Every year the list of destinations for holidays expands. Some destinations trend. Others fall away. There is something rather nice in going to a place none of your friends have been to. Where you feel you are really discovering a country before others. Where tourists are rarely seen and still welcomed. Where there is sufficient infrastructure for you to have a relaxing and adventurous holiday. But not so much that you feel you are on a travel treadmill. At Shearwater our general approach is to find accommodation, routes and destinations that are not overtaken by heavy development and still have plenty of local character. But the destinations listed below are the places we think you will feel you are on the road less travelled and should go to before the crowds arrive.
If you like islands, and at Shearwater Travel we do, then you’ll love these islands just off the north coast of Italy. Named for the god of the winds, Aeolus, they are popular place for Italians to holiday during Sicily’s sweltering summer. But they are a lovely destination from April through to October. The landscapes here are unspoilt, the beaches pebbly or black and volcanic, the Tyrrhenian Sea azure blue and sparkling and the sea food delicious.
Midway between North America and Europe, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the nine islands of the Azores are a special place to visit. Perfect for nature lovers, whale and dolphin enthusiasts and those seeking an active holiday. Volcanic in nature, the islands are full of extinct volcanoes, spectacularly coloured crater lakes, wild hydrangea, hot springs, thermal lakes and geysers. In the summer months it is possible to to spot whales on whale watching tours accompanied by marine biologists.
One of the world’s oldest Christian nations, Georgia is a mountainous country full of hilltop churches, Roman fortresses and cave monasteries. As a travel destination it combines well with Turkey and Armenia and is a great destination for an active holiday for walkers and cyclists. And with a national love of wine and some fabulous home grown wines it is a great place for wine lovers. Tourism is still in early development in Georgia but nevertheless there are some lovely boutique hotels which we can book for you as well as some more simple offerings.
Eighty percent of Guyana is rainforest. Travelling here is not for the faint hearted. Journeys are long, accommodation simple but the rewards of pristine rainforest, a chance to see rare wildlife and contribute to the burgeoning community based tourism are well worth it. If you travel here you will be one of only a few thousand annual visitors to what is said by some to be one of the last wildernesses on the planet.
Completely enveloping The Gambia, Senegal has a year round fabulously warm climate, beautiful beaches, French influenced culture and good wildlife. It is also one of Africa’s premier bird watching destinations. Stay in Eco lodges or luxury boutique beach hotels. The French may have been holidaying here for a while but it is still relatively unvisited by the British. Senegal also combines really well with a holiday to the more visited but still tranquil Gambia.
Sao Tome & Principe
Africa’s second smallest nation after the Seychelles, the former Portuguese colony of Sao Tome and Principe can be found on the Equator, 225 km west of Gabon in West Africa. These islands are virtually untouched by tourism and if you choose to visit you will definitely feel you are on the road less travelled. Despite this the islands have lovely boutique luxury hotel choices, plenty of activities and gorgeous landscapes and wildlife.