The current events of 2023 have taken away our freedom to travel and explore what the world has to offer. To control the rising cases of COVID-19, countries have closed their international borders in the meantime.
But, if there’s something we can learn from human history, it’s that dilemmas like this are bound to end sooner or later. And when that happens, we’ll be free to follow our vagabond spirits again.
Once people are allowed to travel again, expect them to flock to famous tourist destinations. If you want to enjoy your newfound freedom to travel, skip the tourist favorites and explore these 4 hidden gems instead. You experience a different side of adventure, but you’re also helping to alleviate “overtourism” by taking the road less traveled.
1. Ljubljana, Slovenia
With its title as the European Green Capital, you’re guaranteed the best experience of nature and architecture that Italy also promises to its visitors.
Witness art revolution at the famous Metelkova Mesto, a former army barracks during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It’s a lively, hip place where you can admire art by day and party hard at night.
Take advantage of Ljubljana’s cycling-friendly streets and roam around the city with a rental bicycle. Ride along the jaded beauty of the Ljubljanica river. Explore the splendid architecture in Prešeren Square and admire one of the best buildings in the city, the Baroque Church of the Annunciation.
And if you’re in for a taste of Slovenia’s colorful history, visit two of the country’s best houses of the past – the National Museum of Slovenia and the National Museum of Contemporary History.
2. Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Looking to visit an underdog destination that houses the best experiences for art, nature, adventure, and wine enthusiasts? Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand is the perfect destination for you, then!
For adventure seekers looking to hike and view New Zealand’s scenic sights, Te Mata Peak is the best destination to go. You can also do hang gliding across the Heretaunga Plains to get the full view.
Those looking to have a Naples or Bordeaux, France experience sans the tourist crowd can drop by the 72 vineyards sprawled across Hawke’s Bay. Taste the best wines from the famous Te Mata Estate Winery. If you’re in for a bit of wine history, a good selection of wine, accompanied by mouthwatering food, make sure to visit the Church Road Winery!
Don’t forget to visit the city of Napier if you want to relive the jazz era’s glamour! Join the fun in their annual Art Deco Festival every February. The city will take you back to 30s with their vintage car parades, fashion show, concerts, a Gatsby-themed picnic, and more.
If you’re, you’re planning to explore more of New Zealand aside from Hawke’s Bay. It’s ideal to rent a camper or a motor house you can use to move around. You can check out nzmotorhomerentals.co.nz to rent the best RV without breaking the bank.
3. Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania
If you want in on the nature-theme adventure, the Rubondo Island National Park in Tanzania should be on your travel list. It usually attracts bird enthusiasts, wildlife lovers, and fishing fanatics looking to catch the best game.
Getting there is a little challenging, thus the small number of tourists. But don’t let that stop you! You wouldn’t want to miss the chance to see animals native to the African safari, such as elephants, giraffes, vervet monkeys, and sitatungas, a rarely-seen species of antelope.
If you want to enjoy the island, make your trip there during the dry seasons (June to October). For bird-watchers, December is the best time to visit so you can catch the bird migration in the park.
4. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Skip the famous Game of Thrones destination in Dubrovnik in Croatia. Instead, go somewhere north and taste the real historical experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The country is home to multicultural influences of the Austro-Hungarian Empire up to the Islams. It’s also a witness to significant historical events, such as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the city of Sarajevo, which sparked World War I. Visit their museums to learn more about their important historical stories!
The country is also the best alternative destination for skiers avoiding the overcrowded European alpines. Bosnia is home to slopes perfect for beginners and adventure-seekers.
Make sure to drop by one of the most famous bridges in the country, the Stari Most located in Herzegovina, Mostar. It has the best view of one of the most enchanting rivers you’ll see in the world! When you’re done admiring the aquatic beauty underneath, you can head on to the city where you can find numerous shops and stalls.
If you want to experience peace and tranquility, head on to Blagaj Tekija, it’s a Dervish Monastery located at the side of a cliff, where you can admire the Buna River in all its glory. The monastery is home to a mausoleum, a Turkish bath, and a collection of wax models.
5. Abra, Philippines
The Southeast Asian country is mostly known for Boracay and other paradise-like beaches and rivers, but it has more to offer than that. You can also get a glimpse of the country’s colorful history and breathtaking views from Abra’s most underrated provinces.
A nature spot that’s slowly gaining the hearts of vagabonds is the Kaparkan Falls in the province. This waterfall has a different form than usual waterfalls with their towering water cascading on the formation of rocks. Imagine Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany, Italy, and you’ll get the picture.
If you want to catch the best spot for sunset viewing, hike along the Apao Rolling Hills. The mountain view is a sight you don’t want to miss while waiting for the sun to set.
Don’t leave Abra without visiting the Gabriel Silang Gallery of Fine Arts, the former headquarters of a revolutionary known as the Joan of Arc of Ilocania. The gallery is home to paintings and sculptures made by prominent artists such as Fernando Amorsolo and Pablo Picasso.