There are some countries in the world that draw millions of tourists every year, and for good reason. After all, these are the travel destinations that have the most to offer – whether it is culture, or rich natural heritage. However, even within the most popular destinations, here are 10 incredibly popular tourist attractions you probably haven’t heard of. It’s these hidden gems you should be exploring after all. Who would not want to explore a secret place that draws very little tourists?
Huacachina, Peru (above image)
Huacachina is a miracle. It is a literal oasis in the middle of the Peruvian desert – do not worry, it is not a mirage! This is a small resort town that has been built around a small natural lake, to give you the best of both worlds – the dry desert, and the bountiful oasis! There are a number of adventure sporting options around the area – the most popular being ‘sandboarding’. It is also popular among people who want to disconnect from the rest of the world, and just relax in their own little paradise!
Marble Caves, Chile
If it is possible for a destination to be both popular and hidden, this is it. The beautiful Marble Caves, or Cuevas de Marmol, are definitely secluded and hidden away from a lion’s share of tourists. The caves were carved into the Andes by 6000 years worth of oceanic waves. Now, the inside walls of the cavern reflect the bright blue of the water outside, making the entire place look otherworldly. These caves are located on the Chile-Argentina border, and you’ll need a boat to get there.
Everything you picture in your mind when you hear the word ‘nature’ can be found in the Jiuzhaigou Valley in China. Located in Nanping County, this is a stunning travel destination for adventurers. There are waterfalls, lakes, thick forests, and many more adventures that await you. You can also immerse yourself in local Chinese customs when you’re here! Make sure you do not miss the 108 lakes that are a part of the area (the bright turquoise blue of the lakes will definitely be hard to miss after all). Wildlife lovers will have a field day in the area – which is home to giant pandas, lesser pandas, golden monkeys, blue sheep and more!
Yungang Grottos, China
Everybody knows about the Great Wall, and the Terracotta Army, but those are not the only two locations that showcase Chinese ability to construct things of beauty. The Yungang Grottos is popular among Chinese tourists, but not that much among international tourists. The area has over 50,000 statues of the Buddha, spread over a mind-boggling 252 caves. This is a UNESCO site – and one you must definitely explore!
North Cape, Norway
The North Cape is the northernmost tip of the Europe. It is located in Norway, but geologists are at a point of contention about whether North Cape takes the crown, or the nearby Knivskjellodden Point does. However, this does not stop thousands of tourists from making North Cape their stopping point during a road trip of Norway. The area is stunning in its isolation and beauty, and you will definitely have a great time exploring it!
Hang Son Doong, Vietnam
In the middle of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park lies one of the earth’s largest natural monoliths – one that has seen fewer people than Mount Everest. We are talking about the Hang Son Doong Cave. The cave has been opened to the public from 2013, and it is the largest cavern in the world – in fact, it is so big, you can easily fly a 747 through it! It has forests and its own weather system! It’s a land that has changed very little since the beginning of the earth – and it is waiting to be explored.
Sintra is one of Portugal’s best hidden gems. It’s a fairy tale come alive, with glittering palaces, bright yellow facades, rolling hills, and the bright blue Atlantic Ocean. Even Lord Byron was a huge fan of Sintra. This UNESCO World Heritage has a number of structures for you to explore – from the castle, to the grottos, and the most stunning spiral staircase you will ever see in Europe! Sintra draws in a lot of crowds, especially during the summer, so it is best visited during the middle of the week.
Everybody knows about the Eiffel Towers and Champs de Elysses, but not a lot of people know about the Catacombs of Paris. The catacombs do attract a lot of visitors though – and we’re not talking the otherworldly kind (despite the 6 million human remains within the catacombs, the area is surprisingly bereft of any ghostly possessions). The catacombs were built during a time when the cemeteries were becoming too full, and they now act as a macabre reminder of our own existence.
Haiku Stairs, Oahu, Hawaii
It will be impossible for you to look at the Haiku Stairs in Oahu without the song ‘Stairway to Heaven’ coming into your mind. It is the unofficial name of the stairway after all! This is not a destination for the weak, though. It’s a 3922 step stairway that leads you atop the Ko’olau mountain range, giving you a literal bird’s eye view of the entire area. The wooden stairway can be quite tricky to navigate – and only some parts are accessible to the public as of now. Make sure you read the guides before you visit this stunning place – it’s a popular destination, but it always pays to be careful!
Tinago Falls, Philippines
Philippines is becoming a popular travel destination among people who want to spend quality time in Asia. But a lot of international tourists still do not know about the Tinago Falls, located in Iligan city. You’ll have to climb down 500 steps to reach the falls, but the view is definitely worth the effort! The 240 ft. waterfalls cascades elegantly into a turquoise blue pond, giving you the view of a lifetime. The entire area is pretty secluded, so you will be treated to some exotic sightings of flora and fauna as well!
You believe other attractions should be on this list? Please do give us your feedback.