One of the beauties of travel comes from discovering the unknown and immersing yourself in completely unfamiliar territory. There’s nothing wrong with walking in the footprints of others from time to time, but isn’t it more exciting to walk off the beaten track and explore destinations you’ve never heard of?
If you’re getting frustrated trying to snag a sun lounger by the hotel pool, or getting your eye poked out by a selfie stick, try eating at an alleyway restaurant recommended by a local, or relaxing by a beach that you’ve never seen on your newsfeed before.
To help inspire you for your next getaway, we’ve taken a look at some untapped travel destinations to explore in 2018.
Often overshadowed by its popular next-door neighbour, Croatia, Montenegro holds a lot of gems for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the Balkans without the crowds. You may have heard of Kotor or Budva – Montenegro’s well-known coastal towns.
But inland Montenegro is what you should really be adding to your bucket list. The town of Žabljak may only have a population of roughly 2,000, but this little town is situated right next to the incredible Durmitor National Park, which has incredible sites and activities for every type of traveller.
In the winter, Durmitor is a major ski resort for the avid snow lovers, while in the summer, it’s a popular hot spot for rafting, hiking and other outdoor pursuits. For the more faint-hearted travellers, enjoy the easy cycling routes through the neighbouring towns, or have a relaxing kayak along the breathtaking Black Lake.
To end your adventurous day, tuck back into the centre of town and treat yourself at one of the excellent national cuisine restaurants. There will definitely be no McDonalds in sight.
Dive deep into history and be surrounded by stunning rose-coloured carved stones that have been standing tall since 312 BC. It’s no wonder that this ancient city in the south of Jordan has been recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Petra once had a thriving travel industry with visitors from every corner of the globe. However, due to the ongoing disruption in neighbouring country Syria, Jordan and its other close-by countries have had an unfair decrease in tourism despite their safeness and stability.
But what does this mean for travellers? Less crowds!
The tourism industry for Jordan’s most popular destination has slowly been increasing again in the past few years – in particular, in 2017. Travellers are now realising that this is the perfect time to visit the magical ancient city without having to squeeze through crowds. Our suggestion: race there quick, before it’s too late!
When passing through on the Santa Marta-Riohacha highway, Palomino doesn’t seem to stand out much. But little do you know that on one side of its main strip lies one of Colombia’s most perfect beaches, and on the other the isolated and sacred Sierra Nevada mountains.
Palomino is the ultimate secret beach getaway where you’ll immerse yourself in the local culture and disconnect from your own world (quite literally – the town has very limited WiFi). Here you can spend your days at the beach by the shack-style bars and restaurants amongst the coconut trees. And when you feel like you need a break from the Caribbean Sea (if that is possible), head on down to the local river for a relaxing tube ride.
Whilst tubing down the river, you’ll see traditional tribal huts lined up with the mountains, local indigenous people, a variety of colourful bird species and many more cultural learnings.
If you are travelling to Colombia or around South and Central America – this may be your ultimate untapped destination to visit.
Warning: you will be rubbing your eyes the entire time you’re there because you won’t believe the views. If you want to visit a fairytale village wedged between a glistering lake and the mesmerising Austrian Alps – this is your place.
Originally known as Austria’s best kept secret, Hallstatt is getting more and more known in the tourism industry, and for very good reason. In the summer you can enjoy vibrant colours of plants, see the beautiful reflections of the sun on the water and sit by the lake all day long.
Or if you’re more of a winter chaser, Hallstatt can also accommodate your nomadic heart’s desires. In the winter you’ll see fresh white snow upon the mountains and glassy ice setting over the lake, and most importantly, you can enjoy these breathtaking views from the warmth of a local restaurant whilst treating yourself to a giant veal schnitzel. And just when you thought the views couldn’t look any better, head over to the Skywalk viewing platform to check out Hallstatt from 360 metres above.
Hopefully you’ve now given your bucket list a fresh update and have already started thinking about your next holiday.
Explore the unexplored, try foods you had never heard of, and learn more about the world around you.
Pack some added peace of mind and protect your adventures with travel insurance. Take a look at Virgin Travel Insurance policies today.