We all love to travel — to pack our bags and visit new places and gain some incredible stories to keep in our memory banks and share with the people we care about.
But I have a confession and it’s one I’m sure you’d make too; tt’s not a lot of fun sharing travel stories if everyone you know has been to the same places and had the same experiences – there’s no sense of discovery in familiarity.
That’s why I recommend you go to a few great places that hardly anyone you know has visited – destinations that have the culture, geography, history, and vibrancy to give you original tales that will excite you and your pals.
From a Central-Asian jewel to a nation that was formerly Western Russia, these are some countries that you need to add to your holiday wishlist:
If you’re after a fun holiday destination that’s great value for money then look no further than Serbia. This Eastern European nation is cheap, developed, and hosts one of the finest music festivals in the world.
EXIT Festival is the festival that attracts many tourists to Serbia and with good reason — it’s extremely well organised, has a great range of music (from DnB to rock) and costs less than half the price of Glastonbury Festival.
And if you go for the music then you’ll keep coming back for the country’s famous Balkan hospitality. Just don’t expect to be able to avoid drinking many shots of homemade rakija.
You may have been to South America, perhaps during your gap yah when you journeyed to Brazil to plant little baby trees. But even if you or your pals have been to South America, I’m going to bet you’ve not visited Uruguay and that’s a real shame.
Uruguay is often overlooked by travellers — it doesn’t have Peru’s Machu Picchu, Brazil’s carnival, or Argentina’s Iguazu Falls. But what it does have is charm, chic, and culture aplenty.
Montevideo is an obvious highlight. It’s a bustling port city metropolis with a vibrant character, tremendous history, and gorgeous architecture — the gothic-meets-art-deco Palacio Salvo is the building you absolutely have to see.
And Uruguay has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet — Punta del Este, Playa Chihuahua, Costa de Oro are just some of the great ones you can choose from.
I can pretty much guarantee that no one you know has been to Kazakhstan, so forget trying to think of someone who has, you and I both know there isn’t anyone. But they’re all missing out and you shouldn’t. Why? Because this Central-Asian jewel has a lot more going for it than Borat.
The first thing to note about Kazakhstan is that it’s big, really big. It’s the ninth largest country in the world and you’ll find the world’s largest lake, the Caspian Sea, in its south-east region.
Much of Kazakhstan’s great size is taken up by steppes — vast open grasslands that are crucial to the nation’s nomadic identity. And I definitely recommend you see them, so you can appreciate their stillness and tranquillity.
However, there’s plenty of life in the country, with its capital, Nur-Sultan, a bustling city where you can drink, dance, and eat the local delicacy — beshbarmak, boiled horsemeat with noodles and onions. It may not sound appetising initially, but you’d be surprised at how tasty and comforting it is after a busy day on your feet.
You probably know Finland as being the home of Father Christmas. You may even be aware that it’s the happiest country in the world. What you are unlikely to know are many people who have visited this great nation — and you can be the trendsetter who shows them what they’re missing.
Formerly known by some as Western Russia, Finland declared its independence from Russia in 1917 and has been going its own way ever since. It’s renowned for its social care, technology, and, of course, its Moomins — they’re a national treasure.
But there are also plenty of things to do in Finland. Helsinki hosts Flow Festival every August, the Suomenlinna fortress has some incredible walks, and there are (almost) as many saunas as there are people in the country.
Serbia, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, and Finland are just four of the great places you can go to that hardly anyone you know has visited.
They each offer something different, unique, and incomparable, and all of these four countries provide bundles of entertainment and the opportunity to create memories that you can excitedly share for the rest of your life.
My recommendation is that you add them all to your holiday wishlist but don’t stop there. Search out the other great places you can visit and get a little taste of the unknown — Latvia is one such destination that I highly recommend.