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These Alternatives To The Mainstream Destinations Of The World Are Just As Beautiful And Travel-Worthy!

Have you ever gotten so excited and pumped up for a trip to, say, the Taj Mahal in India or the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Japan, only to arrive and find it too crowded with people to even take a decent photograph? Well, you shouldn’t be surprised. Imagine how many people were just as excited as you to see these classic sights and destinations.

Sight-seeing is an irrevocable part of traveling. But this activity can easily get ruined when you happen to visit on a particularly busy or peak season, and you find yourself gazing at waves of people instead of what was supposed to be a breathtaking view.

What if we say you can get the same experience—maybe even better—with these travel alternatives? So instead of heading to these classic sights, check out these hidden world wonders that are just as good and photo-worthy.

 

Walls of Ston, Croatia

Walls of Ston (Image by Miroslav Vajdic, Flickr)

 

Did you want to go to the Great Wall of China, the 21-km long wonder that was built back in 7th century BC to protect the northern borders of China? Well, did you also know that the Great Wall is expected to host at least 140 million visitors this year?

Check out the Walls of Ston instead, what is fondly called by many as the European Wall of China. The 7-km long wall borders the city of Ston in Dalmatia, Croatia. The wall was built in 1358 in the shape of an irregular pentangle, comprised of 40 towers and 5 fortresses. Up to now, at least 20 towers still survived the test of time.

 

Birmingham Canal Navigations

Birmingham Canal Navigations (Image by Neil Howard, Flickr)

 

Fancy a romantic canal cruise in Venice? You can try to get all the romance you can amidst the 60,000 people who swamp the city and the canals of Venice every day.

For a quitter, more romantic atmosphere, try heading to Birmingham in England instead. The Birmingham Canal Navigations, the network of canals connects Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and the eastern part of the Black Country to the rest of the English canal system, and offers astounding and peaceful views of buildings painted with an old town charm.

 

Sea of Stars, Maldives

Sea of Stars (Image by vanes sim, Flickr)

 

The Northern Lights is one of the most coveted natural phenomena that many travelers try to get a hold of. Many head to Norway to try and get a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis and end up freezing to death before they even get the right day and season to gaze at the sky.

Instead, why not dip in the warmer and friendlier waters of Maldives and savor the beauty of the Sea of Stars? The Sea of Stars can be seen at the inhabited Vaadhoo Island in Raa Atoll, Maldives, and is caused by the bioluminescence of a phytoplankton specie known as dinoflagellates living under its waters. And going there is so much easier, too. It’s just a 15-minute speedboat ride away from the main international airport of Malé.

 

Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia

Raja Ampat Islands (Image by Monique Elferink, Flickr)

 

The Great Barrier Reef is a dream for many scuba divers. The Australian gem is the world’s largest—and one of the most beautiful—coral reef system with over 2,300 kilometers of thousands of individual reefs. But with over two million people visiting the reefs every year and with the unprecedented second mass coral reef bleaching last year, the Great Barrier Reef may be in a bit of trouble.

Did you know that if you’re looking for breathtaking coral reefs, there’s one closer sitting right below Indonesia? The Raja Ampat Islands is located off the northwest tip of Bird's Head Peninsula on the place right snuggled between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. It is home, partly, to the Coral Triangle, the multi-country tropical marine waters that contains the richest marine biodiversity in the world. If you want warm waters, manta rays, sharks, huge schools of fish, and all the beautiful reefs in between, then you will be in for a real treat.

 

Dettifoss, Iceland

Dettifoss (Image by Tania & Artur, Flickr)

 

The Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls bordering Ontario and New York is collectively known as the great Niagara Falls, famous for its beauty and valuable for its hydroelectric power. Every year, the Niagara Region sees 14 million visitors from all over the world, which can be quite a fallout when admiring the beautiful view.

Hidden—or not so hidden—in the Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland is a massive waterfall that’s can be so much more therapeutic than the crowded Niagara. The Dettifoss waterfall is known to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe, with the water from the wide Jökulsá á Fjöllum river falling for more than 44 metres. And if you’re into science fiction, you’ll also be pleased to know that the Dettifoss was featured in the 2012 sci-fi movie, Prometheus. Beautiful and out of this world!

 

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Royal Pavillion (Image by Paul, Flickr)

 

The Taj Mahal is beautiful, popular, and romantic, a tomb emperor Shah Jahan built for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. But in the years, this resting place has not become by any means peaceful, with 7 to 8 million people flocking to the ivory-white marble mausoleum every year.

If you’re looking for that same crisp white design that can be as towering and overwhelming, head instead to Brighton, England to get a glimpse of the Royal Pavilion, the former royal residence built in 1787 for Prince George, the Prince of Wales. As an extra treat, visit the Pavilion during winter to see the water at the façade of the estate frozen over.

 

Cover image by Juan Diego Godoy Robles, Flickr