If you want to travel this year, but you want to avoid the crowds and the clichés of New York, London, Paris, and Rome, you might want to consider the following destinations. Some are up-and-coming, others are best-kept secrets, and yet others we’ve known about all along, but it may be only a matter of time before it is lost.
Whether you are looking for adventure, luxury, art and culture, the splendour of nature, or some much-needed R&R, one of the following places has something for you.
Once a French colony, Senegal is one of Africa’s hottest up-and-coming tourist destinations. The capital of Dakar has markets, restaurants, theatres, galleries, bars, nightclubs, and more, but do not limit yourself to the city.
Be sure to visit Saint-Louis, the old colonial capital and a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the location of Africa’s biggest jazz festival, as well as Festival Métissons, 1, 2, 3 musiques,and other cultural events. Depending on when you visit, you might even see local fishermen racing pirogues.
One of the best reasons to visit New Caledonia is because not many people know where it is. In fact, most people have probably never heard of it – and that means the crushing hordes of tourists in thongs that throng just about every other island destination are not there.
The four archipelagos that makeup New Caledonia are French overseas territory, so you can expect to encounter Kanak and French culture. The islands, renowned for their unspoiled beaches, are approximately halfway between Australia, where punters enjoy Aussie sports betting, and Fiji. You can spend days lounging on the beach, but why do that when you also can enjoy coffee and pastries at a café, delicious bistro meals, and more?
Dead Sea, Israel
From the Golan Heights to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, Israel is a fantastic holiday destination. The country is often thought of in the context of religious pilgrimages, but there is so much more to do than visit churches or other sites.
A must-visit place while in the country is the Dead Sea. The salt lake is the lowest elevation on land anywhere on earth, and its salinity (saltiness) is eight times greater than that of the ocean. The density means you can just about float on top of the water, even if you have a disability or are not a strong swimmer. What’s more, like the spas dotted around the Dead Sea will attest, its mud is believed to have healing properties.
São Tomé and Príncipe
You would be forgiven for thinking that a rich old man, a team of scientists, and an angry, hungry dinosaur might come bursting out of the bushes any moment São Tomé and Príncipe. The two islands that form one nation in the Gulf of Guinea off Africa’s west coast is not known as the African Galapagos for nothing.
Initially uninhabited, the islands became a Portuguese colonial outpost in the 14th century. São Tomé and Príncipe offer you a unique culture influenced by those of Africa and Portugal, as well as eye-popping volcanic peaks, lush jungle, unique wildlife, spectacular plant life, and Instagrammable beaches.