I asked fellow travellers to share destinations they’ve been to recently that were a bit unusual or off the beaten track. If you fancy being a bit more adventurous this year then check out these seven destinations that these travellers loved – across the globe – which are just waiting for you to discover them.
Detroit, Michigan, USA
By Jessica Lipowski
When you think of 2017’s hot travel destinations, Detroit is not usually the city that first comes to mind. The city has not had the easiest of paths, with years of turmoil leaving it rough around the edges. Detroit, however, is coming back. The city is full of culture and character. There’s truly something for everyone. Go see a Red Wing’s hockey game or grab a beer and brat at a Detroit Tiger’s baseball game. Visit one of the renowned museums, for instance the Motown music museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Greenfield Village, or the Detroit Historical Museum.
Plan your trip around one of the many vibrant events, like the Woodward Dream Cruise or North American International Auto Show. Are you a foodie? You’ve come to the right place. The metropolitan area is a food-lover’s haven, with new and innovative concepts popping up left and right. If you need some time away from the auto city, head to Belle Isle, an island situated between Detroit and Windsor. This peaceful oasis is home to an aquarium, conservancy, canoeing, and picnic spots. Experience the Midwest hospitality and see what everyone is talking about.
By Shawn Smith, nadaCliché
Kengtung is a must visit for those looking to veer off the main tourist path. A beautiful countryside, rich in heritage and tribal communities. Filled with beautiful men, women and children that greet you with open arms – that smile upon your arrival and wave goodbye upon your departure. Generous souls that fill your glass when it is half full and insist you have the last bite of a meal. While some tribes are visited by the local tourist industry there are tribes in the furthest corners that are more protected. Five or six hours hiking and you will reach remote villages that haven’t had a foreign visitor for months.
By Oana and Cristian, Around the Compass
Romania is not on many people’s list for travel destinations, which is unfortunate. And even if they do travel there, most fly into Bucharest and visit what they know to be Dracula’s castle, Bran. But there’s so much more than that. If you still decide to take this route (Bucuresti – Bran) why not head over to Peles and Rasnov as well, two totally different castles easily reachable by car from Bran. Afterwards you could drive along the Transfagarasan. Featured in Top Gear, it’s a winding road that crosses the mountains, connecting the south and the region known as Transylvania. The scenery is breath-taking.
Still looking for castles? Head over to Corvin Castle – it looks straight out of a fairy-tale. If you are staying in Transylvania, spend at least one day in Sighisoara, one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and a UNESCO site. Other cities worth visiting here are Sibiu, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca and Bistrita. If cities are not your thing and you’d rather hike, Romania’s nature is still virtually untouched and there are plenty of mountains to tackle. If you still have time, embark on a unique experience in the northern part called Maramures – take a narrow-gauge steam train up into the mountains for a complete trip.
Lagodekhi National Park, Republic of Georgia
By Marinel, Brown Gal Trekker
The Republic of Georgia is a hidden gem for travellers, especially those who are nature and mountain lovers. I had the privilege to spend time there including a trek into one of its lesser known trails in Lagodekhi National Park, which is situated on the eastern side of the country. From Tbilisi, one can easily take a local bus to get to the town outside of the park. The trek’s ultimate purpose is to afford the lucky trekkers an experience to witness the Black Rocks Lake, which borders Georgia and Russia. In fact, a simple walk via a cow path can take you to Russia. The trek requires a minimum of three days and is strenuous as you’ll have to carry all your provisions and hike up 2,200 meters in elevation.
There are huts in two different locations, which help provide warmth and comfort at night and the area is special as it is so remote. When I trekked it, there were only three others hiking the same itinerary. The park also has shorter and easier day hikes to a number of waterfalls for those who wish for a more relaxing visit. The simple fact is when visiting Georgia, Lagodekhi is certainly not a place to be missed!
Staffa, Inner Hebrides in Argyll and Bute, Scotland
By Colin and Linda, Amberpark Couple
Staffa is an island of the Inner Hebrides in Argyll and Bute, Scotland and famous for wildlife. We had an amazing trip here a year or so ago. We were staying on the Isle of Mull, Scotland and ventured on a day trip to Staffa to see the puffins. We went out on the boat early, but never saw any so we managed to convince the skipper of the boat to leave us (as he was going back for another group) to explore the island on our own! After three hours of watching the puffins in the sea below, they finally came ashore and landed right beside us. We managed to catch an amazing shot of this puffin drying its wings as we were only a metre or so away from it and managed to explore Fingals’ Cave. A great trip and well worth a visit!
Karlskrona and Utklippan, Sweden
By Skye Class, Skye Travels
Sweden might not be on your itinerary, but as one of the best countries in the world, it should be. However, some parts of Sweden are even better than others. In the southeast of the country is the Karlskrona region, primarily built across thousands of islands, while the main city spans over 30. As is the rest of Sweden, Karlskrona is simply gorgeous. There are plenty of activities, including the Royal Maritime Museum (Karlakrona has the only Swedish naval base), old churches, delicious food and kayaking between the islands. You can tour the old fort or just go biking around the islands. Best of all, you can get a tour with the Saltstank Dive Center. They will bring you down to the tiny, uninhabited island of Utklippan in a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) for a barbecue meal and then you can snorkel with seals or scuba dive to shipwrecks. In all my adventures of 2016, it was easily one of my favourite.
Niagara Falls, Canada
By Katie, Creative Travel Guide
This year, Canada is celebrating 150 years of independence – making it the perfect time for a visit. Canada offers some of the best cities, national parks and ski resorts in the world yet we always find ourselves going back to the same natural beauty. Niagara Falls is the first destination we ever visited together and we have returned as often as we can. Nothing beats taking the Maid of the Mist into the heart of the falls – in fact, we are even considering getting married on the boat itself! Visit the American side for a beautiful park, the famous Maid of the Mist or the popular cave of the winds; where you can walk under the Bridal Veil Falls and get drenched. Over on the Canadian side you can take a trip underground, behind the falls and spend the evenings enjoying the various activities such as mini golf, the observation wheel, casinos, arcades, wax museums and so on.
We love Niagara Falls and urge you to visit in this year of celebration!
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