If you’re planning to get away for the mid-year holiday, perhaps for the summer (for our Northern readers) or to avoid the winter (our Southern readers) why not veer off the beaten track in search of new experiences? We have conducted a list of our best summer travel destinations, off the beaten path, that should be on everyone’s agenda!
We’ve scoured the world over in a quest to find the perfect destinations for the mid-year holiday season with fewer crowds that offer similar perks to their more popular counterparts.
Whether you wish to discover a place you’ve never even heard of before, or are in search of deeper, richer, and more authentic travel experiences – we hope to inspire you to take the road less travelled with our Best Summer Travel Destinations, off the beaten path.
Kicking off our list of the best summer travel destinations, off the beaten path is the Pacific Island nation, Vanuatu. Remote islands, rich culture, relaxing beaches and world-class diving – need we say more?
Why we love it: because how could we not?
When to go: August, to avoid Australian school holidays.
Things to do:
- Explore the island nation with a full-day round tour, prices usually ranging from $82.82, which includes: Entrance fees, a buffet lunch, afternoon tea, local professional guide, hotel pickup and drop-off. To learn more and book your trip, click here.
- Mt Yasur Volcano in East Tanna: hike up or drive up the thundering volcano. There are numerous tour groups that can take you there, or you can always opt to go independently (but maybe stick to the groups). Enjoy the fiery display of angry reds and vibrant oranges – a sight one cannot easily forget!
- Luganville, Vanuatu’s second city: enjoy the local market, or listen to women making ‘water music’ at Leweton Cultural Village.
- If you get tired of lazing around pristine beaches all day while sipping on cocktails (as if) why not pump up your energy levels at Tanna Coffee Factory in Port Vila? Learn the history of the coffee company while enjoying a freshly brewed cup.
Discover more at https://www.lonelyplanet.com/vanuatu
2. Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Number two on our list is the French-speaking tropical paradise in West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire. Despite its tumultuous political past, the country is steadily striving towards economic progression. Dubbed the “Manhattan of Africa,” Abidjan is the pulsing heartbeat of the nation, boasting dizzying skyscrapers and manicured gardens at The Plateau. It’s budding contemporary art scene offers Western tourists a window into African art and culture, and is definitely worth exploring when you’re there!
Why we love it: the vibrant budding contemporary art scene
When to go: the beaches are best visited May – July
Things to do:
- Discover the contemporary African art scene at the Cecil Fakhoury art gallery or the Eureka Gallerie.
- Take a trip to Yamoussoukro, shop at its lively markets, and awe at the marvel of the stunning Cathedrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix (Basilica of our Lady of Peace) famous for its stained glass.
- Visit the sandy beaches of Grand Bassam
Discover more contemporary African art at: http://www.potatomike.com/abidjan-galleries/
This centuries-old south-east Asian treasure is number three on our love list for its rich history and promise of spectacular adventure. Tourism is the fastest growing industry in Laos, so this oriental delight may not remain off the beaten track for very long.
Why we love it: the rich history and ethnic diversity!
When to go: July & August, if you want to avoid the high season.
Things to do:
- Get lost and get to know the locals! Visit the hill tribe villages of Luang Nam Tha or Muang Sing – keeping in mind the need to respect their privacy. Perhaps learn a few friendly phrases, such as how to say hello and thank you, in the local language so as to break the ice with the villagers. Enjoy the scenery and relax away from city life.
- Really slow down the pace in Muang Ngoi Neua. Without any internet and limited electricity, get out of your comfort zone and enjoy some kayaking, tubing and cave exploration.
- Although the Buddha Park is quite famous, we couldn’t resist adding it to the list! Visitors can enter through an opening which is a mouth of a 3-metre tall demon head!! Very interesting, indeed.
Discover more at: http://www.tourismlaos.org/
The fairy tale castles, pristine landscape and vibrant night life has attracted many to our fourth best summer travel destinations, off the beaten path; however, there’s a whole world beyond (and underneath) the usual attractions of this landlocked central-European nation.
Why we love it: Hungary offers a little bit of everything for everyone.
When to go: June – August (although high season)
Things to do:
- Visit the Törley sparkling wine cellars: explore the 130-year-old factory and its museum (torley.hu). Book a guided tour, taste some of the famous Hungarian sparkling wine and learn how its made.
- Explore the complex networks of Caves underneath the bustling capital, Budapest.
- Stay underground and see the Hospital in the Rock – a fortified underground complex where you can find a military hospital and WII shelter. This underground museum exhibits waxwork figures, as well as original tokens from the WII Hospital.
Discover more at http://gotohungary.com/?
5. French Guiana
Finally, this tiny treasure trove often falls in the shadows of more ostentatious South American nations, but despite the the limitations of local transport, we encourage you to not overlook this French colony. As its still a French Department, it’s one of South America’s wealthiest nations. That said, this destination is not really for the budget traveller…
Why we love it: a pleasant, quiet alternative to other South American countries. An exciting mix of Amerindian, African, European and Asian cultures!
When to go: July & August, the rains are less during these two months.
Things to do:
- Visit the Central Market in Cayenne. Discover Amerindian basketry, African-style paintings and carvings, while savouring the tastes of the local street food, all in the capital city!
- Auberge des Iles du Salut Situated in the off-shore islands are intriguing prison camps. Spend a night at Auberge des Iles du Salut where some of the old guards’ quarters have been converted into rooms.
- Go souvenir shopping Galerie des 3 Fontaines, Cayenne. Find interesting gifts and enjoy some more local treats. Open from 09:00 – 12:30 pm & 14:00 – 19:00 Monday – Saturday
Discover more at: http://us.france.fr/en/discover/french-guiana-0
Whether it’s Africa or Asia, we hope you find new adventures wherever you venture to these holidays! Leave us a love note below if you’ve been to any of these places or have any other suggestions to recommend.