Paris, London, New York, Rome, Hawaii…you name it! These places tend to attract tourists like a swarm of bees to a field of flowers. Traveling is the most rejuvenating activity we can indulge in. It’s something that activates the atavistic residues of our ancestors who’d wander endlessly to map new landforms, discover countries, build homes, but mostly- satisfy their curiosity.
And so, I decided to classify travelers into two types- those who wander for comfort, and those who wander to discover. What do I mean by that, you ask?
Well, do you have a flair for eccentricity? Can’t help but look around for nooks and crannies just to keep them to yourself? Do you often wander off to tourist hotspots in the hopes of discovering something new by yourself?
Well, that’s okay! As Charles Baudelaire once said, “Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty.” And this article is dedicated to all the Peter Pans out there (Of course, the women too! ). This is for the offbeat traveler, for the stubborn soul that wishes for something different, something more.
1. Rummu Underwater Prison
Rummu isn’t your conventional fantasy spot built with an aim to please the eyes. No, not at all! In fact, it’s an abandoned prison camp in Northwestern Estonia that once housed thousands of prisoners for the Soviet Union during the 1940s.
The prisoners would toil away in the limestone quarries nearby for hours in punishment. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the mining ended and the Rummu Prison was left alone to transform into a beautiful quarry lake which the locals now fondly recall as, “the blue lagoon.” Unsurprisingly, it’s been noted for its ambiance and is a personal favorite amongst divers.
The Rummu Center is now open every summer and visitors can get in and experience different water adventure activities for 3 Euros. That’s about 244.65 INR as per current value. It definitely sounds like a good bargain.
2. Maunsell Forts, Thames Estuary, England
These beautiful long-standing forts appear rather mysterious in the early morning mist as if informing us of a history not known to our naked eyes. Maunsell Forts, serve as a memento of the Second World War.
Built on the Thames and Mersey estuaries, they once guarded the United Kingdom against airstrikes and raids by the Germans by detecting them in advance.
Now, they’re in a dilapidated condition but still present a stunning view. At some point during the 1960s, these forts also became headquarters for pirate radio stations. Interesting right? The only way to visit them is by boat. I say we ought to give this one a chance, don’t we?
3. The Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine
This place looks straight up out of a fairy tale! But it is actually a private railway line that has naturally turned the trees around the area to create a small paradisic tunnel quite popular amongst love birds and singles alike. It usually remains uncrowded because of a train that transports wood to a nearby factory.
In case you’re wandering off near Klevan, all you need to do is to take a bus and ask the conductor to drop you off here. Maybe, you should also make a wish? Locals say that couples who visit the tunnel will be granted their happiness if they’re sincere.
Well, we can’t be sure about that, but this place is stunning across all seasons! Love or not.
4. Lord Howe Island, Australia
Considered one of the cleanest places in the world, and declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982- Lord Howe Islands is located in the Tasman Sea, east of Port Macquarie. It hosts about 400 species of fish and 90 species of corals.
The original vegetation remains untouched. What’s quaint about this place is that it houses just 350 people, so you’ve got a lot of time to explore undisturbed. And there’s a lot to do! You can enjoy the scenic Ned’s beach and paddle in secluded bays.
This place is totally Instagram friendly, except you have to watch out as there is no mobile connection. Instead, the locals have telephone lines and they like to keep it that way.
5. Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Lanzarote, locally known as Tyterogaka is exactly what it means, “One that is all ochre.” The Famara Mountain ranges in the north and the El Jabel dessert in the south, Lanzarote is what we’d call an adventurer’s happy place.
With warm temperatures all around the year, the gorgeous beaches, and whitewashed villas, you can be sure to expect some summery summer vibes here. It’s also famous for its peculiar potatoes, so be sure to check out those and of course, the Malvasia wines which have their own Designation of Origin. You definitely can’t find them elsewhere!
6. Cumberland Island, Georgia, U.S.A
If it is not too cumbersome for you, can I tell you about this one? Located in Camden Country, Georgia, this island has an unusual amount of goodness.
The red setting sun on the beach, the marshes, and the symphony of the rivers and oceans that dot this island presents it as a poet’s dream come true.
You might probably find one or two Spanish horses galloping along the inky blue coasts, and if that isn’t enough of a sight, I wonder what is! Some small creatures move around as well. No wonder it’s been declared as a National Park. To get to your destination, you’ll need to take the Cumberland Island Ferry from St. Mary’s, Georgia.
7. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Legend has it that when a beautiful woman refused to marry a deity, he cuts the river in half and drowns the lovers to death. While that’s just awful, the sight is enough to make you forget every bad thing in this world.
The staircase-like nature of the waterfall and the wildlife surrounding the place manages to attract tourists every year across the borders of Brazil and Argentina, where the Falls bifurcate into the Devil’s Chasm. You get two slightly different views if you choose through either so make sure to check that thoroughly.
The ‘Good’ thing is two international airports are available near the falls and connected via Buenos Aires. You can book your admission ticket to the Iguazu National Park for all-day access at 840 INR according to some online packages.
8. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Friendly towns are wonderful. Friendly towns with friendly ducks? Even better. Ljubljana is your domestic getaway you didn’t know you needed. With options to bike across scenic waterways, and smell fresh tulips every April, this town welcomes you with local sweet shops waiting for your attention (especially the Ljubljana cake) and outdoor cafes, and of course the dragon bridge and castles.
Essentially, the kind of ambiance you find in idealistic stop-motion films for children. It seems downright lovely!
9. Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan
Picture this; blooming pink cherry blossoms, long walks across silent bamboo grooves, pleasurable boat rides, lazy fishing, and peaceful shrines. All good vibes. Arashiyama is the detoxification you require, in case you’re trying to escape the urban lifestyle but still be sparingly connected. Ironically, Arashiyama means Stormy Mountains but everything about this place paints a calm picture.
The fastest way to get to this place from Japan is to take a train from Kyoto Station.
10. Pamukkale, Turkey
With shimmering sheets of limestone and thermal springs rich in calcium, Pamukkale has an otherworldly quality to it. Legend has it that the white sheets are cotton left by giants, thus, “Pamukkale or the Cotton Castles.” Interesting, right? Here’s what makes it better- the Roman ruins surrounding the area, and Museums that hold the finest examples of Bronze Age craft.
Theatre is a tourist attraction as well! It’s the ideal Roman-esque lifestyle. The easiest way to get around is to hire a car from Denizli, the nearest city.
Well, that’s all folks! These were some unique, strange, but all the same beautiful places that generally inspire awe in us. One could make never-ending lists about Earth’s wonders but herein, I presented you a few to the best of my abilities. I hope you had a fun read!