COVID-19 has made the world both smaller and larger than ever before. Smaller in the sense that the virus was able to quickly spread to different countries because of regular air travel, and larger because once countries shut down, we were all closed off in our homes and the outside world was inaccessible. Now that most countries are partially open, many people who have been homebound are itching to get out. Where to travel now:
5 Off the Beaten Path Travel Destinations
If the typical tourist places seem too risky at this time, there are plenty of destinations that are off the beaten path but still wonderful. We’ve rounded up 5 of them. Read more about them out below.
Hokkaido is the second-largest and least-developed island in Japan. While it’s not exactly a secret travel destination, it tends to attract nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The island boasts 11 national and quasi-natural parks, expansive forests, hot springs and stunning lakes. In the winter, the landscape turns white and turns into the perfect setting for snow sports. Make sure to check out Mount Yōtei, the Fuji look-alike, the volcanic Mount Asahi and Shikotsu-Tōya National Park
Christmas Island, Australia
Before COVID-19, Australia had a $60 billion tourism industry, but one of its lesser-known jewels is Christmas Island, an external territory. Christmas Island is famous for its annual 50 million red crabs, exotic sea creatures, bird species and vast deserted beaches. Scuba diving is a particularly fun activity to do there due to the varied sea life.
Scotland is a country that’s rich in history and its cities have plenty to be explored. The Scottish Highlands present a different experience, one that combines stunning natural landscapes like mountains, greenery and lakes with the romantic notions of Medieval castles. The Loch Lomond and Inveraray Castle can be found in Trossachs National Park while the ruins of the Urquhart Castle and the famous Loch Ness are located in the center. Though you’ll get a hefty dose of nature, you’ll be able to stop for replenishments at the Oban Distillery for some native Scottish malt whiskey.
Olomouc, Czech Republic
Olomouc is a gem of a city nestled away in the heart of Moravia, Czech Republic. Often known as a “smaller Prague,” Olomouc has its own unique charm and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old Europe has never seemed so alive as you walk down the cobblestone alleyways and visit churches, castles and baroque fountains. While the overall feeling is one of a time long ago, you can enjoy modern amenities like local beer and boutique hotels.
Bundle up when you travel to Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region and winter wonderland. The snowy landscapes will enthrall you, along with the midnight sun, reindeer, and northern lights. Meeting Santa Claus is one of the main attractions of Lapland, and though there’s a special feeling in the air around Christmas time, Santa’s village is open year-round. For Easter, the indigenius Sami people host an annual Easter Festival for four days that includes traditional customs and events like reindeer races, ice fishing and more. If you come in the summer, you can be amazed by the region’s 24-hour sunlight and white nights.
During the age of a global pandemic, traveling may seem risky or careless. However, if proper precautions are taken, there’s no reason not to. In fact, traveling has physical and mental benefits, like reducing stress, keeping fit, even boosting brain health. This can lead to an overall higher quality of life.
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