Some of Frank Sinatra’s best remembered songs are about the joys of traveling the world. Old Blue Eyes’ 1958 album Come Fly With Me specifically recommends vacationing in Paris, London, and Rome, with a straight shot down to Acapulco Bay. That was generations ago, but the travel advice is largely the same.
There is something magical in seeing the Eiffel tower up close or the incandescent clear blue waters of the Maldives. But the reality is, a trip to those hotspots involves long wait times, crowds, and other distractions from genuine relaxation.
Looking for a place you can truly unplug and discover wonders you’ve yet to experience? Here is a list of a few of the best, underrated travel spots in the world.
São Tomé and Príncipe
The isle of Príncipe is tucked off the coast of West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, offering a lot to those looking for an eco-friendly holiday. The island’s environment is well-protected, with pristine beaches and rich, tropical forests flourishing with 29 different species of birds.
There are numerous activities for nature lovers to enjoy. From September to April, travelers can view firsthand the miraculous hatching of sea turtles.
The key joy of Príncipe, however, is the sense of displacement some visitors have said they’ve experienced. Vacationers have been said to lose all sense of time staying there.
Madagascar may have caught the attention of children, thanks to a series of animated films, but it hasn’t received the attention it deserves as a vacation destination. Another destination for ecology lovers, the island has been practically unexplored by tourists and filled with wildlife indigenous to the region and found nowhere else on earth.
Most travelers are unaware that Madagascar is also home to some of the world’s finest white sand beaches, like Nosy Be, where they can spot both humpback whales and lemurs. One of the 14 private villas at Miavana provides a natural, Robinson Crusoe-esque feel to your stay.
While Buenos Aires attracts 2.7 million people a year with its vibrant nightlife and blend of Italian and Spanish culture, the northwestern region is far removed from the cityscape. Salta is famed for rich, red rock valleys and terracotta hills, ideal for horseback riding or hiking.
The city itself contains some of the most pristine colonial architecture, most notably the Catedrale Basilica De Salta, built between 1856 and 1882.
If the architecture isn’t appealing enough, consider the nearby wineries. The local specialty is Torrontes, a crisp white wine with the scent of rose petals and a peach and lemon zest finish.
Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve, Québec
There’s no need to travel that far to experience something new. For exhausted city dwellers, a dark sky reserve is an ideal getaway for escaping light pollution. Going from a big city to a place where stargazing is actually possible feels like traveling between worlds.
During the day, visitors can enjoy the beautiful hiking trails along the Eastern Townships.
Wherever you have your next vacation, ensure it’s one that truly relaxes you.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer