There are spectacular secret travel destinations around the world. Most of these destinations are popular and on the top of the must-visit list for everyone. However, other breathtaking destinations are unknown. One can enjoy such stunning beauty with a little planning. Visiting such destinations is an adventure of a lifetime. Here are the top 10 secret travel destinations.
Rainbow Mountains, China
The Rainbow Mountains of China located in the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park are a geological wonder of the world. These popular Chinese mountains are famous for their magical colours that imitate a rainbow painted over the tops of rolling mountains. The Zhangye Danxia National Park lay in the Gansu province in China’s northwest stretching to 200 square miles. The site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. The site is a popular spot for a lot of Chinese and international tourists. The Rainbow Mountains consist of red sandstones characterized by steep colourful cliffs. This landscape has appeared because of certain geological processes, climate and time. There was a lake in this spot millions of years ago. When it went dry, the deposits of sandstone and other minerals discharged the water. As a result, a unique landscape with enormous caves, glottis, ravens, valleys, columns and towers covering 322 kilometres was created. The red colours dominate, but the shadows are still different as well as the texture and sizes. Even during the day, the colour may change according to the angle of the sunlight and the place where the shadows drop.
Huacachina Desert Oasis, Peru
The town of Huacachina is located around the Laguna Huacachina, a small lagoon fed by a natural spring and framed by lush green palms. The town is surrounded by enormous dunes that are both picturesque and ideal for adventure activities like paddle boats, sandboarding and dune buggy rides. Tourism is the only industry in the town. There are many restaurants, tour agencies, and hotels catering to visitors. A lot of Lima residents go to Huacachina on the weekends to enjoy the sunshine and escape the chaos of city life. It is also a famous stop for travellers who stay overnight on their way to visit Paracas, Nazca or Arequipa. Huacachina’s Weather is always warm and sunny, with very little rain. You can visit Huacachina anytime during the year due to this pleasant weather. You can simply take a bus from Lima to Inca. Then you can take a 10-minute ride to Huacachina.
Huacachina offers various activities that are worth trying during the visit. It is famous for sandboarding. You can enjoy sliding down dunes on a wooden board special for the sport. It is suitable for all family members, even kids can try out that amazing experience. You can follow one of the techniques for sandboarding to control your balance. A four-wheel-drive dune buggy is another popular activity for thrill-seekers in Huacachina. Ascend the top of a dune and hold on tight for the descent. Some tourists go up to the top of the mountains with the buggy, then go down with the sandboard. It is recommended to keep cash with you in Peruvian soles. You can also bring in a hat, a sunblock, plenty of water and sneakers for sandboarding. There are also many restaurants with various cuisines to choose from. As for accommodation, there are hostels with basic facilities. However, there are different options to choose from in Inca.
Enchanted Hinuaten River, Philippines
It is a majestic river located on the island of Mindanao, hidden in the Philippine jungle. It seems to pop out of the ground with its crystal clear blue waters. The Enchanted Hinuaten River lies on the east coast of the southernmost island of the Philippines. It stretches to 648 meters between the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The river is clear and its sapphire blue shades resemble solid jewels sparkling in the sun. This magical site features sparkling, crystal clear blue waters, surrounded by vines, thick jungle, and orchids. It is one of the major Touristique spots in this region.
There are underground cave system caverns, cracks, and tunnels discovered beneath these crystalline waters. The Hinatuan Enchanted River is a saltwater passage but no one knows the source of the saltwater. Some expectations say that the salt water comes from the underground cave system which is not been fully discovered yet. Fish is another mystery about this magical place. There are various kinds of fish in various colours which are famous attractions. It is not known where they come from or their destination as well.
Every afternoon, the guard rings a bell for everyone to go out of the water. Then the tone of “Hymn of Hinatuan” is played over loudspeakers, so a large school of silver-scaled fish appear out of nowhere on a line. They gather at the mouth of the river and the staff members feed them shrimp, pieces of minced meat, rice, octopus, and other pieces of food. This fascinating show lasts for about an hour. Then, they disappear again. Hinatuan Enchanted River lies outside the town of Hinatuan, on the east side of Mindanao in the Philippines. You can fly to the Butuan City Domestic Airport, and then take a van ride to the town of Hinatuan. Finally, a motorcycle ride takes you to the road leading to the river. Visitors are not allowed to swim in the deep end of the river any longer but are only allowed to swim in certain designated areas of the river where lifeguards are always available. You can also enjoy a river cruise and explore nearby islands.
You need a life vest to enter the water. It is recommended to have mosquito repellent as well. This spot is like paradise.
Isola Bella Gardens and Palace, Italy
Isola Bella is one of the Borromean Islands of Lago Maggiore in north Italy. The island is situated in the Borromean Gulf 400 metres from the lakeside town of Stresa. Isola Bella is 320 metres long by 400 metres wide and is divided between the Palace, its Italianate garden, and a small fishing village. Isola Bella was transformed from a rock of the lake into a place of pleasure in 400 years with the great efforts of painters, engineers, architects and more.
Until 1630 Isola Bella only featured two small churches and a few vegetable gardens. Fishermen inhabited the place. It has over 20 rooms with a fabulous route between art and history leading to these rooms. Isola Bella looks like a vessel sailing the water of the lake. The Borromean Palace occupies most of the service of the island. On the second floor of the palace, there are over 50 rooms used by the descendants of the family. There are only 30 rooms open for visits. The reception floor is the best preserved in the palace. It has a gallery of paintings with over 150 pieces of art. This part is considered the Museum of the Palace.
The most important monument in the garden of Isola Bella is the Teatro Massimo. The area has the shape of an amphitheatre. Several statues represent the four classical elements, air, earth, fire and water. The unicorn statue is the heraldic symbol of the family. The Garden of Love is a blessing, composed of boxwood fences creating green embroidery you can see from the height of the terraces.
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway is located on the Northern coastline, about an hour and a half from Belfast. You can easily see the impressive basalt stones in a day, either by hiring a car or on a coach tour. It opens at 9 AM. This is the most visited attraction in Northern Ireland. You can walk for about 30 minutes to the stones. There is also a free shuttle bus service to take people with mobility issues down the stones and back. It was inscribed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1966. 40000 black basalt columns, some at 35 feet tall were formed 60 million years ago when volcanic lava cooled quickly when hitting the ocean. However, legend would have you believe it’s the remains of a causeway built by a giant.
The story goes that the mythical Irish giant Finn McCool was challenged to a fight by a Scottish giant Benandoner. The causeway stretched from Ireland to Scotland, so the two could meet. During the battle, it was partially destroyed severing the link between the two countries. You can walk over most areas of the stones but it can be treacherous not just because of the uneven surface but with the wet weather they are incredibly slippery.
Monastery of Santa Maria, Italy
The monastery of Santa Maria is known as the “Coast of the Gods”. It is a 4th-century monastery that’s accessible only by ascending a winding flight of steps engraved directly into the cliffside. According to legend, it was founded by Hercules himself. When it was first built, it was on its little island. But over the centuries, a gap was created and filled in the water between that island and the mainland. The building was used as a simple church in medieval times, and also a sacred destination for pilgrims. In 1638, the Virgin from the portrait appeared to the Bishop in Calabria and warned him of an impending earthquake. The main door of the church is decorated with a simple and elegant marble frame with the coat of arms of Sixtus IV and a tympanum with a relief depicting the Virgin and child.
The ancient monastery with its helical stone path offers visitors a wide view of the seaside town of Tropea from its top windows. The ocean water is clear and blue. There are clean beaches and white sand. The views from the monastery in the daytime are also stunning. When the castle is up in light at night the views are breathtaking even more than in the daytime. The garden at the back of the church is also very picturesque. There is also a small on-site store where you can buy souvenirs.
Vagamon is a small hill station that arises from within the borders of the Idukki District. This spot of major tourist activity was once a quiet land. It is one of the few tourist spots not affected by commercialization. Although it is remote, it is easy to go to. It features a mixture of architectural sights that the residents are ready to pay for them. The town is suitable for everyone due to the bunch of places to visit. The Pine Forest is the first spot you need to visit in Vagmon. There is a rare manmade wood created during the British Raj. The forest overlooks the gorgeous valley.
One of the must-see spots to visit in Vagamon is Marmala Waterfall. It lies along the Erattupetta route. It features a 131′ waterfall found amidst thick greenery. It was an unknown place and became one of the most visited tourist destinations. Thangalpara is recognized as a place for the pilgrim. It is also one of the most stunning Vagamon places to visit. Thangalpara refers to a giant rock at the edge of a cliff. It was the resting place of the Hasrath Sheikh Fariduddin Baba, a revered Sufi Saint.
The Idukki Dam is a geometric miracle. It lies across the spectacular Periyar River. The construction of the dam which is a double-curved arch attracts people all over the country and includes itself as one of the Vagamon Kerala tourist sites. It has to be on the top of the must-visit list for those who value nature. This is one of the most famous tourist places in Idukki. You can also join a tour to wander through all the attractions of the site.
Ulipooni Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect getaway from busy urban life. It is an ideal picnic spot due to its location in the city centre. The sanctuary is home to many animals like elephants and tigers. You can also get on a boat and enjoy a memorable day out. It is indeed one of the most pleasing tourist sites in Vagamon. Although Pine Hill is not popular, it is still one of the best spots to visit. It doesn’t feature many things, still, a walk in this breathtaking place is enough to enjoy peace of mind.
Whitehaven Beach, Australia
Whitehaven Beach is a pure, award-winning beach on Whitsunday Island, which is the Whitsundays’ largest island among the other 74 islands. Whitehaven Beach extends over seven kilometres. Whitehaven Beach features white silica sand that is among the most pristine in the world. You can enjoy the sand and get your feet wet in the warm waves that gently touch the shore.
The stunning Hill Inlet lies at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach where the tide shifts the sand and water causing a beautiful fusion of colours. The scenery at Tongue Point is the best spot to view the whirling sands of Hill Inlet. You can explore the beach in many ways. There are ferries, yachts, and power boats available for day trips. You can also enjoy luxury cruising yachts that leave from Airlie Beach.
Kapiti Island, New Zealand
Kapiti Island is one of the oldest islands in New Zealand. It is also one of the most important natural resources, and a place full of human history.
You can have a day trip to Kapiti or explore the island. You can reserve to spend the night on Kapiti and listen to the stories of the island and get introduced to the real beauty of New Zealand the way it was.
A trip to Kapiti Island depends on the sea and weather conditions. You can book a sailing trip usually daily from October to May, and Friday to Sunday in September, depending o the demand. Prices vary as well. You can also enjoy the ferry operating for day trips only, apart from on Christmas Day & New Year’s Day.
Ice Caves, Chile
Chilean Patagonia is home to the most impressive caves in the world. The Marble Caves, which are a 6,000-years old spectacular cave network known, lie on the peninsula. It consists entirely of marble and is submerged in the deep blue waters of the glacial Lake General Carrera on the border between Chile and Argentina. The area is especially beautiful in early spring during the ice melt, when the water colour is amazingly turquoise, and also in summer which has amazing deep blue shades. You can get to the site only by boat, but this impressive sight is worth your efforts.
You can ride a boat or kayak for a tour of one of the most secret natural treasures of the world, the iconic Marble Cathedral at the Marble Chapel Nature Sanctuary. As you float through the beautiful tunnels, marvel at fascinating colours and layered surfaces, and capture spectacular images of this wonder, an outstanding highlight of Chilean Patagonia. The marble itself isn’t a bright blue, but it dances with cerulean collections of colour when the water reflects its light. The mineral impurities in the marble have changed into beautiful calligraphy whirls of rosy pink and robin’s egg blue across the walls.
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
Lake Bohinj is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia. It is located within the Bohinj Valley of the Julian Alps, and part of Triglav National Park. It’s split into the Higher and Lower valley and is marked by 24 small villages and 5,118 residents. It’s filled with beautiful green glacier water and amazing green colour. In the summer, people go swimming and do other water sports. In the winter, the area is a hotspot for snowboarding, skiing, and ice climbing. There are three ways to get to Lake Bohinj from Lake Bled by car, by bus and by train. You can drive your car or rent one to go to the lake. It is a 30 minutes ride. It is a 45-minute bus ride to reach the lake as well. The last option is the train which takes 35 minutes.
Many people visit Slovenia for Lake Bled without exploring the area around it. Lake Bohinj is quieter and less crowded than Lake Bled, which is one of the top attractions in Slovenia. Bohinj is the right spot for outdoor activities like biking, hiking, paragliding and waterfall trekking, with stunning scenery. You can enjoy the snow-capped mountaintop views. It is picturesque with the reflective lakes as background.
Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
Located on the northern tip of Wisconsin, the Apostle island consists of 21 islands and a shoreline on lake superior. These 70000 acres are best known for their stunning coastal beauty, sandstone, sea caves, old-growth forests and several historic lighthouses. Glaciers once covered North America, when they melted, waves from lakes superior caused erosion resulting in the formation of these red sandstone islands. Native Americans followed by French fur traders were the early inhabitants of the island.
This area was officially established as a national lakeshore in 1970 by president Nixon. It is featured as one of America’s beautiful quarters while there are some points of interest on the mainland. The moniker of islands holds. Apostle islands are only accessible by boat. You can take your boat onto Lake Superior or try one of the many charters and tour boat options available. Sea kayaking around the island is popular too. You can head out for a day trip or do some island hopping. Camping is available on 19 of the 21 islands and one campsite on the mainland. There is also a range of hotels, resorts and cosy cabins on the mainland. You can also rent a lodging cabin on the islands.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has more lighthouses than any other national park with a total of 8 historic lighthouses on six islands. 6 of these lighthouses are listed as a group on the National Register of Historic Places. The two lighthouses on the site of the Michigan Island lighthouse are joined by a raspberry island lighthouse, outer island lighthouse, sand lighthouse and devils’ island lighthouse to round out the historic register.
The Apostle Island National Lakeshore is a nature reserve, so no car traffic is allowed on the islands. Madeleine, the largest island, is the only island that has cars but you have to use the ferry. It is just a 20-minute ride to get there. Bayfield located on Wisconson highway 13 is the main starting point for exploring the lakeshore. One of the best ways to learn about the area is to take a heritage tour. They also have a famous ghost walking tour, that’s a crowd favourite.
This area is a prime location for fruit picking particularly apples in fall. They boast more than 50 varieties of apples. There are some fabulous apple dishes to enjoy during this time of year. There is also a port city for the apostle island crew service. These tours offer several hours of a narrated trip and drive you around caves, shipwrecks, and lighthouses or head out on a sailboat to explore the islands and waters around them. There are many activities to try out to make the most of your time at this national lakeshore. With over 50 miles of trails on the Apostle Islands, this is an outstanding place to hike with gorgeous views accompanying you to historical sites abandoned quarries and many lighthouses.