Elbowing for selfie space at the Eiffel Tower and joining the hordes on Thailand’s beaches are passé. The latest kid on the block is undertourism, where travellers ditch popular honeypot destinations for lesser-known, and at times remote, counterparts. By Adila Matra

1. Go skiing at Gudauri, Georgia

Undertourism

It is time to swap the Alps for the Caucasus. For your next ski holiday, head to Gudauri, an emerging resort town with smooth snow slopes and splendid views of the Caucasus. Located in the Kazbegi region of Georgia, 120 kilometres from the capital city of Tbilisi, Gudauri is perched at a height of 2,196 metres. Adrenaline junkies can try paragliding, speed riding (an extreme mix of skiing and paragliding), and heli-skiing, apart from skiing. Gudauri is relatively new in the tourism circuit, so you don’t have to worry about long queues or jostling fellow travellers. Offering up to 1,500 metres of vertical drop, the resort has something for every level of skier—from beginners to experts. Cottages and hotels are also mushrooming in the town. Hotel Club-2100 is located two minutes from the ski lift and offers rooms with excellent views. gudauri.info

2. Explore history in Tirana, Albania

Undertourism

The capital and largest city of the Republic of Albania, Tirana is largely unexplored. While decades of Stalinist rule and the subsequent collapse of Communism painted a sad picture of the city and kept it away from itineraries, the capital has turned its weakness into its strength successfully—relics of the old regime, grey and abandoned, stand against new colourful constructions in Tirana now. Explore one of the many castles in the city, scale the mountain of Dajti, discover the city on a cycle, and dine in traditional restaurants. And since the locals are always curious about tourists, they might even invite you in for a cup of coffee or a rakija (a plum brandy). visit-tirana.com

3. Dodge the beach crowds at Lombok, Indonesia

Undertourism

Ditch the overcrowded islands of Indonesia and head to this lesser-known one that offers isolated beaches, friendly people, and tasty food. For avid trekkers, there is Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia’s second-highest volcano, which dominates Lombok’s topography. Party buffs can head to Gili Trawangan. It is known for beach parties, hostel bars, and beachside cocktail joints. Kuta, a town on the south coast of the island of Lombok, is known for its many beautiful beaches and surfing spots. The island also offers luxury hotels like The Oberoi Beach Resort, Lombok (oberoihotels.com) and Hotel Tugu Lombok (tuguhotels.com). lombok-tourism.com

4. Discover Kuélap, older and higher than Machu Picchu in Peru

Undertourism

Sometimes referred to as ‘Peru’s second Machu Picchu’, Kuélap was once home to the Chachapoyas, also known as the ‘warriors of the cloud forest’. Massive stone walls and hundreds of ruins still stand tall at this dramatic Incan site that is older than Machu Picchu, and higher. And while almost 1.4 million people swarm Machu Picchu every year, Kuélap, located on the slope of the Andes in northern Peru, is by and large virginal. Recently, a cable car was installed to take tourists to the ruins located 3,000 metres above sea level. The site resembles a fortress and has around 400 buildings that cover an area of almost 65,000 square metres. peru.travel

5. Explore the cultural riches of Lviv, Ukraine

Undertourism

Ukraine is almost never on the top of anyone’s bucket list. Everyone is either talking about how unsafe the country is, owing to the recent political upheaval, or not talking about it at all. But there is at least one reason why it should be on your radar—Lviv. A perfect example
of undertourism, Lviv is the largest city in Western Ukraine, located around 70 kilometres from the country’s border with Poland. This UNESCO-listed city reminds one of the Central European cities such as Prague, minus the army of tourists. Cafe-hopping, museum trails, and architecture that blends Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, and Classical styles—Lviv is
as much a walker’s city as it is a cultural treasure trove. lviv.travel

Handpicked by A-list

Shoba Mohan Founder, Rare India

Bhopal:

Two Unesco World Heritage Sites within driving distance, an extraordinary tribal art museum, and a great cultural calendar.

Puducherry:

Bustling culture of cafes and boutiques, and the world-famous international township of Auroville.

Related: Ditch The Capitals! Second City Travel Is The Latest Trend