Explore’s Top 10 unusual and tourist-free destinations list

The Optimist Travel Team

Last updated 5/21/2009 1:40:27 AM

For those who want to avoid the holiday stampede and visiting usual suspects, adventure travel specialist Explore has compiled a list of top 10 tourist free destinations.

Unusual destinations and alternative tourism activities have become increasingly popular, as travellers are more knowledgeable about different cultures and now more open to unconventional experiences.

Peter Crane, Explore’s Product Director said: “It’s an ongoing requirement of our loyal customers to get to new places and see new things before the crowds arrive – and that’s something that we have always tried to build into our itineraries”.

“Even when our tours also visit the better known and more frequented parts of the world, we ensure there will be access to sights as yet little visited,” he added.

Explore’s top 10 tourist-free destinations are:

Winetasting in Georgia - It may come as a surprise, but Georgia boasts a thriving viticulture industry. The Kakheti region is particularly famous for its wine production. Visit a local winery that’s been operating for over 300 years and sample red and white wines.
Asmara, Eritrea -The highest capital in Africa, Asmara boasts a wonderful climate and friendly residents. The African town has retained its distinctly Italian feel, which is a legacy of its colonial days. Feast your eyes on Art Deco and Italian architecture, a vibrant market, cathedral and mosques.

Hirado Island, Japan - Tranquil and unspoilt, see rural Japan at its best with towering cliffs and basalt columns along the coast. Cruise through the fabled 'Ninety Nine Islands' and learn about old whaling communities and the local way of life.

Join a 'Kora' at a monastery in Tibet - Interact with local Tibetans while earning merit on the path to enlightenment by joining the local Buddhist pilgrims as they walk around the monastery perimeter on a trial known as a 'kora'.

Kuelap, Peru - The imposing fortress at Kuelap is one of the most outstanding archaeological remains of the little-known Chachapoyas culture. The ruins contain over four hundred buildings and round houses - many decorated with intricate patterns - and are just as impressive as those at Machu Picchu.

Sail around the Greek island of Evia -The island the Greeks go to when they want to relax is pleasantly untouched by mass tourism, offering lush mountainous scenery interspersed with quant towns and villages. Sail the Gulf of Evia on a traditional Greek caique, stopping in secluded coves to swim and snorkel in the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

Admire the tallest building in the world (in AD 1127) - Located in the fabled city of Bokhara, Uzbekistan, and standing at 150ft tall, the imposing medieval Kalyan Minaret is built in baked brick, enabling a circular structure that narrows as it rises. Used as a watchtower during periods of war, the minaret was the tallest building on earth in the 12th century.

Ancient Mayan city of Yaxchillan - Hidden deep in the Mexican jungle and only accessible by boat, the remote Mayan ruins hold extensive history, detailed in well-preserved carvings. Enter through the labyrinth and climb level upon level of buildings each beholding a unique architectural wonder.

Hike Europe’s best canyon - The Tara River Canyon in Montenegro is both the deepest (1,300m) and longest (51 miles) canyon in Europe. It's also arguably its prettiest – linking a mountain massif to a series of 50 breathtaking waterfalls, the canyon takes in steep, pine-clad walls, diverse vegetation and more than 80 large caves along its course.

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Swaziland - Discover many of Africa's species of wildlife on foot. The absence of big cats allows for a very different game viewing experience. Take a “foot safari” in search of giraffe, wildebeest, impala and warthog and take the meaning of “close to nature” to a whole new level.

For more information visit www.explore.co.uk