We are four months into 2018, and the ‘New Year, New Me’ feeling has already started to fade away, bringing to fore the same old dullness of our routine lives. That can mean only one thing – travel junkies are already looking up the calendar to find that escape window for a perfect holiday. We bring you this rundown of exciting offbeat destinations that are all the rage this year so you don’t have to make-do with mediocre beaches, ok-ish locales, crowded places and predictable food:
Croatia is a hidden jewel with over 1,200 virgin islands dotting the Adriatic Sea. So far, the destination has remained largely unexplored on account of being accessible only via super expensive yachts or painfully slow public ferries. That is going to change this year, with the launch of UberBOAT services rolled out by the popular ride-booking app, providing private tours and on-demand transfers from the Dalmatian Coast. Explore the stony islet abounding in pristine natural bounties – lush green surroundings, turquoise waters and pebble-riddled beaches – before Šolta goes mainstream. Medieval villages, an 18th-century Venetian fort-castle, wineries, beach clubs, al fresco restaurants, seaside bars, breathtaking sunset view at the Maslinica bay await you here.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe isn’t just a luxury SUV by Hyundai. There is also a quaint town by the name sitting at an altitude of 7,200 feet on the foothills of the imposing Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico. So far, the place has served as a retreat for healers and artists from around the world. If you are an ardent admirer of raw natural beauty and love to pamper yourself to indulgent spas, this city that is steeped in natural beauty and rich historic heritage is the ideal getaway. Dating back 407 years, the city holds an eclectic mix of Hispanic, Native American and Anglo cultures in its roots. It is a destination with a vibrant cultural scene, with more than 300 art galleries, 250 restaurants, a hundred boutiques, festivals, fairs, historic walking tours, and the oldest church in all US – the San Miguel Chapel. Pulled pork sandwiches served with signature sauces are a must try here.
Ehtopia is a place often associated with hunger, malnutrition and poverty, none of which paint a pretty picture worthy of touristic explorations. Tucked away into stupor of all that plagues Ethopia is the surprising little town of Harar, which unfolds as a treat to those willing to seek it out. This laid-back city is an enchanting anchor to East Africa, often referred to as the City of Saints. Dotted with 82 serene mosques, Harar is also home to some seriously good quality beer and the finest coffee. Those who have explored this part of East Africa best know Harar for its yield of Khat, a unique narcotic plant quite unlike anything elsewhere in the world. Brace yourselves for some unique visitors as the night falls, as the town is frequented by hyenas that come here in search of food. Thriving on waste, they are fed by specially trained men known as the ‘hyena men’.
Popularly known as the Spice Island among the locals, Grenada has remained the underdog of tourist attractions in the Caribbean despite having all the elements of a quintessential relaxing escapade. Preserved rain forests, uncrowded beaches, a vibrant cultural vibe and lip-smacking local cuisine – it is a postcard destination, offering everything a traveller seeks. With a new crop of luxury beach resorts and hotels mushrooming in Grenada, it is fast turning into a sought-after port for cruise ships sailing in the Caribbean. If a high-end luxury getaway with a typical coastal vibe away from the milling crowds is what you long for, looking up this destination on the world map may be a good idea.
Cape Verde Islands, Africa
Incredible weather, breathtaking locales, and a lively culture with Iberian, Brazilian and native African influences, the Cape Verde Islands situated off the west coast of Africa are finally getting the long-overdue recognition as an exotic holiday destination. With a unique homegrown culture that borrows heavily from the navigators who found their way to these islands, the place is best known for its melodic heritage and native music scene. The Atlantic archipelago comprising 10 islands, Cape Verde offers a mind-blowing mix of serenity of pristine beaches and the adrenaline rush of outdoor adventure. The volcanic peaks in the distance make for the perfect dramatic backdrop juxtaposed against the tranquil bays, beaches, waterfront towns, and array of houses in pastel hues. Hiking through the deep ravines, lava fields and a unique plantation of Dragon Trees is an experience epic holidays are made of.
The capital city of Georgia, a small country in the Caucasus region that serves as the point of intersection for Europe and Asia, is a charming delight with an intriguing cityscape and unique and vibrant culture. While the main capital city of Tbilisi is undergoing a paradigm shift in character owing to a dizzying pace of development, Old Tbilisi still has its traditional Georgian charm intact. From authentic delicacies like plump khinkali to legendary local hospitality and unique sulphur baths, you can find all the quintessential elements of Georgian culture thriving in the disarmingly disorganized alleys of Old Tbilisi. A laid-back vibe, colourful buildings, mountainous landscape, and architecture inspired by Arab, Persian, Russian, Ottoman and Byzantine influences, Old Tbilisi is a delight to behold.
Archipelago Sea, Finland
While Finland is a popular tourist destination, away from the beaten tracks of destinations such as Helsinki and Lapland is the hidden gem of the Archipelago Sea, which with its 25,000 mile shoreline boasts of being the largest in the world. Dotted with numerous islands, the archipelago has remained the preferred destination for unwinding for the Finns, many of whom have family-owned islands here. The place abounds in sub-arctic splendour with sunlit nights in the summer and dark days in winter, an eerie silence all around and cosy wooden cottages nestled in tree groves. The perfect quiet getaway to reconnect with yourself in the lap of nature, biking, hiking, or just basking by the sea.
Which of these are you adding to your travel bucket list? Do let us know. When you finally get there, don’t forget to load up your phone gallery with these breathtaking locales and share them with us.