Everyone knows the most popular touristic spots around the world, but what about those off-the-beaten-path locations, those secret spots, those hidden gems? The world is a huge place, with a lot of little-known treasures just waiting to be uncovered, admired, and enjoyed. Read on to learn all about the most beautiful, unknown places from all around the world.
Even if you’ve traveled all over the world, you’ll never have seen anything quite like the Monastery of Santa Maria dell’Isola. Located in Tropea, Italy, this monastery sits atop a rocky outcrop in the middle of a beach. It’s an amazing example of centuries-old architecture and, best of all, it’s a super secret spot that many tourists don’t know about, so it never gets too busy or crowded here, allowing you to sunbathe and admire the scenery without any interruptions.
Located in Derweze, Turkmenistan, the ‘Door to Hell’ is a very aptly named location and truly unlike anywhere else on Earth. It’s essentially an open chasm with a never-ending fire that has been burning for several decades now. It all began when a cave system collapsed in the area, and the geologists had to start a fire to burn away the methane gas and prevent it from spreading. The non-stop flow of gas means that the fire never ends.
If you’ve got the courage needed to visit a very frosty location, head on over to Svalbard, one of the last examples of a genuinely pristine, untouched environment on Earth, Svalbard is an icy archipelago found between Norway and the North Pole. It’s a stunning sight for any visitor, with icecaps and snowy plains stretching out as far as the eye can see. Visitors to this area often spot all kinds of Arctic lifelike polar bears too.
We’ve all seen those movie scenes where a lost traveler is desperately searching for water in a desert and starts to hallucinate, seeing a mirage of a beautiful, tree-lined oasis just off in the distance. Well, in Huacachina, Peru, that mirage is real. Surrounded by dunes, this little village is home to less than a hundred people, but it’s a fantastic spot to visit, with lots of greenery and astonishing scenery to be admired.
Over in Bolivia, the Salar de Uyuni is statistically the biggest example of a salt flat anywhere in the world. Situated in the southwestern part of the country, this salt flat stretches out over more than 10,000 square kilometers. With nothing but clean, white expanses in every direction, a visit to this area almost feels like you’ve landed on an alien planet and is a truly one of a kind experience.
Many of the sites on this list are natural locations, but if you want an example of the wonderful things humankind can be capable of when working together with nature, look no further than the Montreal Botanical Gardens. Spread out over 75 hectares of land and featuring some mind-blowing greenhouses, amazing topiaries, and stunning themed gardens, this place is an excellent location to spend some free time, especially if you happen to be a keen gardener or nature lover.
Situated right by the international border between Colombia and Ecuador, the Las Lajas Sanctuary almost looks like it doesn’t belong. Surrounded by cliffs and greenery, this imposing neo-Gothic church was built back in the 18th century and is by far one of the unique and impressive landmarks in all of Colombia. With breathtaking architecture and so much detailing both inside and outside, there’s a lot to love about Las Lajas Sanctuary.
Not far outside of the vast, sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, sits an incredible natural site. Hitachi Seaside Park, located in Ibaraki over on the Pacific Ocean side of Japan, is a beautiful park with all kinds of colorful flowers growing there throughout the year. It’s a fantastic place to take some photos or enjoy a romantic stroll with that special someone in your life, with the scenery looking like it fell from a fairy tale book.
This weird set of trees can be found in the Crooked Forest of Szczecin in Poland, not far from the local town of Gryfino. The forest features several hundred trees, all growing in the same strange way, with this bizarre, curvy shape like a big letter C. Nobody knows quite why the trees grow this way, with some experts stating that a large snowstorm caused the odd phenomenon or even potentially human involvement forced the trees to grow in a weird shape.
The Rotorua hot springs over in New Zealand are generally considered to be the most beautiful hot springs on the planet. A veritable hotbed of geothermal activity, the Rotorua area, is a real haven and a beautiful place to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. It’s a fantastic spot to relax your body, soothe your muscles, and free your mind. There are plenty of great hiking and biking trails in the local area as well.
Walking upstairs is often a pretty dull task, but nobody could ever get bored of the view from this set of stairs. Known as the ‘Haiku Stairs’ because Haiku Radio Station constructed them during the Second World War, these stairs offer breath-taking views in every direction over the beauty of Oahu Island. There are nearly 4,000 stairs to climb here, so getting from one end to the other is a big challenge, but worth it for those views.