We’ve spent all year searching meticulously for the very best unique, local, responsible experiences in incredible locations, so that you don’t have to. As 2019 draws to a close and a new decade of discovery and exploration beckons, we’ve put together a little list of some of the most exciting new destinations, and the amazing things you can do there with us.
So get those feet itching, and take a look at what’s new for 2020 at Not In The Guidebooks. Take a look at what’s truly authentic, what’s hidden from the tourist trail, and where you’re heading next.
Sizzling temperatures, streets flooded with buzzing mopeds and plodding camels, smoking food stands and vibrantly coloured markets, Jaipur is a sledgehammer on the senses. Within the swirling chaos of winding alleys and bustling streets, you can find oases of calm.
These generally seem to come in the form of impossibly majestic temples, dignified ancient forts and serene floating palaces that seem to rise out of the dust and madness into their own peaceful, spiritual atmosphere.
We’ve delved into this treasure chest of vibrant culture, rich heritage and stunning food scene, and have pulled out a few gems for you.
A truly authentic, local take on Jaipur’s food is a great place to start. Uncover the favourite street food snacks, local hotspots for eating, and Jaipur’s undisputed specialities on a food tour that takes you deep into the maze of ancient streets. Hidden gems, the resident’s favourites, this tour isn’t showing you the side most tourists find, this is Jaipur’s food as the locals know it.
Every now and then, it helps to escape the city walls and breathe a little easier in the wide-open rural spaces that surround Jaipur. For this, try out the Sambhar Salt Lake Trail, an experience that gets you out in the country, far from the crowds of tourists and the bustle of city life, to endless horizons and authentic, traditional villages often unexplored by visitors to the city.
Take in the incredible sight of Sambhar Salt Lake, cycle the rugged terrain to stunning viewpoints, and relax with an Indian tea on a tour that shows you an alternative side to life in Rajasthan.
Crackling with energy, steeped in an epic history and faintly echoing of a dark recent past, Krakow is undoubtedly one of Europe’s gems. An architectural treat, Gothic spires and graceful Renaissance facades line the narrow, cobbled streets of pastel-coloured houses and shops.
It’s a city with as many unique experiences as it has atmospheric bars and cutting-edge restaurants. Whether it’s taking the tram to otherworldly Nowa Huta, a dystopian collection of brutalist concrete blocks with a fascinating history, or strolling through the cobbled lanes of the Old Jewish Quarter to find lost stories and poignant memorials, Krakow’s charm lies in it’s hidden corners and surprises that have the ability to delight and horrify in equal measure.
There’s plenty to do beyond the confines of the city as well. Head out on our wooden architecture route, a journey into the untapped, un-touristy countryside. Make the most of a local guide leading you to hidden villages and idyllic settlements of beautifully crafted wood, for an experience you wouldn’t get from your standard tour operator.
Morocco is one of the most exciting destinations we’ve really tapped into this year. A land of endless desert and shifting sand dunes, of towering mountains and far-off, abandoned fortresses watching guard over empty mountain passes, of idyllic golden sand coastline and thriving, seething cities, it represents an endless source of opportunity for adventure.
From the whirling pit of bustling souks hawking fragrant spices, glittering lamps, exquisite carpets and incredible street food to the tall minarets and peaceful courtyards of the mosques and palaces, Marrakech is a brilliant place to begin your journey of this country that boasts such variety.
Head out with our new partners to discover lush valleys nestled in rugged unforgiving mountain valleys, traditional Berber communities perching on sheer, plunging cliffs in the shadow of the soaring, snow-capped Atlas Mountains, or lost fortress cities with ancient winding lanes and creeping staircases.
The highlight for us however, has to be an adventure to the incomparable Sahara Desert. A limitless, perpetually shifting sea of rippling, towering sand dunes under a blindingly blue sky, there’s nowhere like the biggest desert in the world to help you feel like you’ve really got away from it all.
Camp out with Nomadic communities in traditional Berber tents, your campfire offering the only light for miles underneath a clear black sky, studded with countless stars.
Naples is often overlooked as a destination in Italy, and it’s exactly because of this that a trip to this gem of a city can be so rewarding. Bubbling with passion and sitting underneath the dramatic Mount Vesuvius, Naples is a beautifully crafted, ancient maze of stairways and narrow alleys, with fantastic examples of truly authentic Italy, undiluted by tourism, waiting around every corner.
Even in Italy, Naples’s cuisine stands out above all the rest. Everything here is about indulgence, the highest quality, freshest ingredients, and a whole lot of love. Set out on our Unusual Street Food Tour and enjoy everything great about Italian cuisine: silky pasta dishes, beautifully cooked seafood, intriguing street snacks and, of course, simple, incomparable pizza.
As with all our favourite destinations, Naples isn’t a city that just ties you to its beautiful architecture and addictive culture. There are some fascinating experiences awaiting beyond the cities boundaries, including the iconic Pompeii and stunning vineyards.
But we offer something a little different. There’s no arguing that the mafia have had huge influence in this part of the world, and you can join us on a truly fascinating tour exploring the history and impact that the notorious group has had on Naples, and continues to today. You’ll meet individuals who have dedicated their lives to fighting back against the mafia. The tour takes place somewhere ubiquitous to Naplolitan culture, a mozzarella farm, which is in fact, an example of a seized asset, taken from the mafia.
If any of these destinations or experiences sound tempting to you, whether it’s a unique tour revolving around a criminal organisation, a journey to authentic villages and heat blasted salt lakes, camping in vast deserts or delving into a shady communist past, then don’t hesitate…
Get out and experience what the world has to offer today.