There are many places in the world celebrated for their natural beauty, others for their architectural brilliance, and cities and museums which are visited for their cultural and historic importance. All of these places are popular tourist attractions and find themselves at the top of many people’s travel bucket lists or things to do, but there are also places that are unlikely tourist spots, yet they continue to grow in popularity.
For travelers who want something different, the big cities and the most popular world monuments are not going to excite because they have either seen them before or don’t want to visit something that’s hyped up. Instead, the more adventurous souls may search for something remote and isolated, a place that wouldn’t typically be on any travel list, or just something that’s downright odd.
Below are 25 unusual destinations; from natural wonders to interesting museums and sculptures, many of which, people have not thought to visit. From an English town in a suburb in China, or the Surrealist works of an English poet in the middle of nowhere in Mexico, to weird, albeit wonderful, attractions in the desert, or an alley with 20 years of gum lining its walls. If there’s one thing that traveling teaches, it’s that there is truly something for everyone.
25 The Exquisite Holy Trinity Monastery Is Situated Atop A Cliff
You would think that traveling to destinations which are hard to get to would not be a popular choice, but the Holy Trinity Monastery, located in Kalambaka, Greece, is a tourist attraction and listed by Get By Bus as one of the 10 most unusual places in Europe. And once you arrive, it’s not hard to see why, because the Eastern Orthodox monastery is built on the surface of a rocky precipice, many meters high.
According to Kalampaka, the monastery is believed to have been built between 1458 and 1476, and the architectural feat is definitely something to marvel at.
24 The Bermuda Triangle Is A Mysterious Place, And You Can Go On A Tour Here
A lot of really strange things happen in the Bermuda Triangle, and planes and boats have known to go missing, often without explanation. The triangle, for those who believe it exists (and it has been popularized by television and books), is located roughly between the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the east coast of the U.S., How Stuff Works reports.
And despite these mysterious events which are believed to have happened, people still want to travel within the triangle. In fact, there are even tours to make this a possibility, including the nighttime boat cruise run by Viator.
23 The Bubblegum Alley Is A Wall Where Thousands Of People Have Been Sticking Their Gum
It seems like an unlikely tourist spot, but many people come to Bubblegum Alley, too, as the name suggests, marvel at used pieces of gum. You can think of it as a bit of an art installation if you will, and the walls of the alley in San Luis Obispo, California, stands 65 feet long and 15 feet high, Business Insider reports.
For years people have been adding their gum. It’s strange (and a bit gross) walking through a walkway filled with chewed gum, but many people have done it and raved about it on TripAdvisor.
22 The Temple of Rats Feeds And Shelters Thousands Of Rodents
If you have a phobia of rats then you definitely do not want to find yourself anywhere near the Karni Mata Temple, also known as the Temple of Rats, located in Deshnok, India. According to The Planet D, the temple is home to thousands of rats, who are sacred to the people who worship here and the publication reports that the followers of the Charin clan believe that they will be reincarnated as rats, like the Goddess Karna Mata.
For this reason, the rats are protected here and provided with food and refuge. Visitors have rated their experience on TripAdvisor, and it seems that the reviews are varied.
21 The Beauty Of Badab-E-Surt Makes The Natural Phenomena Worth A Visit
Iran is not known for its booming tourism, but Badab-e-Surt may be attracting some visitors because it is so unusual. The natural site is located around 370 kilometers from Tehran and is a terraced hot spring, according to Culture Trip. It is made especially unique by the brilliant orange hue created by the iron oxide.
It’s not an easy destination to reach, but it’s one that those who have been had claimed is worth the effort, and if nothing else, it makes for a fantastic photo opportunity.
20 Denmark's Christiania Commune Is A Place With Its Own Rules -- And A Tourist Attraction
Freetown Christiania or simply Christiania is a commune in the borough of Christianshavn, located in Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen. Founded in 1971 by squatters, this commune is a semi-autonomous part of Copenhagen with its own laws and free of taxes, Visit Denmark reports.
The area is a car-free zone, and home to around 1,000 permanent residents. According to the publication, the cargo bikes in this area have since inspired Danish biking culture. But, perhaps more interesting than the fact that this commune is a home to many, is that it has become a tourist attraction to even more, even offering tours by the locals.
19 Japan's Cat Island Has More Felines Than Human Inhabitants
There is an island in Japan known as Cat Island, and considering how many feline inhabitants it has, it's not hard to see where the name came from. The real name of this island is Aoshima Island, and according to The Atlantic, there are more felines than people living on it (the ratio of cats to humans are six to one).
The small number of permanent residents not only have to share their living space with cats but now also tourists, as the island draws fascinated cat lovers.
18 Yemen's Isolated Socotra Island Looks Like An Alien Planet Filled With Brilliant Life
Yemen is not known for being the travel destination of choice, but there is a compelling reason to visit the country, Socotra Island. The island does not look like somewhere you’d expect to find on earth and is often referred to as “alien” in appearance because of the fascinating natural life, including the dragon’s blood trees, which Atlas Obscura reports look like flying saucers perched atop tree trunks.
There is also wildlife here found nowhere else in the world, and the only native mammal is bats. Reviews of the island on TripAdvisor are all excellent, with visitors remarking on how it is a place you will never forget.
17 There Is Actually A Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum In Texas
Many people are not really fans of cockroaches, but if ever you wanted to see them on display then the Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum, located in Plano, Texas, is probably the place where you want to do it.
According to Atlas Obscura, here, at this museum, you will find live hissing cockroaches, as well as taxidermied ones dressed up like famous celebrities or well-known historical figures. They are also given quirky names, for example, Liberoachi (after famous pianist, Liberace).
16 California's Glass Beach Is Nature's Beautiful Creation From Human's Trash Dump
There are many beautiful beaches in California, where tourists and locals alike visit to soak up the sun, but a more unusual destination is glass beach. According to California Beaches, the beach is located in MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg, and the name comes from the multiple pieces of smooth sea glass (which resemble pebbles) spread across the shores.
According to Panama Jack, the ocean was used by a trash dump by local residents, until a controlled dump was established nearby in 1967. After a massive cleanup, the beach was transformed into the popular attraction it is today, but it should be noted that it is illegal to take any of the glass from the beach.
15 Hobbiton Is The Place Where 'The Lord Of The Rings' Fans Can Visit The Shire
Fans of the The Lord of the Rings will definitely want to make a pilgrimage journey to Hobbiton, the home of the hobbits. The popular tourist attraction in Matamata, New Zealand, was scouted by Sir Peter Jackson’s team in 1998, and it was here that a crew started to build the hobbit holes which would be used for filming, Hobbiton Tours notes.
After filming wrapped, the site was transformed into what it is today, a destination offering private tours (starting in 2002) for those who want to explore the Shire.
14 In The Middle Of Nowhere In Mexico Is A Surrealist Art Garden Called Las Pozas
Las Pozas is located in the small town of Xilitla in Mexico, but what makes this town unique is that it is filled with Surrealist art. According to Atlas Obscura, Las Pozas was the creation of English poet, Edward James, who initially used the property for orchids and exotic animals. It was not until several years later, in 1962, when many of his plants were destroyed by frost, did he begin to transform the land into a sculpture garden.
A sculpture garden that, despite being located in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, is a popular tourist attraction, and an incredibly beautiful one.
13 Gabon Is Seeing An Increase In Tourism, Despite Being An Unlikely Destination
Gabon is not a country you typically see on the bucket list of many travelers, but the Central African country is filled with beautiful wildlife, National Parks, and rainforests, and in recent years, it is becoming a tourist destination. This according to The Telegraph, which notes that the country has been “tipped for a tourism boom." Although the poor infrastructure in the country affects the tourism, the country is working on making improvements and it has experienced a 7.3 percent in growth.
12 The World's Largest Salt Flats, Salar de Uyuni, Are A Logistical Mission
Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat (spread over more than 4000 square miles, Lonely Planet notes) is located in southwest Bolivia. It’s a destination that’s visited by tourists and its beauty is often remarked, especially after rainfall, when water covers the flats and transforms it into a mirror-like surface.
However, as beautiful as this destination may be, National Geographic notes that getting here can be somewhat of a logistical nightmare (note why it finds itself on a list of unlikely tourist spots) and that trips should be planned well.
11 Ethiopia's Simien Mountains May Lose Their UNESCO Title
Located in Northern Ethiopia is the Simien Mountains, which, according to About Time Magazine, are among the top 7 unusual travel destinations. It’s a destination that offers breathtaking views and interesting wildlife, and the area was granted UNESCO status for its outstanding natural beauty.
According to The Independent, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1978, but it could risk losing the title because of the poor infrastructure and habitat destruction. Although there are thousands of tourists that visit this region each year, their trekking options are limited and overused.
10 South Africa’s Big Pineapple Is An Odd Attraction And The World's Biggest Pineapple Building
There are many reasons to visit South Africa and it is a country rich in culture, heritage, wildlife, and all-around beauty, but the Big Pineapple is a strange tourist attraction in a country that has so much to offer. Located in the little inland town of Bathurst, in the Eastern Cape, you will find an odd attraction known as The Big Pineapple, and big it is, because the pineapple is 17-meter-tall, and according to CNN, is meant to represent the region’s pineapple industry.
And according to Atlas Obscura, it’s also the biggest pineapple building in the world.
9 Antarctica May Be Remote And Cold But It's A Destination Visited By Travelers
Mentioning Antarctica as an unlikely tourist spot is largely due to the extreme weather conditions that travelers face here, but also the mission involved in visiting a destination that is remote. But despite both of these things, Antarctica is a destination visited by many and offers many unique experiences.
Wandering Trader noted some of the best things to do while here include swimming in Deception Bay (which is a caldera of a volcano, and thus has water with warmer temperatures), as well as admiring the wildlife, or taking a cruise -- a small boat able to access the more narrow passageways.
8 Jordan's Ancient City, Petra, Was Left Undiscovered By Westerners For 1,000 Years
The city of Petra in Jordan was used as a backdrop for some of the scenes in the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was once a lost city, at least to the western world, with CNN reporting that after 1,000 years it was rediscovered by Europeans in 1812, and now Petra has become a tourist spot.
It was becoming one of the countries biggest tourist destinations, although it has declined in popularity since the first Gulf War.
7 Thames Town Is An English Town In China Complete With Authentic Lamp Posts
You may think it odd to travel to China to experience an English town, but Thames Town exists in the Songjiang District, southwest of Shanghai. The British-inspired city was created with actual lamp posts from Britain, the iconic red phone booths, and even a scale replica of Christ Church, Conde Nast Traveler reports. The entire project, created by the Shanghai Planning Commission cost $330 million, and although it’s incredibly unusual, it is interesting and has become an unlikely tourist attraction.
6 The Gum Wall Is One Seriously Germy Tourist Attraction
Much like Bubblegum Alley, the Gum Wall, in Seattle, Washington, has the same idea; attract people by creating a wall filled with different colors of gum (and thousands of people’s saliva). The concept is certainly nothing unique, but it is surprising to learn just how many people want to visit an attraction to stare at chewed gum, and this particular attraction is believed to have added to its gum collection since the ‘90s, Trip Savvy reports.
Visitors can add their own piece of gum to the walls, but be warned it’s not exactly a clean place, and apart from being cleaned once in 2015, the publication notes it has been listed among the five germiest tourist attractions.
5 The Gnome Reserve Is A Tourist Attraction With Acres Of Land
Some people love gnomes and their gardens are filled with them, and for most people, they don’t need to see more of these painted sculptures. But, if you want to, there is a Gnome Reserve in Devon, England.
The reserve was founded in 1979, and according to Visit Devon, out of the four acres of land, around half is home to wild gardens, and the other half dedicated to the collection of gnomes. Speaking of collection, Gnome Reserve notes that it has held the Guinness World Record for the largest collection and has regularly been featured on television.
4 Nebraska’s Carhenge Was Modeled After The Stonehenge Monument
Carhenge is not an ancient monument like Stonehenge, it’s more a graveyard for cars that have been created into an odd, albeit interesting, monument meant to resemble Stonehenge. Located in Alliance, Nebraska, just off of Highway 87, according to U.S. News, all of the cars used in the construction are vintage American cars, which have been painted gray.
But perhaps the best reason to visit is that it was built by a man named Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father, the Carhenge website notes. It’s free to visit, although donations are welcome.
3 The Winchester House Is A Sprawling Mansion With A Mysterious History
There is even a movie which has been made about the Winchester Mystery House, located in San Jose, California; The sprawling mansion was the personal residence of Sarah Winchester – the widow of William Winchester, the treasurer of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The home is almost like a bit of a maze, with multiple staircases which lead nowhere, hundreds of rooms, and 10,000 windows, and there are many theories as to why Sarah continued to the renovations of the home over the course of 36 years.
However, the most popular theory, as noted by Atlas Obscura, is that Sarah was haunted by spirits who had passed because of the Winchester rifles.
2 Giethoorn Is A Tiny Village Free Of Cars But Not Free Of Tourists
Many tourists visit the Netherlands, and it is a fantastic country, but there is one town that has become a rather unlikely tourist spot, and that is because it is a car-free zone. Giethoorn is located in the province of Overijssel and is home to old thatched buildings, beautiful small canals, and bicycle paths, and those who live here live a peaceful and remote existence.
According to Giethoorn Tourism, the loudest sound you can hear in the water village is a duck quacking, and even the postman delivers mail via a punt (a long, narrow flat-bottomed boat). The publication notes that the best way for visitors to the area to explore is via a canal cruise, and a limited number of tours are offered.
1 Salvation Mountain Was Built By One Dedicated Man, And It's In The Desert
Located in the remote Southern Californian desert is Salvation Mountain, which is not a mountain, like the name would suggest, rather it refers to a sculpture by Leonard Knight, which is covered in religious messages, U.S. News reports.
According to Atlas Obscura, the structure was created with some interesting objects, including old hay bales, paint, and window putty, and it has been the subject of a bit of controversy because the government wanted to tear it down. However, the publication notes that there was a petition to save the mound and declare it as religious art.
References: Conde Nast Traveler, TripAdvisor, Visit Devon, Gnome Reserve, Get By Bus, Kalampaka, Atlas Obscura, Winchester Mystery House, TripAdvisor, Business Insider, Trip Savvy