, consider touring this eastern European country, continuing north up through the Baltic States.
One of these days you might catch me flying LOT business class from Los Angeles to Warsaw.
These are five on my travel radar. I have a buddy who is headed to Newfoundland soon, although he has planned a trip that is waaaay to short. How I long to head back to that amazing island.
Which of these destinations appeals to you the most? What else is on your radar?