The world is filled with amazing destinations, timeless villages, mind-blowing history and architecture, intriguing wildlife, adrenaline pumping activities, and untamed nature, some are quite famous, a lot are undiscovered, and a significant number is sadly underrated. We usually travel, curious to see the places that friends and family tell us exciting stories about, forgetting that there is a whole world out there filled with hidden treasures that is totally worth exploring.
Every now and then you owe to yourself a vacation, a time where you carve new directions, and make memories that would last forever. Do not forget that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” ~ John Lennon.
1. Walking Through The Lavender Fields Of Provence – France
Photo courtesy: K.Hurley
Ever seen this jaw-dropping picture of vividly purple lavender fields, wondered where on earth this picturesque place could be? It’s definitely in the region of Provence in France. You’d better go in August to treat yourself to the sight and smell of fields blooming with lavender.
Not only that, you will be amazed at the variety of things you could enjoy there; the region is bordered by the Rhone River on the west, Italy on the east, and the Mediterranean Sea on the south.
Photo courtesy: Remon Rijper
Several flowers and plants are cultivated there such as jasmines, sunflowers, tuberoses, among others, and this is where fragrance making started over 500 years ago. Grasse is considered the perfume capital of the world, you could learn fragrance and perfume making at one of Grasse’s historical Perfumeries.
Sunflowers at Provence by Christopher Michel
You cannot miss he Gorges Du Verdon; it’s a river canyon often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful, one where people can hike, kayak, or just chill out and marvel at the gorgeous natural scenery
Photo courtesy: Tristan Farsac
When In Provence you would enjoy scenery from hill tops, castles, Roman ruins, cathedrals, strolling through the old port of Marseille and being served freshly fished seafood, cozy atmosphere, and glamorous architecture. Provence hosted Russell Crowe’s movie a Good Year, a film that’s totally worth watching.
- Nearest Airport: Marseille Provence Airport
- Best Time To Go: June to August
2. Cycling Your Way From Thien Mu to Khai Dinh Tombs – Vietnam
Florist In Vietnam
Probably one of Vietnam’s top landmarks, one that would take you to another era. Start your tour by visiting Thien Mu Pagoda reachable by boat, a pagoda is a Hindu or Buddhist temple -in this case Buddhist- in the form of a many tiered tower.
Thien Mu Pagoda by David Meenagh
Continue to the underrated Minh Mang tombs, then visit Tu Duc where you can have a delightful picnic experience in a relaxing place combining beautiful nature, and impressive architecture.
Photo of Tuc Duc are by Bertrand Duperrin
Then cycle your way to Khai Dinh’s tomb built in a French-Vietnamese architectural style, and take a Dragon Boat in the Perfume River where you will find small villages by the water, and people who are trying to sell you stuff.
Khai Dinh’s tomb by Guerretto
Emperor’s Khai Dinh Tomb from inside by Dennis Jarvis
Vietnamese food is a delicacy, it’s a mix of French and Asian fusions, so make sure to enjoy lots of it!
- Nearest Airport: Hui Phu Bai International Airport
- Best Time To Go: October to March
Read also: 9 Of The World’s Cheapest Destinations
3. Reveal Italy’s Amalfi Coast – Italy
When in Italy everybody goes to Rome, Florence, maybe Venice and for shopping to Milan, some have recently heard about Cinque Terre, but still haven’t found out about Italy’s hidden gem “The Amalfi Coast”, probably the richest, and most scenic in Italy, located in the south.
Positano by Livia Chamelle
Easily accessible from Naples and Rome, Rome to Naples is a 2 hours express train ride, and from Naples to Salerno which is usually the starting point to the Amalfi Coast is a 40 to 60 minutes train ride, aside mind-boggling coastal views, the Amalfi Coast offers one of the world’s greatest bus rides, you would start the journey from Salerno, passing through Positano, ending it at Sorrento.
View of the Amalfi Coast by Michael Matti
While in Sorrento you must go check the city of Pompeii; the city that was destroyed and buried under ashes after a volcano has erupted killing all its inhabitants. What’s intriguing about it is how well preserved it is, as the city was buried so quickly by volcanic ash, providing snapshots of past life in a Roman city that once existed.
Snapshots of Pompeii by Trey Ratcliff
A great option is taking a boat to the little isle of Capri, that though small in size but very rich in content.
- Nearest Airport: Naples International Airport
- Best Time To Go: Spring time when flowers are blooming so April to June (avoid July’s & August’s crowds). September & October are also a good time
Who knows, this view might be all yours (Photo courtesy Dorli Photography)
Read also: 10 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Italy
4. Game Watching In Masai Mara – Kenya
Africa’s animal migration, also known as the Wildebeest Migration is the World Cup of Wildlife, it usually starts from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the great Masai Mara in Kenya home to the largest densities of lions in the world crossing the Mara River from July through October, in search for food and water, while surviving crocodile attacks, trying hard to get out alive.
Wildbeest Migration by Christopher Michel
It is a once in a lifetime experience, that anyone would be lucky to witness in his lifetime. The downside of the migration is how prices rise insanely high, and the migration timing that differs from one year to another; basically due to global warming, and unstable weather conditions.
A pride of Lions resting watchfully in Masai Mara by Mikey O.
Witnessing the migration comes at an expensive cost and requires a lot of planning ahead, therefore if you can’t afford it, observing a post-card like sunset with animals’ silhouettes in the foreground, or a game drive -safari- at Masai Mara is worth each penny, and every effort.
A beautiful sunset in Maasai Mara
Your visit won’t be complete if you do not stop by any of the Masai Villages to mingle with their lovely people, and learn about their long living customs, traditions, culture, and lifestyle. The Masai are an ethnic semi-nomadic group of people, living by game parks & reserves in Kenya and Tanzania, famous for their jumping dance as they call it, and their red blanket outfit.
- Nearest Airport: Nairobi Wilson Airport
- Best Time To Go: For the migration between July/early August and near the end of November, but gor general game viewing it’s a year round destination
Read also: 6 Ideas To Embark On A Life Changing Journey
5. Hiking at Plitvice Lakes National Park – Croatia
Is one of Europe’s best natural sights thanks to a range of 16 interlinked lakes, and a large forest, giving its visitors the chance to marvel at lush greenery, and waterfalls while enjoying hiking, walking, and above all photography.
Plitvice in spring
There isn’t really a best time to be at Plitvice Lakes, as each season brings to its visitors a totally different experience, however if you want to escape the crowds avoid it in July and August, and always try to be there early and leave as late as possible. In spring time the waterfalls will be at their peak, in autumn the trees will start to change colour, and in winter you will see lots of snow.
Winter time at Plitvice Lakes by Guido Menato
The lakes are also famous for their constant change in color, sometimes green, another pale blue, or light grey. The park hasn’t been so much touched by humans, hence no much harm has been done to it, there are 75 endemic plant species, and brown bears that call the nearby woods and mountains home.
Fall time in Plitvice Lakes by Malcolm Carlaw
Nowhere at Plitvice swimming is allowed as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Entry tickets will give you access to the park for one day, two or more, along with a boat ride. The park is quiet big; some can get enough of it in one day, but those who are fond of the outdoors will need at least two days to get the best out of it, a great way to discover the park is by spending the night at one of the available camp sites or accommodation facilities.
Boats at the lakes by Mario Fajt
The park is a 2 hours 15 minutes bus ride from the capital Zagreb, and 3 hours from the city of Zadar. Visiting the park doesn’t require going on a guided tour -you’d better avoid these to escape the crowds-, as the hiking trails are pretty clear, and you could always ask for information at the gates.
- Nearest Airport: Zagreb International Airport
- Best Time To Go: It’s a year round destination, and it all depends on what exactly do you want to see, however avoid July’s and August’s crowds
Read also: How To Plan Your Eurotrip
Have you been to any of these destinations? Ever heard about any of them? Are they by any chance on your bucket list? Or did this post excite you enough to visit them? Let us know in the comments below…
Stay tuned for part 2 😉