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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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MONEY

How to avoid huge ‘roaming’ phone bills while visiting Italy

If you're visiting Italy from outside the EU you risk running up a huge phone bill in roaming charges - but there are ways to keep your internet access while avoiding being hit by extra charges.

How to avoid huge ‘roaming’ phone bills while visiting Italy

Travelling without access to the internet is almost impossible these days. We use our phones for mapping applications, contacting the Airbnb, even scanning the QR code for the restaurant menu.

If you’re lucky enough to have a phone registered in an EU country then you don’t need to worry, thanks to the EU’s cap on charges for people travelling, but people visiting from non-EU countries – which of course now includes the UK – need to be careful with their phone use abroad.

First things first, if you are looking to avoid roaming charges, be sure to go into your settings and turn off “data roaming.” Do it right before your plane lands or your train arrives – you don’t want to risk the phone company in your home country starting the clock on ‘one day of roaming fees’ without knowing it.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Italy this summer

But these days travelling without internet access can be difficult and annoying, especially as a growing number of tourist attractions require booking in advance online, while restaurants often display their menus on a QR code.

So here are some techniques to keep the bills low.

Check your phone company’s roaming plan

Before leaving home, check to see what your phone plan offers for pre-paid roaming deals.

For Brits, if you have a phone plan with Three for example, you can ask about their “Go Roam” plan for add-on allowance. You can choose to pay monthly or as you go. Vodafone offers eight day and 15 day passes that are available for £1 a day.

For Americans, T-Mobile offers you to add an “international pass” which will charge you $5 per day. Verizon and AT&T’s roaming plans will charge you $10 per day. For AT&T, you are automatically opted into this as soon as your phone tries to access data abroad.

READ ALSO: Seven things to do in Italy in summer 2022

These all allow you to retain your normal phone number and plan.

Beware that these prices are only available if you sign up in advance, otherwise you will likely be facing a much bigger bill for using mobile data in Italy. 

Buy a pre-paid SIM card

However, if you are travelling for a longer period of time it might work out cheaper to turn off your phone data and buy a pre-paid SIM card in Italy.

In order to get a pre-paid SIM card, you will need your passport or proof of identity (drivers’ licences do not count).

READ ALSO: TRAVEL: Why now’s the best time to discover Italy’s secret lakes and mountains

Keep in mind that you will not be able to use your normal phone number with the new SIM card in, but will be able to access your internet enabled messaging services, like WhatsApp, Facebook and iMessage. Your phone will need to be ‘unlocked’ (ask your carrier about whether yours is) in order to put a new SIM card in.

Here are some of the plans you can choose from:

WindTre

WindTre, the result of a 2020 merger between the Italian company Wind and the UK network provider Three, currently offers a “Tourist Pass” SIM card for foreign nationals. For €24.99 (it’s sneakily marketed as €14.99, but read the small print and you’ll see you need to fork out an additional €10), you’ll have access to 20GB of data for up to 30 days.

The offer includes 100 minutes of calls within Italy plus an additional 100 minutes to 55 foreign countries listed on the WindTre website. Up to 13.7GB can be used for roaming within the EU. The card is automatically deactivated after 30 days, so there’s no need to worry about surprise charges after you return from your holiday. To get this SIM card, you can go into any WindTre store and request it.

A tourist protects herself from the sun with a paper umbrella as she walks at Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome.
A tourist protects herself from the sun with a paper umbrella as she walks at Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Vodafone

Vodafone has had better deals in the past, but lately appears to have downgraded its plan for tourists, now called “Vodafone Holiday” (formerly “Dolce Vita”), to a paltry 2GB for €30. You get a total of 300 minutes of calls and 300 texts to Italian numbers or to your home country; EU roaming costs €3 per day.

Existing Vodafone customers can access the offer by paying €19 – the charge will be made to your Vodafone SIM within 72 hours of activating the deal. 

READ ALSO: MAP: The best Italian villages to visit this year

The Vodafone Holiday offer automatically renews every four weeks for €29 – in order to cancel you’ll need to call a toll-free number. The Vodafone website says that the €30 includes the first renewal, suggesting the payment will cover the first four weeks plus an additional four after that, but you’ll want to double check before buying. You’ll need to go to a store in person to get the card.

TIM

TIM is one of Italy’s longest-standing and most well-established network providers, having been founded in 1994 following a merger between several state-owned companies.

The “Tim Tourist” SIM card costs €20 for 15GB of data and 200 minutes of calls within Italy and to 58 foreign countries, and promises “no surprises” when it comes to charges.

You can use the full 15GB when roaming within the EU at no extra charge, and in the EU can use your minutes to call Italian numbers. The deal is non-renewable, so at the end of the 30 days you won’t be charged any additional fees.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

To access the offer, you can either buy it directly from a TIM store in Italy, or pre-order using an online form and pay with your bank card. Once you’ve done this, you’ll receive a PIN which you should be able to present at any TIM store on arrival in Italy (along with your ID) to collect your pre-paid card. The card won’t be activated until you pick it up.

Iliad

Iliad is the newest and one of the most competitive of the four major phone companies operating in Italy, and currently has an offer of 120GBP of €9.99 a month. For this reason, some travel blogs recommend Iliad as the best choice for foreigners – but unfortunately all of their plans appear to require an Italian tax ID, which rules it out as an option for tourists.

Contract

Though buying a pre-paid SIM card is a very useful option for visitors spending a decent amount of time in Italy, as mentioned above, there’s a significant different difference between buying a one-time pre-paid SIM versus a monthly plan that auto-renews.

Make sure you know which one you’re signing up for, and that if you choose a plan that will continue charging you after your vacation has ended, you remember to cancel it.

UK contracts

If you have a UK-registered mobile phone, check your plan carefully before travelling. Before Brexit, Brits benefited from the EU cap on roaming charges, but this no longer applies.

Some phone companies have announced the return of roaming charges, while others have not, or only apply roaming charges only on certain contracts.

In short, check before you set off and don’t assume that because you have never been charged extra before, you won’t be this time.

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