25 BEST PLACES YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF
The "next great places"? We asked the people who explore for a living--for companies such as Starbucks, W Hotels, Trader Joe's, and Lonely Planet. Get ready for a serious case of wanderlust (not to mention job envy).
A recent discovery is the Julian Alps in Slovenia: "Hiking there is a much more lonesome experience than hiking the Alps in other countries," says Miller. Triglav National Park encompasses nearly the entire Julian Alp range, preserving the 324-square-mile landscape of jagged peaks, sparkling lakes, traditional huts, and views of the Gulf of Trieste. The huts come with a full dinner, as well as beer and bedding. Bohinj Tourist Association: 011-386/4-572-3370, bohinj.si, huts from $16.
There's not a whole lot to do in the Spanish town of Algamitas. The slow pace and overall sense of timelessness have earned it and nearby Villanueva de San Juan the moniker "the forgotten villages." "You see maybe three cars in a day," says Francesco Guerrieri, a marketing executive at Exodus who visited in May.
The draw is Cortijo Rosario, a farmhouse owned by Anne and Bill Brett, a British couple. It has two studio apartments (each with a small terrace and kitchen) and eight rooms. Fruit trees, cacti, and bougainvilleas bloom around the pool. "You really feel at home," says Guerrieri. The food helps: The cook makes traditional Andalucian food entirely with local produce.
Guerrieri reminisces about dining on the terrace, walking through fields of wheat and sunflowers, and exploring the Moorish-influenced cities of Seville, Córdoba, and Cádiz, each two hours away. Dramatic peaks, gorges, and caves fill Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, just beyond the town of Grazalema, one of the area's pueblos blancos, known for quaint whitewashed houses. Cortijo Rosario: 011-34/955-957-351, cortijo-rosario.com; apartments start at $44 (three-night minimum). Rooms must be booked through Exodus, whose all-inclusive packages start at $850 (plus a local payment of $250). The Málaga airport is just over an hour away.
Unlike its neighbors on the southwest Turquoise Coast, Kas has no beach, and Daniel Jackson, sales manager for Exodus, believes this has staved off the "mainstream holiday makers" that gang up on nearby resorts.
Pronounced cash, Kas makes a terrific base for exploring the entire region, whether you're scuba diving, rafting the Dalaman River, tandem paragliding, canyoning, swimming, or mountain biking through pine forests. "We go sea kayaking over the sunken city of Kekova," says Jackson, who returned in July for his third visit in three years. "The water is clear and clean, and you can see the walls of the city beneath you." A handful of adventure operators cluster on the main street leading to the docks, where there's a lively outdoor bar and restaurant scene. The harbor is a 10-minute walk from the hilltop Oreo Hotel. Oreo Hotel: 011-90/242-836-2220, from $55.