What is your definition of vacation?
Most of us think a sandy beach on a resort with all inclusive drinks and food. Basking in the sun with other tourists nearby. Nights are often filled with seafood dinners and resort entertainment by the ocean. Although there is nothing wrong with aforementioned “getaway” we generally like to think of the word vacation quite differently. Our vacations consist of a single piece of luggage and several check points along the way and much improvisation between.
For example, many have been to Puerto Rico, yet few travel away from the main city of San Juan. Recently a friend and I took a trip to Puerto Rico and planned on spending only a day in the tourist-filled capital. We rented a car and with nothing more than a fold out map, we hit the backroads of the 51st state. We were able to take a “vacation” few have experienced. Witnessing some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches we have ever seen. Although a little more risky and unknown, we choose the UN-beaten path every time.
Wuyishan, Fujian, China
Helping build the roots of Confucianism, Wuyishan has plenty of history in its streets. With its lack of tourists, you may just feel like you are back 4,000 years ago with many of the same settlements. Highlights including the Nine Bend River and the gorgeous Wuyi Mountains. If your a hiker, we recommend this Eastern destination.
Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece
Known in Greek mythology as the cave of the nymphs, it features a sky-blue lake covered with stones . The sun’s rays beaming in from the different crevices make a unique kaleidoscope of colors on the water’s surface.
Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland
Although not as secluded as some of the other places on this list, the Gullfloss Waterfall in Iceland is spectacular. At 100 feet high and translated in English to the “Golden Waterfall” it is definitely worth checking out.
Lake Resia, Austria
Located on the Austrian border, this is an awesome place to take your first ice fishing or sailing lesson. Not to mention, some of the tops of buildings including the church from the old town that sat where the lake is today, still protrude out of the water.
Basque Region, Spain
One word, Paella. The Spanish rice dish known to have its roots in the Basque region is filled with rice and more seafood than you can eat. The Basques are known as the oldest ethnic group in Europe therefore if you’re looking for historical roots, look no further.
Yes, you can now visit Cuba. Although you need to jump through quite a few hoops to get there, it may actually be worth it. Havana definitely lives up to its hype and although cigars may not be your cup of tea, there is something about smoking a cuban cigar in Cuba that makes it taste pretty damn good.
Easter Island, Polynesia
The bizarre “face” statues, called Moai, count into the 800’s might make you feel like you are on an episode of Lost. Being one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, you may find all of the UN-beaten paths and exploration you need.
There may not be a better combo then beaches and elephants which might make Sri Lanka the best place to go. With a very low cost of living and a very high quality of food and views, Sri Lanka might be our next stop.
When people think of Colombia, they often think Scarface stereotypes and trouble. However, after experiencing a bachelor party in Bogota, I can say the numerous museums, nightlife entertainment, amazing landscapes, it won’t be known for this stereotype much longer.
Known for its Fjords, Norway is extremely gorgeous surrounded by hills and mountains. Oslo is small enough to explore on foot, allowing to improvise your own itinerary. Although Norway’s capital, it is very easy to leave the city behind and explore much of the breathtaking scenery. Not to mention, it is only 7 hours from New York City.
For more unbeaten path ideas: Gear Patrol: Places to Adventure