Mariel Norton, Content Manager   10 June 2016

This is the McWay Falls, near Big Sur in California. Picture Don Graham CC 2.0

Every country has its famous landmarks - but what’s probably more interesting are the hidden gems you only get to hear about through word of mouth.

The staff at WorldRemit come from a mix of different cultures and nationalities, so we asked them about the places they tell their friends to visit. Here’s what they came up with.

Manel Bourkaib, CRM Executive: Taghit, Algeria

Who fancies building a sandcastle? Picture: Angeoun CC 2.0

Born in Algeria, I have a lot of love for this country - especially the landscape of Taghit: a small oasis in the western Algerian desert.

In just 30 minutes you can climb to the top of the highest sand dune, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Grand Erg Occidental (the Western Sand Sea, the second largest field of sand dunes in Algeria).

The landscape is simply breathtaking, and as it’s so quiet it gives you a chance to lose yourself in the scenery, as well as making you feel you’re the only person for miles around.

Sandra Van Der Reest, CRM Manager: Giethoorn, The Netherlands

Who needs cars when you can get around by boat? Picture: piotr iłowiecki CC 2.0

Coming from Holland, there are a lot of wonderful places to choose from - and I may be biased, but for me one of Europe’s best kept secrets is located in the Netherlands. 

Giethoorn is a village where no cars are allowed and the only way to commute is by boat – which is why it’s no surprise it’s known as the Dutch Venice. 

Situated in the Dutch province of Overijssel, it’s the perfect respite when you want a break from city life!

Ben Leong, Head of PR: Nagapuri, Malaysia

Nagapuri is situated on the beaches in Sabah. Picture: Atiqah Aekman W. CC 2.0.

Being half-Malaysian, I spent a couple of years there growing up - and it was actually my uncle who introduced me to Nagapuri.

A beach retreat in Sabah, Malaysia, Nagapuri is not too far from the state capital of Kota Kinabalu.

It’s a beautiful wooden house along with a few simple chalets on its own private beach. You can stay there for very little money and best of all, the owner will do all the cooking.

You can BBQ, have drinks, play your music or even make a bonfire, all in a hidden paradise away from prying eyes.

Iain Mackenzie, Head of Communications: The bar with no name, Istanbul, Turkey

The bar with no name (literally!) sits in the heart of Istabul. Picture: szeke CC 2.0

It was a Turkish friend who recommended this little treasure.

The best cocktails this side of the Bosphorus, or either side of the Bosphorus. 

Not only does it not have a name, this hole-in-the wall hangout is also pretty small, so it’s easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

But wow - is it worth taking the trouble to find.

Expect hipster beards behind the bar, with chief beard being Alex Waldman - who’s almost as interesting as the drinks he mixes. A globe-trotting trained film-maker who settled in Istanbul and set out on a quest to perfect the art of the cocktail.

You need to judge for yourself if he’s achieved that.  But, spoiler alert… he has.

Nuria Garcia, Head of Display Advertising: Philippines, Siquijor

A retreat in a beautiful setting. Picture: Ishtar CC 2.0

I’m a keen diver, and one of the best places to go diving is the Philippines. During my travels there, I came across the Visayas region - where there’s a small island called Siquijor that offers some of the best ocean views in the Philippines. 

The legend goes that magic, sorcery and witchcraft still take place in the island. It’s also home to a butterfly sanctuary where you will find some incredibly big butterflies flapping around you.

Stephania Basso Silva, Display Manager: Brazil, São Miguel das Missões

This historical landmark is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Picture: Kátia Goretti. CC 2.0

Coming from Brazil my family were keen for me to learn more about my roots. When I was younger, my parents took me to the São Miguel das Missões. Located in the deep south of Brazil, these ruins are from the 17th century where many Spanish Jesuit priests lived. The mission, as it is known, was named by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.

There you will find several trails where you can explore nature at its best. This mission is part of the Caminho das Missões, which consists of old missionary roads connecting several missions throughout this part of Brazil.

What are the hidden gems near you? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

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