From popular summer hot spots to the colder climates of the Arctic circle, there are places that tourists flock to year after year, but there are some magical, hidden locations right on our doorstep that are just waiting to be explored. In this blog we uncover some of the world’s secret locations that you should visit when planning your next cruising adventure!
Unlike its sister country Croatia, Montenegro isn’t as commonly known for its touristic features and stunning long and sandy beaches, but to some people’s surprise, that is exactly what it’s like!
Kotor’s beautiful long bay has been a stop for trade ships for hundreds of years, but now plays host to some of the Mediterranean’s best-preserved historic buildings and local, fresh eateries, making it a triumphant stop for holidaymakers looking to bask in the mild summer sun and explore a hidden gem in the heart of Europe.
With the stunning backdrop of the Dinaric Alps, we asked Sanna Burns from Vegan Cruiser where her hidden gem holiday hotspots were: “My favourite cruise destination, one Azamara guests can also explore, is the Adriatic Sea. Out of the various ports found in this region, Kotor in Montenegro is my all-time favourite. Sailing into this secluded town is just captivating - the closest thing to entering a Norwegian fjord. To reach Kotor, cruise ships have to weave their way through stunning mountainous views. The old walled town of Kotor offers beautiful medieval architecture and a myriad of winding cobbled streets. And if you hike up near 1,400 steps to St. John’s Fort on the hills above this stunning town, the panoramic views of the Kotor bay are just exquisite.”
Image credit: The Vegan Cruiser
Situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea, Latvia is a European gem that just keeps on giving. Take a cruise to the wonderful city of Riga and be spellbound by the gothic architecture, winding waters and stunning scenery that awaits you.
Besides Riga, we asked Becky from Global Grasshopper where else she would recommend visiting: “I would personally recommend Leipeija in Latvia. Latvia is still fairly undiscovered by tourists compared to some parts of Europe but it’s an incredibly beautiful country with some real gems to uncover - Leipeija being one of these. The small town sits on the 5km stretch of white sandy beach dotted with cocktail shacks and truly gorgeous sunsets. The whole place has a cool, alternative vibe with a number of good bars, well-preserved churches, art galleries, museums dedicated to traditional crafts, interesting and quirky shops and stylish restaurants (try the funky Pastneika Maja for traditional Latvian favourites as well as more exotic offerings) and many attractive, and very unique, boutique hotels.”
We offer an 11-night voyage that’ll take you right to the heart of Riga, before heading to other popular locations like Helsinki and Stockholm, a real Baltic adventure.
When you think of Madagascar, you don’t often think of a popular tourist holiday destination, but with stunning white sand beaches, tropical rainforest climates and of course some of the world’s best wildlife, we think it’s an opportunity you can’t ignore.
Tolagnaro is a French settlement and one of the island’s oldest towns, offering open-air restaurants, local markets and fishing boats catching some of the world’s best seafood.
If you want to experience the true magic of this special island, then an off-shore excursion to the Nahampoana Nature Reserve has to be at the top of your list! Just 15 minutes from the main town, the reserve is home to some of the rarest animals in the world making this location a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
If you’re not looking to soak up the sun and colder climates are more your thing, then Norway has to be a top pick. Matching its transatlantic ancestors, Tromso, in particular, boasts some of the world’s most stunning views. Snow-capped mountains, scattered islands and clear blue water like you’ve never seen before, you won’t be disappointed when cruising around stunning locations like this.
"The best destination we visited so far was Tromso: the getaway to incredible Arctic adventures,” says Cory and G Varga from You Could Travel. “We never expected to fall in love with the Arctic Circle, but we loved it so much, we can't wait to return. We saw the elusive northern lights right on our wedding anniversary, we drove through the untouched wilderness of the Lyngen Alps and saw snow-capped fjords rising tall from the clearest waters. Tromso and its surrounding areas represent the idea of unspoiled raw nature."
Tromso Wilderness Centre will allow you to get up close and personal with some of Norway’s picturesque locations. Offering mountain hikes, kayaking and dog-sledging for a truly authentic experience.
Sitting pretty right in the heart of the Costa Brava, Palamos is one of the lesser known locations in Spain but is truly one of the most stunning. Surrounded by rugged and rocky shorelines and quaint fishing ports, you’re bound to find culture of all sorts when visiting.
Lonely Planet mentions Costa Brava on their website as: “Stretching north from Barcelona to the Spanish–French border, the Costa Brava ('rugged coast') is undoubtedly the most beautiful of Spain's three main holiday coasts. Though there's plenty of tourism development, this wonderfully scenic region of Catalonia also unveils unspoiled coves, spectacular seascapes, wind-battered headlands, coast-hugging hiking paths, charming seaside towns with outstanding restaurants, and some of Spain's finest diving around the protected Illes Medes.”
Head on shore excursions that suit all ages, from sightseeing the rice fields to walking and cycling routes whilst taking in the breath-taking coastal scenery you’ll see along the way, Palamos really offers something for everyone!
When planning your next holiday or cruise, try some of the more unusual destinations, they may surprise you more than you think.