Do you have a bucket list of places you must see? The world is filled with intriguing places to visit, and many of these are less known to tourists than the more popular sites like the Egyptian pyramids or the streets of London. If you are wanting to go off the beaten path with your travel bucket list, here are five locations you simply must add!
Most people have cities like Paris or London on their bucket list, and as a result these areas are highly tourist traveled. While they are a great option to visit, you may get more of an authentic European experience with a visit to Lisbon, Portugal.
Portugal has been called the Gateway to Europe, yet it remains less popular with the tourist set. This has many benefits for the more cultured traveler, because your travel experience will be much more affordable and culturally authentic. You also won’t be battling huge crowds that impact your travel experience.
In Lisbon, mosaic-paved city squares are complemented by hilly streets and stunning architecture. Your eyes will be dazzled by the colors that greet you everywhere, from the boats in the harbor to the coastal neighborhoods lining the cobble-stone streets. The cuisine here is exceptional too, and you can enjoy genuine Portuguese food as well as fresh-from-the-sea seafood.
Outside of the city, you will find a number of natural marvels that make this location bucket list worthy. Consider spending a few nights on the stunning Azores islands a short plane ride from Lisbon, or visit Lagos to see the sea caves. Portugal also has its share of mountains, beaches and castles for your exploration. This diversity makes the country the ideal place for both cultural experiences as well as natural marvels.
The Spanish Balearic Islands are a great place to enjoy a European island getaway. Like many island changes, the Balearic Islands have quite a bit of variety from one island to the next. Of the available options, Mallorca offers the best experiences for your bucket list, which is why it makes this list of must-see locations.
On Mallorca, you can participate in the classic island experiences, like swimming, boating and diving, but also experience cultural and architectural delights on-shore. One of the most popular attractions are the works of Gaudi found on the island that rival the scale of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. You can also tour castles from the time of the Moors on the island. When the sun sets, Mallorca provides it share of engaging nightlife opportunities, or you may prefer to sit on the shore and watch the sun set over the sea before returning to your hotel for the night.
Have you heard of Slovenia? It’s possible you have not, but this tiny country makes up for its size with all of the experiences and varied landscapes it offers. In Slovenia, you have the option to relax along a shoreline, explore vibrant cities or get lost in quiet villages, all within the same destination. No matter what type of vacation experience you are craving, this destination delivers.
For the architecture and history lovers, you will find everything from modern Art-Deco architecture to Medieval and Baroque castles within the capital city of Ljubljana. You can spend an entire trip just exploring these architectural marvels, such as the Ljubljana Castle, Town Hall and Neboticnik skyscraper. If a spa retreat is more your style, the city of Maribor offers the relaxing oasis of Maribor Island.
For nature lovers, the Alps take up quite a bit of the land area of Slovenia, providing places to hike and explore. In the midst of the mountain range sits Triglav National Park, which is stunningly beautiful. Even though Slovenia is quite small, its location allows it to have most of the ecological landscapes found on the continent of Europe, so you will get quite a bit of natural variety on your visit if you travel from the Adriatic coast and islands to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.
Cultural experiences are abundant in Slovenia as well. The country is famous for its wine country, so consider a wine and cheese tasting tour. Live music, ballet and theater experiences are abundant in the country’s larger cities, and Ljubljana is packed with art museums. Travelers appreciate the multi-lingual nature of Slovenia as well, with many of the citizens speaking clear English as well as Italian or German.
The country of Morocco simply sounds indulgently exotic, and the city of Fes is its oldest city. Here you can see the mystical ancient culture of Morocco alongside the modern side with its decidedly French inspired twist. The Medina in Fes is by far one of its most interesting attractions. This market district has 9,500 streets where you will be able to shop for anything you can imagine in an outdoor style market. It’s something you have to experience for yourself to truly understand, with a dizzying array of spices, jewelry, clothing and more, all for sale at the right price. During your visit to Medina, you will be able to see native artisans at work making handcrafted artwork, clothing, shoes and more.
While there are many streets and districts within the Medina to explore, the Tanner’s Quarter is one of the most intriguing. Here, barefoot workers treat skins with centuries-old techniques, and after watching them work you can go to one of the nearby leather stores to sniff a sprig of mint, which will be necessary to clear the tanning smells. While there, shop for leather goods to take home. Be ready to bargain for a better price!
While visiting Fes, you will want to make sure you sample plenty of the Moroccan food. Nowhere else on earth can you taste such an interesting mix of Berber, Moorish and European foods in one dish. Couscous is a popular food here, and you will want to make sure you leave time to spend with friends over a pot of the country’s famous mint tea.
To see the natural side of Fes, head to the hills to the site of the Merenid Tombs, ruins that date back to the time of the Merenid dynasty of the 13th century. The carvings on the ruins are interesting themselves, but what is really the draw of this location is the view of the lush countryside surrounding the city. Other interesting sites include the stunning Royal Palace of Fez and the city’s many mosques. While you cannot see the inside of these sites, the exterior architecture is intricate and beautiful.
Koh Lipe, Thailand
If your bucket list needs to contain a tropical experience, head to Thailand. You will need to fly to one of the cities on the mainland and then take a boat out to the island, because there are no bridges to the island. The closest pier is in Pak Bara, and Koh Lipe is about 60 km from the mainland.
While getting to the island can be a challenge, once you arrive you will be treated to the ultimate in luxurious island living. Turquoise waters, white sand beaches and several luxury hotels are ready to give you the ultimate vacation experience. If you want something authentic, you can even stay in a bamboo bungalow!
As you can see, there are many places you can visit that are off the beaten path but provide the cultural and natural experience that make them bucket list worthy. Which of these will you be adding to your life’s travel goals? No matter which you choose, you will be given the opportunity of a lifetime as you explore an interesting location and expand your horizons to appreciate a new culture and place.
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