Is 2020 the year that you finally make your travel dreams come true? If yes, while there are loads of run-of-the-mill spots to visit around the world, there is a whole host of off the beaten track destinations just waiting to be discovered.
There’s a lot of world out there, but here are five of our favorite unusual places to visit that may just bring out the adventurer in you.
For one of the best off the beaten track destinations of 2020, look no further than Macedonia. Officially North Macedonia, this Balkans nation has a lot going for it. In the capital city of Skopje, visitors can explore the Old Bazaar, which dates back to at least the 11th century. Elsewhere, the beautiful Lake Ohrid — one of Europe’s deepest and most ancient — is important for its unique aquatic life; over 200 species are endemic to the lake.
Visiting the Central Asian country of Tajikistan means a step back in time to the days of the ancient Silk Road. History abounds here, with ruins outside the town of Panjakent, of a once-thriving city-state, and the still-standing Yamchun Fort to discover in its mountainous setting at Ishkoshim. Remnants of Soviet years can be seen in many places, including the capital Dushanbe; the largest Lenin statue in Central Asia now spends its days in a field in Khujand.
You may not think of The Netherlands as “off the beaten track,” but perhaps you’re just thinking of Amsterdam. Beyond the Western European nation’s most visited city lies an undiscovered world. An alternative to Amsterdam, head to Utrecht for canals and charming townhouses, or the university city of Groningen. Even more off the beaten track, the Caribbean Netherlands includes paradise islands such as Bonaire, its turquoise seas and coral reefs primed for snorkeling and scuba adventures.
Little visited Armenia is a country in the Southern Caucasus. Bordered by Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Armenia has a long history — longer than most countries, in fact. One of the earliest Christian civilizations, there are many old churches and relics of the past to be seen; Geghard, for example, is a UNESCO-approved Medieval mountainside monastery, and the 4th century AD Greco-Roman temple of Garni. Nicknamed the “Pink City,” the capital, Yerevan, is 2,800 years old — older than Rome itself!
A peaceful, landlocked country in southern Africa, Zambia is known for its amazingly diverse wildlife and natural wonders — particularly the world-renowned Victoria Falls. A wonder of remote wilderness filled with an abundance of safari experiences, a trip to Zambia is perfect for nature-lovers. Head to the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park for the chance to see zebra, giraffe and impala, or South Luangwa to catch sight of leopards and buffalo; in Kafue there are lions, elephants and hippos.
The world is an amazing opportunity for explorers and adventurers. As the song from The Lion King rightly said, “There is more to see, than can ever be seen. More to do, than can ever be done.” Choosing just one of the above incredible off the beaten track destinations is bound to bring to light history, cultures and landscapes you never thought you’d see — or never even knew existed!