3 Hidden Holiday Gems to Explore in 2017
The best places to disconnect, energise, and reconnect off the beaten track!
The avid travellers among us are constantly on the hunt for the next hidden paradise holiday destination. We need not satisfy ourselves by watching replays of “The Beach”, though. Here are some top-class holiday hotspots that will undoubtedly gain popularity in the coming years. Quick! Beat the crowds and Instagram these spots before everyone else does!
1. South Africa
South Africa contains some truly awe-inspiring sights and sounds, given its effortless blend of natural beauty and hospitable people. Here are three spots worth exploring the next time you are near Cape Town!
Elgin Valley is one of the most under-marketed wine areas of the Western Cape. It hosts some of South Africa’s award winning wine estates, adrenaline-inducing mountain bike tracks and remote getaway cabins which are all tucked away in a natural paradise. With the valley being slightly less polished than nearby Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, it retains a rustic farm community charm.
Swellendam is a picturesque town, ideal to experience country life at its best. Part of the Overberg region, it lies at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains and is conveniently located to other quaint towns and villages. I love Swellendam for its rich heritage, culture and the sense of community that is almost palpable among the locals. The locals are so friendly and welcoming. There is a variety of excellent accommodation as well as good restaurants, including the award-winning 16-seater Italian restaurant “La Sosta”.
To visit De Hoop is to go off the beaten path of the N2; it’s a place where you can immerse yourself in nature, get active, relax and have a digital detox… all at the same time! PS: It’s a hotspot for whale-watching.
2. Southeast Asia
If you want to stay closer to home, Southeast Asia has some as yet untouched holiday treasures that are just there for the taking! Here are two spots in Cambodia and Vietnam that will offer you a holiday experience like few others can!
Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
Many visitors swear that Koh Rong Island has the nicest beach in the world.
Before you book your flights and plan your itinerary, be advised that there are two Koh Rong Islands in Cambodia.
One is a dive location for boats leaving Sihanoukville (Koh Sanloem) and one is lost out in the sea, left virtually untouched by tourism. Before planning your trip, make sure that you’re heading for the latter.
When the longtail boat rounds the corner and you see the absolutely stunning stretch of powdery white sand, you can’t help but be amazed. The Sok San beach goes on for 8 km and dips into the alluring turquoise sea at the perfect swimming gradient. The stunning jungle backdrop, coral reef and the fact that you’re practically the only person there really just adds to its beauty.
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Phu Quoc might not be the secret it used to be, but there is still enough deserted white sand to spare on Vietnam's largest island.
The exterior is awash with untouched reefs, while the interior boasts protected forests and dirt roads that beg to be explored on motorbike. Phu Quoc is one of the pricier places in Vietnam, but affordable beachfront accommodation can be found. Get there soon because Phu Quoc is gearing up to become Vietnam's next big tourist destination.
If you are game to travel further afoot, Continental Europe has some secret holiday destinations that are worth checking out!
The Cinque Terre represents one of the best preserved natural and semi-natural areas of the Mediterranean. Historical and geomorphologic reasons have forbidden excessive housing development and the creation of major roadways (which instead are present inland in the Val di Vara).
Human activity and especially viticulture, have contributed to create a unique landscape in which development of the typical stone walls is so extensive as to equal that of the famous Great Wall of China.
All this, combined with the characteristics of a crystal clear sea, architecturally interesting locations, and a varied and extensive network of paths (one of the most enviable in the whole Mediterranean), makes the Cinque Terre an increasingly sought after location among Italian and foreign tourists.
On the foothill of the mountain Lovcen, in the deepest part of the Mediterranean bay and one of the most beautiful locations in the world, there is the old town of Kotor.
Kotor is a town of rich cultural tradition and one of the best preserved sights in the Mediterranean area.
This town in the Málaga region sits on either side of the Tajo del Ronda, a narrow gorge more than 150 metres deep. Its old town has been declared a Property of Cultural Interest.
For history buffs, Celts, Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs all once inhabited these beautiful lands, which were reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs.
The historic quarter, reminiscent of the Arab age and with a medieval layout is scattered to the south of the Guadalevín, while more modern Ronda, the part which sprang up after the 16th century, unfolds to the north of the course of this river. Several bridges unite the two halves of one of the most interesting towns on the route of the Whitewashed Villages, in the heart of the the Ronda hills, only a few kilometres from the Costa del Sol.
Now that your travel appetite is fired up, make sure you’re well prepared for a great holiday by checking out this link. Do share your holiday photos and stories with us as well! Bon voyage!
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