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Five beautiful places you probably haven’t thought of visiting

Get off the beaten track and plan your next trip to one of these less-frequented destinations, as chosen by our community of travel lovers.

Five beautiful places you probably haven't thought of visiting
Photo: Steven Lewis/unsplash

We recently launched a group on Facebook in partnership with Lufthansa, calling on members to share travel tips, stories and inspiration. It’s tempting to share every single post but for now we’ve handpicked five that showcase some of the more unusual destinations recommended by our community.

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Presenting five beautiful and slightly more out-of-the-ordinary places we sense will quickly creep to the top of your travel wish list.

1. Jordan

See Terhi Vallineva’s group post here.

Who

Terhi Vallineva

Take a look at Lufthansa’s city guide to Amman, Jordan

When

February 2018

Who did you go with?

I was travelling with my 16-year-old son. He was obviously excited to walk in Indiana Jones’ footsteps!

Why did you choose Jordan?

I love to explore countries and places I’ve never been before and I was interested in the Middle East.

See Terhi Vallineva’s group post here.

What was your overall experience?

Jordan is quite an expensive country but we managed to stick to a low budget by bargaining down the price of tours. The local taxi drivers were willing and open to negotiate and we are actually still friends with the driver we had our trip with. The food was amazing and we tried to stick to the local dishes to get familiar with Jordanian food culture. We also brought a lot of local spices back home.

What was your favourite part of the trip?

Take a look at Lufthansa’s city guide to Amman, Jordan

The most unforgettable experience was the night in Wadi Rum desert. We stayed in a humble bedouin camp. Our host was singing songs by the fire while we were enjoying bedouin tea under the stars.

What advice would you give someone planning a trip to Jordan?

I recommend travellers to go and explore and keep their minds open. Jordanian people are big-hearted and we felt welcome everywhere we went. Respect the culture and religion and you will be respected as well.

2. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

See Francesca Baggio’s group post here.

Who

Francesca Baggio

When

August 2018

Have a read of Lufthansa’s Split city guide

Who did you go with?

My boyfriend and two friends

Why did you choose Plitvice Lakes?

We were visiting the stunning city of Split in Croatia and, on our way to the capital Zagreb (which is a really nice city as well), we wanted to see one of the amazing natural areas of Croatia.

What was your overall impression?

We bought the entrance ticket for the afternoon since we had a tight budget. The park is really huge and I would recommend to buy the full day ticket and spend an entire day there. There are plenty of picnic areas and inside the park there are buses and an electric ferry that make it easier to visit the entire area, which is 296.85 km2.

See Francesca Baggio’s group post here.

What was your favourite part of the day?

The big waterfall was really amazing but the park itself is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

Check out Lufthansa’s Zagreb city guide

What advice would you give people planning to visit Plitvice Lakes?

I would say to take an entire day to visit it and to stay in one of the B&Bs in the area. Being summer, it was really full of people so it’s important to pay attention in order to not fall into the water. Instead of visiting during the summer, I think it would be better to visit during the spring or autumn.

3. Bosnia

See Jenn Fuller’s group post here.

Who

Jenn Fuller

When

March 2018

Who did you go with?

This was a solo trip.

Check out Lufthansa’s city guide for Sarajevo, Bosnia

Why did you choose Bosnia?

At the end of March I made the spur-of-the-moment decision to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia. Whenever I travel, I always look for something non traditional and more exotic. I was browsing ‘things to do’ on TripAdvisor and I saw a full-day tour to Mostar, visiting the Old Bridge and Turkish House, with a stop at Kravice Waterfalls in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

See Jenn Fuller’s group post here.

What was your overall impression?

The first stop was Kravice Waterfalls; it is truly majestic and so worth a visit. The next stop was the city of Mostar, where we were transferred to a local Bosnian guide. She was amazing. The tour was extremely informative and I highly recommend it. It’s very enlightening and will change your perception of Bosnia.

Check out Lufthansa’s city guide for Sarajevo, Bosnia

What was your favourite part of the tour?

The attractions themselves are quite beautiful. The turquoise river that runs through the city under the Old Bridge is breathtaking. The Turkish house is beautiful and has original artefacts inside.

What would you say to other travellers considering Bosnia?

Go with the guided tours. They are low-cost, informative and rewarding. The Old Bridge is quite slippery on dry days, so wear comfortable shoes with good traction!

4. Malta

See Nowshir Fatima’s group post here.

Who

Nowshir Fatima

When

December 2018

Who did you go with?

My husband and two daughters (9 and 1.5 years old)

Take a look at Lufthansa’s Malta travel guide

Why did you choose Malta?

We thought of any sunny warm place in Europe to visit and get away from Swedish darkness and make the most of Christmas vacation. We have been to Spain, Italy and Greece before so were looking for somewhere different. So we picked the small English-speaking country of Malta.

See Nowshir Fatima’s group post here.

What was your overall impression?

Our expectations weren’t wrong. It was sunny and not that cold (almost like May in Sweden). Public transport was cheap and there are restaurants everywhere. People are nice and friendly to tourists. Though it’s very small, I felt it has a unique character; the different language, Mdina glass and smell of the sea all create a memorable experience.

Take a look at Lufthansa’s Malta travel guide

Where was the best place you visited?

The first place that springs to mind is the Blue Lagoon and Comino. Blue Lagoon is just unimaginable – no touch of modern life. It’s really wonderful in Mdina and my daughters loved the chocolate factory in Buggibba. Of course, you mustn’t miss going around Valletta.

What would you say to others planning a trip to Malta?

I suggest not to drive, it’s better to take public transport. Since it’s small you can go around the island in a short amount of time. But as a family with a small kid, we took a longer pause at different places. Whatever you do, you will like this island any time of the year.

5. Tbilisi, Georgia

See Elena Maximiuc’s group post here.

Who

Elena Maximiuc

When

Christmas 2018

Who did you go with?

A good friend

Why did you choose Tbilisi?

My friend, who is Russian, wanted to visit.

Check out Lufthansa’s Tbilisi city guide

What was your overall impression?

My impression is that Tbilisi breathes history. Tbilisi comes with lots of colours and lots of offers like cheap food and cheap transport. Every second building there is a hotel, then a coffee shop, then a pharmacy…! It’s not clean but it’s not dirty; almost everybody speaks Russian and it’s the first city where I have not heard my language, Romanian.

Where was your favourite place in Tbilisi?

It’s hard to choose a favourite place. Tbilisi is heaven for photography, and I love photography! Anywhere I turned my head there was a ‘postcard’ shot. The Old Town is fabulous, all the markets, people selling everything! The hanging sweets made out of some kind of jelly filled with nuts, all the amazing handmade rugs, paintings, cheap souvenirs, local wine. They are very proud of their wine and for 15 euros you can go on a private wine tasting tour and see some beautiful places.

What would you say people planning a trip to Tbilisi?

Go there if you are seeking authenticity! It’s one of the cheapest destinations. A taxi from the airport to town is about €7-8 ($8-9), so you can imagine how cheap the rest of the trip will be! I only needed €200 ($227) spending money on my 7-day trip and I went to restaurants, had street food, wine, champagne and bought souvenirs! Tbilisi is an extraordinary place.

See Elena Maximiuc’s group post here.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Lufthansa.

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TRAVEL

IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images

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