7 Up-and-Coming Adventure Travel Destinations for 2010

Posted on December 2, 2009 by

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to dream about where you’ll be exploring in 2010 – there have been lots of changes in travelling trends over the past few years. Instead of popular spots like Italy and Thailand, travelers these days are searching for something different, something new and refreshing.  Beat the crowd and check out these up-and-coming countries before everyone does!

1. Iceland

Hot springs, giant glaciers and vast volcanic areas, Iceland’s mystical air has placed it tops on many adventure travelers’ list. 2010 is the year to visit it. With the recent financial crisis leaving Iceland close to bankruptcy, the country’s currency has fallen drastically and so have prices. It is now much cheaper to travel to Iceland, and what better way to help revive its economy?

There’s plenty to see – from soaking in bubbling spring water in Reykjavík’s famous Blue Lagoon to watching spouting whales in Húsavík. The island’s real beauty lies in the rural areas where bohemian villages and nature co-exist. Iceland Air flies from 25 airports in Europe, U.S. and Canada.

Flickr photo by pocius


2. Israel

What used to be associated with war and political issues, Israel is slowly stealing the limelight as a country diverse in culture, landscapes and history. You could be at the trendy beaches of Tel Aviv, the next day in world’s holiest city, Jerusalem and within a few hours, on a 4X4 desert tour through  Mitzpe Ramon. Israel, unlike how people perceive, is a relatively safe place to visit.

With the opening of a new museum in Tel Aviv, travelers will have another reason to visit Israel.  “Revealing the Hidden City’”,  an innovative project put together by 300 volunteers, is designed to preserve historic photos from Yafo. These photos along with thousands of artifacts will be displayed in the new History Museum. You can book cheap flights to Tel Aviv from several destinations in the U.S. and Europe.



3. South Africa

World Cup 2010! It’s catching the attention of many as the host city of the important sporting event. But that’s not just it. South Africa is famed for a gorgeous coastline, vibrant cosmopolitan cities, side by side with world-class national parks teeming with wildlife.

Most visitor’s first stop is Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Within a day, you can explore isolated Zulu villages or spot some wildlife at acclaimed Kruger National Park. Then go further afield to the snowcapped peaks of the Drakensberg Range and hop over to the lush subtropical coast of KwaZulu-Natal. South African Airways link Johannesburg to many major cities around the world.


4. Bhutan

Having been listed as the World’s Happiest Country, Bhutan has gained overnight fame. In 2010, it’s also become tops on the list of many adventure travelers’ list. But most do not know that visitors have to pay a minimum of US$200 per day, making it one of the world’s most expensive countries to visit.

The ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is a religious place – people come to find their spiritual selves and seek for a peace of mind. Explore the early Buddhist sites in the cultural heartland of Bumthang Dzongkhag or hike to the world’s famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery , precariously perched on a rock face. For many trekkers, Bhutan holds a world of opportunities to explore and hike.


5. Slovenia

Having only gained independence in 1991, Slovenia is coming into its own. As one of the smallest countries in Europe, it’s almost half the size of Switzerland. The Alps stretches to East Slovenia; the area nicknamed the ‘Sunny side of the Alps’. With a mixture of Mediterranean climate and mountain breezes, it offers more diversity than many other European countries. Slowly gaining popularity, many travelers are ditching its neighbours – Croatia, Hungary and Austria, for Slovenia.

Lake Bohinj is the country’s number 1 attraction. The idyllic calm Alpine lake beneath Mount Triglav is picturesque: its image appearing in postcards and websites. Ljubljana, its capital, is the country’s gateway, reachable by several budget airlines.


6. Morocco

As one of the most visited North African countries, Morocco has always been a favorite among European tourists, thanks to the proximity. These days, the rest of world also has its eyes on this intoxicating country. No longer though of as the far and mystical land somewhere in the Middle East, Morocco is making itself known to the world.

Bridging Africa and the world, the country brings the isolated Sahara deserts and the high Atlas Mountains close to you. Get wonderfully lost in Marrakech’s endless souks, or surf the huge waves along the Atlantic Coast in Essaouira. Catch a ferry from the tip of Spain or fly Easyjet from London.


7. Burma/Myanmar

Having been boycotted and ostracized by the world for years, travel warnings to Burma were lifted only a few years ago. A country that has remained a world apart, Myanmar holds on to what many other places have lost – an unpretentious self. This time-warped country is perfect for travelers seeking adventure in a lost world: a chance to be the first explorers.

Catch sunrise at Bagan, admiring the 4000 sacred stupas that are scattered across the plains.  Drift down the Ayeyarwady in an old river steamer, or bum around Ngapali Beach. Drift along Ngwe Saung on the blissful Bay of Bengal and trek through pine forests to minority villages around Kalaw – it’s a raw country to uncover.


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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

30 Responses to “7 Up-and-Coming Adventure Travel Destinations for 2010”

  1. Bhutan December 3, 2009 3:28 am #

    Thank you Nellie for the interesting guide. Bhutan is certainly one of THE places that allows oneself to reflect within and an exotic destination. It is an inward journey as much as it is an outward journey. Visit us. Happy Travels~

  2. Slovenia-Walking December 3, 2009 8:10 am #

    Oh my! I'm spoilt for choice with your great list. Slovenia I know very well and I just cannot stop going back there. One of our favourite places there is the Soča Valley, especially Trenta which lies deep in the Julian Alps. For a different side of Slovenia, try the vineyards of Jeruzalem in eastern Slovenia – a rural paradice!

    Iceland (I love the image) is high on my list, probably followed by Morocco and Bhutan.

  3. Top vacation spots December 3, 2009 9:53 am #

    There are so many places to visit once in a life. Here you can list most famous places in entire world. In all of them I really like to visit Slovenia. Slovenia is a small country this is a part of the Roman Empire. Slovenia is situated in Central Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean .There are wide varieties of landscapes in small spaces like Alpine in the northwest, Mediterranean in the southwest, Pannonian in the northeast and Dinaric in the southeast with the wider varieties of habitats.

  4. brian December 5, 2009 7:55 pm #

    I had no idea Bhutan was that expensive. That pushes it down my list but I love the nickname.

    Visited Morocco and found it to be magnificent. The Djemaa el Fna square in Marrakesh has great food. Love that strong mint tea!

    I think Brazil is going to see more action in 2010, especially now with the Olympic announcement.

  5. Nellie December 5, 2009 9:54 pm #

    Brian, I was actually going to include Brazil in my list! They are even starting to organize tours into the favelas now (imagine that). Marrakesh's one of my favorite cities in the world, I'm actually in Morocco now!

    Thanks guys for all your comments.

  6. HimalayanEscapes December 6, 2009 3:22 pm #

    Thumbs up for the compilation, but there is more to it than meets the eye, so to speak.

    I must say that this article can be quite misleading, especially the Bhutan section, as is evident from BRIAN’s post above. When it says, “visitors have to pay a minimum of US$200 per day, making it one of the world’s most expensive countries to visit” it entirely leaves out the other side the equation, which makes the description incomplete.

    Bhutan, unlike most countries, prides itself on being a trend-setter in “sustainable tourism.” What people do no realize is that the $200 per per person per night tariff is ALL-INCLUSIVE (hassle-free travel). It is NOT just the visa fee; in fact, it comes with tour planning (flexible itinerary) by a local tour operator, all accommodations (3-4 star equivalent), all meals, tea & snacks, all transportation (4WD SUV or Toyota Coaster bus) with driver, trained guide, all entrance and permit fees.

    What the tariff doesn’t cover is cost for beverages, gratuity, travel insurance and other incidental costs.

    So you virtually don’t spend a penny more. There is simply no hidden costs unlike most other destinations that, on the face of it, may seem less expensive.

    • Nellie December 9, 2009 4:17 pm #

      Hi there, thanks for pointing that out. I actually intended to include that the $200 is all-inclusive but it slipped my mind. Apologies for that.

      I just wanted to reiterate that for budget travelers like myself and Brian, it is still considered rather costly as compared to traveling in other countries in South America or South east Asia. Still, I'm sure the cost of traveling does not impede people from visiting. Thanks again for your input!

  7. Dave and Deb December 11, 2009 5:03 pm #

    I was just talking to a lady tonight in the Beach in India about Iceland. It is her favorite place on earth. btw, she is from Isreal, your number 2 pick on the list. pretty cool.
    We loved Bagan. Catching sunrise was beautiful there, but we didn't see any balloons when we were there. That was 2004 though, oh how quickly things change. South Africa is definitely an adventure destination and one of our favorites! We are hoping to get to Bhutan on this trip and your photo has made me want to go even more. Great list and yet more destinations to add. It is never ending.

  8. Dee Andrews December 12, 2009 7:01 pm #

    Beautiful pictures! I am recently home from a week in Morocco with my family (husband and two young daughters) and it was a wonderful, magical, overwhelming-in-a good-way experience! I highly recommend it. We traveled over the Atlas Mountains and into the Sahara too. Bhutan and Slovenia look wonderful, really all of your list! Thanks for sharing and encouraging!

    • Nellie December 13, 2009 9:41 am #

      Hey Dee, thanks for sharing. Yes, Morocco is also one of my favorite places in the world, I just returned from a trip to Morocco as well, didn't get a chance to visit the Sahara though, but I'm hope I'll be back soon enough. Thanks again for dropping by!

  9. Nellie December 16, 2009 10:00 am #

    I based the list on my own observations and opinion. Let's these destinations with their neighbouring countries that are receiving huge volumes of tourists everyday – Myanmar vs Thailand, Slovenia vs Italy, Bhutan vs India, Israel vs Egypt… You get the picture. I'm looking at it from every traveler's point of view (including tour package holidaymakers), unlike the usual destinations like Italy and Thailand where there are literally more tourists than locals at some areas, these spots are still relatively new to many travellers.

  10. nomadic matt December 16, 2009 5:23 am #

    Nellie, how did you come up with this list? Seems like pretty much all of those countries have tons of tourists per year flock to them.

  11. Aaron Schubert December 16, 2009 1:43 pm #

    Wow! That just about describes it. Those pictures are stunning, especially the one of the village on the cliffs.


  12. Anil December 21, 2009 12:14 pm #

    I just left Iceland and was really impressed with all of the outdoor activity to do there. The prices too vary wildly but there was a 'much cheaper' option for most things with a bit of research. That said, once their economy improves a bit I can see Iceland getting very expensive again.

  13. kevin December 21, 2009 3:25 pm #

    Nice pics, great spots.. wish I saw Panama make the list.. maybe its in the top 10

  14. flip January 1, 2010 9:23 pm #

    the pictures are so amazing!!! especially the picture of Bagan!!!

  15. Michela February 8, 2010 9:15 am #

    Find the report about Myanmar very inspiring…the pict is lifting my heart! 3 of the listed countries have been on my list for a while, South Africa, Morocco (only have been to Casablanca) and Myanmar…hope I'll manage to visit them sometimes in the future. As for Slovenia, since I used to live in Triest I can highly recommend: an ideal place for those who love trekking in a beautiful and peaceful nature sceneray. Thanks for sharing this!

  16. Tanzania Safari February 8, 2010 2:39 pm #

    When I saw South Africa in the list, I was jumping for joy. The wildlife and scenery there is incredible.

  17. Thailand Breeze March 31, 2010 11:34 am #

    There is so much to see in the places you listed.

    I love both Israel and South Africa.

    Israel has got all the history you could ever dream of, while the nature in South Africa is wonderful!

  18. Wahyu Wijanarko October 24, 2010 4:13 am #

    Don't forger Bali, nice Island at Indonesia

  19. Dina November 10, 2010 11:03 pm #

    Another great ideas to where to go next year!

  20. Life for Beginners November 14, 2010 11:02 pm #

    My vote is for Bhutan. So beautiful and spiritual. I can imagine an experience I've never had before there – and isn't this what us travel junkies are after, in the end? :)

    Thanks for sharing, dear.

  21. Tanzania Tours February 21, 2011 6:28 pm #

    South Africa is fantastic. I am proudly South African, and would recommend anybody to come here. Visit Cape Town. It's fantastic. Actually, there are only a few places on the coast that aren't beautiful (there are one or two); the rest is beautiful. Then there's the Karoo too. Beautiful.
    Tanzania is a fantastic destination too. Africa is a beautiful destination ;-)

  22. safaris in tanzania March 17, 2011 5:51 am #

    7 places to ' must visit' in the world. Bhutan in particular has amazed me. I want to be honest that I have never heard of that place and do not be surprized. The place looks so amazing!!!

  23. Insight Travel September 3, 2012 5:07 pm #

    Let me know how much it costs to travel to Iceland,the place looks beautiful and worth visiting.I have been to South Africa and i must say that the place is gifted by nature.You will get a chance to see lots of wildlife.Thanks for the information and i love the site.


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