Shoulder season: the time between July peaks and the holiday rush, when the kids return to school and parents return to the office after summer breaks. This represents the perfect time to find fun places to go, especially for an unattached Gen Z set.
If you’ve got the itch to go, this is the time to strap on backpacks. Post escalating prices during travel peaks, the U.S. Travel Association’s index indicates lodging rates fell 3.3% in August. And according to an August 1 post from travel-booking app Hopper, domestic airfare will drop 25% this fall compared to May highs.
The question is where do you go? Well, Pinterest has your answer via The Manual. The social app collected trending travel data to reveal spikes in Pins pertaining to international travel, packing hacks, and less traveled destinations. Scrolling and pinned data shows that travelers are taking to the platform to find inspiration, tips, and hacks for upcoming travel plans. This includes 10 emerging less-traveled destinations for Gen Z wanderers. Instead of the typical spots, these 18- to 25-year-olds are hitting the roads less traveled.
Let’s follow along to discover some Pinterest ideas for some of the best less-frequented places to visit.
Paris? Provence? Pshaw. Instead of following footprints to over-traveled tourist destinations in France head to Annecy — the place voted by the French as the country’s best place to live in a two-year study.
The city sports a quaint, romantic Old Town that sits on the shores of Lake Annecy, one of the country’s largest lakes — crystal waters surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It’s easy to get used to a chill existence amidst old homes, cobbled streets, and winding canals fed by the Thiou River. The “Pearl of the French Alps” not only offers a relaxed, pedestrian-friendly style of life reminiscent of more bucolic times, but there is also endless adventure sitting just a few miles up mountain roads.
Close by to outdoor standouts Chamonix and Lyon, Annecy is also just 20 miles north of Geneva if you’re itching for cosmopolitan experiences.
If Caribbean sand and sun are more aligned with your style, it’s hard to do better than Punta Cana on the far eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.
Sporting an incredible 30-mile coastline — one of the region’s longest white sand coastlines — Punta Cana’s beach is lined with coconut palms, and edged by tropical blue water where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.
Punta Cana offers an almost perfect location for quick getaways, family travels, and long stays, if that’s your bag. Outdoor activities, family-friendly locales, and great party opportunities are available for all different types of travelers.
Over 70 hotels dot Punta Cana’s beaches, so access to the 70-degree water is often only a few footsteps away. Dive in for a dip, hire local guides to snorkel along reefs, or swim with dolphins. The city itself contains an incredible array of food, music, and history while the surrounding countryside beckons more adventurous treks.
If constant sun and consistent 80-degree weather sound like your style, Punta Cana is calling.
Predictably, Mozart’s hometown is one of Europe’s cultural centers. Scenes from The Sound of Music were also shot throughout the city, making Austria’s fourth-largest town maybe its most musical. Salzburg’s streets bustle with buskers, opera singers, and sonic performers of all stripes. These troubadours complement the city’s over 4,000 annual cultural events.
While music and merriment carry the day, the city carries an incredible record of its history as one of the few cities not to be destroyed during WWII, leaving its Middle-Aged streets intact. In German, Salzburg translates to “Salt Fortress,” so named for the white gold that first brought wealth to the municipality. To protect the town, leaders erected the fortress of Hohensalzburg, one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe, in the 11th century. Sitting atop a hill, the castle dominates the vista, lording over a maze of monasteries and Baroque churches below, many of which were built as a part of the Counter-Reformation in the 17th century.
To make sure the town is preserved for future generations, the city’s historic center was enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Nowadays, backpackers, vacationers, and all other types of visitors can take in an incredible mix of culture, history, and alpine surroundings just north in the German Alps.
Speaking of well-preserved towns, the walled old city in Dubrovnik, Croatia, attracts ten of thousands of visitors every year. The city is still off the beaten path of the most-trodden Continental tours and backpack routes, so travelers can earn an authentic experience in one of the jewels of the Adriatic Sea.
The site of several Game of Thrones scenes, Dubrovnik has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. You can eat lunch in a baroque palace under flying, Dark-Aged ramparts, and catch the sunset along one of many pebbled beaches along the Dalmatian Coast. Travelers of all types arrive in Dubrovnik for myriad cultural experiences — religious, literary, historical, and more. No matter what the motivation, Dubrovnik will fulfill curious minds and cure feet itching for new paths.
If the word ‘Bologna’ looks familiar, that’s no surprise. The Italian town is well-known as a seat for the country’s gastronomical scene. With a multitude of cultural opportunities in the town, most travelers still miss Bologna, however, for more popular options like Rome, Venice, and Milan. Too bad for them and more spoils for you.
A medieval maze of piazzas, palazzos, and basilicas greet city walkers in the food capital. Stop on the way for pasta, incredible art, and authentic music, and then stop for a show or tour at the University of Bologna, one of the oldest universities in the Western world.
Turkey — the crossroads of Eastern and Western worlds — is one of the more diverse cultural centers in the world. Antalya, a sprawling resort town on the country’s Mediterranean coast, is an ancient gem in the midst of a tourist boom.
Hotels sit in front of white sand beaches and the yacht-filled Old Harbor that populate the Turquoise Coast. This is the gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region, which hails back to Roman times when Antalya was a major port for the empire. Remnants from that age that remain include Hadrian’s Gate, built to honor the Roman emperor’s visit in 130 C.E.
In addition to this historical setting, stunning food that made its way from Asia to Europe and back again finds a wonderful home in Antalya. Families can settle into numerous water parks or Dolphin Land while trekkers can find adventure in waterfalls and hikes established thousands of years ago.
If you prefer your beaches away from the braying herds, Palawan might be your slice of heaven. A remote island in the Philippines, this natural frontier is only the beginning of a far-flung archipelago of more than 1,700 islands and islets. Palawan sits on the south end of the South China Sea, the sliver of an island that bursts with natural beauty and an old-school charm. Exotic aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, sleepy fishing villages, and dive sites evoke a peaceful, natural beauty. Travelers can spy endangered beasts at the Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary and explore Japanese shipwrecks off of Coron Island — one of the world’s best dive sites.
Only accessible by plane from the capital of Manila or bustling Cebu, planes land in Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital. This central location is a perfect spot to begin exploration, possibly beginning with the Underground River boat tour.
Pink Island, Indonesia
There are a number of pink beaches throughout the world and Pinterest doesn’t give any specifics as to which Pink Island this popular pick might be, so we’ll highlight the Pink Beach on Komodo Island in Indonesia. Yes, that Komodo Island.
Lying about a three-hour, 25-mile boat ride away from Labuan Bajo in Flores, Indonesia, it removed a 2019 ban from the island, declaring that tourists are not a threat to the world’s largest living lizards. There are actually several pink beaches scattered around Komodo Island making it one of the globe’s more unique places. You can’t stay there, however, so you’ll have to post up a Labuan Bajo for lodging or pay a captain for an overnight stay on his/her ship.
While there are a number of warungs (food stands) catering to visitors, Pink Island’s uninhabited, wild green hills make you feel you’re at the end of the Earth.
Reachable only by plane from Athens or a ferry from Killini or Patra, Kefalonia is actually the largest of the thousands of islands dotting the Ionian Sea.
Renowned for emerald-green mountains and sparkling, azure waters lapping up to chill beaches, Kefalonia had long been a popular Greek holiday spot before Captain Corelli’s Mandolin brought it to the big screen in 2001. Swim or hike the Black Mountain, so named for the black pine that grows nowhere else in the world.
Despite its seclusion, there is plenty of urban life to experience. Kefalonia’s capital city bursts with vitality on its old stone streets, laughter and liveliness cascading out from cafes, bars, and restaurants.
According to Discover Greece, Kefalonian natives are known for “being the wittiest Greeks — always ready with a joke, a smile, and a helping hand.” This laid-back, island-life attitude soon breaks even the most stubborn tourist’s facade, leading you to the carefree vibe indicative of an isolated life in the middle of the sea.
Baguio City, Philippines
Back to the East Indies we go, but this time it’s not a beach that we’re looking for, but the “City of Pines,” Baguio City. Located north of Manila on the west side of the Philippines’ Luzon island, this cool mountain town is stuffed with universities and resorts.
Particularly popular in summer due to alpine weather that’s rare in the tropical country, Baguio is a classic colonial capital. Despite its urbanity, these roots lie in the early 20th century, which gives Baguio City a rustic, romantic charm — a throwback to a time when civic pride elicited wide welcoming streets and inspired architecture.
At its center is Burnham Park, a sprawling green space sporting gardens and a lake. Close by, the Baguio Cathedral vibrates from a pink-tinted exterior. Session Road, the main drag through Baguio, is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
It doesn’t end here
When you’re stuck between a commute between home and office, or just simply haven’t left home in a while, the world can dwindle into a very small sphere. Take a step outside of your door, though, and you’ll find endless places to explore.
Gen Z is discovering this and revealing to everyone there is a multitude of places to go outside of the typical trail trodden by generations before. The Manual encourages you to try a new route. Be careful, though, the taste of adventure can be very quickly addicting.
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