While seeing the places you know and are familiar with is all fine and well, sometimes, adventuring into the unknown can be immensely rewarding. The following nine places may be a bit remote, but they're absolute must-sees before age gets the best of you:
- Milford Sound, Southland, New Zealand
- Ushguli, Republic of Georgia
- Kelimutu Volcano, Indonesia
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- The Dead Sea, Israel
- Koyasan, Japan
- Mont St. Michel, France
Milford Sound, Southland, New Zealand | Image Credit: Joan Campderrós-i-Canas
Described by Rudyard Kipling as the "eighth wonder of the world", according to NewZealand.com, this fiord in the south west of New Zealand's South Island has been judged the world's top travel destination in the 2008 Travelers' Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor, makes a stunning destination all year round.
Ushguli - Tbilisi & Caucasus Mountains, Georgia | Image Credit: deguonis
Tucked high in the mountains of Svanet lies the community of villages known as Ushguli, the highest inhabited area--as well as one of the oldest--in all of Europe. Containing structures that are part of UNESCO world heritage sites and sitting at 2,410 meters, Ushguli dates back to the 12th century. The road from Mestia, a lower village, to Ushguli can be hiked or driven, but is impassable for six months during the year. Approximately 8,000 people within the region speak the Svan language, making a trip to Ushguli one of beauty as well as a once in a lifetime cultural experience.
Turquoise Lake of Kelimutu - Komodo, Indonesia | Image Credit: whl.travel
Located on the same volcano peak, the three lakes of Kelimutu are all markedly different in color, wowing visitors with their uniqueness. What's more, the lakes change colors frequently, ranging from blue to pink. Local people in the area believe that the three lakes are the resting places of their ancestors, and associate high levels of spirituality with them as such. Hiking to the lakes makes for a breathtaking adventure.
Grand Canyon National Park | Image Credit: Grand Canyon NPS
While putting the Grand Canyon on the list of things you must see before you die may not be the most original act, not seeing the Grand Canyon would certainly be a shame. Overwhelming visitors with its immense size, the canyon is truly one of the grandest acts of nature. A mile deep, 18 miles wide, and decorated with a river that's 277 miles long, the Grand Canyon is the perfect place for camping, hiking, or simply taking in the beauty of nature.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park | Image Credit: Tom Bricker
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in Tennessee, is the perfect place to go for those who love nature. The falls, majestic trees, rivers and creeks, nature trails, and stunning views from atop high peaks make this destination a must-see in one's lifetime. Surrounded by some pretty charming attractions--such as old town-style candy shops and riding stables--in nearby Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountains National Park satisfies all of what a vacation should be. I recommend grabbing a cabin rental while you're there as well; it just adds to the old timey feel.
Glacier National Park | Image Credit: AdititheStargazer
Perhaps one of the most stunning places on the planet, Glacier National Park offers forests, alpine meadows, mountains, lakes, and of course--glaciers. Due to global warming, the glaciers are quickly vanishing. In fact, there may be no glaciers left at all in 30 years.
The Dead Sea, Israel | Image Credit: Christian Haugen
Bordered by Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, the Dead Sea is a top tourist destination in the world. The second saltiest body of the water in the world, the Dead Sea is said to have healing powers for those who take a soak in it. The Dead Sea is also the lowest point on earth, and is named as such due to the fact that its salinity prevents any life forms from living within it.
Koyasan Japan Temple | Image Credit: Héctor García
Located with Koya-Ryujin Quasi-National Park, Koyasan is surrounded by mountains. On the peak of Koyasan sits the Kongobu-ji temple, and more than 100 others temples are located throughout the area. The Japanese Buddhist temples make up on the most holy sites throughout all of Japan. Lanterns, gravestones, monuments, and memorials are found within the area, all enclosed within a thick forest.
Ancora Mont St. Michel | Image Credit: Gianmaria Zanotti
Mysterious and imposing, Mont St. Michel, located in Normandy, France is an island commune that shouldn't be missed. The gothic-style abbey is surrounded by a small village, and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The island of Mont St. Michel has been lived on by monks since the sixth century, and tourists today can take a tour through the abbey, which is build on the remains of a Romanesque church.
Whether you're looking for the next place to visit on your next trip abroad or immerse into a great cultural trip, these are just some of the unbeaten tracks you need to set your feet on.
What are some other unknown great places that you're looking to travel to this year?