Indonesia / Japan / Solo Travel / Vietnam

10 Off the Beaten Path Travel Destinations for Solo Travellers

During my first few years of solo travelling, I visited all the big cities where you can see all the major famous landmarks all over the globe.

But over my solo journeys, I am more drawn to hidden vacation spots that are unknown to many people. I don’t know exactly why, but I love everything about off-the-beaten-path travel destinations.

So I came up with a list of 10 favourite places I’ve been and places nobody seems to know about.  They are fantastic places for solo travelling and meeting other people on the road. Maybe these off-the-beaten-path travel destinations will inspire your travels for the upcoming year.

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10 off-the-beaten-path travel destinations for solo travellers

I’ve been to each destination and had a fabulous time. Some of these were suggestions from other fellow travellers and some places I randomly found on my own.

So glad I found these hidden vacation spots that nobody knows about (well, maybe by now, more people are discovering them). Check out some underrated travel destinations if you want to get off the beaten track.

1. Punta del Diablo, Uruguay

When I travelled to Argentina, a few fellow travellers told me about Punta del Diablo in Uruguay.  I googled it and immediately knew I wanted to go there regardless of how many buses it required.

Located a few hours east of Punta del Este, I arrived at this sleepy village and immediately fell in love with this off-the-beaten-path vacation spot. The brightly painted houses or cabaña line the edge of the spectacular beach. Fishermen sell their catch of the day at Playa de Los Pescadores (fishermen’s beach). There’s even a spot by the beach where you can watch whales swimming in the ocean.

But I ended up spending my time in beach huts and strolling the never-ending beach. I can understand why this laid-back beach scene is popular for solo backpackers and a favourite of Brazilians and Argentinians.

As I said already, it takes a bit of effort to get to Punta del Diablo. But you won’t regret visiting this off-the-beaten-path travel destination once you are there.

2. Ito, Japan

I was researching off-the-beaten-path destinations in Japan and found Ito, which was perfect because I wanted to visit somewhere between Kyoto and Tokyo.

Ito is located on the eastern coast of the Izu Peninsula. Due to its proximity to Tokyo, a day trip to Ito is possible via the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train). Visitors come to this part of Japan to experience Japanese hot spring, also known as onsen. That is the exact reason why I went there! This famous hot spring resort town pumps out 32,000 litres of water every minute! Every minute!

Just 10km south of Ito is Mount Omuro, where you can take the chairlift to the top and walk around the crater of an extinct volcano. On a good day, you can see a panoramic view of the peninsula and even Mount Fuji.

I went further south and found a scenic 10km hiking trail lining the Jogasaki Coast. The coast is jagged and cliffy due to the lava flow from volcanos in the once-active areas.  The coastline of Jogasaki Coast is very different from the rest of the country.

Related Post – Onsen Etiquette Guide

3. Rotterdam, Netherlands

The summer of 2008 was the summer I spent travelling before my last year of university. I started my journey to Greece, travelled through Italy and Germany and made my way to the Netherlands. Of course, I had to see Amsterdam while I was there! While Amsterdam is exciting, I wanted to go off the beaten track and see some underrated travel destinations.

I was drawn to Rotterdam because of its superior infrastructure, efficient transportation and modern facilities. Being the second-largest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam is a hip and artistic city where art and culture rule. The Second World War destroyed the city, but the country rebuilt it with a modern flare where they emphasized urban planning.

The cityscape is full of beautiful modern architecture because of the thoughtful city planning and focus on innovation. I went to many museums and galleries, one of the best ways to spend time in Rotterdam as a solo traveller.

4. Sibenik, Croatia

I was on a road trip with friends travelling through Croatia, and we stumbled upon a small picturesque town called Sibenik. We saw medieval monuments in the main square and hiked up the hill in St. Michael’s Fortress in the evening to see a panoramic view of the town. Then the night was topped off with an alfresco dinner featuring local cuisine and a lot of Gemišt (white wine cocktail).

We also spent much time by the Adriatic Sea outside our seaside apartment. The picture below is what we saw from our window.

Even though I wasn’t travelling alone, I could see myself returning because there are so many unique things to do in Sibenik. I love finding hidden vacation spots when I go off the beaten track, and Sibenik is one of them!

5. Stavanger, Norway

While researching for my trip to Scandinavia, I wanted to hike various trails and see amazing scenery. Prekeistolen (the Pulpit Rock) caught my eye right away. To visit this path by the fjord, a visit to Stavanger is a must.

Located in southwestern Norway, Stavanger is accessible by train and plane. Known as a university city, Stavanger is a compact city where everything can be seen on foot. There are many museums, colourful houses on the shopping street and excellent eateries everywhere.

Most people visiting Stavanger will visit Prekeistolen. According to CNN and Lonely Planet, Pulpit Rock is one of the world’s most spectacular viewing points. The 3.8-kilometre self-hike is easy to get to from the city centre.

The hike is relatively easy but the most challenging part is standing at the edge of the rock, looking into Lysefjord. Many people will take a photo at the tip of the rock. For someone who is afraid of heights, I also went to the tip of the rock (but I was sitting and moved towards the edge one inch at a time! Ha!)

6. Canggu, Indonesia

I feel people have very different feelings about Bali. But for me, it’s one of those places I immediately love and still one of my favourite places in Asia. Even though the island has a lot of tourists and pollution is at its worst, my heart still belongs there.

Canggu is a little town sandwiched between Seminyak and Tanah Lot. This area has a lot of cute cafes, restaurants and coffee shops run by locals and foreigners. There are a lot of great Western food options which ultimately remind me of home. There isn’t any particular attraction in Canggu, but it’s more about the feel of the place. It is laid-back and relaxing; it is just a place you want to hang out. I’ve been to Canggu as a solo traveller and find something new each time.

Whether it is surfing at Echo Beach, getting a cheap spa treatment, or hanging out in a luxurious private villa, there are many things to do in Canggu as a solo traveller.

If you want to experience one of the best-hidden vacation spots in Bali, you better check out Canggu. And do it soon because the word is getting out there, and tourists are pouring in.

Related Post – Southeast Asia Travel Tips

7. Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

Of all the hidden vacation spots in the Italian Riviera, also known as Cinque Terre, Vernazza is my favourite. Cradling between Monterosso del Mar and Corniglia, Vernazza is easily the most picturesque town and one of the most unique travel destinations.

Vernazza is a steep, hilly town along the Italian Riviera. The fishermen painted the houses in a colourful pastel palette so they could spot them from the sea. The colours have become a trademark for all of the Cinque Terre towns. The quaint preserved town is bustling during the day, where tourists and locals wander through the narrow alleys that resemble a maze. People dine in dimly lit restaurants at night or sit by the small harbour, enjoying the quietness.

The best part about Cinque Terre is the hiking trail linking all five villages together. When you hike the trail, many viewpoints along your path will take your breath away. And if hiking is not your thing, get a day pass for the train that takes you through all five villages and La Spezia.

8. Ronda, Spain

I wasn’t even aware of Ronda until a hotel host in Seville recommended it. As the third most visited city in Andalusia, Ronda is a charming small little town and one of the best-hidden vacation spots in southern Spain. Even though Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting, tourists know Ronda as a beautiful town with panoramic views of the escarpment.

A quick stroll through the old town was a must. Then follow the signs and wander off to find the city’s best views. The trail takes you outside the old town and draws you into nature. When you look back towards the old town, you will see the whitewashed villages in the heart of Ronda.

The famed dramatic escapement is unique in its region. The Spaniards do their best to preserve their environment to the best of their ability. And the result is apparent. Ronda brings in many tourists from around the world and from different parts of Spain. The landscape is unique and truly one of the best places to go solo travelling.

9. Puebla, Mexico

During my last year in design school, I spent some time in Mexico to collaborate on a project with some students from Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México. But before class started, my best friend and I wanted to find hidden vacation spots in Mexico, and we discovered Puebla.

We went to Puebla because of the architecture in the city. While the old town has beautiful, colourful colonial architecture, modern buildings are starting to pop up in different pockets of the neighbourhood. As design students, we couldn’t help but visit the contemporary Hotel La Purificadora and its famous rooftop. We also tried classic Mexican dishes like mole poblano, visited beautiful churches and cathedrals and indulged in the vibrant arts-and-crafts culture scene.

We also wanted to off the beaten path, so we visited Cholula, one of the oldest cities in Mexico. Seeing the Popocatepetl volcano was high on our list, but between our lacklustre Spanish skills and our luck that day, we didn’t see the volcano and got lost somewhere. But somehow we made our way back to Puebla to continue our adventure.

10. Mui Ne, Vietnam

Mui Ne is located in southeast Vietnam, about five hours (by bus) east of Ho Chi Minh City and about five hours (by bus) just south of Nha Trang.

The small beach resort town is known for its gorgeous beaches, kitesurfing, seafood and two unique attractions: Fairy Stream and Sand Dunes.

The Fairy Stream is so surreal! You walk along the peaceful stream with golden-orange sand and rock formation. And at the end, there is even a waterfall!

And don’t leave Mui Ne without visiting one or both of the famous sand dunes. White Sand Dune is the bigger sand dune where you can sandboard and drive across the dunes with a dune buggy. Red Sand Dune is picturesque in every way.

Do you like discovering off the beaten track places too?

I love travelling and finding the best-hidden vacation spots that nobody knows about. It takes a bit of research and also talking to other fellow travellers. But the effort and all the research are worth finding the best-underrated travel destinations.

I hope this inspires your future travels! Is there one off the beaten path travel spot you want to visit? Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you for reading my post about solo off-the-beaten-path places

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I love the small towns that nobody knows about! I put together my top 10 off the beaten path places for solo travellers! Also, share it and pin it! #solotravel #travelsolo #offthebeatenpath
About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!


  • Andrea Mayfield
    May 26, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    This is such a great guide! and Sibenik is so amazing! love your photos!

    • queenie mak
      May 28, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks so much!! I love Sibenik! and Croatia in general 🙂

  • Laura
    May 29, 2018 at 5:04 am

    So much inspiration whether you’re a solo traveller or not. Always great to find out about some lesser known places!

    • queenie mak
      May 31, 2018 at 6:46 am

      Totally! I love exploring some of the lesser known places because there’s charm in every place. Thanks for your comment!

  • Bea Adventurous
    September 22, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    I feel the same! As I travel more, I’m wanting to just visit more off the record type of places!

    These are some fantastic locations and I’m definitely adding some to my list that i haven’t been to yet!
    Thank you for sharing your ideas and amazing photos!


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