There are certain destinations we all dream of traveling to one day: Paris, Rome, Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Jerusalem, Tokyo, New York City, Buenos Aires, Beijing, Stockholm.
They’re magical cities with cultures and histories that have shaped the dynamic fabric of our globalized world.
Travel snobs will tell you these places are so inundated with tourists that you won’t really enjoy visiting them. These individuals have lost sight of how privileged they are to travel in the first place.
Regardless of how crowded these places may be, there’s nothing quite like staring up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, emerging from the NYC subway for the first time and staring down at the streets of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
In truth, it’s almost impossible to visit anywhere these days that’s completely untouched by tourism. Locations once considered remote are now typically accessible by plane, car or train.
The hidden gems of the world are becoming hot spots for tourists — so all the more reason to visit these places sooner rather than later.
There’s no better time to travel to these places than when you’re in your 20s. As we get older, the comfort and ease of guided tours becomes increasingly appealing, so explore the world now while you still have the energy.
The world’s greatest cities aren’t going anywhere; you have your entire life to visit them. Why not go to places where you can be your own tourist?
Here are the 50 least predictable places you should visit in your 20s (in no particular order):
1. Isle of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye is an incomparably beautiful island located off the west coast of Scotland. You can visit the colorful town of Portree, eat fish and chips, drink delicious whisky (without the “e”) and explore Dunvegan castle.
2. New Orleans, LA, USA
New Orleans isn’t just a city, it’s a way of life. Influenced by Europe, the Caribbean and Africa, its culture is exceptionally dynamic. The food, music, architecture and people are one of a kind.
3. Okinawa Island, Japan
Okinawa is an historic island roughly 400 miles from mainland Japan. Its tropical climate makes it an ideal place to snorkel, hike and hang on the beach. If you love nature and history, it’s the perfect place for you.
4. Killarney, Ireland
Killarney is a quaint, yet energetic town in southwestern Ireland. It’s a great place for walking, as it’s located right next to Killarney National Park. If you like whiskey (with the “e”), nature, history and authentic Irish culture, Killarney is an incredible place to visit.
5. Montreal, Canada
If you want a taste of Europe but don’t have the time or money to get there, check out Montreal. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and there is an endless amount of activities and places to explore. It’s easily one of the most cosmopolitan cities in North America.
6. Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan is a magical and historic city with beautiful views of Mount Ararat. With unique architecture, hospitable people and great food and drink, it’s a fantastic place to visit.
7. Galle, Sri Lanka
Galle is a city with a rich colonial history. It’s full of beaches, art and beautiful colonial architecture. In 1663, the Dutch built a fort there that can still be visited.
8. Lofoten Islands, Norway
Located in the northern part of Norway, the Loften Islands are perfect for fishing and hiking. It also has some of the most incredible scenery in the world.
9. Mestia, Georgia
Mestia is an isolated town located in Northern Georgia, but it’s completely worth the visit. Drink Georgian wine, hike to a glacier, mingle with the locals and experience the epic beauty of the Caucasus mountains.
10. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and, surprisingly, one of the most artistic cities you’ll find. It’s also the gateway to the incredible and unique nature of Iceland.