Amazing Travel Destinations You've Never Heard Of

When travelers refer to their "bucket list" destinations, locales such as Venice, the Serengeti, and Machu Picchu are commonly mentioned. If you'd rather spend your time traveling down less-explored paths, try broadening your horizons with these exotic suggestions -- we can assure you they're places you've probably never thought of traveling. Bon voyage!

  • 01 of 05
    Finca Don Eduardo, coffee farm, Salento, Colombia
    Getty Images/Christian Kober/robertharding

    Although much of the drug violence that defined Colombia throughout the last half of the 20th century has long since past (and, more regrettably, spilled over into neighboring Ecuador and Venezuela), the country still has an unsavory reputation, with the notable exception, perhaps, of the Caribbean city of Cartagena.

    If you decide not to believe the hype (and you shouldn't), venture further into the heart of Colombia, to the country's aptly-named Coffee Triangle. Whether you visit traditional coffee fincas, hike through foreign landscapes like the ​Valle del Cocora or simply enjoy the company of people who are as warm as the coffee they serve, the ​Eje Cafetero is a can't-miss destination.

  • 02 of 05
    The Dome of the Rock and the Wailing Wall
    Getty Images/Salvator Barki

    Traveling in the West Bank (and, especially, Gaza) isn't easy, but that's mainly due to the barriers the Israeli government has put up, both to foreigner entry and resident movement. However, if you get past the bureaucracy, you'll be overwhelmed by the grace and humanity of the Palestinian people, to say nothing of the beauty of their land.

  • 03 of 05
    Harbin Ice Festival
    Robert Schrader

    As is the case with many Chinese cities, Harbin is larger than New York City -- or any city in the U.S. for that matter -- but that alone is not a reason to visit the capital of Heilongjiang province, which is about three hours northeast of Beijing by plane. Indeed, the Harbin Ice Festival is worth the journey alone -- and the significantly sub-zero temperatures you'll have to endure to enjoy its bright colors.

  • 04 of 05
    Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) over Kakslauttanen Igloo West Village, Saariselka, Finland
    Getty Images/Laura Grier

    Finland definitely gets the short end of the stick when it comes to tourism in Scandinavia, the fact that it is arguably not part of Scandinavia notwithstanding.

    Likewise, while many people hear the word "Lapland" and immediately think of Sweden, Finland's portion of Lapland is notably more feral than its neighbor to the West, whether you hang out in fall and winter for the Northern Lights, or in the summer for nights that quite literally never end.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Sri Lanka, Pinnawela elephant orphanage
    Getty Images/Tuul & Bruno Morandi

    Like Colombia and Palestine, Sri Lanka doesn't have the best reputation -- namely, that its 30-year Civil War ended less than a decade ago.

    Although the wounds of this war are still open, particularly in the country's southeast, where idyllic landscapes contrast with the plight of a Tamil Muslim minority that was nearly exterminated, Sri Lanka is the indisputable jewel of South Asia, from the ​bustling streets of Colombo, from the highland tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya, to the ancient (and deserted) capital of Anuradhapura.