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The Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan is a remote but beautiful location

There is a certain appeal to visiting tourist attraction favourites, like the Eiffel Tower and the London Bridge and Taj Mahal. They are known the world over, and seeing them in person is always more awe-inspiring and memorable than looking at photographs. The experience is part of the appeal. There is something special about seeing a breathtaking view or spectacular small town that few other travellers have had the pleasure of seeing themselves. If the latter sounds like the kind of adventure you want, read on for ten of the most spectacular and secret spots to visit.

Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Paro Valley, Bhutan

The location has been blessed as one of Bhutan’s most sacred religious sites. The holy site was built to protect the cave in which Guru Padmasambhava, a leader of Buddhism, meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours. Hanging off the edge of the cliff, the monastery is open to the public between 8am-1pm and cameras aren’t allowed inside, so to see the beauty within the monastery, you’ll have to visit yourself.

Aescher, Switzerland

The Aescher hotel is so high up on the Appenzell Alps that you have to hike or get a cable car to reach it. The hotel was carefully built into the side of the mountain back in the 19th century, and has been nicknamed 'Berggasthaus' or 'Mountain-Guesthouse.' The hotel consists of many large rooms where you can lay sleeping bags down. Simple, but stunning seems to be the theme of Aescher, where the scenery will have your head spinning—in a good way.

Þingvallavatn Lake, Iceland

Volcanic islands are just the beginning of the geological wonder found in the Þingvallavatn Lake. Deep below the surface of the lake within the massive Þingvallir National Park is the tectonic boundary between North America and Europe. Certified (and extremely lucky) divers can swim in between the tectonic plates of these two continents, which is getting 2 centimetres wider every year. It is called the Silfra fissure and is one of only two places on the planet where you can physically see the effects of drifting tectonic plates.

Leather Souq, Fes, Morocco

Morocco is a beautiful place full of colour and life, and chances are, surrounding yourself by a messy and smelly place isn’t on the top of your travel wish list. In Fez, however, you’ll find a place that’s worth putting up with the stink. The Leather Souq, still in use today, is the oldest leather tannery in the world. The colours, textures and people who work here are amazing, and as you tour the area, you’re guaranteed to be struck by the raw beauty of the space.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

Both pronouncing and getting to Ittoqqortoormiit can be difficult, but putting in the effort to get there is absolutely worth it. With a population of just under 500 people, and its name translates to 'Big-House Dwellers.' Spot wildlife all over the region amidst this beautiful, colourful and picturesque town. It will take a plane to Greenland and helicopter beyond that to get to this little town which sits by the longest glacial river system in the world.

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California, USA

You’re used to hearing about 'stunning white sand beaches' and 'glorious, rugged and rocky beaches' but chances are you’ve never heard or seen a beach with sand that often includes tons of sea glass for visitors to enjoy and hunt through. Glass Beach is a beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California and while the reason the glass exists is not a pretty picture (years of dumping garbage into an area of coastline near the northern part of the town), the end result is significantly more beautiful.

Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece

On the outside of this cave in Greece you’ll be surrounded by forests, but once you are inside, there is an amazing cave that opens and is filled with crystal clear water. Melissani Cave is located on the island of Kefalonia and according to Greek mythology, nymphs (female nature spirits) inhabited this amazing cave and lured men in with their beauty. After you see how amazing the place is in person, perhaps you’ll better understand where the myths came from.

Mount Ai-Petry, Crimea, Ukraine

Welcome to one of the windiest places on Earth. Mount Ai-Petry is located on the Kastron Mountain in Ukraine, and offers amazing landscape photos when you look at the magnificent peaks. But it’s a whole different experience when you climb to the top and get an unbeatable view of the entire south-eastern coast of Crimea. To get there, you’ll have to take a cable car, and one part of the path is completely 'unsupported.' It’s unlike anything else in Europe.

Chichilianne, Rhone Alpes, France

When you think of Chichilianne, you will instantly think of the breathtaking Mont Aiguille which towers over the quaint small town in France. The unusual rock formations are enough to draw your eyes, but in stark contrast with the small Chichilianne at its base, the scenery becomes even more unusual.

Haiku Stairs, Oahu, Hawaii, USA

Known as the Stairway to Heaven, this fairly unknown hiking trail can be found on the island of Oahu. The trail is steep and the trail can become treacherous at points depending on the weather conditions, visibility and more. The trail ends when you come across the antennae station. They were used back in the First World War to communicate with naval fleets and if you reach the summit as the sun rises, you’ll be treated to amazing views of the island.

If you’re feeling the itch to get on the road and go somewhere new and exciting, try any of the ten spots listed above. You’ll be among very few travellers who have seen the hidden beauty that each of these spots has to offer. Don’t forget to prep before you leave and consider a travel insurance plan with worldwide cover so that no matter where you wander or what new treasures you discover, you’ll have help from Cover-More Travel Insurance.

Image courtesy of Flickr user avinash singh