Travel Beyond the Crowds: 9 Incredible Alternative Destinations

By Ivan PetrenkoApr 3, 2024 12:30 PMNews
Taj Mahal, India
Taj Mahal, India. Source: unsplash

Globetrotters seeking the allure of iconic sites without the onslaught of tourists have inspiring alternatives to consider, as highlighted in the forthcoming National Geographic book Here Not There: 100 Unexpected Travel Destinations. From majestic landscapes to architectural marvels, these destinations offer comparable beauty, history, and cultural richness to their more famous counterparts, but with the added luxury of fewer crowds and often at a fraction of the cost. Explore these nine remarkable destination dupes that promise to deliver unforgettable experiences.

Western Cape, South Africa: The Napa Valley of the Southern Hemisphere

Embark on a vinous voyage near Cape Town, where regions like Stellenbosch mirror Napa's viticultural prowess amidst breathtaking landscapes. Wine enthusiasts can indulge in tastings of shiraz and chenin blanc, with the unique Wine Trams of Franschhoek providing an enchanting journey between estates.

Western Colorado: America’s Answer to Iceland's Geothermal Wonders

Colorado’s Historic Hot Springs Loop is a testament to nature’s spa, rivaling Iceland's famed geothermal baths. From the soothing mineral pools of Mount Princeton to the rustic charm of Nathan’s Hippy Dip Hot Spring, wellness and adventure seamlessly converge in these Rocky Mountain sanctuaries.

Borobudur, Indonesia: A Spiritual Counterpart to Angkor Wat

The serene Borobudur Temple, nestled on Java Island, offers a tranquil alternative to the bustling ruins of Angkor Wat. This eighth-century Buddhist marvel, best experienced at dawn or dusk, stands as a testament to spiritual architecture and ancient civilization.

Tasmania: The Southern Hemisphere’s Aurora Haven

Chase the elusive southern lights in Tasmania, Australia's untouched wilderness. Winter months provide the perfect backdrop for this astronomical spectacle, with national parks like Cradle Mountain serving as prime viewing spots.

Letchworth State Park, New York: The Grand Canyon of the East

Experience the grandeur of Letchworth State Park, where towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls evoke the majesty of the Grand Canyon amidst the verdant landscapes of New York.

Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick: A Quieter Take on Maine’s Coastal Charm

Discover the unspoiled beauty of Grand Manan, where lighthouses and lobster rolls abound without the crowds. This Bay of Fundy gem offers a rich tapestry of cultural history and natural splendor, from whale watching to coastal hikes.

Bibi Ka Maqbara, Aurangabad, India: Echoes of the Taj Mahal’s Grandeur

Behold the Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad, a poignant homage to Mughal architecture that captures the essence of the Taj Mahal’s beauty without the throngs of visitors. This lesser-known mausoleum, with its serene gardens and reflective pools, offers a peaceful retreat into India's imperial past.

Montenegro: A Secluded Gem Along the Adriatic

Escape to Montenegro's Adriatic coast, where medieval towns and crystal-clear waters rival Croatia’s famed Dalmatian Coast. Explore the historic charm of Budva and Kotor, where centuries-old architecture meets the tranquility of the Mediterranean.

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala: Lake Como’s Vibrant Cultural Counterpart

Lake Atitlán, set in a volcanic caldera, presents a picturesque alternative to Lake Como. Surrounded by indigenous villages and volcanic peaks, this Guatemalan treasure is a haven for those seeking a blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.

Embarking on the Path Less Traveled

These nine alternative destinations not only offer breathtaking experiences akin to their more renowned counterparts but also the chance to tread lightly in lesser-explored corners of the world. As travelers seek out the road less traveled, they discover that the true essence of exploration lies not in the destination but in the journey itself.

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