Here Are The World’s Most Underrated Travel Destinations
Traveling is one of the most fun things you can do. Everyone can tick off the over-done vacation spots around the world. It might be fun to say you’ve been to any of those popular vacation spots, which usually draws envy from others, but you are missing out on some unique and often superior vacation experiences.
During traveling, you get to explore new places, meet new people, and experience different cultures. Best of all, you get a break from your regular life! But instead of visiting the same places as usual, or being caught up in a tourist trap, check out some of the most underrated places in the world.
Welcome to the urban underdogs — cities that aren’t on the radar for most travelers. While going to an underrated vacation spot might not generate the same kind of jealousy from friends or family, in the end you will have a more enjoyable vacation experience.
Check out any of the following 14 underrated vacation spots, each of which has a unique and superior experience to offer. Many of these areas are near the cliché spots, but offer a drastically different and far more enriching vacation.
1 Nara – Japan
You know about Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto … but have you heard about Nara? Nara is often forgotten in favor of nearby Kyoto, yet it’s equally rich with ancient Buddhist temples, shrines and enchanting gardens, minus the large crowds. At Nara Park, you can get up close to tame deer, explore an 8th century temple and enjoy a walk through a serene garden. As the birthplace of sake, you’ll find lots of great sake bars as well as the chance to visit Harushika, a 131-year-old brewery for a tour or tasting. Drink moderately!
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2 Newfoundland – Canada
While it may not be for those who want to spend their days lounging on the sand and soaking in the sun, this large Canadian island off the east coast of the North American mainland offers breathtaking scenery, quaint villages, unspoiled wilderness, world-class fishing and the opportunity to see a very diverse range of wildlife. You’ll have the chance to spot moose, caribou, lynx, black bear and even a polar bear, among a long list of other creatures. Head out on a boat or kayak tour, and you’ll have a good chance of getting up close and personal with whales.
If watching fishing boats swaying softly over the waves of the pristine Atlantic ocean sounds appealing to you, you’ll love Twillingate. This small town fully captures the charm of Newfoundland and has even earned itself the title of “Iceberg Capital of the World.”
George Street has the most pubs and bars on the continent, with two blocks devoted to music and debauchery.
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3 Kotor – Montenegro
While its neighbor Dubrovnik, Croatia gets lots of attention, Kotor is a walled city that’s every bit as photogenic, but receives far fewer visitors. Kotor is perhaps the most scenic location of all, with its beautiful old town of churches and cobbled squares nestled into a mountainous bay of staggering beauty.
The Bay of Kotor looks as if a Norwegian fjord was plopped right down on the edge of the balmy Adriatic coast. Its medieval Old City is accessed through a narrow passage from the sea, with steep wooded hills descended to small villages set atop the flat ground between the shore and slope. With a backdrop of mountains and sapphire-blue waters along with a rich history and cultural monuments like the 17th century clock tower and town gates, the 12th century Tryphon Cathedral and numerous palaces, Kotor should be on every traveler’s must-see list.
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4 Puebla – Mexico
Surrounded by volcanoes and towering snow-capped peaks, the enchanting city of Puebla is just a few hours’ drive from Mexico City. With its beautiful colonial architecture, perfect weather and delicious local cuisine, Puebla has its own unique allure and charm. Many people consider Puebla to be the food capital of the entire country, partially because it offers a unique cuisine that relies heavily on dishes that came about well before European settlers arrived on the scene. It’s also the place from where the famous Cinco de Mayo festival originated. For some unknown reason, tourists often pass it by.
The city has a well-preserved history with over 5,000 colonial buildings gracing the landscape with a fantasy of Baroque towers, Moorish domes and kaleidoscopic tiles. Don’t miss the Artists’ Quarter, Barrio del Artista, a block once occupied by a former colonial market which now houses galleries and workshops where visitors can watch artists at work and buy their finished products.
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5 Mozambique – Africa
Thousands of tourists are drawn to neighboring South Africa, though only a small slice head to Mozambique, mostly made up of fisherman and scuba divers. With gorgeous scenery in the form of beaches and jungle, you can also discover an unspoiled, undeveloped land that includes 1,500 miles of rugged coastline edge by world-class coral reefs fantastic for diving as well as swimming and snorkeling. Mozambique is also home to several game reserves, lots of wildlife and an increasing number of luxurious accommodations to stay in that are less commercial and more affordable than other African nations.
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6 Krakow – Poland
The Medieval city of Krakow is one of the oldest in Poland and draws many for its historic Jewish quarter, and is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination, so visit now before it’s overcrowded. Rich with history, Krakow was the capital of Germany’s General Government during World War II and saw the worst of the Holocaust. It is home to Pope John Paul II (the first non-Italian pope in 455 years) and is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. In Krakow, make sure you see Schindler’s Factory (from Schindler’s List), the Galicia Jewish Museum, the Old Town Square, St. Mary’s Cathedral and Royal Wawel Castle. If you’re there long enough, take a day trip to Auschwitz to truly understand the history of the city and region.
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7 Fjords- Norway
The Fjords of Norway stand out as one of the many unique sights you’ll find in the beautiful European country. This sublime beauty of the fjord region can’t really be overstated. Jaw-dropping sights of this rugged yet serene landscape, offering views of the enormous, wedge shaped inlets. This is a destination that everyone needs to go to at least once their lives.
In regards to public safety, crime rates are said to be so low that certain police units do not even carry guns; with that being said, it is still crucial to keep aware in order to avoid the possibility of a problem. Where costs are concerned, this travelling experience can be costly, however Norway apparently feels your pain, as its official tourism website gives numerous tips on how to get the best deals. Looking to spare no expense? Try the Grand Hotel Oslo for ultimate luxury.
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8 Dalmatian – Croatia
Described by the New York Times as Croatia’s most underrated destination, Zadar is often overlooked in favour of her glitzier Dalmatian cousins, but is certainly worth exploring. Easily accessible, we suggest you start your Dalmatian journey here.
The world needs to know about Croatia, a little gem of the Adriatic Sea. Its crystal clear waters and incredible history, both medieval and modern, will make it a favorite of beach bums and history buffs alike. Dubrovnik and Split are two must-see cities.
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9 Basel – Switzerland
Basel is located on the Rhine River and embedded in a charming countryside in the three-country-corner of Switzerland, Germany and France. Due to its location, the city is split in two, alongside the banks of the Rhine, the two parts being linked with each other by six bridges as well as ferries. Basel is also a city of contrasts and has impressively managed to combine its historic building stock (medieval, Romanesque and renaissance) with very modern architecture that was designed by the most renowned architects of our time.
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10 Metz – France
Metz is a gorgeous city that just demands to be seen, and it’s yet another reason why France might be the most beautiful country in the world. The historic monuments, scenic riverside views and impressive bridges make visiting Metz, France necessary for all traveling enthusiasts. The city is home to Saint-Étienne de Metz, the jewel of gothic architecture consecrated in 1552. Sightseers should also take a trip to the Centre Pompidou-Metz, a museum of modern and contemporary arts where numerous communal events are held throughout the year. Visitors can stroll through the Régates Garden and spend their evenings viewing magical fountain shows on Swan Lake.
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Iceland is extremely underrated even though it is becoming increasingly popular with travelers due to its appearance in a number of films and television shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “Stardust,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and countless others. Pictures just can’t do it justice – this country is a place unlike any other, and for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get away from it all, it’s truly unbeatable. Soak in the blue lagoon, explore fjords in the north and gaze at rainbows and waterfalls, found at nearly every turn.
The people in Iceland are more hospitable than anywhere else in the world. There are world class masseuses in the Blue Lagoon who know the meaning of true relaxation. Do not miss out the opportunity of bathing in the naturally heated water and don’t forget about the quality sights and sounds at Reykjavik, the capital city. There, you can enjoy the best nightlife, a great shopping experience, and well-prepared food in excellent restaurants.
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12 Cortina d’Ampezzo – Italy
Cortina d’Ampezzo is a town in the southern (Dolomitic) Alps located in Veneto, a region in Northern Italy. Located in the heart of the Dolomites, it enjoys a reputation for great skiing in winter and in the summer attracts hikers and climbers who challenge the rocky faces of the near by mountains. This chic Venetian town is getting lesser underrated year by year as it’s popularity grows with the high society crowd, offering many year-round social activities,shopping and fine dining.
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13 Belfast – Northern Ireland
Belfast has emerged from its troubled past to become a vibrant and unique cultural center. With its politically-inspired murals and pleasant, green parks, Belfast is a slice of Irish heaven, not to mention it’s easier on the wallet than Dublin.
Among the many cultural activities the city has to offer to visitors, there is Cave Hill, a natural hill at the edge of the city that provides visitors with a commanding view of Belfast and some great photo opportunities. Not only does the hill house five different caves that brave visitors can explore, next to it is the fabulous Belfast Castle Estate.
At the estate, you can walk the lush grounds and experience an old Irish castle in person, including even eating inside the old structure thank to the restaurant that operates inside. The Cellar Restaurant serves lunch every day, including a traditional Irish lunch on Sundays.
The shopping area even features covered streets and a large glass dome that provides excellent views of the surrounding buildings and greenery, making it a perfect destination when the weather turns poor.
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14 Bratislava – Slovakia
When it comes to beautiful cities in Eastern Europe, the gorgeous city of Prague normally steals the limelight from the lesser-known city of Bratislava in Slovakia. That’s unfortunate because the beautiful old city of Bratislava is steeped in fascinating history and is home to impressive castles, historic churches and narrow, winding streets. As it has been occupied and/or heavily influenced by Austrians, Czechs, Hungarians, Jews, Serbs and Slovaks, it is still trying to figure out its national identity. When you step off the train station, you feel like you’ve entered a different time: the Old Town is quaint and its streets are lined with cobblestones. The rest of the city is quiet and still echoes the Communist rule. Be sure to wander around the old town, hike up the hill to Bratislava Castle to learn more about Slovak history, and step into St. Martin’s Cathedral and The Blue Church. Grab lunch at Slovak Pub and relax in the park behind the President’s Palace.
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