Where you can find authentic experiences and mass-free travel
With COVID-19 making many of us nervous about traveling to popular places, you might be looking for some crowded places to visit instead. Fortunately, many bucket list destinations around the world have neighboring neighbors who are just as fascinating and just as, if not more picturesque.
A holiday in countries or regions with far fewer visitors not only carries a lower risk, but can also be much more pleasant overall. Instead of queuing to take photos of monuments or missing something due to reduced capacity, why not go somewhere where you can have it all to yourself? Traveling to lesser-known places also gives you the chance to get in touch with the locals and even witness certain cultural practices that you may never see at a tourist hotspot.
If you’re looking for an authentic experience but want to avoid large crowds, we’ll show you our favorite travel destinations and accommodations that are a little off the beaten path.
Instead of Angkor Wat, drive to Borobudur
The archaeological site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is not only the eighth wonder of the world, but also a destination on many people’s travel wish lists! However, its popularity makes it a challenge to travel safely with COVID-19.
If you’re still hoping to take in the views of incredible ancient ruins surrounded by lush jungle, Borobudur in Indonesia is a worthy alternative. The 9th century Buddhist temple is located in central Java and is nestled between two dramatic volcanic peaks.
In addition to exploring the sacred temple – the largest of its kind in the world – at your own pace, trips to Borobudur give you access to miles of serene jungle landscapes and various other ancient sites. Just like Angkor Wat, Borobudur is best found at dawn. Let our team organize a sunrise excursion for a guaranteed people-free travel moment.
Borobudur temple at sunrise
Swap the Taj Mahal for an overnight stay in a grand palace
The magnificent UNESCO Taj Mahal in Agra is another wonder of the world and a must see at some point in your life! If you’d rather postpone your visit until it is safer to travel to hotspots again, there is a simple compromise.
India is full of beautiful palaces with extraordinary architecture and fascinating history. In addition, many of them offer the option to stay overnight! Take a look at some of the best heritage hotels in India housed in some truly impressive buildings.
Sleep in the romantic Taj Lake Palace on the water in Udaipur or admire the unusual Venetian decor and luxurious marble surfaces in the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. There is also the option to book a stay at the Taj Rambagh Palace, a magnificent complex that used to be the seat of the Maharajas of Jaipur.
Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur
Mass free travel in the Grand Canyon? Book a helicopter ride over the South Rim
With its arid landscape and steep slopes, the Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited places in the United States. In fact, over 5 million people from around the world visit each year – a number that may seem overwhelming.
However, if you’re still dreaming of getting up close and personal with the canyon this year, there is a way to soak up its splendor without fighting the crowd. Instead of heading to the ever popular South Rim on a road trip in Utah, treat yourself to a helicopter ride.
You start in a nearby city like Las Vegas and glide through the canyon, enjoying uninterrupted views from your window. Some operators even offer you the option to land on the canyon floor so you can go outside and snap stunning photos.
Take a private helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon
Soak up the Tuscan sun outside of Florence
If your dream of a vacation in sun-drenched Tuscany, you might want to get off the beaten path instead of staying in bustling Florence. The capital of the Italian region is full of beautiful architecture, great restaurants, and several heritage sites, especially the magnificent cathedral. Still, all of these attractions can make it difficult to travel without the crowds.
A fantastic alternative is to stay outside the city limits in the stunning Tuscan countryside. The area is full of vineyards, many of which have properties to stay in. Spend your days admiring lush landscapes, enjoying delicious Tuscan cuisine, and enjoying la dulce vida in Italy at a slower pace.
Explore Vietnam’s Lan Ha Bay instead of busy Ha Long Bay
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay, with its iconic limestone islands and green peaks, is for sure one of the most visited places in Vietnam. However, if you don’t want to crowd through the crowd to see the beaches and swimming spots, plan your crowded trip to Lan Ha Bay.
Lan Ha Bay is south of Ha Long and is a lesser-known place, but just as picturesque. It is located east of the island of Cat Ba and is therefore an ideal starting point for diving, snorkeling and climbing tours. It is also home to hundreds of limestone islands that plunge straight into the crystal clear sea. Lan Ha Bay is, to put it simply, the quieter neighbor of Ha Long Bay and a brilliant destination for safe travel with COVID-19.
Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam
Conquer the Salkantay Trek or Lares Trail instead of the Inca Trail in Peru
Another travel destination that tops many people’s travel bucket lists is Peru. In particular the Inca Trail, which winds its way up the Andes and through the lively cloud forest to the legendary Machu Picchu.
Nonetheless, the fame of the Inca Trail also keeps him busy, especially during the high season between May and September. Fortunately, there are two other trekking routes to Machu Picchu that are just as spectacular but much quieter: the Salkantay Trek and the Lares Trail.
Both alternative hiking routes start and end in Cusco and lead through a varied landscape. Hike in the shade of the snow-capped Humantay Mountains, soak up the sparkling shores of Humantay Lake, and warm up in the hot springs of Cocalmayo. You’ll also get in touch with friendly locals along the way and learn more about Peruvian culture and way of life.
Hike to Machu Picchu
Pass by Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes to visit Krka National Park
Croatia is a hotspot for sunny vacations and here is also the very photogenic Plitvice Lakes National Park. Tucked away on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the reserve is one of the country’s top attractions and ideal for hiking.
While many choose the Plitvice Lakes, there is another oasis in Croatia where you can enjoy the peaceful surroundings without having to share the view with too many fellow travelers. The Krka National Park is 150 km south near Split and is also worth a visit if you enjoy immersing yourself in nature.
Similar to Plitvice but smaller, Krka has a number of thundering waterfalls and a number of epic hiking trails that lead through beautiful gorges. The region is also home to several fascinating cultural heritage sites. These include castle ruins, the remains of some Roman catacombs and the magical 14th-century Krka Monastery, which sits enthroned on an island in Lake Viskovac.
Miss Milford Sound in New Zealand for Doubtful Sound
New Zealand is a nation with more than its fair share of picturesque scenery! The South Island in particular is blessed with several beautiful places where you can be one with nature.
Located at the foot of the South Island in Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is popular for camping, hiking and sailing trips. Miter Peak lies in its heart, giving way to lush rainforest, while the sound itself is the natural habitat of many species of marine mammals. Despite all this beauty, it can become a busy travel destination during certain times of the year. For a crowded vacation in the New Zealand countryside, why not forego Milford Sound and visit Doubtful Sound instead?
Despite its name, there is no doubt that it is a beautiful place. Larger than Milford Sound but less popular, Doubtful Sound is made up of sheer cliffs, dense forest, and a vast body of water that is home to seals, penguins, and even whales! It is best to visit on a guided tour that takes you across the deep sound to various scenic locations along the coast.
Doubtful sound, New Zealand New
Talk to our experts to create an authentic, personalized and COVID-19 safe trip that will allow you to discover hidden gems away from the crowds.
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