In a recent publication, Insider Business, inspired by a Quora theme, gave us a list of 15 relatively unknown but beautiful destinations around the world. So, here are some of the lesser-known but enchanting destinations on the planet:
Sweethaven (or Popeye) Village, Malta
Popeye Village, in Malta, was built in 1980 for the needs of the homonymous film, but then it worked as a theme park. The scenery was created by the use of transplanted trees from the Netherlands and it took about 2000 gallons of paint. Today, guests can enjoy boats, local winery products and water slides.
Huacachina Village, Peru
Huacachina is a village in southwestern Peru, built around a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes. It’s about 5 kilometers from the city of Ica in the Ica District. Huacachina is built around a small natural lake in the desert. Called the “Oasis of America”, it serves as a resort for local families from the nearby city of Ica, and increasingly as an attraction for tourists drawn by the sports of sand-boarding. Huacachina has a permanent population of around 100, although it hosts many tens of thousands of tourists each year.
Ηillier Lake, Australia
Hillier Lake, in Australia, is known for its pink color. The cause of the pigmentation remains mysterious, although there are some scientists who attribute the high salt concentration in combination with a kind of pink bacteria living on the lake.
Isola Bella in Taormina, Italy
In 1600, the small island of Isola Bella, in the middle of Lake Maggiore, in north Italy, was transformed from a dry, bare rock into a flowery garden with a Palace. It’s now divided between the Palace, its famous Italianate garden, in baroque style, and a small fishing village.
Dongchuan Valley, China
Dongchuan Valley is located in the Chinese city of Xintian. It’s famous because of its red color. The soil contains oxidized iron and minerals that give it the specific hue, while in spring, the blooming slopes create wonderful color schemes.
Flores Island, Azores
Flores Island is located at the westernmost point of the Azores Archipelago. It took its name from the wild flowers that grow in every corner of the island. There are also hot springs and small lagoons that are exactly what any visitor needs: a relaxing swim.
Giola on Thassos Island, Greece
Giola is a lovely natural swimming pool with turquoise water and it is located on Thassos island, in Greece. It may not be easy to access but it is worth researching. Giola is also known as “Aphrodite’s Tear” since, according to Greek Mythology, it was created by Zeus for Aphrodite to swim.
Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil
During the monsoon season, the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Maranhão, Brazil, creates an unforgettable picture. At first glance, Lençóis Maranhenses looks like an archetypal desert, but in fact it’s not an actual one. The region is subject to a regular rain season during the beginning of the year. The rains cause a peculiar phenomenon: fresh water collects in the valleys between sand dunes and is prevented from percolating down by a layer of impermeable rock which lies underneath the sand. The resulting blue, green and black “lagoons” are surrounded by the desert-like sand and reach their fullest between July and September.
Semuc Champey, Guatemala
Semuc Champey area, in Guatemala, is a terrestrial paradise for those looking for aquamarine water, hidden in a lush landscape. Although the route up to it may be somewhat awkward, once you get there, you’ll find a limestone bridge and a range of natural swimming pools, perfect for swimming.
Rotorua, New Zealand
Catch a whiff of Rotorua’s sulfur-rich, asthmatic airs and you’ve already got a taste of most dynamic thermal area, home to spurting geysers, steaming hot springs and exploding mud pools. Rotorua, also known as “Sulfur City“, is located in New Zealand. The Māori revered this place, naming one of the most spectacular springs Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters). Despite the pervasive eggy odour, “Sulfur City” is one of the most touristic spots, with nearly 3 million visitors annually who, if they want to, can also participate in various activities and water sports.
Setenil de Las Bodegas, Spain
Setenil de Las Bodegas spread through a network of caves in the hills above the Rio Trejo River, in Spain. Today, white houses have been built between the caves and some of them have only the old rocks for a ceiling. The city still has bars, restaurants and excellent food.
Namaqualand is an anhydrous area, stretching over 600 miles in Namibia and South Africa. Each spring, the barren place suddenly fills with white and orange daisies, creating one of the most surreal, natural landscapes in the world.
Cave of Saint Marcel d’ Ardèche, France
In the heart of Gorges de L’ Ardèche, the cave of Saint Marcel d’Ardèche will transport you in an enchanting universe. You’ll discover huge halls and amazing water basins, unique in Europe. You can walk along a botanical pot called “Le Chemin de la Grosse Pierre“. It was discovered in 1836 by a hunter. It has about 200,000 square meters of well-known passages. There, travelers will discover a network of underground basins and stunning rock formations.
General Carrera Lake, Chile
The marble caves near General Carrera Lake, in Chile, constitute an unlikely network of caves, unique in the world. Water engraved the walls of caves for thousands of years and, in combination with the carbonated calcium, it formed impressive murals.
Blagaj Tekke, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Blagaj is a village-town in the south-eastern region of the Mostar basin of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It stands at the edge of Bišće plain and is one of the most valuable mixed urban and rural structures, distinguished from other similar structures in its urban layout. Blagaj was most likely named for its mild weather patterns since “blaga” in Serbo-Croatian means “mild“. It is situated at the spring of the Buna River and a historical Tekke (Dervish Monastery). Blagaj Tekke was built around 1520, with elements of Ottoman Architecture and Mediterranean style and is considered a National Monument. Blagaj Tekke is a monastery built for the Dervish cults.