In these days of internet interconnectivity and social media stardom, it’s easy to assume that everyone has already seen everything. While certain influencers constantly post content from certain locales to their Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube pages, many more places worldwide offer a welcome respite and a special opportunity to chart a new path with few or no influencers in sight.
If you’re ready to discover stunning places worldwide that most have yet to see on their social media feeds, here’s a handy list to help you get started.
1. Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia
While cities like Cartagena and Medellin wow visitors with their scenic backdrops and fascinating backstories, Santa Marta offers some of Colombia’s most gorgeous Caribbean beaches, a remarkable museum of gold, the historic plantation where revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar spent his final days, and so much more. Even better, Santa Marta sits at the foot of one of Colombia’s greatest ecological treasures: Tayrona National Natural Park.
2. Samburu National Reserve, Kenya
Samburu is far from Kenya’s most famous safari hotspot. Still, this national reserve provides refuge to some of Africa’s most elusive animal species, such as reticulated giraffes, oryxes, impalas, Verreaux’s eagles, Grant’s gazelles, Cape buffaloes, and African bush elephants. You may need to book an extra flight from Nairobi to reach Samburu, but the journey here is worth it.
3. Lauca National Park, Arica y Parinacota, Chile
Situated near the very northern tip of Chile and along its border with Bolivia, Lauca National Park offers a wide variety of otherworldly landscapes, from its bone-dry stretch of the Atacama Desert to the awe-inspiring and snow-capped Parinacota Volcano that reaches 20,930 feet (or 6,380 meters) above sea level. Come for the amazing views, and stay to spot local wildlife like alpacas, llamas, and more than 140 bird species.
4. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia
Located on Whitsunday Island off a remote stretch of Queensland’s Pacific Coast, this Australian beach doesn’t tend to draw many visitors, yet it may be one of the world’s most photographed beaches thanks to the sand’s composition of 98% silica. Beyond Whitehaven’s signature (and award-winning) white sand, hikers can hit the trails and catch great coastal views, and swimmers can enjoy the tranquil turquoise waters offshore.
5. Mount Toubkal, Morocco
Soaring some 13,671 feet (or 4,167 meters) above sea level, Mount Toubkal is Morocco’s tallest peak—often called the “roof of North Africa.” While it’s only about 39 miles (or 63 kilometers) south of Marrakesh, a multi-day trek up the mountain (only recommended for experienced hikers) lets you ascend into an incredibly pristine wilderness, providing views of lovely lakes, verdant valleys, and nearby mountain peaks.
6. Svalbard Islands, Norway
These islands perched in the Arctic Ocean make for the ultimate icy escape. This may be the best place to spot polar bears in the wild, along with reindeer, foxes, seals, walruses, and whales. During the summer, the midnight sun illuminates the sky, and during the frigid winter, the Northern Lights are truly something to behold.
7. Isla Espíritu Santo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
The Mexican state of Baja California Sur may be most famous for the beaches of Los Cabos, but about 98 miles (or 157 kilometers) north lies the state capital of La Paz, where you can catch a boat to ride to one of North America’s most gorgeous islands.
Not only does this volcanic island offer dramatic landscapes, but it happens to be a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The island abounds with native wildlife, including sea turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, and seasonal migrations of whales.
8. Montserrat Natural Park, Catalonia, Spain
Montserrat is only about 38 miles (or 60 kilometers) away from the bustling metropolis of Barcelona. This natural park lets you rise above the city and discover marvelous surprises. Its many trails let you discover an astounding variety of wet- and dry-climate foliage alongside breathtaking rock formations, and the Montserrat Monastery provides a special spiritual experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
9. Cappadocia, Turkey
Tucked away some 186 miles (or 300 kilometers) southeast of Ankara, Cappadocia abounds in unique rock formations often called “fairy chimneys” for their fantastical appearance.
Not only is the natural landscape here quite dreamy, but the region also functions as a vast open-air museum where you can enjoy close encounters with ancient Roman ruins, Byzantine-era churches, and even a collection of underground cities!
10. Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Tofino may only be about 126 miles (or 203 kilometers) north of BC’s provincial capital of Victoria, yet this Pacific Coast hamlet feels a world away with its lush evergreen forests and cool, sandy beaches.
This may be Canada’s premier surfing destination thanks to its consistently great waves. But even if you don’t feel like riding the waves, Tofino has plenty of art galleries, restaurants, hiking trails, and First Nations indigenous culture for you to dive into.
11. Vagamon, Kerala, India
Located near the Indian subcontinent’s southern tip in the state of Kerala, Vagamon sits high in the Western Ghats, and it looks and feels like a magical land with its green rolling hills, tranquil pine forests, refreshing waterfalls, and charming villages. Here, you will even find the Vagamon Glass Bridge, India’s longest cantilever glass bridge.
12. 1,000 Steps Beach, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands
You may not actually have to descend 1,000 steps (it’s actually 67) to reach this beach north of Bonaire’s largest city, Kralendijk. Nonetheless, this serene stretch of the island’s west coast feels like the ultimate escape. It’s particularly great for divers and snorkelers who want to explore Bonaire’s native marine wildlife, but even landlubbers will love the romantic scenery here.
13. Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam
While Southeast Asia has plenty of incredible land and seascapes, Hạ Long Bay (or Halong Bay) stands out with its 1,969 limestone islets and its greenish-blue water that give this corner of Vietnam a uniquely ethereal feel. Whether you prefer exploring the pristine beaches or navigating the water via kayak, this UNESCO World Heritage Site might become your new favorite underrated wonder of the world.
14. Kapiti Island, New Zealand
Kapiti Island (or Kāpiti Island) is only about 19 miles (or 30 kilometers) north of New Zealand’s capital of Wellington. Despite its proximity to an urban area, this nature reserve is one of the country’s most critical. Many of New Zealand’s most endangered birds call this island home, so the sanctuary truly offers a rare slice of unspoiled, natural beauty.
15. Lastovo, Croatia
Though Croatia has quickly become a popular destination, there remains an island village about 55 nautical miles (or 92 kilometers) west of Dubrovnik that provides a scenic escape from the maddening mainland crowds.
Though you’ll likely need to catch a ferry to get here, the three-and-a-half-hour ride is worth it, especially if you’re a nature lover who loves to hit the trails or if you’re an oenophile who wants to try some of the best wine you’ve never heard of.
The Road Less Traveled Can Lead To Stunning Hidden Gems
Sure, it can be fun sometimes to travel to the more popular destinations that usually dominate social media feeds. But other times, it’s totally fine to feel the urge to steer clear of the well-beaten paths and take the road less traveled to new places full of new and unique experiences.
Whenever you feel that urge, you now have a good shortlist of destinations worth discovering. They may not make everyone’s bucket list, but they can make your trip one that you can always cherish as a magical adventure that’s uniquely yours.
15 High-End Resorts Across the World Worth Every Penny
Do you want to travel the world in style? Do you want to see the best of what your destination has to offer? If you’re in the mood to splurge on a vacation, check out these resorts around the world that offer maximum comfort and class.