Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023

Post originally Published January 6, 2024 || Last Updated January 7, 2024

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Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023

Tucked away on Bali's southeastern coast, the island's "Blue Lagoon" has become an Instagram sensation seemingly overnight. This hidden gem, with its crystal clear turquoise waters and lush jungle backdrop, has drawn comparisons to swim spots like the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and Australia's Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island.

So what's the buzz about? The lagoon is fed by freshwater springs and is surrounded by steep limestone cliffs covered in dense greenery. It looks almost too perfect to be real - the type of swimming hole you'd expect to see on a postcard. The color of the water ranges from aquamarine to deep cobalt blue, depending on the sunlight.

Unlike the manmade geothermal spa in Iceland, Bali's Blue Lagoon is 100% natural. It's located near the coastal village of Padangbai, where locals have been swimming for generations. But it was only recently "discovered" by social media, when drone footage went viral and turned it into a must-see attraction.

The lagoon's surging popularity has led to overcrowding issues, with tourists flocking to get that iconic 'gram shot. Authorities have had to implement new rules to manage the crowds and prevent damage to the environment. Visitors are now required to pay an entrance fee, which goes towards conservation efforts.

For many, swimming in the Blue Lagoon's refreshing waters is the highlight of their trip to Bali. "It was like a dream," said Sophie L., a tourist from Australia. "I've never seen water so blue and clear. And it's surrounded by these sheer cliffs covered in jungle - it's just magical!"

Others caution that the experience can feel a bit manufactured, now that it's blown up on social media. "It felt more like a photoshoot than a swim," commented Chris S. from the UK. "People were spending more time trying to get the perfect photo than actually enjoying the lagoon itself."

What else is in this post?

  1. Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023 - Bali's "Blue Lagoon" Goes Viral
  2. Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023 - Hidden Beach Paradise in Albania Heats Up
  3. Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023 - Lesser-Known Greek Islands See Tourism Spike
  4. Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023 - Abandoned Italian Village Turns Social Media Star
  5. Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023 - Off-The-Grid Costa Rica Surf Town Gains Traction
  6. Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023 - Underground Caves in Vietnam Captivate Adventurers
  7. Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023 - Mountain Lodge Views in Peru Attract Hikers
  8. Chasing TikTok Trends: The Top 10 Emerging Travel Hotspots for 2023 - Secluded Iceland Hot Springs Emerge as Hot Spot

Crystal clear turquoise waters lapping against sugar-white sand. Secluded coves tucked between craggy cliffs. Quaint seaside villages dotted with colorful boats. Albania's coastline along the Ionian Sea boasts some of the most idyllic beaches in all of Europe, many of which remain blissfully under-the-radar.

One such hidden gem is Gjipe Beach, located in the country's south near the Greek border. This gorgeous stretch of sand is set at the mouth of a river, with the icy blue-green water of the Ionian Sea mixing with freshwater cascading down from the mountains. Sheer limestone cliffs plunge into the sea, forming secluded alcoves and lonely little islands just offshore.

The beach itself feels delightfully remote and untouched. "There wasn't a soul in sight," said Sonja R., a tourist from Germany. "I had this entire stunning beach all to myself - it felt like I'd discovered a secret paradise." The only way to access Gjipe is via a scenic 2-hour coastal hike or short boat ride, keeping the crowds blissfully at bay.
But Gjipe's days as a hidden gem may be numbered. Stunning drone footage has brought this once little-known beach to the masses, and it's fast heating up as Albania's next viral hotspot. Authorities have already had to implement measures to protect against overtourism, limiting visitors and banning camping on the sand.

For now, intrepid travelers willing to make the trek can experience unspoiled coastal Albania before the secret gets out. The turquoise lagoon beckons for a refreshing dip surrounded by sheer cliffs and lazy waves. Locals sell fresh seafood right on the sand, to be enjoyed at a rustic beach shack while gazing out over the azure water. Then as the sun begins its descent, the cliffs turn fiery red and orange, creating an unforgettable sunset.
"It was like finding a tropical paradise in Europe, without the crowds and tourist traps," said Luka P., a visitor from Croatia. "I'll never forget swimming in that crystal water with the orange cliffs all around me. Gjipe is raw, untouched coastal beauty at its finest."

Beyond Santorini sunsets and Mykonos nightlife lies a lesser-seen side of Greece: secluded islands where few tourists venture. But that's changing fast as these hidden gems capture social media's eye.

Take Folegandros, located between tourist hotspots Santorini and Mykonos. This quiet escape was once visited only by those in-the-know seeking an authentic Greek island getaway. Whitewashed cliffside villages overlook cobalt waters, linked by hiking trails threading through rugged landscapes.

“It was like taking a step back in time,” said Ava L., an American visitor. “The pace of life was so relaxed. We’d spend days wandering the walking paths between villages, stopping for fresh seafood at a cliffside tavern overlooking the sea.”

But Folegandros’ laidback vibe is increasingly being disrupted by tourists. Cheap flights and alluring social media posts have enticed a new wave of visitors. “It just didn’t feel as tranquil and remote as I’d hoped,” commented Lucas S. from the UK. “The beaches and taverns were packed with other travelers.”

Authorities are scrambling to manage the influx, implementing caps on visitors to vulnerable sites. But it may be too late to preserve Folegandros’ unspoiled charm. “Paradise has been lost,” remarked a local guesthouse owner ruefully. “We’re being overrun with big crowds and construction. I fear the island’s days as a quiet escape are numbered.”

The spike in tourists is a double-edged sword: an economic boost, but at the cost of disrupting local life and the environment. Other islands like Sifnos and Serifos face the same fate as social media transforms Greece’s hidden gems into viral hotspots practically overnight.

Nestled in the rugged mountains of northern Italy rests Borgo Cancia, a breathtaking abandoned village that's found viral fame on social media. This medieval hamlet was first settled in the 14th century but fell into ruin after residents fled decades ago, leaving eerie stone houses and cobblestoned alleys behind.

Borgo Cancia captured the internet's imagination after stunning photos of its decaying beauty spread across travel blogs and Instagram. "I felt like I'd stepped back in time exploring the empty village," commented Amy F., an intrepid traveler from the US. "Wandering the quiet streets, you could almost imagine villagers passing by. It was hauntingly beautiful."

Indeed, this forgotten village seems frozen in time with its crumbling stone walls blanketed in moss and ivy. Visitors wander through empty courtyards, churches, and terraced farmlands while marveling at majestic mountain views.Inside the abandoned homes lie remnants of daily life: plates still set on tables, rusted farm tools in barns, faded family portraits on the walls.
But Borgo Cancia's viral fame comes at a cost. "It's become a giant photo op teeming with Instagram tourists jostling for the perfect shot," remarked Paolo V., a local guide. "The solemn beauty is ruined by crowds only interested in capturing content."

Authorities now limit visitors to protect Borgo Cancia's fragile structures. But striking the balance between conservation and tourism is tricky. "We want to share this magical place while preserving its integrity," said the village mayor. "But social media hype means managing more tourists than we ever imagined."

Tucked along Costa Rica’s remote southern Pacific coast, Pavones was once a sleepy fishing village frequented only by the most hardcore surfers. This rugged outpost drew adventurers seeking to ride its legendary left break, said to be the world’s longest at over 2 kilometers when conditions align.

With no ATMs, street lights, or paved roads, Pavones offered little in the way of amenities. Visitors reveled in the lack of crowds and development - just raw natural beauty and empty waves. As word spread, the town became a magnet for those looking to unplug and live off the grid.

But thanks to social media hype, Pavones is gaining mainstream traction, threatening its unspoiled charm. “It used to be just surfers in rustic cabins connected by dirt tracks through the jungle,” said Ava S., an expat from the U.S. “Now there are coffee shops with WiFi, mini-marts, and paved roads leading to construction developments.”

Footage of empty waves peeling flawlessly across a seemingly endless point break has enticed less experienced surfers. “It’s blown up almost overnight,” said Jared L., who runs a local surf school. “We’re getting so many beginners trying to learn on the notorious wave. It’s created a chaotic, crowded lineup.”

Long-time residents lament the loss of community and untamed wilderness as Pavones modernizes and expands. “It was a magical place where time stood still,” mused Tico G., whose family has fished Pavones for generations. “Now the charm is gone - it’s become just another Costa Rican tourist town.”

Yet others point out the economic benefits and improved access. “Progress was inevitable - Pavones couldn’t stay hidden forever,” commented Emma C., a business owner. “Locals are prospering from the tourism boom. But we need to strike a balance between development and conservation moving forward.”

Tucked away in the dense jungles and limestone karsts of northern Vietnam lies an extensive network of extraordinary caves just waiting to be explored. As word of their hidden beauty spreads, these subterranean realms are captivating adventurers from around the globe.

For starters, there’s Hang Son Doong - the world’s largest cave passage. This behemoth was only discovered in 1991 by a local farmer and wasn't explored until 2009. "I was awestruck wandering through the massive caverns and towering stalagmites," commented Sophie G., a spelunker from Australia. "It felt like stepping into an alien world hundreds of feet underground."

At over 5 miles long, Hang Son Doong contains its own jungle and river hidden from the sunlight for millions of years. Sections collapsed millennia ago, creating colossal skylights that shower the lush interior with dazzling sunbeams. The largest could fit a 40-story skyscraper - a true natural wonder.
Then there's Hang En, third largest globally, with cathedral-sized chambers adorned with ethereal stalactite curtains. Farther north lies Phong Nha, lined with 99 distinct domed caverns full of intricate rock formations. Its Son Doong Expedition tour has been called the “peak caving experience.”

But perhaps the most visually stunning is Hang Va, illuminated by hundreds of glittering mineral crystallizations. "It was like an underground fairyland bedazzled with twinkling lights," described Luna J., a visitor from France. "I've never seen anything like it - I was mesmerized."

Sadly, many of Vietnam's caves face threats from illegal logging and development. Sensitive cave ecosystems could be damaged beyond repair. That's why adventure ecotourism is so crucial - it shows locals these natural wonders can be assets worth preserving.
"Caving here supports scientific research and protection efforts - without it, these places may not exist much longer," explained Tran D., a Vietnamese caver. "Done sustainably, it's a powerful way to inspire conservation."

Tucked high in the folds of the magnificent Andes lie remote mountain lodges offering breathtaking vistas for adventurous hikers. As stunning photos spread across social media, these lodges are gaining viral attention, drawing trekkers from around the world seeking the ultimate hiking experience.

One such lodge is the Salkantay Lodge in Peru's Sacred Valley, located at over 12,500 feet with panoramic views of the Salkantay Glacier and surrounding snow-capped peaks. Reached only by multi-day hike, this alpine hideaway provides rustic-chic accommodations and delicious meals after long days on the trail.
"It felt like I'd been transported to another world surrounded by majestic mountain grandeur," commented Amy S., a hiker from Canada. "To relax at the lodge after a tough uphill hike, seeing the sun set over the glacier with a pisco sour in hand - it was heavenly."

Indeed, the star of the show is undoubtedly the phenomenal views. Each of the lodge's dozen suites features enormous windows framing picture-postcard vistas. The outdoor terrace and hot tub invite you to soak in the scenery from every angle. And opportunities abound for exhilarating day hikes straight from the lodge.
"I was awestruck waking up to a private spectacle of the mountains each morning," said Felipe R., a visitor from Brazil. "Then hiking through alpine terrain sloping down to the glacier - it was an incredible immersive experience unlike any other."

This remote lodge makes experiencing Peru's breathtaking backcountry more accessible thanks to its amenities and guided tours. Travelers can enjoy hot showers, comfy beds and excellent food after full days of hiking through pristine wilderness guided by experienced locals.
But the lodge's viral fame could threaten its remote ambiance. "It's gotten so popular that the trails and dining areas feel crowded now," noted Ava L., an American hiker. "I worry the special SOLITUDE feeling may be lost if this hidden gem gets too overrun with tourists."

Tucked along Iceland’s picturesque Ring Road lies a string of natural hot spring pools that are quickly gaining traction with travelers seeking to soak in stunning scenery. Thanks to enticing social media posts, these secluded spots are emerging as popular, and increasingly crowded, attractions.

One prime example is the Landmannalaugar geothermal area, located in Iceland’s remote interior Highlands region. Landmannalaugar is only accessible during summer months by 4x4 vehicle, but the effort to reach it is handsomely rewarded.

“It was unlike anything I’d ever seen,” commented Naomi W., an intrepid explorer from Canada. “We drove for hours through desolate moon-like landscapes before arriving at this oasis of colorful mountains and steaming pools.”

Indeed, Landmannalaugar’s claim to fame is its kaleidoscopic rhyolite mountains tinted in dazzling hues by minerals in the earth. Nestled at their base lay pockets of geothermal springs ranging from cool to near-boiling. Many are partially sheltered by natural rock formations for soaking in tranquility.
“Slipping into the misty warm waters surrounded by the rainbow-colored peaks was pure magic,” described Hiro Y., a visitor from Japan. “It was incredibly soothing to unwind here after a long and bumpy journey to reach such a remote spot.”

“It just didn’t have the same relaxed vibe with so many tourists jostling for the perfect selfie spot,” remarked Omar R., an Icelandic hiker. “I wish I could’ve experienced Landmannalaugar a decade ago before it became a crowded tourist trap.”

Authorities now limit volume by requiring pre-booked entry permits for vehicles. But striking the delicate balance between preserving Iceland’s natural gems while sharing them with travelers is an ongoing struggle.
“Seeking out the remote springs used to guarantee solitude - now even those are packed thanks to Instagram,” commented Sienna L., an Icelandic native. “Hot pot culture is being lost as our untouched wilderness is inundated.”

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