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  • Writer's pictureCurly World Travel

Discovering the World's Best-Kept Secrets: 10 Off-the-Beaten Path Destinations for 2023

Are you sick of the same old places that tourists flock to? Are you looking for something a little different and out of the way? Stop looking! In this blog post, we'll be going over 10 Off-the-Beaten-Path destinations for 2023!

You may be wondering, "Why go to a less popular tourist spot in the first place?" For starters, these places are often less crowded, which means you'll be able to fully immerse yourself in the culture and have a more authentic experience of your destination. One of the best things about going to places that aren't as well known is that you never know what you'll find there. Accept what you don't know and go with the flow. You might find something amazing. Also, prices are usually lower, and you won't have to pay the higher prices that often come with popular tourist spots.

Now that you know why it's good to go to places that aren't on everyone's list, let's get to our 10 picks for 2023!

1. The Azores, Portugal

The nine volcanic islands that make up the Azores archipelago can be found in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and provide visitors with a rare combination of scenic beauty, cultural experiences, and exciting outdoor pursuits. Here are some of the amazing things you can find on the nine islands.

The biggest and most populated island is São Miguel, which is known for its hot springs, volcanic craters, and beautiful lakes and lagoons. It is also home to the famous Furnas Valley, popular due to its geysers, hot springs, and a stew called "Cozido das Furnas" which is traditionally prepared in the hot springs.

The island of Pico is famous for its impressive volcano, making it a popular climbing and hiking destination. One of the best reasons to go to Pico is to try some unique and tasty white wines. The island's vineyards, which are lined with volcanic rock called basalt, are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Terceira Island is well-known for its stunning beaches, colorful historic towns, and traditional festivals. It's also where you can find the breathtaking Serra do Cume lookout, which overlooks the entire island and the sea beyond. It is also a fantastic place for whale and dolphin watching.

Faial Island, also known as the "Blue Island," is a popular destination for sailors and yachtsmen due to its stunning hydrangeas and the port of Horta, a natural harbor.

Flores Island is a favorite among hikers, birdwatchers, and whale watchers due to its abundance of stunning natural scenery and wildlife. They also have the Fajã dos Vimes, a natural terrace with a sweeping view of the island and the water.

Graciosa Island is popular for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving because its waters are calm and clear and it has sandy beaches.

Iconic for its lush vegetation, São Jorge Island is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. It also contains the Fajã dos Cubres, a natural terrace with a panoramic view of the island and the sea. Recent recognition included the "7 Wonders of Portugal - Seaside Villages" award.

Santa Maria Island is renowned for its pristine beaches and azure waters, in addition to the 15th-century Vila do Porto, its historic capital. As the first island to be discovered on the archipelago, Santa Maria boasts a rich history.

Corvo Island is the smallest of the group, but it packs a big punch when it comes to natural beauty and long-standing customs. People come from all over to go birdwatching and hiking here. With only 430 inhabitants, this island is a nice remote getaway. Some popular birds include shearwaters, wood pigeons, and terns.

Undoubtedly, there is a wide range of experiences and sights to behold on each individual island. The Azores are perfect for any kind of vacationer, offering both exciting activities and the chance to unwind in stunning settings.

2. Gokarna, India

Gokarna is a small town in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is on the western coast of the country. It is known for its beautiful beaches and Hindu temples, and it is becoming more and more popular as a cheap alternative to more expensive places in the area.

The town is one of the seven holy Hindu pilgrimage sites, and it has a number of ancient temples, including the Mahabaleshwar Temple, which is thought to be one of the most important Lord Shiva temples in India.

The town is also known for its beautiful beaches, such as Gokarna beach, Kudle beach, Om beach, Half-moon beach, and Paradise beach. Visitors and pilgrims alike are drawn to these beaches by their pristine beauty. The beaches have a well-deserved reputation for calm and natural beauty, making them ideal for unwinding.

Gokarna is also known for its centers for yoga and spiritual retreats. Many people who are looking for spiritual nourishment and mental peace go to these centers because they offer yoga classes, meditation, Ayurvedic treatments, and other spiritual practices.

The town is close to other popular places like Goa, Mangalore, and Udupi, which makes it a great place to visit if you want to learn about India's history, culture, and natural beauty. Gokarna is also a great place for people on a budget who want to go on vacation somewhere quiet and peaceful.

3. Yakushima, Japan

Yakushima is a small island off the southern coast of Japan. There are many reasons why it's a great place to visit.

Yakushima is known for its old cedar forests and hiking trails that offer stunning views of the island's natural beauty. They have cedars that are more than a thousand years old. One cedar that was found in 1966 at an elevation of 1,350 meters is thought to be the biggest and oldest tree in the world. The Japanese call it the Jomon Sugi. Its age has been debated by experts, with estimates ranging from 2,170 to 7,200 years. There are also a number of waterfalls on the island, such as the famous Shiratani Unsuikyo Gorge, which is known for its moss-covered trees and clear streams. One of the most interesting things about this area is that the island has some of the biggest differences in temperature and climate on Earth. It rains so often on the island that locals joke it rains on average 35 days per month, allowing for a wide variety of plant life spanning both subtropical and cold temperate zones.

Yakushima is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is thought to be one of Japan's most important natural landscapes. Visitors get to explore an unspoiled wilderness rich in flora and fauna. You can find coral reefs, alpine plants, and animals that only live on Yakushima, like the Yaku monkey and Yaku deer.

The island has a lot to see and do. At Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine, you can walk through a forest of yaku sugi trees, and at Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen, you can bathe in a spa right next to the ocean. Visit Senpiro-no-taki, where water plummets from around 60 meters onto a gigantic granite monolith, and Ooko-no-taki, Yakushima's tallest and largest waterfall.

Yakushima has a lot of cultural history, and by going to its shrines, temples, and traditional houses, visitors can learn about the island's history and traditional way of life.

The island's remote location, natural beauty, rich culture, and variety of activities make it a unique and special place to visit. If you are planning a trip to Japan, it is a great place to add to your itinerary.

4. Vigan, Philippines

Vigan is a town in the Philippines that was built during the Spanish colonial period. It is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, traditional Ilocano culture, and delicious food. UNESCO recognized its beauty and added it to its list of World Heritage Sites.

Although it was originally a Spanish colony, traces of other cultures such as China, Mexico, and even Europe can be found there as well. Tourists can get a feel for the town's rich history and culture by strolling its old cobblestone streets and visiting its museums, churches, and ancestral homes.

Vigan is like a bustling Asian city on the surface, but its Spanish heritage sets it apart from the rest of the region.

The architecture of the town is unique because it is a mix of Spanish and Filipino styles. This reflects the history of the area. The Crisologo Museum, which used to be the home of the Crisologo family and is now open to the public, is the most well-known of these. Calle Crisologo is one of the best-preserved historical sites in Vigan. It has a unique feel that will take you back in time. On both sides of the street are heritage houses that were built hundreds of years ago and have kept their Spanish-style architecture.

If you're interested in learning more about the customs and culture of the indigenous Ilocano people, Vigan is an excellent starting point. The local cuisine is well-known for its heartiness and flavor, and visitors can also enjoy traditional dances and music while they're in town.

5. Tbilisi, Georgia

Legend has it that Tbilisi was established around the middle of the 5th century by King Vakhtang Gorgasali, who was so taken with the area's abundance of hot springs while hunting that he ordered the construction of a new city there. Tbilisi, the name given to the city, comes from the Georgian word for "a warm place."

Tbilisi's Old Town is full of architectural gems and historical sites like the Metekhi Church, Sioni Cathedral, and Narikala Fortress, demonstrating the city's long and illustrious history and culture. Tbilisi is also known for its traditional Georgian food, such as khinkali (dumplings) and khachapuri (cheese-filled bread).

The city sits on the Mtkvari River, which flows between and over the surrounding mountains and hills, making for a stunning backdrop. Visitors can hike for a sweeping view of the city and its surroundings or take the cable car that runs from Rike Park to the Narikala fortress. Tbilisi also has a botanical garden that is hundreds of years old and has a large number of exotic plants from all over the world.

Tbilisi's name means "warm place," so it's no surprise that the city is known for its sulfur baths. The medicinal benefits of sulfur baths have been recognized for centuries. The Abanotubani Bathhouse District is the oldest and most well-known of these, and it is where visitors go to soak in the city's famous hot springs.

Tbilisi also boasts a lively café culture and an exciting nightlife scene with a variety of bars, clubs, and pubs to suit a wide range of preferences. Georgians are known for being friendly and helpful, and visitors will find that to be true. They are always happy to give information, tips, and even offer to show visitors around the city.

6. Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor is the oldest town in Montenegro. It is known for having some of the best-preserved medieval architecture and for being at the end of a long, winding bay that is surrounded by tall mountains. Because of its beautiful setting, it is a popular place for tourists to visit.

Since 1979, the old town of Kotor has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it one of the city's most well-known sights. It has walls that were built to protect it in the 9th century. There are lots of small streets, charming squares, and beautiful medieval buildings, like churches and palaces, all over the town. Trg od Oružja, the town's main square, is a great place to people-watch and take in the local culture. Here, people get together for a variety of reasons.

The fortress, perched atop a hill overlooking Kotor's historic core, is another major attraction. It is called St. John's Fortress, and it has a great view of the town and the bay. The more than 1,200-foot climb to the fortress can be difficult, but the views are well worth it.

Kotor is also a popular place to start boat trips to nearby places like the Our Lady of the Rocks, a church-built island in the Boka Bay, and Perast, a small coastal town known for its beautiful baroque architecture.

7. Fez, Morocco

The city of Fez, in Morocco, has a long and illustrious history and is a cultural treasure trove. It is one of Morocco's four imperial cities, and for many centuries it was the country's capital. Notable Moorish buildings in the city include the Al-Attarine Madrasa, an Islamic school founded in the 14th century, and the Bou Inania Madrasa, a theological college founded in the same era. Bou Inania Madrasa was the only madrasa in Morocco to also serve as a mosque. It is generally agreed upon that this building represents the pinnacle of Marinid design, as well as that of historic Morocco.

One of the best things about Fez is that much of its medieval architecture, which dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries, is still in good shape. Because of this, Fes El Bali, also known as the Old City, is a popular attraction in Fez that has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old City is full of small streets, busy markets called souks, and traditional buildings, such as the beautiful riads, which are traditional houses with courtyards that have been turned into hotels. Walking around the Old City is a great way to see, hear, and smell what Moroccan life was like in the past.

Traditional textiles like "Fez wool" and leather goods like the world-famous "Fez leather shoes," or babouches, are also hallmarks of the city. In every corner of the city, one can discover a new workshop, factory, or shop.

Fez is also known for its rich cultural history. It has a number of well-known museums, such as the Dar Batha Museum, which has a collection of traditional Moroccan art and pottery. The University of Al Quaraouiyine, established in 859, is the world's oldest institution of higher education that is still actively functioning today.

8. Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv is a city in Bulgaria that is known for its rich cultural and historical history, as well as its beautiful setting and lively modern culture.

Plovdiv's Old Town, one of Europe's oldest continuously inhabited settlements, is a big part of what makes the city so remarkable. This historical reserve is on Nebet Tepe, Dzhambaz Tepe, and Taksim Tepe, which are all hills in Plovdiv.

The Old Town is full of charming streets with cobblestones, traditional houses, and monuments, such as the impressive Roman Theater and stadium, which are Roman ruins from the first century AD. The architecture in the Old Town is also a mix of styles from the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the 19th century. The ancient Roman theater is one of the most impressive sights in Plovdiv. It sits on top of a hill. The beautiful Rhodope Mountains in the background and the theater that looks out over the city center make the site even more beautiful. While sitting on the theater's marble seats, both locals and visitors can watch masterful performances.

Plovdiv is also known for its lively modern culture, which includes a thriving arts scene, many different cultural events, and a busy nightlife. Take a stroll through Plovdiv's Kapana District, one of the hippest in all of Bulgaria, if you're craving a more urban experience. In addition to cafes and boutiques, galleries, workshops, ateliers, studios, and other creative spaces can be found here. Throughout the year, there are many festivals and events, such as the Plovdiv International Film Festival, the Night of Museums and Galleries, and the Plovdiv International Fair. With its 2019 designation as the European Capital of Culture, the city has been elevated to the ranks of the continent's cultural meccas.

Plovdiv also has a youthful and international feel because it is home to some of Bulgaria's oldest and most prestigious universities.

Plovdiv's location at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains and on the banks of the Maritsa River is another thing that makes it stand out. If you like nature, there are many green spaces in the city, like Central Park and Tsar Simeon's Garden, that are a nice change from the city.

In short, Plovdiv is a city with a unique mix of old and new history, culture, and architecture, all set in a beautiful natural environment.

9. Palau

Palau is a small group of islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is known for its beautiful nature, rich culture, and wide range of things to do. Due to its size, isolation, and lack of accessibility, this location is often overlooked by tourists.

The beauty of Palau's natural world is truly stunning. The islands are surrounded by clear, deep blue to turquoise waters with white sand beaches. Reefs in Palau are thought to have one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. The area is home to a wide range of marine species, including marine mammals, fish, coral, and crustaceans, many of which can't be found anywhere else on Earth. There are more than 1,500 species of fish, 700 species of coral, and many other marine animals like manta rays, sharks, turtles, and even the endangered dugongs. People from all over the world come here to snorkel and dive. The Blue Corner is the most well-known dive site in the world due to the high probability of encountering sharks there. The Jellyfish Lake is another popular dive site because of the opportunity to swim among millions of harmless jellyfish.

There are also a lot of natural wonders, like the impressive Ngardmau Waterfall and the Rock Islands, which are a group of limestone islands with beautiful and unique shapes.

The people of Palau have made it their mission to preserve and protect their island home. In 2015, Palau's President Tommy Remengesau Jr. declared Palau's waters a shark sanctuary, which protects all shark species in those waters. Their laws even protect manta rays!

Micronesia, Melanesia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan have all left their mark on Palau's culture, making it a unique mix. This mix of cultures shows up in the islands' architecture, food, music, and other parts of daily life. They put a lot of importance on fishing, farming, and hunting. You can learn about traditional customs and beliefs by visiting cultural centers like the Palau National Museum or ancient stone monoliths and Japanese WWII relics. The ancient "Storytelling Stones" and the traditional Palauan stick dance are just two examples of the distinctive practices that make up Palauan culture. The Palauan people's traditional way of life is heavily influenced by their natural surroundings.

Palau is the perfect place to go if you want to get away from the crowds and do something really unique. There are a lot of outdoor things to do on the islands, like hiking, kayaking, and watching birds. There are also more off-the-grid things to do, like exploring the old limestone caves and swimming in the natural pools.

10. Tromsø, Norway

Because of its central location for exploring the Arctic, Tromsø has earned the nickname "Gateway to the Arctic." From Tromsø, travelers can embark on day trips, overnight journeys, and multi-day adventures to the North Cape, Europe's northernmost point, and the Svalbard islands, among other Arctic wonders.

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Tromsø is between September and April, but you can never be sure when you will see them. If you want to see the Midnight sun, a phenomenon that happens between May and July when the sun is still out at midnight, we recommend hiking at sunset on Tromsø island or taking a boat out into the fjords around the city. These are just two of the many ways to take in this natural spectacle.

Outdoor lovers will love the city of Tromsø You can explore the beautiful nature around Tromsøs in many ways, such as hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, dog sledding, and winter sports. Because Tromsø is close to the mountains and gets snow in the winter, it is a popular place for people who like to do winter sports. There are several ski resorts in the city, like Tromsdalstinden, where you can ski, snowboard, and do other winter activities like snowshoeing, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing.

If you want to learn more about Tromsø’s rich history, the Polar Museum tells the story of Arctic exploration, and the Tromsø Museum is all about the city's history and culture. You can also go to the Arctic Cathedral, which is one of Tromsø's most famous and well-known buildings.

The Northern Lights Festival, the Tromsø International Film Festival, and the Tromsø Jazz Festival are just a few of the festivals and events that happen in Tromsø throughout the year. These events show off the city's lively cultural scene and give visitors a chance to experience local culture in a new and exciting way.

Tromsø also has great seafood and local game meats like reindeer, moose, and arctic char that are hard to find elsewhere. There are a lot of great restaurants and cafes that serve both traditional Norwegian food and food from around the world.

Which was your favorite?

So, there you have it, our top 10 off-the-beaten-path destinations to visit this year. Natural beauty, cultural history, and exciting new experiences can all be found at these destinations, each of which has something special to offer visitors, from the unspoiled islands of Palau to the historic sites of Fez.

It's exciting to see the world's most famous landmarks, but there's something special about discovering hidden gems that tourists often overlook. These places off the beaten path give you a chance to get away from the crowds and do something truly unique and real.

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