The chaos and congestion of everyday life can really get to you. And sometimes, even your average vacation isn’t enough to quiet your mind and rejuvenate your soul. Do you want to recharge? Like really, really recharge? Try these underrated vacation spots. Civilized, yet off the beaten path, they offer everything from rugged Nordic coastlines to desert sunsets fringed with jacaranda trees; perfect for unplugging and getting back to yourself.
Hamilton Island, Australia
Surrounded by coral reefs, this car-free island embodies everything peaceful, laid back and rejuvenating about Australian culture. Ranked by Forbes as being a top destination for female solo travelers, it spans just five kilometers and features sandy beaches fringed by lavish palm trees, coastal greenery, and the odd Koala bear, naturally.
Take a walk through one of the quaint marinas, or take in a wildlife tour to see wallabies and kookaburras up close. If you’re in serious recharge mode, stay at Qualia, a luxury resort, which features spacious rooms, expansive ocean views and spa treatments like the Kumali herbal mud wrap.
Luxurious, yet welcoming, this destination is small and remote enough to still be well off the beaten path.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Nestled into the Bahio Mountains of central Mexico, this city is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site. Because it’s not one of Mexico’s traditional coastal locations, it doesn’t tend to get overrun with tourists or spring break enthusiasts (you know what we mean), although it has historical roots as a hub for expats, which makes it friendly for English-speakers and easy to get around.
The city – which is easily walkable – features quaint, cobblestone streets and is a great destination if you love culture, architecture, and history. Be sure to check out some of the downtown markets, for fresh local produce like hot peppers and wild garlic.
When you’re ready to take a break from the thriving arts and cultural scene, take in the lavender-colored jacaranda trees in their full glory, the majestic foothills of the Sierra Madre or a dramatic sunset from one of the city’s many rooftop bars.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
Love the Games of Thrones aesthetic? These rugged islands sprawl dramatically throughout the icy waters between Iceland and Norway. With craggy cliffs, grasslands and Nordic valleys, you can tell this peaceful, self-governing archipelago was once occupied by the mighty Vikings. A scenic and cozy trip along the misty coastlines via old fishing boat is a favourite here, but those seeking a more contemporary vibe are in luck too: Koks Restaurant, a Michelin Star eatery in the capital of Tórshavn, serves up dishes like local clams served in dill oil, while the Havgrím Seaside Hotel boasts just 14 rooms and is equally close to the quaint town centre as it is to the expansive sea.
Given the islands’ population of only 50,000 people and its distinctly northern longitude, this hideout is definitely off the beaten path and makes a great place to recharge and be awed by the enormity of your natural surroundings.
If rich Argentinian cuisine isn’t enough to sway you, the endless outdoor options in the Patagonia region will. If you recharge best by hiking, sailing, and exploring, this picturesque South American locale should be on your to-do list, like yesterday.
Situated at the foothills of the Andes and nestled within the Nahuel Huapi National Park, the city’s hotels and resorts usually encourage plentiful outdoor activities, from mountain bike riding to wilderness trekking to a refreshing dip in the ice-chilled waters of Nahuel Huapi lake.
The town has the feel of an Alpine, mountain village and features cafes, boutiques and a striking cathedral, standing sentinel over the lake. A definitive break from the hustle and bustle of urban life, this is one mountain hideaway that’s a top pick for getting away from it all.
Twentynine Palms, California
Craving an ethereal desert experience? Joshua Tree is an arguably perfect spot for dessert lovers, but you’re unlikely to find peace and quiet in Palm Springs, which has been popularized by Instagram and has prices to show for it. Instead, try Twentynine Palms, a quirky city nestled into the Mohave Desert.
The decidedly bohemian 29 Palms Inn is a historic structure that sits at the entrance of Joshua tree and boasts 70 acres of land, including an organic garden and a creative center that offers artistic workshops. With private cabins featuring walk-out decks and stunning desert views, it’s a perfect place for either exploring or relaxing.
The city gets its name from a grove of palm trees located near the Oasis of Mara, originally planted by the Serrano people, according to Indian legend. Quiet, quirky and delightfully arid, this is one desert destination you won’t want to miss.