2015 was a year full of adventure, surprises and amazing opportunities to discover even more of great and off the beaten path places. Just like a year ago, based on my own experience (I've been to all the countries described below), I'd like to present my list of destinations to visit in 2016 (click here to see the post from 2015). As usual, it will be different than most of such lists released by meainstream travel magazines. Instead of repeating all the well known places, I'd like you to get inspired and explore new adventurous and exciting spots. It has probably never even come to your mind that you could visit some of them and you'll surely get shocked when you learn where those amazing wonders actually are located!
Watch the youtube video below or scroll down to see the list.
10. Czech Republic
Czech Republic is a famous destination boasting the beautiful architecture of Prague. However, I decided to include this little country on the list because it hides one amazing natural wonder - Adrspach-Teplice rock labyrinth. Although Adrspach is situated in the east of the country, it's easy to get there from the capital.
Hardly ever who comes to Prague visits Ardspach, when I show the photos from there to people, literally everyone is so surprised that such a place is located in Czech Republic. Therefore, I present it here in order for you to not to miss it! The huge rocky columns, orange river, waterfalls and a turquoise lake are truly impressive. Click here to find out more about Adrspach and Czech Republic (still being updated).
Mauritius is quite popular among Europeans, however for the rest, it's pretty much unknown - at least less known than Maldives or Hawaii. This little island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is the proof that people of different backgrounds, religions and opinions can coexist in peace next to one another.
There are plenty of hotels, resorts and the infrastructure is very well developed in Mauritius. However, they are no different than anywhere in the world and you can experience the real beauty of the island best only when you leave the tourist zones. Besides miles of paradise beaches and coral reefs, Mauritius has many beautiful natural wonders (some of them truly unique): Seven Colored Earth, Pont Natural - natural bridge formed out of volcanic rock, spectacular National Parks, rugged mountain peaks and an exciting capital - Port Louis. Click here to find out more about best public beaches and other wonders of Mauritius.
8. Macedonia (FYROM)
Macedonia, although located right next to the extremely popular Greece, receives very few foreign visitors. The country is tiny but it has it's own, unique atmosphere. Similarly to other countries in the Balkans, it's just perfect for all kind of explorers and backpackers and it deserves so much more recognition.
The beautiful lake Ohrid with oriental architecture and red roofed houses is the main attraction - you'll love it. The food (and prices) is really tempting! Skopje - the controversial capital is probably the most chaotic and diverse city in Europe. Grey, gloomy communist era blocks stand right beside an ancient fortress, old Turkish bazaar, Mediterranean churches as well as the extremely modern and rich new part of the city which is based on ancient Greek architecture. It's also the city where I saw huge numbers of really crazy monuments.
Near Skopje, there's the Matka Canyon - easily accessible by public transport - where locals come to take a swim and relax near the green waters surrounded by steep cliffs. Click here to find out more about places to visit in Macedonia (still being updated).
7. Cape Verde
Cape Verde is perfect for all those who want to start their adventure in Africa. The country is stable, safe and incredibly diverse. There are 10 islands in the archipelago of Cape Verde. The most popular among the tourists are Sal and Boa Vista - it's here where you can find western style hotels, resorts and many long white sand beaches. There's nothing much more than that, however.
The real beauty is (as usual) where the crowds don't go. In other islands, there are fewer beaches, but so much more adventure! In Santiago, you can get a glimpse of real African culture, Brava is so different because there is always one cloud hanging over it which provides rain and humidity - thus they island is green. Fogo is completely unique, you can climb a volcano there which is still active (last eruption took place as early as in 2014!) Another good thing is that from Europe you can get an incredibly cheap flights! I got a flight for less than 200 USD return from Brussels!
Click here to find out more about places to visit in Cape Verde (still being updated).
If you love adventure, mountains and hiking, you'll love Peru. Machu Picchu is very difficult to get to but worth all the effort! You have to arrange it way before, sign up online and take a long ride (or hike for a week) from Cuzco which is located over 4000 meters above the sea level!
Don't limit yourself only to Machu Picchu! In the area, you can walk other amazing trails and visit little villages where you can admire the ruins of the Inca Empire. The Andes range is truly spectacular - you won't forget it!
I doubt you've ever seen any travel magazine or guide recommending a trip to Kosovo. This tiny country that recently gained independence is just like all other places in the Balkans - shockingly surprising!
The capital Prishtina may be an ugly city but it's so interesting and has such a great vibe that everyone should see it! Also, the other small towns in Kosovo are worth visiting - Prizren, for example, boasts beautiful, oriental architecture and from the fortress you can admire a breathtaking view over the valley "flooded" with red roofs.
Also, it may come as a surprise to you - Kosovo uses Euro as the currency.
Click here to find out more about places to visit in Kosovo (still being updated).
4. Myanmar (Burma)
Myanmar is still considered off the beaten path, although I think, not for long. The country's most popular attraction - Bagan attracts numerous tourists. Nevertheless, the thousands of temples are spread over a vast area and you'll feel as if you were there on your own!
Other, less known places (like the Golden Pagoda) are much less touristic and to get there, you must have patience and be prepared for uncomfortable yet so adventurous journey that you'll never forget.
Myanmar still boasts the pure, unique atmosphere of the region - you won't see westerners looking for cheap drinks and sex, like in Thailand. Also, the people are much more sincere and you're less likely to be tricked by con artists. Visit its best attractions now before they loose the authenticity, just like in Thailand.
Click here to find out more about places to visit in Myanmar (still being updated).
Nepal is one of the friendliest countries in the world. The tranquility of the Himalayas cannot be compared to anything. Blooming rhododendrons turn the whole region into a fairy tale - it's difficult to believe that it can be real! The background of white, snowy peaks of world's highest mountain range is indescribable. You must see it for yourself!
The little hidden villages can be reached only by days of hiking and when you eventually get there, you'll find yourself in a completely different world. Time goes by much slower and people seem to pay more attention to things that really matter rather than petty first world problems.
Nepalese cities are bustling and chaotic but the architecture is marvelous. After the horrific earthquake that occurred in 2014, Nepal needs visitors now more than ever.
Click here to find out more about places to visit in Nepal (still being updated).
Slovenia shares the similar fate to Albania. It's a tiny country, squeezed between Italy and Croatia (both incredibly popular) yet remains pretty unknown. For such a small area, it has so much to offer! The nature is first class as well as the perfectly well maintained villages and towns.
The most famous attraction is the lake Bled. Apart from Bled, don't miss the Mediterranean coast: spectacular town of Piran, silver Julian Alps - (hike the trails, it's unbelievable), medieval castles, caves, the Vintgar Gorge and Soca river with the unreal color of water as clear as a tropical sea.
Words won't convey the right message, in this case you must see it with your own eyes!
Click here to find out more about places to visit in Slovenia (still being updated).
Kazakhstan is my number one. You may think I'm crazy. Who goes to Kazakhstan? No one. And that's a mistake!
You probably know Kazakhstan from the film Borat. Borat has nothing to do with the country, however. The film was recorded in Romania!
Kazakhstan is one of the most surprising countries in the world. It has so many attractions that if they were in any other western state, they would be known literally by everyone.
All the places I'm talking about here are located within a small area of Almaty city (except Astana). Let's start with Big Almaty Lake - the access there is restricted but it's still worth visiting just to see the milky blue color of water. Another unique lake is called Kaindy - it was formed by an earthquake resulting in landslides blocking the mountainous stream. The river flooded the forest leaving silver dead trunks sticking out of the lake surface.
Aktau Mountains look as if they were painted with multiple colors and Charyn Canyon is a smaller copy of the Grand Canyon in the US. You can even admire sandy desert - the Singing Dune in Altyn-Emel National Park - you'll also spot many wild animals like prairie dogs and antelopes.
It's unbelievable how quickly the landscape changes between desert, red rocks of the canyons, snowy mountains, barren landscapes and lush green forests.
Don't miss the "bania" experience in one of the remote villages in the mountains - Russian hand-made sauna which is basically a wooden shed with a stove and hot/cold water taps. It's so amazing!
If all that is not enough for you, see the capital Astana - which looks like a mini version of Dubai, full of skyscrapers, crazy, original architecture and buildings in the shape of pyramids, eyes, vases and other, just like the Khan Shatyr shopping center in the shape of a nomadic tent which has a tropical beach on the upper floor.
And one, little interesting fact - did you know that apples come from Kazakhstan and the name city of Almaty literally means "the city of apples"?
That's quite a lot for a country which never ever appears in the western media as a place worth visiting, isn't it?
Click here to find out more about places to visit in Kazakhstan (still being updated).
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