Some getaway destinations are simply not what they’re cracked up to be: You may get a change of scenery, but it's not easy to actually get away from people. Having little to no elbow room on a beach break is hardly our definition of rest and recreation.
If you're weary of tourist traps, consider putting Åland on your travel bucket list. The cluster of islands — sandwiched between Finland and Sweden — was spotlighted in AFAR's November/December issue as the best secret Scandinavia has to offer. And, with 18 hours of daylight in the summer, the archipelago offers plenty to see and do. The sprawling forests, perpetually clear skies, and vast bodies of water are what make it a legitimate paradise on earth. The population is so scant, it'll feel like having an isle to yourself. As for bumping into a fellow tourist on one of your afternoon swims? Not a chance.
Click on for more mesmerizing shots of the locale, and head to AFAR for an intimate tour from Lotta Jansdotter — a true-blue Ålander. Not even the gloomy weather or a rough commute can take this dose of eye candy away from you.