As summer is coming to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to start planning travel for 2020. Of the many travel trends currently seeing a massive spike in interest, less traveled islands are one of the most popular. Islands like Santorini and Capri are please you definitely ought to visit at least once in your life, but they’re both incredibly crowded and touristy. Travelers are increasingly seeking out less traveled islands that are off the beaten path.
Just a couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit Milos and this gorgeous little less traveled island immediately became our favorite destination in Greece. 4 years ago we visited Santorini, Mykonos, and Athens, but we have been dying to return to Greece and explore Milos since we discovered her a few years ago. In our opinion, Milios is the most beautiful, laid back, local, down to earth, adventure rich destination in Greece that we have discovered thus far. Santorini is spectacular and Mykonos offers some amazing parties, but Milos should be at the top of your 2020 bucket list regardless of whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, adventure travel destination, etc.
On Milos, you can sail around the island and explore caves that pirates used to use, tan nude on the beaches, ride ATVs down dirt roads, eat some of the best Greek food you’ll find on the planet, learn about the rich history of an island that was so influential in the Mediterranean. Of the 3 Cyclades Islands we have visited (Santorini, Mykonos, and Milos), Milos is 100% the one we would choose to revisit over and over. It felt like the quintessential idea of Greece. It felt like home.
Be sure to book a day excursion to sail around Milos with Excellent Yachting! We sailed around most of the island and visited the most remote parts of Milos. It was truly magical and our captain, Yiannis was the MAN!
Rangiroa is truly off the beaten path. We visited this gorgeous island on our honeymoon 2 years ago when we were exploring French Polynesia. Rangiroa is a VERY small island a couple of hours flight from Tahiti and is barely visible on a map (even when you zoom in to take a closer look), so it is certainly a less traveled island. Surprisingly, however, Rangiroa is one of the largest atolls in the world with gorgeous diving, snorkeling, etc. It is exactly what one thinks of when conjuring ideas of a tropical island paradise.
Tourism to Cuba has increased significantly since Obama lifted the embargo in 2017, but Cuba is still an off-the-beaten-path destination that offers rich culture, delicious food, and some of the warmest, happiest locals you’ll find anywhere on the planet. Considering Cuba is quite large for an island, the 5 million visitors expected to visit next year will not seem as nearly as crazy as the couple million that pile into places like Santorini each year. Cuba has vast countryside and gorgeous landscapes that are 100% worth exploring. Rather than just sticking to the city of Havana, spend your time in Vinales in the Cuban mountains/valley where they make the best cigars in the world or head to the beaches of Trinidad.
Be sure to plan before your trip. There are many things you need to know before visiting Cuba!
Malta is a small archipelago situated between Italy and Africa. because of this geographic location and history where the island nation found itself in a struggle with Great Brittain, Malta has a unique identity, culture, language, and as expected, cuisine. Gozo is by far the most gorgeous and adventure-filled island of the 3. If you’re keen on some snorkeling/diving, bike riding, climbing, or off-road adventures, Gozo is the perfect spot for your less traveled Mediterranean island trip.
Sardinia – or as the Italians spell it Sardegna – is the 2nd largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and is one of the most breathtaking destinations that we consider a less traveled island. Sure, 3 million people visit Sardinia per year, however, very few of those are American tourists (most are Italian or from other parts of Europe) and the island is so large that it could likely support another few million each year.
It’s imperative that you rent a car when you visit Sardegna because the island is so spread out. The entire island is enveloped by some of the most gorgeous beaches, cliffs, and water in the world, so to be able to see all of them, you’ll need to be able to drive around the island. We drove from the north to the south and it was about a 3-4 hour drive, so just know that you can easily spend a week on Sardinia.
Before you go, read our Sardegna Travel Guide to make sure you know where are the best beaches in Sardinia.
The Dutch island nation of Aruba is both a sovereign country and part of the Dutch Kingdom. As such, the local language of Papiamento and the locals offer a beautiful, unique culture in the Caribbean. Aruba is gorgeous. She’s a desert island with pear white sand, crystal clear blue water, epic natural pools and so much more. We know very few people who have ever been to this less traveled island, so it’s a great option if you want to visit the Caribbean and venture off the beaten path into the gorgeous desert landscape, national parks, etc.
Of the destinations we visited in Thailand, Koh Samui was certainly the least touristy and most quiet. We stayed with Four Seasons Koh Samui and our experience was absolutely perfect – minus the heavy rain haha. Koh Samui is a less traveled island that few travelers (even those who visit Thailand) ever choose to visit. The gorgeous island offers all of the amenities of the other major Thailand islands with an opportunity to experience in a luxurious way (i.e. Four Seasons and other 5 star properties). Many other islands (Koh Phi Phi, etc.) have mediocre hotels at best, so while you have gorgeous beaches and delicious curry, you don’t get the luxury treatment you’ll find on Koh Samui.