25 Unbelievable Travel Destinations You Never Knew Existed

Jiu zhai gou in ChinaShutterstockA lake in China’s Jiuzhaigou Valley.

There are some tourist attractions that can’t be missed: The Vatican in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Berlin Wall in Germany.

These are the kinds of places friends and family expect travellers to go.

But there are plenty of places to see that are under the radar; often known only by locals.

Inspired by this Quora list asking about the best travel destinations most people never knew existed, we put together our own list of the 25 hidden gems around the world that are worth the trek.

Explore the mysterious 'crooked forest' of Western Poland, with 400 pine trees all growing with a 90-degree bend at the base. The reason behind the curved trees remains unknown to this day.

Clamber through Jiuzhaigou Valley, a remote region of northern Sichuan, China that stretches over 180,000 acres. It's best known for its Tibetan villages and multi-level waterfalls with colourful lakes that let you see perfectly to the bottom.

Soak your feet in the hot springs of Rotorua, a New Zealand city known for its geysers, thermal springs, and bubbling mud pools. It's nicknamed the 'Sulphur City,' and visitors can also partake in water sports in the region's 17 lakes.

Visit the world's largest deepwater coral reef in the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Norway that lies within the Arctic circle. It's home to wildlife like otters, moose, puffins, and more.

Travel to Pangong Tso Lake, a narrow saline lake in the Himalayas between India and Tibet. The bright blue water, contrasted by the mountains, is absolutely breathtaking.

See the sea life in Rangiroa, a ring-shaped atoll in French Polynesia that is known for oysters that produce black pearls. It also has some of the world's best scuba diving, and visitors can see dolphins, manta rays, green sea turtles, and hammerhead sharks.

Journey to Namaqualand, an arid region in Namibia and South Africa that stretches over some 600 miles. Every spring, the barren area suddenly fills with orange and white daisies, creating one of the most surreal landscapes in the world.

Discover hidden Jericoacoara Beach in Brazil's northeastern state of CearĂ¡. It's considered to be one of the world's most beautiful beaches, isolated by sand dunes. It has gorgeous blue lagoons, white sand, and calm waters.

Take a dune buggy ride in Huacachina, a literal oasis in the Peruvian desert. The resort town was built around a small, natural lake in the Southwestern Ica Region, and is popular for tourists who want to try 'sandboarding' on the massive dunes surrounding the lake.

Hop a ferry to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state. The gorgeous islands are great for activities like sea kayaking and whale watching.

Marvel at the glaciers of Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway and the North Pole. Its whaling and fishing villages have become major tourist destinations for foreigners to see polar bears, reindeer, and marine mammals.

Behold the marble Jain temple of Ranakpur, India, said to be one of the most spectacular temples of its kind. It contains more than 1,440 marble pillars, and no two are the same.

Get close to the wildlife at the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania. At 21,000 square miles, it is the second largest game reserve in Africa, and nearly twice the size of Denmark. It's also largely unexplored, with only 20% of the park open to tourists.

Check out more incredible places:

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