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The coronavirus pandemic has upended life as we know it — travel in particular. But a global lockdown hasn’t made us any less curious about the world and its treasures. What it has done is force us to rethink the kind of traveling we want to be doing in the future. Big cities have fallen out of favor (for now). So too have Instagram-famous natural landmarks like the Matterhorn, Niagara Falls and any other place crawling with sightseers.

These seven under-the-radar destinations check all the right boxes. They’re lesser known yet no less breathtaking than their more popular brethren. Yes, they demand considerable time and effort to reach. But that’s the point — if it were easy, everyone would go. From a storybook spring in Serbia to a vertigo-inducing guelta in Chad, this lineup serves as both inspiration for your next epic vacation and eye candy until you can actually embark on that journey. Wherever you wind up, stay safe and send us a postcard. With any luck, we won’t see you there.

Photography by Michael D. Moran

Laguna Colorada


Part of the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, Laguna Colorada is a Dalí-esque vision: a vast crimson lake dotted with rare puna flamingos.

Photography by Zodebala/iStock

Gunung Mulu


This hard-to-reach Malaysian national park boasts raging rivers, yawning canyons, dazzling waterfalls, jagged limestone pinnacles and the largest cave chamber in the world.

Photography by Will Gard

White Sands

United States

At New Mexico’s White Sands National Park, wind-rippled snow-white dunes stretch as far as the eye can see. (Believe it or not, you’re still in America.)

Photography by Gilles Martin/Getty

Aldabra Atoll


Dubbed the “last unprofaned sanctuary on this planet” by Jacques Cousteau, the Seychelles’ Aldabra Atoll is the second largest coral atoll on earth, yet one of its least visited.

Photography by Creative Family/iStock

Krupaj Spring


A romance novelist couldn’t conjure a more idyllic setting than Serbia’s Krupaj Spring: a waterfall and egg-shaped pond with ducks bobbing on its mirror-like surface.

Photography by Guenterguni/Getty

Guelta D’Archeï


For centuries, nomadic caravans have stopped to water their camels and donkeys at this oasis set amid Chad’s otherworldly Ennedi Plateau.

Photography by Joe Shutter

Scoresby Sund


Not only is Scoresby Sund the world’s largest fjord complex (complete with calving glaciers and sunbathing seals), it’s also right next door to the biggest reserve on earth.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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