Say goodbye to overcrowded beach resorts packed with tourists and get off the beaten track this summer instead. There are still plenty of beautiful places that aren’t thought of as popular vacation spots and yet, strangely, they are some of the most exciting places you could ever visit.
Here are five destinations to consider if you’re looking for a country that’s more of a travel experience than just a vacation.
Discover Sri Lanka – The Jewel of the Indian Ocean
Sri Lanka is a tropical paradise that is justifiably known as ‘The Island of Gems’. Its palm fringed shores have seduced explorers for centuries. From awe-inspiring Buddhist shrines such as the Temple of the Tooth to the elephant and leopard-filled national parks of Yala and Wilpattu, this is a place where visitors come for a dose of spirituality and nature. Trek through jungles to find majestic waterfalls such as the Diyaluma Falls, visit the first century BC Rock Temple of Dambulla or just watch the sunset from the remote Nilaveli Beach – one of this island’s many beauty spots.
South African Adventures in Cape Town
Set within the heart of South Africa, Cape Town is a cosmopolitan port city that boasts the awe-inspiring Table Mountain as its backdrop. The city itself offers an amazing number of bars, restaurants and clubs within its bustling streets but it’s the unforgettable excursions that make this an attractive destination. Take a trip on a cable-car to the top of Table Mountain or visit some of stunning beaches along the Western Cape. Safaris are of course a popular way to spend the day and the Cape Garden Route filled with lions, elephants and zebra is considered one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world.
Go Wild in Botswana
Located in the heart of southern Africa, Botswana is a place where you can really get back to nature. With over 100,000 elephants migrating across this country each year, you’re guaranteed some of the very best safari experiences in Africa. Whether you’re exploring the inland waterways of the Okavango Delta on a traditional canoe or journeying through the swamplands and game reserves of Chobe National Park, you’re in for an unforgettable trip in this woefully underrated destination. A quad-bike trip through the Makgadikgadi Pans, the largest salt pan in the world, provides an equally exhilerating travel experience. Botswana’s haunting landscapes are the setting for Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling ‘No1 Ladies Detective Agency’ novels – but there’s nothing like seeing the real place.
The Magical Rainforests of Costa Rica
Located between North and South America, Costa Rica is one of those ‘bucket list’ destinations, offering tropical beaches, dense rainforests, volcanoes and cloud-covered mountains. Find your adventurous spirit by exploring the Tenorio Volcano National Park where you can view the turquoise waters of the Celeste River; the views of the Tenorio Volcano are worth the trip alone. Or, you can head to the capital city of San Jose with its historic neighborhoods filled with colonial mansions, colorful restaurants and a chaotic city atmosphere.
Madeira, Portugal’s Hidden Gem
Madeira is known as the ‘floating garden’ for good reason. This serene island and year-round sunshine destination has an abundance of tropical flora and fauna within its forest areas. Madeira boasts a coastline of beaches, coves and bays as well as the nearby golden island of Porto Santo, which offers more than five miles of gold sand. Funchal is the island’s capital and it’s a historic city of cobbled streets and stylish restaurants; the city is also home to the biggest New Year fireworks display in the world. With its chic marinas, mountainous natural parks and welcoming atmosphere, this is an island waiting to be discovered. Find out more about visiting Madeira by reading the insider’s guide from Saga Travel.
This year, take a vacation to a place that’s more than a little out of the ordinary and you’ll be rewarded with some incredible travel adventures and memories for years to come!
This article has been created in collaboration with and with financial support from Saga Travel. All images are from the Saga Travel website.