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Head off the typical tourist trail to explore these surprising destinations.

1. Armenia

The Situation on the Ground: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the tiny Caucasus country of Armenia has often been associated with conflict. The country’s Nagorno-Karabakh war with Azerbaijan over a 1,700-square-mile patch of land each claim as their own ended with a cease-fire in 1994, with Armenia technically in military control of the ethnically Armenian territory, which currently exists as a self-proclaimed, largely unrecognized republic. Despite occasional skirmishes along the Karabakh border, however, Armenia today is safe, with a burgeoning tourist infrastructure, largely centered around family-run B&Bs and agrotourism-style homestays, designed to attract adventurous backpackers to the country’s staggering and often unheralded natural and architectural beauty.

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