Best Off-The-Beaten-Path Destinations
Published on: October 12th, 2017
Last modified: July 27th, 2023
Some of the most memorable travel moments are those where you find yourselves away from the crowds.
Travel is incredible when it’s just you and your spectacular surroundings. It is those experiences you will find yourself returning to time and again.
If you’re looking to lose (or find) yourself in near solitude, we’ve selected some of our favourite off the beaten path destinations for you.
Trujillo and Chiclayo, Peru
One of the things Peru is known for is its ancient cultures, and people travel from across the globe to visit places like Machu Picchu. But if you’re looking to explore somewhere with just as much enthralling history, but with fewer people vying for the best photos, then head to the Moche Route.
In the valley near the city of Trujillo, you’ll find ruins from the ancient Chimu culture, including the Adobe Palace complex of Chan Chan. It’s an ideal destination for travellers fascinated by archaeology. If you venture north you’ll find yourself among pyramids and tombs in the Tucume Valley near Chiclayo. Delve into history, or simply unwind at the coast, where you’ll find fantastic surf conditions.
If you want to discover the less mainstream side of Europe, then you should definitely consider an escape to Slovenia. With Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia as its neighbours this small country boasts both Alpine mountains and a very small stretch of Mediterranean coast.
Adventure-lovers can make the most of the mountains and rivers and go skiing, hiking, mountain biking, rafting and kayaking through unspoiled wilderness. Wander through the dilapidated port town of Piran, revel in the solitude of an alpine chalet, go exploring in caves down south, or discover the medieval castle at Lake Bled.
Chiloé Island, Chile
Slow down and allow yourself to be charmed by the pastoral scenery and local legends of Chiloé Island. Still relatively unknown, this island offers visitors the opportunity to experience life in quaint fishing villages, go walking through the mist on verdant hillsides and mingle with friendly islanders in the market as you buy fresh seafood.
The water’s edge is dotted with colourful house on stilts, or palafito, and spread across the island you’ll discover close to 200 wooden churches that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
Virunga, Democratic Republic of Congo
For a life-changing experience, venture into the depths of Virunga National Park where you may encounter a family of mountain gorillas. It’s not an easy trek, but well worth the effort as knowledgeable guides track the awe-inspiring creatures through the dense forests. Centred around Lake Edward, this is Africa’s oldest national park which is also home to more bird, mammal and reptile species than any other protected area on the continent.
In addition to marvelling at its giant primates and other wildlife, you can also take in the snow-capped mountains and the broiling lava lake of Nyiragongo. It’s a dramatic region which survives and flourishes thanks to the tireless work of conservationists and philanthropists.
Discover the timeless and rugged beauty of Jujuy near to Bolivia. Here you’ll find natural wonders like the salt flats of Salinas Grandes, the Quebrada Humahuaca with its multicoloured hills and the ancient towns of Tilcara and Purmamarca where life hasn’t changed much over the past few generations.
Or follow ancient Incan trails, explore desert labyrinths and spot herds of llamas on the Puna plateau. Discover the turquoise ponds of Ojos del Mar and clay brick towns like Tolar Grande. This part of Argentina is largely unknown, so you can soak up authentic experiences away from the crowds.
Huge forests, vast moorlands and hills dotted with castle ruins, abbeys and medieval towns – the Scottish Lowlands are starkly beautiful and rich in history. Whether you prefer to settle into a country way of life and spend your days fishing and following forest trails and cliff top walks, or if you’re keen for a round of golf or rock climbing, this part of Scotland is tranquil and beautiful.
As you head further south through the Borders region, the historic frontier between England and Scotland, you’ll see how the cultures contrast.
Zimbabwe and Zambia
For an exceptional bush experience, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Zimbabwe. Accompanied by expert guides you can explore the Great Zimbabwe ruins, the vast forests of in Mana Pools National Park and go searching for the Big Five out in the wild without crowds. In the teak forests and sandveld of Hwange National park you’ll be surrounded by undisturbed wildlife.
Or spend a night on the banks of the Zambezi with hippos and elephants nearby, and the roaring of lions from across the river. Zambia offers exceptional safaris and activities as well as stunning wild natural beauty. There are 19 popular national parks to discover, as well as the thundering Victoria Falls, but among the most special experiences is a luxurious safari in the most remote wilderness.