Tired of dodging other tourists on your vacations? Looking to experience something a bit less traveled? Tripping.com has you covered. Whether you’re dreaming of relaxing on your own private beach in Portugal or hiking through the remote countryside of Scotland, this list is sure to get your wanderlust in gear. Choose one of these 15 off of the beaten path vacation destinations to inspire your international travels!
The Best Off-The-Beaten-Path Vacation Spots Outside of the U.S.
1. Joatinga Beach, Brazil - Joá neighborhood, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
With the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the popular beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are sure to be insanely crowded. Escape the crowds and the heat by heading over to the secret beach of Joatinga. This 300m hidden stretch of white sand can be found just before Barra da Tijuca. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the entire place to yourselves. TIP: It can be difficult to reach via public transportation and parking is extremely limited so be sure to arrive early especially on the weekends.
2. Aonach Eagach Ridge – Glencoe, Scotland
Start at the small car park 300m west of Allt-na-reigh
Scotland is known for its lush landscape and beautiful countryside. For those hiking enthusiasts looking for a thrill, grab your boots, pack a lunch and plenty of water, and get ready to climb, traverse, and scramble your way along one of Scotland’s iconic ridge line. Aonach Eagach Ridge is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights, but should be climbed with extra caution and a good level of scrambling experience. Only 6 miles long, but depending on weather can take between 6-9 hours to complete. But the views and experience are worth it, even if you only do it once in your life.
3. Zapallar - Petorca, Valparaíso, Chile
With similar views to California’s Big Sur, this quaint Chilean coastline offers swimming, stunning seaside views of the Pacific Ocean, coastal restaurants, hiking trails, and plenty of sunshine. Only a two hour drive from Santiago, this local spot popular among the Chilean elite is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
When to visit: January-February is crowded, but the rest of the year is mostly empty
Location: Separating the border between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes mountains
Most travelers have heard of Lake Titicaca, but did you know you can stay with a local family on one of the many islands throughout the largest high altitude lake in the world? Amantani, Taquile, and Uros are a few of the islands that invite tourists to stay with families where you’re certain to gain a better understanding of the Incan culture and fully immerse yourself in their daily lives.
When to visit: May through September
5. Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes, Peru
Machu Picchu tends to be at the top of every traveler’s bucket list. The majority of tourists will take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Some more active travelers will hike the Inca Trail, along with hundreds of their closest friends, to reach the famous ruins. However, for the true adventure seekers, the Salkantay Trek is waiting for you. This high altitude trail will take you through mountain passes over 14,000 ft, cloud forests as far as the eye can see, and a breath taking final camp site overlooking the valley to Machu Picchu. This trek isn’t as well known as the Inca Trail, allowing you to truly embrace the scenery with a small group of like-minded backpackers.
6. Tayrona National Park – Near Santa Marta, Colombia
A short flight from Bogota to Santa Marta will land you in the National Park region of Tayrona. Tayrona presents a variety of climates and geography that range from arid landscapes to lush rain forests and is the second most visited national park in Colombia. Take advantage of the beautiful hikes to local beaches and enjoy a dip in the warm Caribbean Sea. Tayrona National Park sits on the Caribbean Coast in the north of Colombia, only 34 km from the city of Santa Marta
7. Sahara Desert - Marrakech, Morocco, Africa
It doesn’t get more ‘off the beaten path’ than camel trekking across the Sahara Desert. This can be a hot, windy, and sandy experience, but keep your head gear and sunglasses on and you’ll be instantly transported into a chapter of ‘The Alchemist’. Imagine sleeping under the stars with the moon rising over the endless sand dunes. You have to see it to believe it.
8. Surf Yoga Retreat, Portugal - Avenida Colinas do Atlântico, Ericeira, Portugal
Surf and Yoga retreats have become increasingly popular and are a fantastic way to relax from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Ericeira is a small surf town 45 minutes from the capital of Lisbon. The quiet serenity of the daily yoga, the active meditation of surf, and the delicious organic meals are just some of the perks of going off the radar for a few days and recharging the mind, body, and soul.
Known as the ‘Blue City’, Chefchaouen can be reached by taxi or bus from any major city in Morocco and is quickly becoming a tourist staple. Walking the blue covered streets, from doors to windows to lampposts and everything in between, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto a Hollywood movie set. Once you’ve tired of roaming the blue alleyways, venture out to explore the hidden waterfall of Cascades d’Akchour outside of town.
Are you an adrenaline junkie? Enjoy jumping off high cliffs or sliding down natural water slides? Then Interlaken is for you! Canyoning can be done all over the world, but the Chli Canyon tour in Interlaken is one of the best. The route starts off with a small slide and two giant jumps into small, cold pools. Rappelling, a giant jump slide in-between rocks, and two huge slides as the grand finale. Interlaken is an adventure haven with countless activities to choose from.
Montenegro has garnered popular media attention in recent months, but is still widely unknown in the travel circuit. From stunning beaches, coastal resorts, day spas, hiking trails, and beautiful road trips through the unique countryside, Montenegro is full of something for every traveler.
A 30 minute drive from the San Diego border, Los Gaviotas is a beautiful coastline for surfers, SUP, and sun worshippers alike. Continue down the road another 10 minutes and you’ll have your pick of authentic Mexican restaurants with ocean views and delicious lobster meals.
13. Papua New Guinea
160 kilometers north of Australia lies the pristine islands of Papua New Guinea. Mostly untouched, Papua New Guinea is the South Pacific’s best kept secret. Take advantage of the solitude on a private beach or head out via boat to explore the water with some of the best diving in the world. Then swap your sandals for hiking boots and trek through the world’s third largest rainforest and towering volcanoes.
Nature enthusiasts and animal lovers will be in heaven exploring the beautiful lands of Madagascar. Known for its diverse wildlife with over 8,000 species of plants and animals, most are found no where else on earth. Grab your cameras and explore the untouched countryside of Madagascar.
15. India’s National Parks:
Rajasthan’s Ranthambore National Park, Karnataka’s Nagarhole National Park, Kanha National Park, Satpura and Tadoba
Location: North, Central, and North East India
Typically known for its temples and markets, India’s National Parks tend to be overlooked by travelers. It’s time to get off the beaten path and explore these parks and the animals that call them home. You won’t want to miss the Asiatic Elephant, the Gaur, the Leopard, the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Sloth Bear, the Great One Horned Rhinoceros, or the Wild Buffalo.
This article was written by Deena Betcher and edited by Lexi Perman.