Collected by Kristin Zibell , AFAR Local Expert
It may be something that only the locals know, or an undercurrent of art, or a place that a wrong turn reveals, or the best view. A place's "Secret Spots" are hard to find and show its tender belly. It's also a place that a visitor wants to hold on to, but it's so ideal, that it's very hard to, indeed.
Raja Katra, Jorasanko, Kolkata, West Bengal 700007, India
While traveling around India I learned to expect the unexpected. Every turn delivered a surprise. When I was in Calcutta, a traffic jam forced my guide and I to abandon our tax ride to the Marble Palace. As we stumbled out the cab door we found...
Tomtom Mahallesi, Tosbağa Sk., 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Ara Kafe offers delicious food, and it's filled with oversized prints by the master, plus a case full of his books. One of the inexplicable joys and surprises of a recent trip to Istanbul was the privilege of touring Ara Güler's private gallery. I...
Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
My sister and I ducked into Brussels' Bozar museum to seek refuge from the rain and noticed that the lobby was littered with scattered pieces of hanging blue film. We were intrigued as to the meaning of the unlikely art installation and were...
222 Main Rd, Claremont, 7708, South Africa
Via Privata Adelchi, 5, 20131 Milano MI, Italy
Birrificio Lambrate is a well-kept secret in Milan, a city that generally prefers bitter cocktails to beer. The microbrewery opened its second gastropub just outside the city center last year. It’s already much loved for its free happy-hour...
Rue Yves St Laurent By A-Maps، Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Located on a quiet side street, in the upscale neighborhood of Guéliz, is a garden called Marjorelle. The garden is named after its creator, Jacques Majorelle, a French born artist who settled in Marrakesh in 1919 to continue his career as...
17680 Tenedos/Çanakkale, Turkey
In the Aegean Sea, not far off the west coast of Turkey is the little-known island of Bozcaada. Here, time stands still in the most nostalgic of ways. Old men gather in town square to play backgammon over tulip glasses of Turkish tea, shops open...
Costa Rica 5852, C1414 BTJ, Buenos Aires, Argentina
This is one of my favorite images, as it showcases how street art in Buenos Aires has reached new commercial heights. This is not some random wall! Tegui restaurant commissioned street artist Cabaio/Stencil to bombard the outside of their locale...
Pátio de Dom Fradique 14, 1100-624 Lisboa, Portugal
Some might see Palacio Belmonte as one of the most veiled secrets in Lisbon and the history of the place is the story of Portugal itself. It is the oldest building of its kind in the city, the Palace was the residence of the Marques d'Atalia,...
Malapascua Island, Daanbantayan, Philippines
I feel like I'm betraying a well-guarded secret by telling people about this secluded slice of paradise, but it's bound to be discovered sooner or later. Malapascua, a tiny little island off of Cebu's northern tip in The Philippines, is known as...
St Dunstan's Hill, London EC3R 5DD, UK
In the midst of bustling London a friend of mine surprised me with a gem of a place surrounding the picturesque ruins (walls, no roof) of a church. An intimate, romantic garden with–in case you didn't guess the picture–an INSECT hotel! Its...
Oosterdokskade 143, 1011 DL Amsterdam, Netherlands
This is not a secret to locals, but off-the-beaten path (but still not too out of the way) is a place with a surprisingly tasty dinner for under ten euros. It's the library cafeteria. But seriously: That bowl of Thai noodle soup with...
Balcarce 946, C1064AAT CABA, Argentina
The Parrilla Tour is a fun way to be introduced to secret neighborhood parrillas in Buenos Aires. On the food tour you go to 4 different authentic restaurants, sample foods at each, and learn about the cuisine and culture of Argentina. There are...
Souk Ahl Fes, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
If vintage photography is your thing, you can't miss Marrakech's Maison de la Photographie. And if a collection of 3500 photographs about Morocco between 1870 and 1950 doesn't make you swoon, you should still go. Because the Maison has a secret...
Lavender St, Lavender Bay NSW 2060, Australia
Over the past 15 years, Wendy Whiteley (known as the "goddess muse" and wife of one of Australia's most famous artists, Brett Whiteley) has lovingly restored a once derelict piece of land, owned by the NSW Rail Corporation. It's a magical place to...
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
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