Home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beautiful beaches, Portugal has no dearth of captivating attractions that draw travelers from around the world. It is also one of the most budget-friendly destinations in Europe making it an excellent place to explore. From the famous Douro Valley wine tours and Carnaval da Madeira to stunning under the radar getaways, the country boasts a seemingly endless list of places worth exploring. And here are just some of the must-see spots if you want to go off the beaten paths.
Go for: The glorious beaches, verdant pastures, the stunning landmarks in the cities of Elvas and Évora, and the castles are just some of the top things worth seeing in this breathtaking region.
Go for: The pristine natural scenery offers an idyllic and tranquil getaway from the hustle and bustle of more touristy spots. The 10-kilometer trip from Peniche takes roughly half an hour by boat. And once you reach the island, which also serves as a nature reserve, you can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the scenic views. Not to mention the wide array of water activities you can do while there.
Go for: The heritage and the unique charm of a Portuguese town are among the top reasons why Óbidos should be on your list of places to visit in Portugal. Take a stroll to explore its cobblestoned medieval streets and see the imposing and beautiful walls surrounding it.
Peneda-Gerês National Park
Go for: The Peneda-Gerês National Park is an outdoor enthusiasts’ haven. The vast nature area is home to verdant birch forests, towering trees, lush vegetation, beautiful waterfalls, picturesque villages, and more. It is also rich in historical heritage and a great place to slow down, enjoy nature, and set out on outdoor adventures.
It’s just like getting a copy of the book you’ve waited for months to be released. It’s just like getting a copy of the game you’ve waited for years to be released. It’s just like having the feels when going to New York alone for the first time, even.
Discovering off-the-beaten tracks will also be like:
Seeing The World In A Whole New Perspective
That dark forest behind your house? It’s not really dark. It’s just filled with towering pine trees. That deep cave inside the forest? It’s not really deep. It’s just filled with bats. As they say, there are always two sides to every story. But when it comes to off-the-beaten tracks, there are many sides to every trail. It’s up to you how you will see it, as well as how you will appreciate seeing the world in a whole new perspective.
Experiencing The World In A Whole New Level
Discovering off-the-beaten tracks will not just make you see the world in a whole new perspective. It will also make you experience the world in a whole new level – be it discovering hiking streams that lead to hidden hot springs or discovering ski routes that lead to secret skating rinks. What’s more, you will experience the real wonders of nature and experience the true colors of Earth – the kind of wonder and the kind of color you’ll only get to see upon taking the risk to discover something entirely new.
Being In A Whole New World
And yes, this means being in a whole new world – a “shining, shimmering, splendid” kind of world and a “dazzling place I never knew” kind of world. Discovering off-the-beaten tracks is also just like being someone who just moved into a new house, where you can roam around all you want and dance around all you want and no one will ever judge you for the happiness you’ll feel.
Every place has hidden gems that only few people know. These destinations remain largely undisturbed and just waiting to be explored and experienced. One of the best travel experiences to have is to devote some time finding a town or city’s secret treasures. It may be a neighborhood, street, or the countryside in the outskirts of cities.
Avoid tourist traps
It’s tempting to see all the famous landmarks in your travel destinations. But you have to be realistic in using your time. Queuing to get inside top-rated sites or jostling with crowds trying to take photos in a town or city’s tourism destinations can eat up your vacation time. You can choose the unpopular route by exploring places that are not on many tourists’ radar. You can check the Internet for possible destinations not far from the heart of the city. Sometimes taking a detour may lead you to some of the finest discoveries.
Ask the locals
You can ask the service staff at the hotel or inn where you are staying for recommendations that are off the beaten paths. Or you can chat with the owners or guests of neighborhood restaurants or hole in the walls for ideas on interesting places to go. You might be surprised with the number of suggestions you’ll get.
Plan a day trip in the outskirts of town
Plan a trip outside the city to explore towns, villages, or natural attractions. Visit nature reserves or parks or go on walking tours in the countryside. Many cities have excellent public transportation systems where it’s easy to plan a day trip out of town without worrying about how you’d get there and back.
Go for a walk or run
Many travelers make it a habit to stay fit while on the road. If you’re one of those who make time for exercise when traveling, you can see more of the place you’re visiting by going for a walk or a run. You can do this in the morning before you start your planned activities or in the evening after you’ve finished the things you need to do for the day. Pick a different route everyday from your hotel and see the interesting sights that will unfold before you.
You don’t need to resort to extreme measures to ramp up your travel experience. Sometimes all you need is the willingness to explore where not many people have yet dared to go. As you open your mind to more possibilities, you will find that some of the best trips you may have are in little known destinations that offer more than what you might imagine.
Traveling to underrated destinations can be cheaper. You don’t have to wait for off-peak season to get the best deals. You can book your trip anytime you want without worrying about huge crowds. You can get more from your travel budget while exploring more of the places you visit.
Pleasant discoveries and surprises
With not much tourist traffic, off the beaten destinations often remain as a mystery. You will likely find little information online to tell you more about the things to see and do in those places. This paves the way for pleasant discoveries and surprises. You will be one of the few who will see the sights and experience the activities travelers can do in places that have managed to stay in many people’s radar.
Go off the grid
Underrated places are the best destinations if you want to go off the grid. They can be idyllic for solitary wanderings. Or it can be a more intimate exploration of towns or cities. They are suitable getaways for people who may want temporary respite from the stress of daily routines at home.
There are certain stereotypes associated with some world-renowned destinations. These perceptions stay or are shattered depending on your own experiences when you visit them. But it is often when you travel away or outside the main tourist hubs that you begin to understand more about a country or city. Off the beaten paths you come across people, places, and experiences you will not find or see when you don’t venture out from the usual tourist grid.
Fodder for interesting tales
Your travels off the beaten tracks make great fodder for interesting tales. You can share your stories to family, friends, and online travel communities which can prove handy for people who may be looking for places to go that are not on the usual lists of travel destinations.
Serendipity is that beautiful experience you accidentally find when you’re not looking. Traveling places where there’s little you know about is like setting yourself up for serendipitous experiences. When you go off the beaten path, you are not burdened by preconceived beliefs or ideas that may affect your perception about the place. This provides opportunities for you to see things from a fresh perspective.
There are many perks to traveling off the beaten paths and some challenges too. But the former often beats the latter. It is when you go where not many people go that you stumble upon the best things you may otherwise miss if you stick to known routes, attractions, and activities. There are many under the radar places in the world that have many things to offer to travelers. The following are just a few of them.
Alexandria is a breathtaking destination with a rich cultural heritage still evident across the city. The King of Macedonia Alexander the Great founded the city thousands of years ago. It is home to the famous Alexandria Library. While the original library is gone, the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a great place to explore. It has a large reading room which can house as many as eight million books. The catacombs of Kom ash-Suqqafa likewise is an interesting attraction. It was accidentally discovered because of a donkey. The catacombs served as a gravesite for a rich family in the ancient days and features intricate artworks and niches. The Corniche, the pristine beaches, and local food are likewise some of the many reasons to explore this city.
Breckenridge is best known as a beautiful skiing destination. Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range towers over this picturesque town. But its ski resort and winter activities are not the only reasons to explore this place. Many tend to miss out on its breathtaking scenery during summer. It is an idyllic destination in the warmer months when you can take a leisurely stroll or enjoy a walking tour as you soak in the natural scenery. There are many cafés where you can indulge in a good snack or meal. You can go shopping at one of the many boutiques and shops. Or you can go for adventures like hiking to some of the most scenic parts of the town.
Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
The wilderness is one of the off the beaten paths travelers should try to explore. The natural environment presents a stunning backdrop to any place you set your feet on. The Denali National Park & Preserve in Alaska provides a spectacular display of pristine landscapes, diverse wildlife, and jaw-dropping scenery. It is a tranquil place where you can step away from routines and experience quiet and solitude in the midst of wilderness.
Ghent is like stepping into a postcard and finding yourself walking into an even more impressive world. There are many things you can feast your eyes on when you visit this cozy place. There are many architectural marvels you can admire as you take a stroll around the city. When in town, never miss the chance to see the view from above. Head to the Belfry (Belfort) tower to see the breathtaking views laid out below you. In the center of the city sits the Castle of the Counts. You can admire its interiors and gape at the items you will find in the torture museum. A walking tour of the city will also reveal the amazing street arts. Not as crowded as Bruges, Ghent is one of the underrated cities in Belgium that everyone should explore.
The picturesque town that serves as the hub of Jasper National Park is teeming with beautiful attractions. Apart from the national park itself, the scenery in and around Jasper is breathtaking. A visit to this place offers you a view of lakes fed by glaciers overlooking the town and lush forests that beckon to be hiked and explored. It is a quiet, quaint, and spectacular place where you can discover scenic spots and go on scenic drives or adventures in and around town.