Are you the kind of person who likes to explore the road less traveled? Are you also the type to crave an abundance of exciting activities to choose from when on vacation? If so, then you might want to consider a new destination rather than the one your friends talk amicably about. Here are five adventurous cities no one else is visiting — yet.
Located next to the rugged Rhumel Gorge, Constantine is one of the most stunning cities in North Africa. Thousands of years ago, the Oued Rhumel river carved the gorge around a craggy outcrop, where Constantine sits today. Constantine is known as the "City of Bridges" due to its architecturally impressive structures connecting the nearby ravines and valleys.
The Phoenicians founded Constantine and it was later ruled by the Berbers, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, and French. Delve into this history by walking through the archaeological exhibits at the Cirta Museum. A walk around the La Medina neighborhood is a window into daily life in the city. Visit the Ottoman-era Palace of Ahmed Bey, catch a show at the elegant Theatre Regional de Constantine, and relax in the El Kantara Garden on the cliffside. There's even more adventure at the ruined Roman town of Tiddis, which is less than an hour away.
Dili, East Timor
East Timor (Timor-Leste) only regained its independence in 2002 — making it one of the youngest nations. Although it's probably one of the last world capitals you’d think about visiting, Dili is a cultural and coastal wonder for intrepid travelers. A blend of Portuguese and Indonesian buildings line the streets and stand as reminders of past struggles. Head to the Timorese Resistance Archive and Museum to learn more about the country's history. Browse stalls packed with brightly-colored textiles at Tais Market and try local cuisine at Taibesi Market.
Dili is a paradise for beach lovers and water sport enthusiasts, too. Stroll along the waterfront to the hilltop Cristo Rei statue. Kick back on the golden sands of Areia Branca beach. Plunge into dive sites within the Coral Triangle, which is often called the Amazon of the Seas for its incredible diversity. Laidback bars and restaurants line Avenida de Portugal on the seafront. Even better, East Timor uses the U.S. dollar and there are direct flights from Bali.
As far as settings go, the Adriatic village of Kotor has some of the most stunning coastline in all of Europe. Perched on the Bay of Kotor and overlooked by limestone cliffs, this UNESCO-listed destination features medieval preservation at its best. Within the walled Kotor Old Town is a labyrinth of alleyways home to café-framed squares, palaces, museums, and theaters. The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, Kampana Tower and Maritime Museum of Montenegro are major highlights.
Later, strap on a pair of comfortable walking shoes and climb the steps to the Castle of San Giovanni for glorious views of the bay. Further inland, Lovcén National Park wraps around 5,738-foot Mount Lovcén. Hike the trail through the rugged landscape to the mausoleum of revered poet Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. Of course, you won’t want to miss taking a yacht cruise around the bay to villages such as Perast. Afterward, make sure you return to the Old Town to enjoy the lively pubs and live music venues.
While many visitors to Indonesia rush to the beaches of Bali and Lombok, the island of Java is home to cities that showcase both old and new architecture. One such destination is the port city of Surabaya. Here, glitzy skyscrapers rise above canals once used as trading routes by Dutch colonists. The markets, shops, restaurants, and religious landmarks of the Arab Quarter and Chinatown are the epitome of old-world charm. The Cheng Hoo Mosque, House of Sampoerna art gallery and museum, Majapahit Hotel, and Sunan Ampel’s Tomb are all worthy of your time. You’ll just need to battle the pandemoniac traffic to reach them.
When the chaos becomes too much, the city has some inviting beaches nearby. Kenjeran Beach is right on the doorstep of the city and is loved for its stunning sunrises and amusement rides. Just a two-hour drive away are Bentar Beach, Delegan Beach, and Nepa Beach. Thrill-seekers can travel south to trek around the Gunung Arjuna stratovolcano and the active volcanos in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.
Only San Marino and Vatican City rank as smaller capital cities than the tiny city of Vaduz. Yet, the capital of Liechtenstein packs a heavy punch in terms of things to see and do. There’s Vaduz Castle, the 900-year-old residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein, perched on a hill with a backdrop of delightful mountain scenery. There are the excellent Art Museum Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein National Museum, and Postage Stamp Museum to visit. There are also landmarks such as the neo-Gothic styled St. Florin Cathedral and modern Parliament Building, where the principality’s 25-member parliament meets.
Although the city is situated in a landlocked country that’s only 15.2 miles long and 5.8 miles wide, Vaduz isn’t far from anywhere. Rent a bike and pedal along the scenic road that follows the banks of the Rhine River or travel inland into the postcard-perfect Liechtenstein Alps. Breathe in the crisp air while traversing hiking trails around Fürstensteig, Schönberg, and other mountain peaks. Powder hounds will delight in the groomed pistes and family-friendly runs at Bergbahnen Malbun ski resort.