Avoid the tried and tested backpacker trails and treat yourself to the lesser known gems of the world. Explore below, the locations we think merit a visit...
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
At the eastern edge of the Serengeti, sits the Ngorongoro Crater. It is the world's biggest volcanic crater that is still fully intact. Stretching a spectacular 265 square kilometres with a 600 metre high rim, this 2 million year old crater hosts a wildlife of its own. The crater floor is host to lakes, grassland, swamp, and forests where you'll find a vast array of animals and birds ranging from flamingos to hippos, buffalo, lions and hyenas. The crater is a stunning slice of the African natural world in a unique setting.
Dune du Pyla, France
A sight well worth seeing is the Dune du Pyla in Arcachon Bay, 60km from Bordeaux. This mountain of sand measures over 100 metres high, giving it the title of Europe's highest sand dune. Climb to the top for a stunning view of the blue canvas of the Atlantic coastline on one side and the green canopy of the pine forest on the other. On a clear day you'll even catch a glimpse of the Pyrenees in the distance.
Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa
Originally developed as an area to which black people were forcefully relocated under apartheid, Khayelitsha (estimated population 900,000), is a stark and eye opening glimpse of 21st century urbanised poverty. Coexisting with the glitz and wealth of Cape Town, the severe public health and crime problems witnessed within the townships become all the more striking. Yet, it also makes the local pride, hospitality and resourcefulness of Khayelitsha an even more inspiring travel experience.
To take a trip into Khayelitsha we recommend using a trusted tour service. Ezizwe Tours is a locally owned enterprise that offers tours of Khayelitsha. The Cape Town tourism office will also be able to assist with recommendations for tour providers.
Mostar Bridge, Bosnia
Mostar Bridge, although destroyed during conflict many times since first being built in 1567, is a symbolic throughway connecting traditionally Muslim and Orthodox Croat sides of the town of Mostar. It was most recently rebuilt following the reconciliation of the 1990s Balkan war. Today it's an atmospheric, stirring site, which has earned its rightful place on UNESCO's World Heritage List as a universal reminder of the co-existence of diverse ethnic groups.
In the centre of the Namib Desert, you'll find Sossusvlei. A basin surrounded by distinctive red sand dunes. Towering 300 metres high, they are said to be the highest dunes in the world, so high in particularly harsh winters you'll see the dune peaks capped with snow. Sossusvlei's red colours are due to the combined slow oxidisation of iron and fragments of garnet - the brighter the dune, the more ancient it is. These Mars-like dunes form part of the Namib Naukluft park, the largest conservation area in Africa.
What are your favourite sites around the world? If you've been somewhere you consider more breathtaking than the rest, somewhere inspiring or somewhere downright unique, we'd love to hear your recommendations...more blog posts