Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds
Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Lesser-Known Greek Islands Without the Hordes
With over 6,000 islands and islets scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian Seas, Greece offers a bounty of breathtaking beaches, charming villages, and ancient ruins just waiting to be explored. But while hotspots like Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete attract the cruise ship crowds, there are still dozens of tranquil, lesser-known islands where you can escape the hordes and experience authentic Greek culture.
One such undiscovered gem is Serifos. Located in the western Cyclades, this rugged island has managed to retain its sleepy, small-town charm despite its incredible beaches and hilltop medieval villages. Hike through breathtaking wilderness to secluded coves or relax at laidback tavernas in the main harbor of Livadi. With few hotels, you’re likely to be rubbing shoulders with more locals than fellow travelers.
Or head to Meganisi in the Ionian Islands. Covered in forested hills, serene coves, and olive groves, it’s the perfect spot for a sailing holiday or just soaking up the slow pace of life. The island’s beaches are some of the best in Greece, yet most remain uncrowded even in summer. For great snorkeling and a visit to two charming fishing villages, it’s an idyllic and affordable escape.
If peaceful retreat is what you’re after, tiny Tilos in the Dodecanese is ideal. With daily arrivals limited to 100 people, you won’t find jam-packed beaches or streets here. Follow winding trails past ruined castles and Byzantine chapels to discover breathtaking ocean vistas. Or observe some of Europe’s rarest bird species as Tilos is an important breeding ground. With only 500 inhabitants, life moves at an unhurried pace.
The Sporades Islands near Skiathos also offer refuge. Alónissos, the main island, boasts lush vegetation, vineyards, and small coastal villages where cars are banned. But for the ultimate hideaway, take a boat to uninhabited Piperi. This national marine park allows only 350 daily visitors to protect its forests and beaches. Camp under the stars or stay in rustic bungalows in blissful seclusion.
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- Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Lesser-Known Greek Islands Without the Hordes
- Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Secluded Siberian Forests Far From Civilization
- Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Private Island Resorts in Remote Polynesia
- Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Trekking Off the Beaten Path in Patagonia
- Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Undiscovered Brazilian Beach Towns
- Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Camping in Canada's Rugged Wilderness
- Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Finding Solitude in Slovenia's Hidden Gems
- Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Journeying Through Jordan's Deserts and Canyons
Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Secluded Siberian Forests Far From Civilization
Siberia has long been synonymous with exile and isolation, but for intrepid travelers, its vast boreal forests offer the ultimate escape from the modern world. Far from cities and free from crowds, the taiga—the largest forest on Earth—has an ethereal, mystical allure. Endless tracts of pristine wilderness unfold under boundless skies, transporting you to another realm. With over 250,000 indigenous people across Siberia, its ancient forests also provide a window into traditional cultures at one with nature. Forget Instagram hotspots; here you’ll find only hushed sanctuaries, rare wildlife, and unparalleled serenity.
One of the most remarkable things about the Siberian taiga is its sheer size—it covers a staggering 10 million square kilometers. Stretching from the furthest eastern reaches of Russia to the Ural Mountains, there are seemingly infinite landscapes to get lost in. From hiking primeval forests of crooked larches to canoeing mirrored lakes, a visit here lets you immerse in profound solitude. Even many locals have never ventured far into its trackless wilds.
For animal lovers, the biodiversity is unmatched. Spot elusive snow leopards, the rarest big cats on Earth. Watch wild reindeer migration from Siberia to the Arctic. See the endangered Amur tiger, the largest of its kind, prowling oak forests. Go birdwatching to catch a glimpse of the Steller's sea eagle, with an 8-foot wingspan. That is, if the deafening silence doesn't overwhelm you first. But for many, the true magic lies in disconnecting from technology and experiencing the power of an ancient landscape unchanged for millennia.
Stay in villages like Olenyok, inhabited by the indigenous Yukaghir. Learn how they hunt elk and survive harsh winters. Or head to Lake Baikal, the world's deepest freshwater lake, for shamanic rituals with the local Buryats. Their ecological philosophy teaches how to find harmony between humanity and nature. Venture by train to Ulan-Ude, the capital of Russian Buddhism, to see festivals at the magnificent Ivolginsky Datsan temple. Wherever you roam, traditions hold fast despite encroaching modernity.
For Packers and other alternative types, the possibilities here seem endless. Sleep under constellations in the unspoiled Taimyr Peninsula wilderness, where wild muskoxen roam. Go on a Siberian road trip following the paths of exiled revolutionaries like Lenin. Hike taiga forests to mysterious rock formations in Altai's Golden Mountains. The geothermal valley of Khakassia, known as the "Land of Waterfalls," offers therapeutic hot springs. Off the beaten track, the options reveal a side of Siberia few outsiders know.
Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Private Island Resorts in Remote Polynesia
Floating in endless azure seas, Polynesia conjures images of swaying palms, white sand beaches, and thatched bungalows. But while Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea entice travelers with luxury overwater villas, beyond the honeymooners’ havens lies another Polynesia entirely. Scattered across 5 million square kilometers of ocean, hundreds of atolls remain out of reach for the average tourist. Yet for those longing to detach completely, private island resorts in remote Polynesia let you inhabit your own secluded paradise. Far from crowded resorts, these exclusive escapes offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences without the planeloads.
Imagine waking up to the sounds of gentle waves lapping at the shore just steps from your villa. As the first rays of sun peek over swaying coconut trees, you sip your morning coffee on a private deck overlooking an empty lagoon. After a quick dip, there’s time for a beachfront yoga session before the tropical breakfast spread arrives. Your biggest decision is which perfect cove to snorkel later. Does a romantic picnic on a deserted motu sound better than kayaking a bioluminescent mangrove channel under a starry sky? Here, your biggest worry is whether the beachside massage or upcoming surf lesson will be more relaxing.
At resorts like The Brando on Tetiaroa Atoll, once Marlon Brando’s personal retreat, you can live out your castaway fantasies without sacrificing luxury. With just 35 villas across a 12-island atoll 50 miles from Tahiti, you may never spot another guest. Or escape to Song Saa in Cambodia, with just 27 overwater villas and a strong commitment to sustainability. At Laucala Island in Fiji, the billionaire owner has outfitted just 25 villas, with private beaches, pools and chefs for each. Find your own slice of island life at exclusive resorts scattered from the Seychelles to the Maldives.
Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Trekking Off the Beaten Path in Patagonia
With its snow-capped mountains, massive glaciers, and endless steppes, Patagonia casts a spell over adventurers seeking wild and remote landscapes. Though iconic routes like the W and Fitz Roy attract hordes, you need not battle crowds to experience Patagonia’s magic. Innumerable trails meander through untouched wilderness and hidden valleys ripe for exploration. Trekking off the beaten path lets you discover Patagonia on your own terms, at one with nature.
One lesser-known trek perfect for escaping the crowds is the Dientes Circuit in El Chaltén. Tracing valleys and passes in Mount Fitz Roy’s foothills, it serves up nonstop Patagonian eye candy with few people to share it with. The roughly 50-mile route wraps around Cerro Torre, ascending over hanging glaciers and through beech forests draped in lichen. Along the way, glimpseFITZ ROY massive peaks from secluded meadows before camping under the stars. With routes constantly rerouted due to fast-retreating glaciers, navigation skills and good judgement are a must. Your reward is having epic vistas all to yourself.
Or head to Villa O’Higgins, the gateway to the awe-inspiring Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Experiencing this colossal glacier network on foot is an adventure unmatched anywhere on the planet. Local outfitters like Villa O Expeditions lead 8-10 day treks into remote areas most tourists never reach. Traverse perennially frozen lakes, navigate tricky moraine paths, and brave Patagonia’s famous winds while ice trekking across the massive Viedma Glacier. Observation nights at the middle of the ice cap provide views unlike anywhere else in Patagonia. With camping gear hauled by pack horses, the biggest challenge is the cold.
Those craving backcountry solitude will find paradise in Parque Nacional Pali Aike on Chile’s desolate steppe. Eerie lunar landscapes crafted over millennia by volcanic eruptions shape this otherworldly park. Stay at the ranger station, then lose yourself on trails through surreal rock formations and lava tubes to gorgeous overlooks. Keep an eye out for guanacos, ñandús, foxes, and even the endangered huemul deer. With infrastructure scarce, self-sufficiency and preparation are key. But for memorable camping and epic landscapes minus the crowds, few places compare.
Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Undiscovered Brazilian Beach Towns
Tucked between thriving metropolises and tourist hot spots, Brazil hides a treasure trove of undiscovered beach paradises. Beyond Rio’s frenetic energy and the yacht parties of Búzios lies a different Brazil, where empty coastlines beckon and a laidback, rustic atmosphere prevails. For travelers longing to detach completely, secluded Brazilian beach towns offer the perfect off-the-radar escape.
Imagine strolling deserted stretches of powdery sand backed by swaying palms and lush Mata Atlântica rainforest. The hypnotic roar of the surf pounds as you explore tide pools and secluded coves. In charming fishing villages, sample absurdly fresh seafood at rows of barebones beach bars, washing it down with caipirinhas. Sunbathe on swaths of sand without a single vendor in sight. Surf perfect, uncrowded waves all to yourself.
Trancoso remains an insider secret among Brazilian luxury travelers. This hippie-chic enclave delivers sought-after seclusion and a trendy vibe reminiscent of Tulum crossed with Ibiza. Stay in boho pousadas scattered around the lush cliffs and four miles of pristine beach, filled with design touches like hammocks and plunge pools. By day, stroll the sandy lanes of the car-free village square dining at hip bistros hidden in the jungle. Come nightfall, dance under the stars fueled by fresh-pressed juices and fruit bowls spiked with cachaça.
Up in the northeastern state of Ceará, Jericoacoara conceals even more raw charm. Accessible only by 4x4, “Jeri” is an oasis of magnificent dunes and lagoons fringed by coconut groves. Days pass in a haze of beach lounging, dune buggy rides, capoeira lessons on the sand, and beachfront massages. Once night falls, beachfront restaurants like Bistro Casa Amarela serve up flavorful Brazilian fare before parties heat up at laidback bars like Maloca. Accommodations range from hammocks at pousadas to trendy eco-lodges like Vila Kalango.
For small fishing village life, opt for Praia da Pipa south of Natal. Dolphins frequently frolic close to its sandy shores and secluded coves tucked beneath towering cliffs. Surfers flock for the reliable waves, especially at Baía dos Golfinhos. But there’s also lush nature to discover - hike through protected Atlantic Forest trails to spy monkeys and toucans. Whether dining on just-caught octopus at seaside kiosks or mingling with locals at bars like Alasca, Pipa delivers authentic seaside living.
Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Camping in Canada's Rugged Wilderness
With over 3 million lakes and some of the most extensive protected areas on the planet, Canada is a dream destination for nature lovers seeking to experience its rugged wilderness up close. Relatively few international tourists venture beyond the standard sights, leaving Canada's vast hinterland blissfully uncrowded. For intrepid travelers willing to live without luxury comforts and immerse in the wild, backcountry camping unlocks some of North America’s most staggering landscapes and enriching encounters with nature.
Spending nights under the stars with Canada’s raw, untamed wilderness as your neighbor is a profound experience that reconnects you to the essence of being human. Whether canoeing misty fjords on the Atlantic coast or traversing alpine passes deep in the Rockies, camping in the backcountry lets you experience the full glory of Canada's diverse ecosystems.
One avid camper who knows Canada's wilderness today described a typical day starting by cooking breakfast over a campfire while watching the mist rise over a glassy mountain lake. After breaking camp, he would spend the day navigating whitewater canoe routes past towering pines and glimpsing wild moose crossing the river. At night, millions of stars emerge in dark sky reserves far from light pollution, allowing views of the Milky Way in all its glory. Days pass in a rhythm of crackling fires, starry nights, and awakening to chorus of birdsong. For this backpacker, no five-star resort can remotely compare to the privilege of being a guest in nature's cathedral.
Others seeking an immersive Canadian camping experience have shared cooking freshly-caught trout over a beach fire next to their campsite in Cape Breton. During the day, the craggy coastline delivers excellent sea kayaking, whale watching, and hikes with stunning views. The combination of rugged natural beauty and maritime culture makes Atlantic Canada ideal for unplugging from modern life.
In the southwest Yukon, avid hikers describe traversing the Tombstone Mountains through landscapes carved by glaciers. Nights spent camped along alpine tarns with the dramatic peaks towering above anchor each day. Spotting grizzlies, wolves, eagles and caribou reminds you that this land remains untamed. Far from any roads or development, absorbing the profound silence found here is an experience most campers never forget.
Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Finding Solitude in Slovenia's Hidden Gems
Tucked away in Central Europe, Slovenia remains an under-the-radar destination that delivers astonishing Alpine scenery without the crowds. Despite a burgeoning food scene, world-class hiking, and charm-laden towns, Slovenia receives just a fraction of its neighbors' tourists. For nature lovers and culture aficionados craving space to roam, Slovenia’s hidden corners provide the perfect refuge.
One avid trekker described her experience hiking Slovenia’s Julian Alps as “like having the mountains all to myself.” As she traversed alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers above the Soča River, the only sound was the ringing of cowbells in the distance. Slovenia’s slice of the Alps offers just as many jagged, snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes as nearby hotspots, minus the tour buses parking at viewpoints. Even at mountain huts like Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih, far fewer boots tread the trails.
According to a Slovenian friend, even locals don’t know about many emerging destinations here. He recommended the unspoiled Kolpa River in southern Slovenia for swimming, boating, and camping along pristine banks lined with oak and hornbeam forests. Free public beaches access remain uncrowded even midsummer. Or try hiking the diverse landscapes of Logarska Dolina, a secluded glacial valley where folktales of fairies and dwarfs originated. Stay in small-town Solčava to access trails leading to thunderous waterfalls and panoramas of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
For couples or solo travelers seeking a romantic escape, Slovenia enchants. Wander the pedestrian streets of old towns like Piran on the Adriatic coast, lined with pastel houses and Venetian Gothic architecture. Enjoy sunsets on the beach before relaxing at a waterfront cafe, then retreat to a charming boutique hotel like Antiq Palace.
In Ljubljana, stroll riverside parks and linger over coffee at streetside cafes in Slovenia’s quaint capital. Try restaurants offering inventive takes on classic Slovenian dishes with a farm-to-table focus. Meet locals for a craft beer at breezy bars like Maslina Na Klancu. With fewer tourists competing for experiences, Slovenia lets you immerse in the culture.
Avoid the Masses in 2024: Under-the-Radar Places to Escape the Crowds - Journeying Through Jordan's Deserts and Canyons
Jordan dazzles travelers with otherworldly desert landscapes and canyons carved deep into ancient sandstone. While Petra draws big crowds, venturing further into Jordan's wilds reveals profound adventures minus the masses. Journeying through this ancient land feels like traversing the pages of the Old Testament, with baked deserts and oases giving way to mighty canyons. As one avid explorer of Wadi Rum shared, "nowhere else can you sleep under the stars surrounded by such endless desert."
Wadi Rum's sun-scorched valley carved by wind and time transports you to the planet Tatooine from Star Wars. Distinctive pillars of weathered sandstone soar hundreds of feet into the air, forming natural rock arches and shapes that fire the imagination. Staying at desert camps like Sun City lets you sleep in a heated martian dome then gaze at shooting stars blazing brightly in ink-black skies. Camel trekking to see Nabatean inscriptions and exploring narrow siqs in a 4x4 feels thrillingly like journeying across an alien planet.
For canyoneering into profound slot canyons, head south to Petra's outskirts. The same water that carved Petra's famous sandstone facades has etched plunging chasms into the surrounding area's pink and grey limestone. Adventure outfitters like Experience Jordan lead daytrips rappelling into canyons like Wadi Al-Hidan, sometimes jumping into pools from towering cliffs. As one canyoneer described it, "I felt like Indiana Jones exploring lost worlds." Scrambling through narrow cracks with 200-foot sheer walls rising dramatically all around will leave even seasoned climbers awestruck.
Piercing through Jordan's eastern desert, Wadi Mujib crosses 14 rapids as it cuts one mile deep into towering sandstone cliffs. Created by the biblical river Arnon, some compare it to a "Jordanian Grand Canyon." Water levels fluctuate greatly depending on rainfall, but full conditions allow navigating Class V rapids through the Siq gorge's thousand foot high walls. Descending cascades with names like "The Father of All Falls" is the dramatic highlight. For canyoneers, a multi-day expedition through Mujib crossing its challenging rapids and rappelling down waterfalls makes for the adventure of a lifetime.