Discoveries

5 Holiday Vacation Spots Without the Crowds

Taking a holiday always feels special, but what feels even better than blowing off work for a week or two? Being able to enjoy a new destination without a sea of other tourists. Sure, it’s amazing to see the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or China’s Great Wall, but you’re one of millions that flock to these high-profile vacation destinations every year. This time around, try something different. Get off the tourist grid and book your trip to one of these five undiscovered vacation spots. We guarantee you’ll be talking about this trip for years to come.

1. Tuvalu

Beach on Tuvalu island
Credit: mbrand85/iStock

It makes sense to start our list off with the least visited country in the world. Despite its lack of tourists, Tuvalu is most definitely a vacation spot. Located in the South Pacific between French Polynesia and Australia, this sovereign island nation is accessible by flight from Fiji. Only 2,000 visitors came to Tuvalu in 2016, and it’s hard to understand why that number is so low because it’s absolutely gorgeous. Tuvalu is actually comprised of 9 islands which form a thin circular atoll, creating a lagoon-like shoreline perfect for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. The wind-swept white sand beaches lined with lush palms are near deserted, making this one of the most remote tropical island paradises in the world. If this sounds ideal (how could it not?), don’t wait to visit Tuvalu. Scientists predict that due to global warming and fast-rising sea levels, this island nation will disappear completely sometime in the 21st century.

2. Liechtenstein

Balzers village in Liechtenstein
Credit: RossHelen/iStock

Sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland, this tiny country offers everything that its more-popular neighbors do except for one thing – the crowds. Most people may not have even heard of this country, let alone being able to point it out on a map. The lack of awareness of Liechtenstein makes it the perfect place to enjoy the alpine landscape and pristine nature, minus hordes of tourists. The mountain scenery in this 61-square mile country is second to none. It’s also known for its Medieval castles, most notably, the Schloss Vaduz, which still houses the country’s royal family. Another main draw of this country is its hiking and biking trails which wind in and out of the Swiss Alps. Additionally, the skiing and snowboarding lift tickets are much cheaper in Liechtenstein than they are in Switzerland or Austria. The bonus? No lines or over-crowded trails. Liechtenstein saw just 80,000 visitors in 2017.

3. Mongolia

Traditional Mongolian ger on a mountain backdrop in sunset light
Credit: kertu_ee/iStock

With a population density of 1.9 people per square mile, Mongolia is one of the world’s top 5 least crowded countries. Mongolia is suitable for those who like wide open spaces – 1.5 million square kilometers to be exact. Relatively undiscovered in terms of tourists, Mongolia is one of the few remaining countries in the world where visitors can have a pure experience. Most of the population resides in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, however outside the city visitors will find spatterings of nomadic communities abiding to their traditional way of life. So, what can Mongolia offer? For the intrepid traveler dying to get off the beaten path – plenty. Tourists can spend the night in the Gobi Desert, ride wild horses across vast country sides just like Mongolia’s most revered leader, Genghis Khan, experience life in remote villages, and even witness the region’s famous eagle hunting festival.

4. Orcas Island, Washington, USA

Kayak Sunset Cruise
Credit: protog/iStock

If you want to get away, but don’t have the budget for an international vacation, check out the Pacific Northwest coast of the U.S. Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands located off Washington state, is roughly 100 miles north of Seattle. Known as the “Emerald Isle” and the “gem of the San Juans”, Orcas offers sky-high mountains, sparkling shorelines, and, not surprisingly, plenty of nature and greenery. Miles of hiking trails, wandering roads, charming towns, the Moran State Park, and the stunning viewpoint at the top of Mount Constitution are just some of the ways that visitors can escape the crowds. Get even further away and venture off shore with a whale-watching tour, fishing charter, or kayak trip. For those who seek nature, privacy, and outdoorsy fun, there’s no better place than Orcas Island.

5. Pembrokeshire, Wales

Strumble Head Lighthouse, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
Credit: BerndBrueggemann/iStock

Often overlooked for more popular holiday destinations in England, Scotland, and Ireland, the west-facing region of Pembrokeshire in Wales is one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the U.K. The Pembrokeshire coastal path, connecting Saint Dogmaels and Amrorth and running through Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, is the definite highlight of the region. It trails over 186 miles of rugged cliffs, bypassing countless coves, 58 beaches, 14 harbors, and numerous sleepy fishing villages. For the fit and determined, hiking this path in its entirety is a real bucket list-worthy item. If you’re not up for the long-haul hike, there’s still plenty of ways to enjoy the pristine scenery. Stackpole Estate is a nature reserve offering shorter hikes through dense forests trails leading along cliffside ocean passes and plenty of wildlife spotting along the way. Pembrokeshire is also a historic area. Learn all about it while staying in Medieval castles-turned-hotels and discovering the 13th century Bishop’s Palace. Don’t forget to make a stop for some souvenir shopping at the country’s oldest woolen mill, Melin Tregwynt, which has been producing blankets, pillows, and scarfs since 1912.

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