Some destinations are easy to reach, others require you go a little bit out of your way. Still, these far away gems are worth going the extra distance to experience something truly unique.
Here 10 Places TenMoreSteps feels it is Worth Going the Extra Distance to visit.
1. Aero Island, Denmark
“Charming. Absolutely charming,” are the first words which come to mind after getting off the ferry. The main town, Aeroskobing, is one of the most well-preserved 18th century towns in Denmark. Strolling the crooked streets lined with quaint houses or along the shore is a pleasant way to start the day. End it with a quiet restaurant meal or among locals at a pub. Don’t rush away, spend a day, or two, and discover this small island by bike. With the highest point only 60 meters above sea level, even a novice cyclist can manage a tour of the island; taking breaks to visit landmarks, have a picnic, look inside churches, admire the scenery and make a refreshing stop at a pub. Definitely worth going.
2. Saba, Caribbean (Netherlands)
The two thousand residents of Saba (pronounced ‘say-ba’) proudly refer to their Caribbean island as ‘the unspoiled queen’ and have provided their visitors with a series of exceptional hiking trails. A mere 13 square kilometers of almost vertical volcanic mountain, Saba, is a contradiction to its administrator, the flat Netherlands. As tiny as it is, it holds two world records: the world’s shortest commercial runway (only 400 metres) and consumption of more Heineken beer per capita than anywhere else in the world. “Proost!”
3. Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Like arteries and veins the Mekong Delta with its river ways and canals is Vietnam’s life source; literally its rice bowl, producing 55% of the nation’s production, and its most important fish source. Gliding the delta in a long-tail boat will have you witnessing locals going about their daily lives and businesses in, on and out of the water. Feast on fresh fruits and a traditional meal of elephant-ear fish. The adventure needs at least a full day as the Delta is two and a half hours from Ho Chi Minh City with numerous sights to see along the way. Definitely a camera-clicking experience.
4. Cappadocia, Turkey
The volcanic tufts of this ‘unworldly’ landscape are appropriately nicknamed ‘fairy chimneys’. For millennia rain and wind have sculpted their outwardly shapes while man has carved out their insides making them into homes, hotels, churches, monasteries and even a four storey underground city with dining halls, stables, schools and storage rooms, wine and olive presses, cellars, refectories and chapels; enough space to shelter 20,000 people hiding underground from enemies. All this presents a most unique experience for Turkey-bound travelers, historians, architecture enthusiasts and camera-buffs.
5. Civita, Italy
The population has crumbled to about six year-round and one hundred or so in summer … but then Civita too is crumbling. Perched upon a pimple of volcanic tuft, Civita has seen much in its 2500 years of existence. A major earthquake in the 17th century shook it’s foundations and began Civita’s decline in population and homes; by the 19th century erosion had turned Civita’s plateau into an island and bombs during World War II wiped out the donkey path. A bridge was built in 1965 replacing the donkey path and making it easier to reach this gem. Through the entrance arch and down narrow alleys, Civita’s charms are amplified at every turn. Pause to enjoy the quiet allure of its two squares; one with a Renaissance Church (the only architectural update since medieval times) and, perhaps, stop for a glass of wine at a local cellar. It’s easy to imagine simple hard working folk eking out a life for themselves, their family and neighbours in a time when mere survival was a day-to-day chore and not some prime time two month reality show. Consider Civita part of your next Italian trip; remember the longer you wait the less of Civita there will be to see.
6. SANI PASS
Add another country to your travel list: Lesotho. A day trip experience where the journey is certainly equal to the destination (a knowledgeable guide/driver with 4×4 is recommended). Two rewards await at the top of the 2,876 meter Sani Pass. The first: a small Basuto village with traditional round stone huts and thatched roofs where a welcome into a family’s home with an explanation of how they meet the challenges of daily life can be interpreted by a knowledgeable guide. The second is a stop at Sani Top Chalet which boasts the ‘highest pub in Africa’. “Maluti, please!” (Lesotho beer).
7 . PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR
It’s a marvelous camera-clicking spectacle of colour, sounds, sights and experiences. Each November this small town in India’s state of Rajasthan swells with 20,000 camels, horses and cattle and approximately 300,000 herders, traders, farmers and visitors. It’s all walkable from Pushkar Lake, one of five Hindu pilgrimage sites surrounded by ghats, in the center of town to the fair grounds where livestock and related activities stretch out into the desert. Officially the Fair lasts five days but additional ‘move in’ days for camel herders and horse traders can be every bit as captivating.
8. ULVA ISLAND
The birds, their sounds, rare plants and superb walking trails in a predator free environment make Ulva Island a natural sanctuary not only for rare and threatened birds but for the traveler as well. Trails are well marked with destinations, distances and approximate walk-times ranging from twenty minutes to two hours. Build in time to dip your toes in the ocean, picnic, and stay still to enjoy the abundance of birds. You don’t have to be a birder or a trekker to appreciate this precious rainforest island at the southern tip of New Zealand. Definitely worth going the extra distance.
9. SIQ AL BARID aka LITTLE PETRA
Like a hushed whisper, Siq al-Barid (aka Little Petra) is tucked away in a short, high-walled gorge only a few kilometers from Petra. Less commercial than it’s big brother; it offers the traveler a quieter and less crowded introduction to Petra’s ancient architecture with free access and the freedom to climb in and around temple and tomb, dining halls (one displaying rare ceiling frescoes) and staircases which lead to great views and picnic perches. It’s believed this suburb of Petra was used for merchant trading and supplying of camel caravans. This recommendation is not ‘instead of Petra’ but as a worthy compliment to JORDAN’s main attraction.
As though time stood still, the beautiful rolling hills of northern Romania are dotted with farms and villages where wooden church steeples spike into the air; homes are guarded by massive, ornately carved wooden gates; and a man’s village is identified by the hat he wears (worn with pride like a team jersey). Here centuries old crafts, passed down by Dacian ancestors, and cultural traditions are still a part of daily life including the use of horses to plow fields, hand hoeing, grinding grain by a water-mill and wearing of traditional dress (not worn for tourists but because it’s ‘their way’). With the 21st century creeping in, the opportunities to witness ‘the way it was’ are fast fading. If you have this area of the world on your travel list; visit the Maramures … and do it soon.
Have you been to any of these places? Are there places we missed that you think are worth going the extra distance? Let us know in the comments below!