You don’t need us to tell you the world is a big place. Though it seems like we’re getting ever more connected, there are still plenty of opportunities to get off the grid. Itching to dive deeper into Argentina’s gaucho country, Italy’s under-the-radar ski towns, Japan’s most incredible art site, or Thailand’s unspoiled beaches? These 4 destinations you probably haven’t heard of should be next on your bucket list.
Located four hours from Tokyo by train, Naoshima is far from Japan’s typical tourist circuit, but this cluster of islands in the Seto Inland Sea draws hardcore art aficionados trekking out to see Yayoi Kusama’s polka-dotted pumpkin, James Turrell’s Open Sky installation, and an art space by Walter De Maria at the Benesse Art Site Naoshima. The Benesse Foundation is responsible for revitalizing this cluster of once-polluted islands with contemporary art.
This charming Alpine village a three-hour drive from Milan has pretty much everything you could want: ski slopes, ancient thermal hot springs, a quaint town center where you can sample a smorgasbord of cheeses at the local cheese shop, and a 19th-century distillery that produces the Alpine amaro Braulio using native herbs from the region. Stay at the QC Terme Hotel Bagni Vecchi, where you’ll feel like you woke up inside a postcard and can soak in the thermal baths, or fulfill your Wes Anderson fantasies at sister property QC Terme Grand Hotel Bagni Nuovi, a palatial pink confection that looks like something the quirky director dreamed up.
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
This charming town in southern Bohemia feels like a storybook village and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bisected by the Vlatava River, it’s got a 13th-century castle on a hill, a picturesque town square, and well-preserved Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic architecture. It’s also home to the Egon Schiele Art Centrum, which showcases modern and contemporary art in addition to works by the famed Czech artist.
This pristine lake and the quaint Bavarian towns surrounding it might be Germany’s best-kept secret. Less than an hour outside of Munich, it’s a favorite summer vacation spot for wealthy Germans, who come to enjoy the fresh air, pastoral setting, and historic beer gardens like Schlossbrennerei. The scenic route along the autobahn makes for the perfect road trip.