For other people, travel planning conjures up images of lounging on pristine tropical beaches, shopping Paris’ couture shops, or booking the latest boutique hotel. If you’re looking for cheap flights, four star hotels, or recommendations on Tuscan cooking class getaways, the web is your oyster. But for those of us whose idea of a good time includes brain collections, abandoned prisons, or the odd descent into catacombs - not so much.
All of us at Atlas Obscura have favorite go-to books, blogs, magazines and web sites that we turn to when we are planning a trip. Earlier in the week on Twitter and Facebook, we hit up our friends and followers to help us compile a list of alternative travel resources. To make the cut they have to offer unusual advice and/or cover odd places & strange passions.
Unusual Online Travel Guides & Odd Destination Blogs:
Secret London - A treasure trove of under-seen and overlooked sites.
Odd Things I’ve Seen - We love JW Ocker’s New England based travel oddities blog.
Google Sightseeing - A terribly addictive way of conducting armchair travel recon.
Nothing To See Here - A blog after our own hearts, documenting little-known sites all over the world (but mostly UK).
Pilot Guides - We have their online resources for historic sites and odd festivals bookmarked in our “must see” folder.
Sound Tourism - “Interesting sounding plces and acoustic phenomena to visit”.
Stinky Maps - Track scents as you travel, map them and compare your findings with others.
Opacity - Gorgeous photo inspiration for urban explorations.
Geek Atlas - “128 place where science comes alive”.
Weird US - Books & website dedicated to strange places & spooky lore across America.
The Great Wen -A London-based blog with an inspiring mixture of history and place.
Discovering London - Another great London-based blog full of surprising overlooked places.
Curious Expeditions - An in depth look at the historic and odd and historically odd places and collections in Europe from Atlas Obscura’s co-founder Dylan Thuras & Michelle Enemark.
New Goth City Dark & spooky activities beyond the nightclub in New York City.
Zinester’s Low-No-Budget Guide to Portland - A map-based guide to all things cheap and free in Portland.
Eccentric America - “Weird, Wacky, and Outrageously Fun Things to See and Do in the USA”.
Roadside America - Odd & kitchy tourist attractions around the USA.
Obviously there’s a lot of terrific travel books out there, but if you are looking for destination guides (rather than travel narratives), there’s only a few that we have found that fit the bill:
Weird Europe: A Guide to Bizarre, Macabre, and Just Plain Weird Sights - This book is a little old at this point for a travel book, but you’d be hard pressed to find a more complete catalog of odd places to visit in Europe than this.
Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets - Related to the website above, the Weird US titles are a bit hefty to travel with but are great to inspire wanderlust.
Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations - We are fascinated by Micronations - teeny little principalities left over from the days of city states as well as self-declared republics and pirate radio stations. Good stuff.
(For more reading material recommendations from our book-nerdy team check out this earlier post Atlas Obscura Gift Guide - Bookshelf)
We’re always looking for like-minded blogs, travel guides, books, and projects. If you know of one we’ve missed, let us know in the comments! And remember, you can join the conversations any time on Twitter or on Facebook. We’ll be compiling more resources to come