Want to get out of the routine and enjoy an outdoor adventure in an almost unknown location? Well, in Skyscanner we suggest some of the best nature destinations to discover.
We are fortunate to inhabit a planet that provides us with a variety of ecosystems in which to disconnect from everything and surrender to Mother Nature. Many of them appear in the tourist brochures of countless agencies, but there are still other treasures that enjoy some secrecy.
At Skyscanner, thanks to the fact that we have millions of flight search data, we want to help you find those natural destinations that people don’t usually think of. National parks, forests, lakes, and mountains that are under the radar, but just as good (if not better) than others that everyone travels to.
If you liked our articles on little-known cities, beaches, and faraway places, you’ll certainly also enjoy reading these alternative suggestions for the most visited natural destinations:
1. Do you like Istanbul? Explore the uncharted mountains of Dajti National Park in Tirana, Albania
Dajti National Park is located about 25 km east of Tirana, which features one of the most accessible mountains in Albania.
Although it may be one of the best nature destinations to discover for foreigners, this mountain has been a recreational and stress reliever for residents of the Albanian capital for decades.
Tirana residents take the cable car to reach the top of the altitude after a fifteen-minute ride. There are picnics, kids play and you can enjoy a great view of the city.
To find the true natural beauty of this national park, it is essential to leave this crowded area behind and venture into the valleys and cliffs.
That will be when you find an interesting network of trails that will take you to explore areas covered in pine, oak and beech forests and blankets of wildflowers. As for the animals, if you walk carefully, you might be able to run into some wild cats, brown bears, hares, wolves, and foxes.
If you want to try other types of outdoor experiences, you can also rent horseback tours or take a mountain bike tour.
2. Do you like Edinburgh? Discover the myths and nature of Loch Ness and the Cairngorms National Park in Inverness, Scotland
Although it must be admitted that Loch Ness is a very well known place in the world, the truth is that most of the people who visit it only stay there for a few hours.
However, less than 60 km from the famous “Nesi” house, is Cairngorms National ParkOne of the best natural attractions in the Scottish Highlands.
The first stop on your journey will take you to see Loch Ness. This dark mirror of water is very deep – more than 200 meters – and is the largest in the country.
The surrounding landscape is particularly wild and green, punctuated only by a few sleepy villages and ruins Urquhart Castlea small 13th-century castle that was burned by the English in 1692.
The most popular activity on Loch Ness is taking a boat across its waters in the hope of seeing the head of its most famous inhabitant: the Nessie monster. Maybe you will be lucky!
As for the Cairngorms National Park, we recommend that you book at least two or three days to explore the mountains, forest trails, lakes, rivers, charming villages and distilleries.
We present to you a fact that can give you an idea of the beauty of the place: the park is home to five of the six highest mountains in the UK. An authentic Scottish landscape hidden in anonymity.
3. Do you like Copenhagen? Discover waterfalls and hot springs in Peneda-Gerês National Park in Porto, Portugal
In northwest Portugal is one of the best natural destinations to discover. It is the only national park that our neighboring country cherishes: Peneda Gerais Park.
Its expanse is quite large – just over 700 square kilometers – so you will need at least 3 or 4 days to fully explore it.
In doing so, you will find a wonderful reward in the form of winding mountain ranges, many rivers, waterfalls, lakes, forests and small towns where time seems to have stopped.
The complete network of tracks allows you to run an infinite number of tracks of different distances and levels of demand.
The best time to enjoy all the natural beauty of Peneda-Gerês National Park is during spring – when flower beds cover the valleys and rivers flow in heavy flow – and in early fall, when temperatures are still pleasant and the forests are tinted in myriad shades of red, orange and ochre.
It is very hot in the summer, but you can take a good refreshing bath at the many lagoons, waterfalls and river beaches (such as those in Ilha do Gerês, da Ribeira or do Bar).
In addition, we advise you to visit the cities of Vila do Gerês, Cabreiro and Lindoso, and if you want to relax, be sure to try the thermal waters in Termas do Gerês.
4. Do you like Oslo? Discover ultimate relaxation on the Gothenburg Islands in Sweden
Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city by population. However, close to this urban center of nearly 600,000 people is one of the best nature destinations to discover in Europe.
It is a beautiful archipelago consisting of more than twenty islands categorized into two regions: north and south.
It can be visited throughout the year and there is something for every type of traveler.
If you do not have much time, it is better to focus on the southern islands, as they are closer to the port of origin. Plus, you can’t drive in, which adds a point of relaxation and nature to the experience.
However, those in the north also have a very positive side: they are much less crowded.
Donsö Island is one of the largest islands in the south. Climb to the top of Radarberget hill and you will enjoy a wonderful view of the entire archipelago. Also in the south, the small island of Knarrholmen offers quiet beaches where you can swim and relax.
Of the northern islands, it is worth highlighting the natural beauties of Hebeln and Kalffsund, while in Halsø you can find the remains of ancient temporary fishing camps.
Take a boat trip, relax on the beach, take a bath or treat yourself at the spa Spa One of the best things to do in the Gothenburg archipelago.
5. Do you like Geneva? Discover European forests and wildlife on Vitosha Mountain in Sofia, Bulgaria
Outside Sofia – just 15 km from the center – is Vitosha Mountain, whose summit is about 2,300 meters above sea level.
he Vitosha Nature Park It covers about 26,000 hectares and is home to two biosphere reserves, Bystrechko Branište and Torfino Branište, where you can admire the native fauna and flora from the region.
Not surprisingly, Vitosha is the oldest natural park in the Balkans, founded in 1934.
The mountain is the green lung of the Bulgarian capital, and serves as a refuge when the summer heat hits. Locals take advantage of it to cycle or walk, while in winter they go skiing.
Exploring its many trails – there are routes accessible even in winter – you’ll find forests of beech, oak, ash, pine and fir.
If you like birds, here you can see, among other species, hawks, eagles and black storks.
As for mammals, it is not uncommon to see deer, wolves, foxes, martens, and even a bear. The most fauna-rich part of the park is Bosneshki karst.
In addition, there are also rivers, waterfalls and caves, including Duhlata, which has 17 km of galleries and is the largest in Bulgaria and attracts speleologists from all over Europe.
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6. A place between Europe and Africa: Pantelleria Island, Italy
About halfway between Tunisia and Sicily, there is one of the best natural destinations to discover: the island of Pantelleria (or Pantelleria, in Italian).
This Mediterranean island – considered a Sicilian island, despite being some 85 kilometers off its coast – has a volcanic origin that can be seen on its rugged surface.
As you drive through Pantelleria, you’ll see ancient lava flows, wild coves, rocky outcroppings, and unmistakable Mediterranean vegetation constantly harassed by the wind. Those same winds are revered by enthusiasts of some water sports such as sailing, Kite surfing And Windsurfingall of which are very popular among travelers who come to the island.
As for the beaches, they provide ideal water for diving, and on the surface you will find rocks and pebbles, as sandy beaches are visible in their absence. This, if possible, gives her a somewhat more brutal appearance.
If you’re not going to be basking in the sun, you can walk Pantelleria’s many nature trails, explore Montana Grande Nature Park, bathe in the thermal waters – of volcanic origin – of Venus Mirror Lake, or stroll through the quarters of old peasants, the living history of the island.
However, don’t stress yourself out with too many plans. Life in Pantelleria goes at a different pace.
7. Retro Resort in Morecambe, UK
And we leave until the end of this list of the best natural destinations to discover a place that may surprise you: the English seaside town of Morecambe.
This small town in the county of Lancashire has undergone a profound transformation in recent years.
For decades, Morecambe has been a favorite seaside destination for the people of northern England. Its Victorian homes, Art Deco architecture, and long beaches with beautiful and historically extensive sand dune systems have been its biggest claim.
Now, the city is seeing how major investments are being made to improve its park and gardens and achieve ambition Eden Projectwhich plans to open (in 2026) a futuristic space with outdoor and indoor attractions.
In Morecambe you can go hiking, water sports and enjoy nature to the full at AONB (An area of outstanding natural beauty) to Arnside and Silverdalewhere you will find small hills covered with deciduous forest – where ash, oak and hazel trees predominate – interspersed with stretches of grass.
As for the gastronomy, Morecambe’s fresh seafood and fish are famous throughout the UK, which you can try in restaurants such as Edmondsons Fresh Fish.
And the other thing you can’t miss in the city is wine on the sea. It is a family-friendly festival, inspired by the creative wealth of the 20th century, that celebrates the brilliance of Morecambe’s design, fashion, art, vehicles, entertainment and culture.
* At the time of writing this article, prices for tours in July and August to the mentioned places are cheaper than tickets for the most popular destinations. As these prices fluctuate, we at Skyscanner cannot confirm this to be the case when performing a search.