Saturday, September 4, 2010

Five Underrated Travel Destinations for 2010

The word vacation brings to mind many destinations, most of them at the forefront of everyone's mind. Places like Disneyland and Paris are considered must-sees in the travel world, but as travel becomes more and more affordable, popular destinations are getting crowded and overrun with tourists. While it may be beautiful and romantic to lean over the railing at Niagara Falls or ride a donkey down the Grand Canyon, there are destinations that are completely unheard of as mainstream vacations, and these are the most spectacular and fulfilling places to visit. Below are five travel destinations that may sound unfamiliar, but are glorious in their own right.

Zao, Japan.

Currently skiing in Japan is all the rage among Australians. The most popular place to partake in Japan's fantastic slopes is the city of Niseko. While Niseko is indeed beautiful, a more underrated destination, Zao, has more to offer with less tourist traffic. While Niesko is overrun by Australians and has gentle slopes for everyone, Zao is secluded with dramatic mountains and the added bonus of sulfur hot springs. Guests staying at the Zao Hot Springs Ski Resort can spend the day racing down the mountainside and return to soak in the hot springs. Anyone looking for a unique Japanese experience should definitely consider Zao.

Norfolk Island, Australia.

Located off of the shore of Australia, Norfolk Island is a tiny, quiet island with a fascinating history and slow leisurely living pace. While other tourists flock to Lord Howe island or Tasmania, travelers can opt to take a boat from mainland Australia to quiet Norfolk Island and lounge uninhibited at its beautiful beaches and fish in its abundant oceans. A popular spot to visit is Anson Bay.

Asturias and Cantabria Coasts, Spain.

Located on the coast of Spain these two cities offer experiences unheard of anywhere else. They are famous for their cider houses and cheese, but the most astonishing attraction of these beautiful coasts are the prehistoric painted caves. Located here is the famous Altimira painted cave, but dozens more litter the coastline. All known caves are marked on maps and are free for the public to explore.

Hue, Vietnam.

When people think of Vietnam, names that come to mind are Hanoi and Saigon, but a little off of the beaten path is Hue. Almost unknown to tourists, Hue is a fascinating city with a lot of insight into Vietnamese history and culture. Hue housed the Citadel, home to the royal family for generations, which was almost destroyed in 1968. Travelers can also travel by boat down the Perfume River and visit the complex tombs that each emperor had built.

Doubtful Sound, New Zealand.

The most visited sound in New Zealand is Milford sound, but by now Milford is overly crowded and a veritable tourist attraction. A better, less visited destination would be Doubtful Sound. Despite its melancholy name Doubtful Sound is a secluded location where travelers can spot bottlenose dolphins and seals. Although it is harder to reach than Milford Sound, the extra effort is worth the beautiful serenity Doubtful Sound harbors.

This holiday season it may be time to give up on overcrowded and overpriced must see destinations. Instead, travelers should do some computer research and visit one of the beautiful destinations above or discover something completely new. An adventure somewhere new will certainly be more exhilarating than the same old same old.

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