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Opodo Travel Blog
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Are you an explorer at heart who likes to seek out the unknown, hidden spots when you travel? Then read on for our list of the best unknown places in the world!

The best way to discover secret places is through locals and exploring on your own. At eDreams, we have over 50 nationalities in the office so we’ve asked around and gathered the very best tips from around the world, from locals.

Dive into the blue lake at Jiuzhaigou National Park (China)

Get a glimpse of this 1375-metre-long beautiful crystal blue lake in China. Tucked away in among the Min Mountains near the Tibetan Plateau, it’s a far cry from the bustling streets of Beijing! Deservedly, UNESCO turned the place into a World Heritage site in 1992.

blue lake at Jiuzhaigou National Park China

Walk the Haiku Stairs in Oahu, Hawaii

Nothing quite comes closer to the ‘stairway to heaven’ than the Haiku Stairs in Oahu. These majestic stairs had a top secret purpose when they were built in 1942. Constructed by the Haiku Radio Station to transmit radio signals to Navy ships across the Pacific. Today you can walk the 3,922 steps. If you dare?

Haiku Stairs, Oahu, Hawaii
Photo by shawnclover via Flickr

Swim in the Enchanting River in Surigao del Sur, Philippines

The Philippines is slowly showcasing its beauty one island after the other, with places like Boracay and Palawan becoming ever more popular. But, there are still many unknown spots to be discovered. Tucked in behind the rocky mountains of a small province called Surigao Del Sur lies this fairytale-like river. Dive into the caves of the enchanted river without being disturbed by crowds of people.

Enchanted River, Surigao del Sur, Philippines
Photo by 2il org via Flickr

Explore the Crooked Forest in Szczecin, Poland

Discover the bizarre array of crooked trees that can be found near the town of Gryfino in Western Poland. Around 400 pine trees in the Crooked Forest grow at a 90-degree angle from the root. Some say that the reason behind the 90-degree bend of the trees is a gravitational pull within the area. Others have more sinister reasons. Make up your own mind!

Crooked Forest in Szczecin, Poland
Photo by lisabrideau via Flickr

Visit the Hitachi Seaside Park (Ibaraki, Japan)

A beautiful unknown place near Tokyo is hard to come by, but here’s one! Located northeast of Tokyo within the Kanto Plain is this vast hectare of a variety of flowers in every palette. Definitely a place where flower enthusiast can call paradise.

Photo by Reginald Pentinio via Flickr
Photo by Reginald Pentinio via Flickr

Marvel at the Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh, Himalayas

Considered as the most famous lake in India, this lake isn’t exactly a secret place, but it’s still relatively unvisited. Stretching out for about 160 kms, this saltwater lake contains the highest amount of salt water in the world.

Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh, Himalayas, India

Discover the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, USA

This archipelago is a hidden gem of Wisconsin. These 60 foot high sandstone walls are almost too perfect to be naturally made, but they are!

Sea cave at Swallow Point, Apostle Islands

Go to the Salar de Uyuni (Salar de Tunupa) in Bolivia

This salt flat that extends to 10,582 square kilometers is considered to be the world’s largest salt flat in the world. Tucked away in Potosi, southwest of Bolivia, this is one of the most beautiful unknown places in the world. Formed as a result of the prehistoric lakes within its surroundings.


Snorkel the Aquarium in Rangiroa, French Polynesia

This long stretch of natural coral reef is one of the best snorkelling spots in the world, full of colourful tropical fish. Healthy coral surrounds the aquarium with depths ranging from 1m to 4m. A secret snorkelling spot to avoid the crowds!

rangiroa aquarium from the air

Enjoy the Rotorua Hot springs in Rotura, New Zealand

Rotura is known as the world’s most remarkable geothermal wonderland, with shooting geysers and bubbling mud pools. While you indulge in relaxation, don’t forget to learn about the fascinating culture of Maori within your side trips.

Rotorua Hot springs in Rotura, New Zealand

Wrap up warm in Svalbard, between Norway and the North Pole

Are you ready for a cold adventure? Then hop on for a ride to the Arctic ocean to discover Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway and North Pole. One of the most beautiful untouched places in the world. Svalbard translates to “cold coasts”. Over here you can find a number of nature reserves, bird sanctuaries and some polar bears too!

Icy Svalbard, between Norway and the North Pole

Dare to look down “The Door to Hell” in Derweze, Turkmenistan

This natural gas field known as “The Door to Hell” or “The gateway to hell” is something out of the ordinary. This caverned collapsed in 1971, geologists then set it on fire to avoid the spread of methane gas and since then it just keeps burning continuously. Since then, it has become a unique place to visit. Dare to get near this crater for a good selfie?


Hideaway in a small oasis surrounded by dunes in Huacachina, Peru

In Southwestern Peru lies a small town surrounded by a small lake and surrounded by enormous sand dunes in the most infertile places on earth. This oasis only has 96 residents. This place offers you a good spot to catch the sunset and also explore the town’s rustic shops and be adventurous and try out sandboarding!


Walk up to the Monastery of Santa Maria dell’Isola in Tropea, Italy

Are you up for a secret getaway? Like literally, a secret getaway. Then pack your bags and head to Tropea, Italy.  Get a good view of this 12th century Norman cathedral Franciscan monastery.  This place is a best kept secret of Italians where they all go to for vacations. (Apologies to the Italians for sharing it with the world!) Not a lot of travellers know about this place yet. Not only do you get the scenic view of the castle but you can also enjoy an afternoon dip in its warm, turquoise clear water. How can you resist a dramatic coastal cliff view while you’re sunbathing?


Visit the Psychedelic Salt Mines in Yekaterinburg, Russia

Don’t be fooled upon entering these salt mines. You are not in any way drugged into seeing things in a different form. These psychedelic patterns on the walls will surely leave you mind boggled as to how they were formed. As a result of the mineral carnallite, natural colourful swirls are formed.

Psychedelic Salt Mines in Yekaterinburg, Russia

Explore Lake Natron in Tanzania, from afar!

This lake turns animals into stone. Yes, really! A highly unusual place to visit, but with a perfect explanation behind it of course. The water in this lake is extremely alkaline with a PH value as high as 10.5. Consequently, it automatically burns the skin of any animal dares venture into the water. TIP: Skip swimming in this lake!

Lake Natron in Tanzania

Mooch around Montreal Botanical Garden, Canada

This 75 -hectare of fine greenery is known to be one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens.  Visitors often visit this botanical garden with some thirty thematic gardens and 10 exhibition greenhouses. This place is surely for all the nature lovers who enjoys a day to be one with nature.


Climb the inverted tower in Quinta de Regaleira, Portugal 

This 27- deep well is a majestic site that people dubbed to be an inverted tower. Located in an estate in Sintra, Portugal.  The estate is without a doubt as beautiful outside as it is inside. This mysterious spot leave travellers wondering if it’s really a well or an inverted tower. What do you think?


Be in two continents at the same time, in Pingvallavatn Lake, Iceland

Every wondered how it feels to be in two places at the same time? Then head on to Pingvallavatn Lake, Iceland to get a good feel of how it is. Submerged into the Atlantic ocean, you can swim between the rocks and you’ll be swimming in both Europe and America!


Las Lajas Sanctuary in Ipiales, Colombia

Located within the borders of Colombia and Ecuador, lies this enormous neo-gothic church. Said to be built by a family in the 1700s who claimed that they had seen the Virgin Mary in the sky.  It’s off the beaten track, so you won’t find too many tourists here!

Las Lajas Sanctuary in Ipiales, Colombia
Photo by Gameoflight via Flickr

Dive into Seegrotte in Hinterbrühl, Austria

Located in Hinterbruhl Austria, this lake is considered to be Europe’s largest subterranean lake. Stretching 60 meters below ground level.

 Seegrotte in Hinterbrühl, Austria
Photo by magicketchup via Flickr

See the Gassho-zukuri farmhouses in Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama, Japan

Discover more traditional places in Japan. First stop is a good view of the Gassho-zukuri farmhouses in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, Japan. Get historic with these traditional guest houses.

Gassho-zukuri farmhouses in Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama, Japan

Go off the beaten track in Kampong Thom, Cambodia

A great alternative to Angkor Wat,  situated half way from Phohm Penh and Siem Reap. Climb 807 steps to visit Phnom Suntuk, a pagoda on top of the mountains, and then take a boat trip on the Stung Sen River. These sites are unique spots to visit in Cambodia, away from the usual tourist traps.

Kampong Thom, Cambodia
Photo by suprememoocow via Flickr

Go to Mount Sanqing, Jiujiang in Mount Sanqing, China

This place is known to be the place for practicing Taoist in the ancient times. The terrain of mountains has three peaks, Yujing, Yuhua and Yuxu Peak dubbed as the “Three Qing” in Taoism. This epic view offers you magnificent landscapes, peculiar rocks, and “endless-like” waterfalls.

 Mount Sanqing, Jiujiang in Mount Sanqing, China
Photo by haglundt via Flickr

 So what are you waiting for? It’s time to travel the road less travelled!

2 responses to “24 Amazing Unknown Places You Never Knew Existed

  1. My wife is from Pasto, Colombia, very close to Las Lajas. We went there and had a stone interred on the wall with our names and wedding date for like $10.

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