As travel continues to grow in popularity and accessibility, more of us are seeking out the rare, coveted “off the beaten path” destinations.
We all desire to uncover the hidden gems of the world— to have our breath stolen by natural wonders few others have witnessed and to enjoy truly authentic cultural experiences.
There’s just nothing quite like exploring a place where locals outnumber the tourists and local culture thrives.
In fact, 68% of respondents to American Express’s new travel survey reported they pride themselves in discovering off-path destinations before they become widely popular.
We’ll spotlight below 2024’s top 8 destinations for traveling off the beaten path:
Turkey has quickly transitioned into a widely popular cultural destination.
While Instagram favorites Cappadocia and Istanbul are well-cemented on the tourist track, Bodrum remains somewhat unknown.
This seaside town is sure to charm travelers with its deep blue waters, gorgeous marina, quaint streets, and excellent cuisine.
Highlights include the 15th century Bodrum Castle and the Mausoleum which happens to be one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.
Nicknamed the “powder capital of Japan”, this stunning mountain town claims the honor of having the best snow in the world.
This place is truly a winter sports paradise; just envision pristine mountain vistas, hot springs ideal for apres-ski, and 2,191 acres of ski-able terrain.
Aside from adventure activities, Niseko prides itself on its luxury resorts, fresh seafood and authentic Japanese dining, and eclectic art and nightlife.
Porto Cervo, Italy
This glimmering jewel in Sardinia, Italy has historically been a favorite for the rich and famous.
It’s really not hard to see why those with the means flock to this resort town.
Porto Cervo’s mild weather, sculpted granite cliffs, turquoise waters, and top-notch restaurants and resorts aim to please.
Extravagant nightlife, indulgent villas and hotels, and mouth-watering Italian cuisine make this the perfect spot for travelers searching for an air of exclusivity.
Switzerland is high on every mountain lover’s bucket list, and Zermatt will sweep nature lovers off their feet.
This Swiss town lies just below the craggy, pyramid-shaped peak of Mt. Matterhorn and is quite unique due to its lack of cars.
Zermatt’s car ban was put in place to preserve the character of the village and to prevent smog and other emissions. As a result, it is quite easy to get around the village on foot or by bike.
During the cold season, this village is a renowned spot for winter sports. When things start to warm up, travelers flock to the mountains in droves to hike among the jaw-dropping views.
St. Kitts and Nevis
The sister islands of St. Kitts and Nevis make an excellent alternative to the famous U.S. Virgin Islands.
Located in the south Caribbean, this paradise offers all the appeal of any classic tropical escape but with an off-the-beaten-track feel.
Nature lovers and adventure types will adore the rainforest-blanketed island of Nevis.
Travelers wishing to shop and hit the bars after a day on the beach will enjoy St. Kitts and its iconic strip.
The dormant volcano Mt. Liamuiga frames the skyline on St. Kitts and offers excellent hiking.
San Miguel De Allende
This darling colonial city, complete with cobblestone streets, colorful local markets, and Spanish architecture, may be Mexico’s best-kept secret.
For a relatively small town, this destination packs a big punch.
San Miguel De Allende boasts one of Mexico’s most exciting food scenes, ancient churches to explore, and nearby day trips to desert hikes and hot springs.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Domestic travelers looking for something different will be pleasantly surprised after stepping into the unique world of Santa Fe.
An aesthetic dream, this Southwestern city is abundant with Adobe buildings and over 250 art galleries.
Besides being an art lover’s paradise, this multicultural city is home to an impressive food scene and unique Native American cultural treasures and history.
This under-the-radar island destination is comprised of 115 islands in an archipelago off the coast of East Africa.
National Geographic worthy natural beauty is the central draw of these stunning islands–Mahé features 65 glittering beaches.
This tiny African country is home to flora, fauna, and wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Popular activities in Seychelles are mostly nature-centric and include some of the world’s best diving, fishing, and ample hiking opportunities.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com