10 Off the Beaten Path Destinations in the World
The world is a richly diverse and endlessly fascinating place, so why return to the same old places? Escape the crowds, get back to nature and see sights you’ll never forget by stepping off that well-worn path and choosing somewhere the package deals won't take you. Featuring incredible places from all seven continents, choose from our list of 10 off the beaten path travel destinations in the world.
Discover 10 Off the Beaten Path Travel Locations
What does "off the beaten path" mean?
All roads start as a track or a path and over the years they become worn as humans make their mark. From popular beach resorts to well-trodden backpacker trails, it’s easy to find yourself on the same journey as everyone else. But to leave the beaten path means to take a different route, to venture where others don’t go and discover places other travellers miss. It’s both a literal and metaphorical travel concept.
Is anywhere more off-the-beaten-track than the world’s only uninhabited continent? Although trips to Antarctica are becoming more popular, it remains one of the least visited and unexplored places on Earth. Itineraries typically include guided hikes and even the chance to camp on the ice. Home to other-worldly glacial structures, 12 million penguins and 10 species of whales, the only way to discover the continent is via an expedition boat tour.
This tiny Central-West African state is more than four-fifths rainforest. Comparable in size to the New York borough of Queens, it packs in no less than 13 national parks. Despite its small stature, it’s home to a surprising array of landscapes from thick jungle to sandy coastline and grassy savannas, all unchanged for millions of years. It’s the perfect destination for those who want to explore truly natural African landscapes, away from the established holiday resorts found in Northern Africa and South Africa.
This tiny country between India and Tibet is often overlooked by visitors who tend to go to Nepal instead (itself fairly off the beaten track!) Bhutan also offers access to the Himalayas but has a far less established tourism industry than Nepal. You may have heard that Paro International Airport is one of the most challenging airports in the world due to its location and tight landing strip. Currently, travellers can only arrive on flights flown by about two dozen approved pilots. The country is an extremely traditional country and an excellent glimpse into a corner of Asia that has remained unchanged for centuries. For a real adventure head to Gangkhar Puensum, the world’s highest unclimbed mountain.
Suriname, South America
South America’s smallest country and a Dutch colony until 1975, Suriname loses out on travellers who head instead to the South Caribbean or Brazil. Ethnically diverse, you’ll encounter a range of languages and cuisine; it is a melting pot of Indigenous, Caribbean, Latin, European and African cultures. Venture beyond the busy capital, Paramaribo and discover wild jungles, a network of rivers, waterfalls and some of the richest biodiversity in the world.
North Macedonia, Europe
Whilst most visitors flock to neighbouring Greece, or Croatia, the presumed jewel of Eastern Europe, the lesser-visited Macedonia is a secret many travellers want to keep. Entirely landlocked, Balkan and Mediterranean culture collide in this verdant country. Encounter snowy mountains, deep valleys and vast, clear lakes, Macedonia evokes an ancient, forested Europe from the age of fairy tales. Nearly a quarter of the country’s two million population lives in the capital, Skopje, so take the time to explore beyond and you’ll find a hiker’s paradise of near solitude and pristine natural landscapes.
Paradise, New Zealand
This place is literally called ‘paradise’ and it’s like nowhere else on Earth. Few of New Zealand’s 3.8 million annual visitors make it to Paradise in the Mount Aspiring National Park, South Island. Experience clear night-sky views, majestic snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and a good chance of not even seeing another person (except the ones travelling with you) during the hike. Pack your hiking boots and discover why it was chosen as a location for the Lord of the Rings films.
The 'Stans', Central Asia
Any one of the Central Asian countries (Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan ) are worthy of a place on this list, it's a part of the world long overlooked by global tourists. Kyrgyzstan is home to snowy peaks and nomadic camps and you can stay in a yurt and/or go on a horse trek. With even fewer visitors, neighbouring Tajikistan is wilder and more remote. Those seeking culture and history should head to Uzbekistan, a significant silk route stop with beautiful cities such as Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent.
Greenland, North America
Whilst nearby Iceland has long pulled the crowds, Greenland has remained off the global travel itinerary. With easy access from Canada, Greenland is the world’s biggest island and is mostly covered in a vast ice sheet. Discover the midnight sun, the Northern Lights and being as close to the North Pole as you are probably ever going to get.
Kamchatka is Russia’s far-east peninsula and one of the most unexplored places on Earth. During the Soviet era it was closed off to western travellers and it escaped the same post-war development that occurred in practically every other corner of the Northern Hemisphere. A wild natural region, bigger than the whole of the UK, it is home to 160 volcanoes, 19 of which are active, as well as the world’s densest population of brown bears, wolves, Arctic fox, lynx, wolverine and golden eagle. Covered in a layer of snow and ice for much of the year, the best time to visit is during summer when it’s easier to tour the full length of the peninsula.
Oman, Western Asia
If you want to leave the beaten path but don’t want to compromise on luxury, Oman is the perfect destination. Whilst the crowds head to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, set your sights on this lesser-visited sultanate on the Arabian Peninsula’s southeastern tip. Base yourself at one of the new luxury resorts near the capital, Muscat, but be sure to get out and explore the unexplored. Travel by camel to the Wahiba Sands to find out more about the traditional Bedouin, be one of the few people each day allowed to visit the turtle nesting site at Ras Al Jinz, and discover the wet wilderness of Musandam, known as the ‘Norway of Arabia.
Are you curious about traveling to one of these iconic travel destinations? You can easily compare prices on flights on BudgetAir!
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