What are some special and unusual places to visit around the world that you may not have heard about or considered for a nice getaway vacation? We want to share some great getaway ideas on each continent.
Some of these locations you may not know a lot about or have not heard about before, so we will give you a glimpse into these options.
With so many special destinations across the globe, we have picked a spot on each continent to highlight and for you to explore.
Loire Valley, France
Located just two hours southwest of Paris, you will discover Loire Valley along the Loire River. The French have a great fondness for this river for helping shape their culture and identity. It gently floats east to west through a valley filled with beautiful chateaux, green fields, vineyards and many rolling hills.
It is an ideal destination for seeing these magnificent chateaus (chateaux is the French plural version) , tasting some famous wine and enjoying outstanding cuisine along with amazing scenery in every direction. Loire Valley is well known for its historic towns, architecture as well as wines. This is one of the great wine regions of France and is also famous for its excellent produce.
The Loire Valley has a history of being known as the “valley of the Kings”. It was used as a getaway for French aristocracy looking for a place to relax from the intensity of Paris. There are hundreds of these lavish chateaux in the valley and many of them are now open to the public
There are some captivating old fabled castles that are hundreds of years old. They give you a significant portion of the history of France. Many of the chateaux were built in the 15th and 16th century during the Renaissance and inhabited by sovereigns or nobles. These stunning chateaux present some lavish facades, magnificent interior areas and impressive garden areas.
Chateau de Chambord
One such chateaux is the castle of Chambord which is a breathtaking sight to behold. Francis 1st ,king of France, used this palace to symbolize his vast power. It is designed around a prominent staircase that was influenced by Leonardo da Vinci. You will find over 4,000 artifacts while you are visiting 60 rooms of the 440 total rooms. Louis XIV came here often and hosted gala balls, hunting parties and some extravagant soirees. It is quite an experience to behold.
In between your castle visits is a good time to take in one of the many wineries of the valley. In Loire Valley, there are over 1,000 vineyards open to the public and they produce some fine wines. There are many choices for wine tasting at vineyards throughout the region. Some of the best wineries include Chateau La Cassemichere in Nantes (for a taste of Muscadet), Couly-Dutheil winery in Chinon and the Maison des Sancerre Museum of Wine in Sancerre.
After experiencing all that the Loire Valley has to offer, you will understand why the French have such a fondness for this river and valley.
For Asia, we chose Thailand and specifically the Trang province to get off of the beaten path in this heavily traveled country. You will find some of the best beaches in the country.
This special island group in southern Thailand on the Malay Peninsula offers a large number of incredible activities and attractions including Thai culture, night markets and festivals. It is a popular spot with people all around the nation.
There is something to do for everyone, including the beach, food or culture. You can choose from the mainland or it is a unique experience to go island hopping and also to take a leisurely walk checking out the night markets.
Trang city is the main center in the area. It has a strong Chinese influence and you will find some interesting artwork and delicious food. You can sample some delicious seafood, dim sums and pastries. The city is used as a beginning point to access the nearby islands.
During the day for a real local experience in Trang city, you can visit some of the local markets. These street markets are filled with activity and you can find all kinds of things. A special treat to try is Dim Sum. It is a traditional Chinese meal with small plates of dumplings and snack dishes.
It is also fun to check out one of its night markets. you can find some great food, buy some Thai clothes and look at the souvenirs. Centrepoint Night Market is a central point of food. You will find a large choice of stalls with different types of local food.
Island hopping is quite popular in Trang. You just take a ferry from place to place. This special island group in southern Thailand offers many incredible activities and attractions including Thai culture, night markets and festivals. It is popular with people all around the nation. There are some wonderful beaches and impressive snorkeling.
Hat Caho Mai National Park
Discover Hat Caho Mai National Park. In the districts of Sikao and Kantang, there are seven islands where you can explore the scenery and get a view of marine animals. Some of these animals include black-necked storks and dugongs. With its diverse wildlife, you will also observe various birds, monkeys and a herd of manatees.
A must-see experience is to visit some of the island caves. Get up close to a group of stalagmites and stalactites. At the Morakot Cave, or “Emerald Cave” in Ko Muk island, you can see the sun hitting the cave opening turning its waters into a bold emerald green. The Khaeo Kop Cave is also a stunning sight with its stalagmites and stalactites that you can walk up to. With everything Trang has to offer, you can see why it is so popular with native Thai vacationers.
Asheville, North Carolina
For the United States, we chose a quaint mountain town where you can experience some beautiful mountain scenery, a host of outdoor adventurous activities, a lively arts and culture scene, quirky downtown, craft breweries and numerous hiking trails. Asheville, NC is especially famous for the Biltmore Estate and Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville has a vibrant spirit and so much to offer for a nice getaway.
Explore the City
Spending time in downtown Ashville is definitely worthwhile. You will encounter some unusual stores, more than 100 restaurants, some fun street performers and various museums and festivals.
A great way to start exploring Asheville is to take a stroll along Lexington Avenue and take in the cafes, clothing shops, book stores, vintage apparel and huge array of art boutiques.
Another way to get comfortable with the city is with a walking tour where you can explore the city’s unconventional and magical past. The Ashville Urban Trail is a structured walking trail that will take you on a 1.7 mile walk to explore the many landmarks and learn about Asheville’s architecture and history.
River Arts District
Asheville has long been known as being a special place for the creatively inclined. In the downtown area, the River Arts District gives you a taste of the heart and soul of Asheville and what makes it so special. You get a chance to actually see artists at work, buy some unique art and even take a class. You can experience some of the paintings, ceramics, jewelry and photography.
Asheville is well known as a top spot for microbreweries. It is definitely a champion of the craft brewery scene with over 400 varieties of beers brewed each week. Take a tour with Asheville Brewery Tours where you will cover different breweries with individualized atmospheres. You can get some behind-the-scenes access and even meet some brew-masters. There are over 400 varieties of beers brewed in Asheville each week.
Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
To see one of the most scenic routes in America, there is a thoroughfare between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Park called the Blue Ridge Parkway. It goes along the ridges of the Blueridge mountains. Just sit back and relax as you take in the wonderful views along the way.
The Biltmore Estate
A must-see attraction located in Asheville is the famous Biltmore Estate. It was built for George Vanderbilt (son of Cornelius) and is the largest privately-owned home in the U.S. This enormous home takes up 178,926 square feet, includes 250 rooms and includes 8,000 acres. Its architecture dates back to the gilded age and has a stunning display of tapestries and artwork that date back to the 16th century. Tour the home as well as a stroll through the grounds to see the gardens and also visit a restaurant and winery.
This city is great for its fresh, from farm to table, imaginative cuisine. There are plenty of amazing restaurants of many different styles and tastes. How would you like an experience to wonder through the woods and forest, be entertained and educated as well as getting to eat edibles that you pick yourself? With expert guidance, the Wild Foraging Tour will guide you in foraging for edibles and then take them to partnered restaurants to whip up a free appetizer. You will get the chance to find and learn how to identify wild edibles like greens, mushrooms, berries, roots, flowers, nuts and other foods.
There are so many things to explore in Asheville. We know you will have a great time in this quaint city.
As a destination that few travelers visit, Zanzibar, is a fascinating place with an interesting mix of African and Arabian cultures. Get ready for a wonderful island on the Indian Ocean with palm lined white sand beaches and aboriginal forests
The self-governing state of Zanzibar consists of an enclave of four islands off the coast of East Africa. It was an important location along the spice and slave trade routes in the Indian Ocean.
Stone Town in Zanzibar feels like you are stepping into another world and back in time. This ancient city truly represents one of the most amazing places in all of Africa. It doesn’t even feel like you are in Africa. It represents the historic part of the capital of Zanzibar and is a gateway to the past. It is heavily Islamic, along with a melting pot of Indian, Arab, Swahili and European backgrounds. It definitely has a distinct Swahili atmosphere.
You get a chance to discover some of the narrow cobblestone streets that have an Arab-style and a unique Swahili ambiance. There are some old limestone palaces, unique mosques and fading mansions. It’s fun to observe the local residents shopping or making their way to pray at mosques and getting a chance to see vendors selling food on the streets.
Some of the top attractions in the city are the elaborately carved Zanzibari doors. They are truly wooden works of art and definitely masterpieces. You will observe some that are decorated with brass spikes or rosettes that go back to the Indian influence. There are also elaborate geometric designs with carvings of various objects.
One the waterfront, there is an enormous white palace that was used by the sultan of that time which is now Palace Museum. There are huge wooden doors and tall columns along with verandas. Turned in to a museum, you can now get a glimpse of the lavish thrones, dining tables and various portraits to understand the ostentatious life of a sultan’s family. There are some interesting artifacts of Zanzibar’s history.
Getting away from the small city, the remainder of the island has some gorgeous beaches where people enjoy the white sand. As a tropical paradise, there are extensive water-based activities.
Have a good time by sailing on a dhow (a lateen-rigged ship with one or two masts), or swim with dolphins while exploring the vibrantly colored coral reefs. There are more than 500 marine species make home here.
One of the favorite beach destinations is Nungwi with its famous aqua beaches. It is located at the northern tip of the island and there are several hotels and guesthouses. The Z hotel is great for and original beach-holiday experience.
How about going underwater. Zanzibar has numerous places to dive with the most well-known being Mnemba Atoll and Tumbatu. With its turquoise water and white beaches, it is a diver’s dream. In addition, you will experience some of the enormous coral reefs in the world with captivating fauna that is full of color. See firsthand, tropical reef fish, turtles, moray eels, blue spotted rays, sharks and dolphins.
With all it has to offer, Zanzibar is a great place to visit off the beaten track and is sure to grow in popularity.
Rated as one of the most beautiful places in Columbia, Cartagena is a port city that was founded in 1533. Located on the Caribbean coast, it is a vibrant and colorful coastal city as well as preserved colonial town. It was once a large slave port and the city was constantly invaded by pirates and has some of the best historical architecture in the country.
You can count on sunny skies all year round, pristine Caribbean waters, architecture from the colonial period and plenty of Afro-Colombian culture to hold your interest. You will find many quaint, small cafes, nice restaurants and even some lively music.
Explore the Old Walled City
In the Old Walled City, you can explore the city’s historic walls where construction began in 1586 and was completed in 1796. To be in the center of the action of the Old City with 16th-century charm, explore it on foot. There are many restaurants and hotels in the area. You can walk down cobblestone streets and see various colonial buildings, each with their own eye-catching colors.
If you want a slower pace, a neighborhood called San Diego is a great place to explore.
San Felipe Castle
If you want to get a great view over Cartagena, San Felipe Castle is quite the fortress that was built in the 1500s by the Spanish. It has an intricate structure of tunnels that run underneath it. This fortress experienced a series of battles with European countries from the 17th to 19th centuries.
Playa Blanca – Beach
Another important place to visit and a short drive from the city is Playa Blanca. The pristine beach and beautiful turquoise waters make it a top attraction and one of the most scenic beaches in Colombia. In addition to normal beach activities, there is some good snorkeling where you can see a large numbers of fish.
If you are looking to experience the charm of colonial architecture and history and plenty of nature, you have found the right place to take your vacation.
Kangaroo Island, Australia
An unusual destination and getaway, Kangaroo Island, is one of the most genuine places you can visit in South Australia. You will enjoy the unspoiled nature, bushland and native Australian wildlife here. Imagine watching the sea lions enjoying the pristine beaches and koalas in the tree tops. You will experience white sand beaches, sweeping green hills, caves, boulders, sand dunes and plenty of nature reserves.
There are numerous activities for you to enjoy on the island. It is quite a treat to enjoy the clear waters by swimming, diving, surfing, kayaking, sailing, fishing and much more. Many of the food safaris and walking tours are some of the finest in all of Australia. You will get a chance to see the unique koalas, native to the island, along with a chance to spot some dolphins in the crystal-clear waters. It is truly the ideal place to see many animals in the wild.
Seal Bay Conservation Park
Seal Bay Conservation Park is located on the south coast of Kangaroo Island. Imagine blue skies, white sands and unspoiled views of nature. Experience the sea lion population at Seal Bay that have been there for thousands of years. You can venture into the heart of the colony with some experienced guides and learn about these endangered animals. Watch mothers rest, playful pups and the quarrels of the males. You may even see some baby seals.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park
Another venue to enjoy the native wildlife is Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. You can hardly visit Australia without getting to see some koala. Get a glimpse of over 150 species of native wildlife. Just a few of the species include koala, penguins, wombats, lizards, quolls, birds, echidnas, snakes, crocodiles and dingoes. You can see everything up close and even interact with some of the animals.
A rare site and significant landmark that lives up to its name, Remarkable Rocks, where you will see granite boulders formed over millions of years. Most of the granite consists of bluish colored quartz, black mica and a pinkish looking feldspar. You get a chance to actually walk on the rocks of this natural wonder. On the west side of the crest, you can see a panoramic view of the bays and historic Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse.
Finally, after all of your activities, you have your choice of many beaches to enjoy the landscape and there is always the possibility that you may spot a whale. Vivonne Bay is known as one of Australia’s top beaches for sunbathing and fishing.
For the perfect place to see pristine nature and native Australian wildlife, Kangaroo Island is at the top of the list.
We hope you have enjoyed these getaway ideas on each continent and that you now have a taste of what each continent has to offer the traveler looking for a unique experience.