You may have already made travel plans, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any room for spontaneity. Sometimes you may find that you really connect with a group of people or a person in particular, and you end up veering off the beaten track to explore otherworldly and whimsical places. This is the beauty of travelling!

So, with this in mind, and with my vast knowledge of travelling wisdom (and the fact my friends travel for a living) here are some of the lesser-known but best places to visit in Winter.

  • Vancouver

spotted-lake-british-columbia

Vancouver is bristling with natural beauty, raw mountainscapes and quaint forestry. Although the Canada is vast, there are some places that you simply cannot neglect. The Spotted Lake in British Columbia is one of the most remarkable lakes in the world because of the water architecture it creates. During the summer, the lake evaporates leaving concentrations of minerals resting on the lake bed. The minerals shift in size and colour ranging from blue to green to yellow and can be seen floating atop the tranquil lake. Whilst you cannot access the land due to it being tribal land, the surrounding views are more than adequate.

  • Northern Ireland

giant-causeway-northern-ireland

Ireland will always make the must-see travel list due to its incredible history, culture and how it harbours one of the most phenomenal architectural phenomena’s in the world.

Sixty million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption gorged out a vast amount of molten basalt, which then solidified and contracted as it cooled. This was the birth of the intricate architecture you see today. Roughly 37,000 polygon columns make up the World Heritage site, local legend claims that the structure was created by a giant.

  • Philippines

chocolate-hills-bohol-island

Thailand is arguably the most dominant place for both casual tourism and the travelling enthusiast. This year, however, I urge you try something different. Within the lush and vast islands of the Philippines, you will find Bohol, home to roughly 1700 conical hills that dot the centre of the island. The hills get their due to the foliage turning brown during the dry season, making nearly 2000 chocolate hills!

  • Hangzhou

water-town-wuzhen

Hangzhou has recently caught the eye of world media as they successfully hosted the G20 Summit in 2016. Hangzhou is home to the most historic and atmospheric water towns in all of Asia. With a long and troubled history regarding the four pest crisis, Hangzhou has dispelled this problem of the past and is appropriately being recognised once again for its beautiful water metropolis.

The town includes museums dedicated to the history of the water towns, such as exhibitions demonstrating their old way of life in the town and other local folk performances such as shadow plays, Huangu Opera, martial arts, boat performances and bamboo pole climbing. This is a location that truly captures the ageing essence of China and something you cannot skip!

  • Atacama Desert, Chile

hand-in-the-desert

Mario Irarrazabal is responsible for this ambiguous hand rising out of the sand in the middle of the Atacama Desert. He is known for working on the topic of human suffering, and whilst this may not be a well-known tourist location, it’s location and ambiguity of the monument is sure to hold a permanent place in your mind.

With so many countries around the world make this winter extra cosy by taking a flight to one of these destinations.

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    About Connor Hughes