Put on your travelling shoes and bask under the clear blue skies for a delightful vacation by going beyond the well-trodden path to underrated travel destinations that offer more than most vacation hotspots. The human-made marvels, natural wonders, and cultural events of such places are not recognised as well as they should be. Show these hidden gems some love, before they inevitably catch the world's eye, and their unspoiled allures get vitiated by massive tourist crowds.
Heavy showers festoon the valleys with rainbow arches, and a lush green cover enthrals anyone who wanders to Bhutan during summer. Also, the high moisture makes for an excellent mushroom season. Learn how to identify edible mushrooms and sample some divine dishes at the Matsutake Festival of Genekha and Ura. Bhutanese people take an interest in celebrating with a zeal which should be witnessed live in the company of a local guide. The Summer Festival of Haa & Nimalung Tshechu of Bumthangare other summer events that should not be overlooked.
Daily tariffs are reduced as summer is the offseason of Bhutan. Splash this extra cash and end your trip on a high at a luxurious 5-star hotel, mainly if you chose to have a rural experience in homestays during your trip. Utilising yoga & other holistic wellness programs at such hotels is a soothing way to conclude a fascinating journey.
2. Yunnan, China
Soothing weather, varied terrain, and lush greenery make Yunnan an excellent summer getaway. Imbibe the rich cultures of an ethnically diverse local population which adds even more vibrancy to the valleys replete with blooming flowers. It will take a reasonably extended stay to truly admire the natural wealth of this magical place. Although this is a popular summer vacation spot among domestic travellers, foreigners are yet to warm up to Yunnan.
Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, greets you with the 'sparkling pearl' that is Dian Lake. Head west, to arrive at the shores of another enchanting lake, Erhai Lake. Here, a travel guide can lead you through the 2000-year long history of the ancient city of Dali. Drive for a few hours to reach Lijiang, where you should spend a couple of days or even more climbing the walkways of Jade Dragon Mountain, wandering in the crisscrossed streets of Dayan old town and hiking through Tiger Leaping Gorge. Cover the northern route to conclude your journey in the mystical city of Shangri-La experiencing the revered hospitality of its inhabitants.
3. Northern Ireland
Overcoming 'The Troubles' in its recent history, Northern Ireland has evolved into a hotbed of adventurers. An undulating rugged terrain creates a playground for adrenaline junkies like downhill bikers, mountainboarders and rock climbers. Laidback folks can still cover this surreal landscape on rewarding hikes and canoe rides. Pacify the need for an outdoor excursion on the trail leading to Giant's Causeway and be all ears as a local guide narrates the legends related to this unique natural phenomenon.
Game of Thrones fanatics can map out their journey through Down, Fermanagh, Antrim, and Londonderry to checkout various shooting locations of the show. Northern Island's capital, Belfast, is also a lovely place to explore during summer. Uncover its stories by examining heritage sites and artistic murals. Belfast also boasts one of Europe's liveliest nightlife making for entertaining pub crawls and the Titanic Belfast monument is a treat for history lovers & movie buffs alike.
Owing to its reputation as a winter wonderland and a premier skiing destination, most people overlook Canada while planning their summer vacation. Thrilling outdoor adventures await you at every step if you find yourself in Southwestern Canada during summer. Secure the services of adventure guides to map out your journey through Banff, traversing mountain trails on hikes and bike rides or skip them entirely by dropping directly in the high alpine region among blooming wildflowers on heli-hikes.
Catch a scenic train ride from Banff and head further west through the Rockies to Whistler. Here, set out in search of camping spots by its dreamy lakes after spending the day on horseback or rafting & canoeing on Cheakamus River. Cruise down beautiful mountain roads to reach the countryside of Okanagan Valley to cap off a thrilling adventure sampling wines in gorgeous vineyards.
Kazakhstan's barren landscape may appear off-putting at first, but it slowly wins you over with its pristine charms. Summer is the best time to head up the Kazakh highlands that are cradles of unparalleled natural beauty. Retreating snow covers unlock the adventurous outdoors for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. Horseback rides in Burabai are one of the most delightful ways to traverse this landscape.
Pack your HDR camera to capture the beauty of Almaty which is crammed into the foothills of Trans-Ili Alatau. These mountain trails go through pine forests, the steppe dunes, and snowy mountain peaks. Seek out the alpine lakes of the region, the colour changing Big Almaty Lake being the primary source of intrigue. Spend a night under the stars at Charyn Canyon if your yearning for magical views has not been satiated. Local guides can also help in decoding the petroglyphs of Tamgaly (Bronze and Iron Age) on a wonderful day hike.
Mexico gets magical in summer - tropical beaches, delectable cuisine, friendly people and affordable accommodations attract all types of tourists. Majority of the crowd heads to the beaches to soak in the sun. Move away from the beaches and stumble upon a plethora of gems waiting to be discovered, including the Mayan relics of Tulum, Chichen Itza and Calakmul. The Spanish streets of San Miguel de Allende come alive as people paint the town red during fiestas like Fiesta de San Antonio de Padua, International Chamber Music Festival and Fiesta de Los Locos. Carry a decent camera on your evening hike through Hierve El Agua to capture a colourful sky blending in with mineral rock formations. The cenotes of Yucatan and Tak Be Ha are perfect halting points for rejuvenating swims during your travels.
7. Fraser Island, Australia
Folks down under experience soothing weather when the people up north face the scorching sun. Fraser Island, also, records moderate temperatures, creating a sub-tropical paradise for anglers & nature admirers. Enormous schools of huge fish swim around the island, which increases the likelihood of hooking in a decent catch. The warm waters of Harvey Bay, to the west, turns into a breeding ground for humpback whales, granting guaranteed sightings of these gentle giants of the ocean.
The island itself is teeming with natural wonders and unique animal life. Extol the virtues of one of the largest islands in the world on the Fraser Island Great Walk following the lead of a local guide. Starting from Dilli Village, this camping trail goes through coastal heathland, mangrove forest, woodland and subtropical rainforest. This track meanders through some notable sites like Wanggoolba Creek, Lake McKenzie and the Valley of Giants, which requires at least a week to complete. However, branching trails can further extend this trip.
Summer is the bearer of bright blue skies interspersed with moderate rainfall in Mongolia. This is the opportune time to experience the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle by going on horseback rides in the company of a local guide and exploring an immaculate landscape embellished by rain-swollen rivers and a newly formed green cover. Get a taste of Mongolian culture during the Naadam celebrations. Held in July, this festival's military parades, competitive events, and wedding and spiritual gatherings create a spectacle that should be witnessed in person.
Mongolia's natural and historical treasures are spread across a vastly uninhabited landscape. Take on the never-ending unpaved roads and find your way to these hidden gems on a grand adventure going through Yol Valley, Khongor Sand Dune and Bayanzag dinosaur site. During your travels, you will come across the ruins of the mythical Karakorum, and the petroglyphs and Turkіс Standing Stоnеѕ of Bayan-Olgi that are a treat to behold.