I’m an ancient historian and have spent plenty of time in Greece. The north is definitely overlooked and has some real treasures, also feels worlds away from the islands. I particularly love Meteora, pictures cannot capture how beautiful it is
Underrated: almost any other town in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is fabulous, especially if you are into architecture and art. But so expensive and SO crowded that I had no regrets basing my last trip to NL out of Utrecht. Haarlem, Alkmaar, Amersfoort, and Leiden are also deliriously beautiful without having to fight for views alongside stoned college students and Chinese tour groups with no sense of personal space.
The country is so small, it’s incredibly easy to train into Amsterdam from any of the above places. Definitely don’t SKIP Amsterdam altogether though.
Estonia! Any of the Baltics really. But Estonia is an absolutely delightful place. It has one of the nicest airports I’ve ever seen, it’s super affordable, great public wifi so it’s easy to navigate, Tallinn is so beautiful and clean, the coast is lovely, the people are friendly, and the food is delicious. I absolutely loved our trip there and it would be a great base camp if you want to check out the pricier countries around it like Finland, Norway, and Denmark. I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling in my life and Estonia is one of the highlights.
The Southern Uplands of Scotland. Most tourists bypass the south of Scotland and head to the Highlands, so the Southern Uplands tend to be quieter and less “touristy”.
Inland Spain. Spain it’s not only sun and beaches, but also alot of history, castles, good food, nice people, and not expensive! Greetings from Salamanca!
Olympic National Park in Washington is definitely one of the more underrated national parks in the US. It’s a literal rainforest in the pacific northwest and has great hiking, lodges, lakes, etc. It’s probably a one of a kind environment in the US
Great food, a lot of sun, great caribic like beaches, beautiful mountains, and forests, great culture (different from northern Italy), a lot of historic places like ancient greek temples and cities, a lot of history, not full of tourists as it’s underrated haha wich I view as a plus
A lot of people traveling through this part of Europe tend to skip it, and go straight to Vienna, Prague and/or Budapest (which I understand, all three of those cities are beautiful), but I recommend stopping by there, for a day or two. It’s not a big city, so two days will be more than enough to see most of what it has to offer (I did see most of it in a day when traveling years ago), it’s really cheap and really nice, the old town is cozy, food is great, and the view from Hrad is great. Also, Devin castle nearby is a great few hour trip too!
Canada. Overall, I don’t think of Canada as a very travel-friendly place, as it isn’t a very common destination, but it is truly beautiful. We have everything from sprawling coniferouis forests, to the prairies, to the Red Creek Fir forests, to tundra, to rock, to anything, really. So maybe next time don’t spend all your time in Toronto, or Ottawa, but go somewhere undiscovered. Because that is what Canada is about.
Everyone I know only travels to Greek islands and doesn’t really spend time on the mainland except for some archeological sights, but regions like Chalkidiki are very nice too! plus Greece has a pretty unknown repertoire of wildlife preserves!
The south of Chile, from like Valdivia to Punta Arenas feels like an enchanted forest from a fantasy novel or video game or something.
Chile is probably the most underrated travel destination on the planet. There’s a saying in Chile that after God made the world, he put the leftovers off in a corner and called it Chile haha That’s why it has a little bit of every landscape.
Yeah, I know, everybody wants to travel to Japan, but hear me out. People overwhelmingly only visit Tokyo and, if they care about things other than pop culture, Kyoto. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Tokyo (as a travel destination, at least), and Kyoto is my favorite place to visit, anywhere, but Osaka shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a big city like Tokyo, but with a much longer history — smack dab in the middle of the Kansai region, the historical cultural center of Japan. It’s frequently stereotyped as being more fun and laid back, and I think there’s some truth to that. It’s also the culinary capital of Japan, if you’re a fan of, you know, food.
Taipei, Taiwan. My favorite city in Asia.
A great mix of traditional China, Japan, and U.S. influences.
Fantastic food. Also great street food scene at the night markets.
Modern enough to be convenient, but not expensive.
Big enough to have lots to do, but small enough to be manageable and not overwhelming.
The people are super friendly, open, and helpful.
Maastricht is worth the train ride, even though it’s a few hours. I decided to put it on my itinerary on somewhat of a whim, and it ended up being my favorite part of that trip.
Bulgaria! A lot of people don’t realize it’s right above Greece so the climate and food are somewhat similar. I was there in the summer but was reading an article that the best value for European skiing had spots #1 & #2 in Bulgaria. Cheap to stay, eat & drink, very safe.
Please, if you ever come to Brazil, go to:
– Lençóis Maranhenses
– Jalapão (setting of Survivor Tocantins)
– Chapada dos Veadeiros
– Alter do Chão
All of them are not as known as Rio de Janeiro and they are so amazing.
When I traveled, I found Japan underrated. It is really famous, but even then was cooler than I thought. Krakow and Eswatini were really great too, as Myanmar (but they are not in a good place now).
Romania! Cheap, great food, amazing landscapes, impressive architecture. I freaking loved that country..
It’s especially beautiful in the fall. It’s very grey and foggy and completely fills the gothic stereotype, but in such a great way. It’s amazing if you want to explore abandoned places and landmarks. Of course, there’s also Dracula’s castle and the winding Transfagarasan mountain road too!
Slovenia. It’s like a fairytale paradise full of castles and dragons and weird old folktales. The scenery is gorgeous. You can see the entire country in a short visit. The people are unbelievably friendly. And yet most Americans have never heard of it. I literally got “Wait did you make that country up?” from a fairly well educated friend when I said I was going there.
Friuli in far north east Italy, on the border with Slovenia. So much culture, history and amazing food and people, but almost no tourists to speak of.
The best moment was when we went to see an old Roman jail. We had to collect the key to the place from the bar on the corner and turn the lights on when we went in. Once we were done, the key had to be dropped off at the bar. I remember thinking, if this was anywhere else there would be a queue around the corner to go in for a look
And the San Daniele ham…makes my mouth water just thinking about it
Lima. I see so many people say skip it or only spend a day there. The historic downtown is gorgeous and it’s on the coast with plenty of beaches. Plus the food and people are awesome. I don’t get it. I spent 4 days there and wish I had more time
Sicily. Gorgeous region and the food was out of this world. The people were so kind and wonderful and you get cultural experiences from Italian, Greek, Norman, Roman, Ottoman, and Spanish occupation of the island. If WWII history is your thing, there’s that too. Want to see a Ballet? Go to the gorgeous Bellini Theater in Catania and watch world class ballet companies. Want to go to a pop concert? You can see one in the Greek amphitheater in Taormina. Visit Romana and Greek ruins or go to the West Coast and devour N African food. Want to go to the beach? Well, it’s an island…take your pick. Want to ski? There are ski lifts on Mt Etna. I can’t say enough good things about this Region of Italy!
Poland! It really surprised me how beautiful the country was. We went on a road trip from Gdansk-Warschau-Krakow-Auswitz-Zakopane. Every city was very beautiful and had a unique history. The cities offer oppertunities for people who come for the culture, but also for those who want to party. We ended in the mountains were we took a beautiful hike to one of the mountain lakes. According to a ranger we spoke there, the mountains have the most floral biodiversity per m2 of any mountain range in Europe.
Prices are very low if you come from a Western country, so we could stay in relatively nice apartments for our student budget. The only downside is that some public highways really suck.
The black hills of South Dakota as well as the badlands. Is almost like something out of a fantasy novel. Especially lake Sylvan
North side of Bali, most people only visit Nusa Sua for the beach which is nice on itself, but the north side is breathtaking, there are many temples that still look ancient and have little to no visitors. Markets have lots ot traditional crafts and really cool stuff to see. Food is great and cheap too.
Van, Turkey – a really remote place with nice lake and mountain views. A must for tranquillity seekers, cat persons, and breakfast lovers. Really close to Iran.
In California, beat the crowds and go to Lassen instead of breathing in 50,000 cars worth of exhaust fumes in Yosemite. Beautiful, uncrowded, and just absolutely incredible. Totally unique ecosystem and landscape. You’ll be spending some money in the poorest part of the state too, as a nice feel good bonus.
In Mexico there is a city called San Cristobal de las Casas. It is located in Southern Mexico but is not close to Cancun or other really touristy areas. It is also not near an Ocean (about 8 hours from the pacific). San Cristobal does have tourism but it is mostly European tourists. The town is on a mountain and is usually about 70 degrees during the day. It is an old town with tons of cute shops, great food, and history. The town is just beautiful and you should look up some pictures. It is not far from various ruins, beautiful waterfalls, and other great and underrated places to visit. Also it is generally way cheaper than Cancun (although the flight there would be more expensive). I stayed in a Hostel there for $4.00 (USD) a night.
Malta is known by Europeans, but it’s practically unheard of among Americans, and it’s a fantastic place to visit. It’s cheap, stunningly beautiful, and has perfect weather year-round. Once you go slightly off the beaten path from the main attractions in Valletta, you’ll hardly see any tourists.
Alesund and Bergen, Norway. So much beauty in that country. It’s so safe and clean. People are so friendly and every building is just gorgeous. The culture is so environmentally friendly too. I was really taken aback by Bergen, easily one of my favorite places in the world.
Ok so France is by no means underrated. I personally think Paris is hugely overrated and after living there for year, it kinda sucks. But Rennes is awesome! It’s a city filled with students. It is not touristy at all, which in my opinion makes the food AMAZING. In Paris, you have to avoid all the tourist trap restaurants, but in Rennes literally every meal I had was amazing.
Yeah there we go. Everyone goes to Croatia but I loved Slovenia. Triglav is super beautiful, and everyone is very nice. Never even made it to Ljubljana, I should really go back.
Banff area is out of this world. St. John’s is culturally beautiful, it’s the one of the oldest cities in Canada. Muskoka is cool. The cities can be cool too, if you like cities.
Both have great history, landscapes, and food. And quite reasonable price wise. I’ve been back to both a few times and would love to revisit.
Adelaide Australia. Think stunning wineries, a beautiful coast line and a vibrant food and wine scene. The city itself is absolutely stunning and the locals are so friendly. There’s just as much to do in Adelaide as there is in Melbourne or Sydney.
Spend some time looking around for tickets, went in early September and caught a week long heat wave which meant no rain!!! It’s part of the slow season so not very touristy at the time but round trip tickets for me and my wife cost me $1600 for both. Airbnb’s are cheap and so are most hotels. Food is good and reasonably priced. Once November hits though, the tourists come rolling in. We gambled with the weather by going during the monsoon season and it ended up paying off. Considering going back again, if you don’t like commotion and busy cities, I’d suggest staying away from Bangkok.
Oddly specific, but Viana Do Castello in Portugal. About an hour north of Porto. Was only there for four days as a part of a bigger trip, but it was one of my favorite places.
Emilia-Romagna, in Italy. Bologna is a fairly well-known destination, but the smaller cities are incredible. Parma, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Ravenna, Ferrara, Piacenza…they all have truly unique and not over-crowded attractions. And, not for nothing, it is truly one of the greatest food cultures in the world.
If you want a french experience but not the expense, go to Montreal. There used to be $99 flights from DC and it was a great way to scratch an international travel itch very quickly and easily. It’s lovely.
The northern part is filled with vastly beautiful landscapes and mountain ranges. The southern part has gorgeous crystal blue beaches with very affordable resorts. The entire country is filled with ancient rustic architecture and castles as well which gives a great traditional touch.
You can find incredibly nice resorts and hotels to stay at for very affordable prices. The people are extremely welcoming and the hospitality is great. Easily one of my favorite travel destinations throughout the world!
Riga, Latvia. It’s the best-kept secret in Europe. I did a big trip around the Baltics last September, and Rīga was my absolute favorite place I visited.
Northern Spain. Incredible beauty at a fraction of the cost of many similar places in Europe. You could spend a couple of months exploring the Basque Country, Asturias, Cantabria, and Galicia alone. Driving around the Picos de Europa is a great experience, and you can drive between rural mountain towns to quaint beach towns in less than an hour. Great public transportation to rural places in the Basque Country too.
Madrid, Barcelona, Andalusia, and the resort parts of Spain get so much attention the north is really underrated (putting aside a couple months of dreary weather in the winter)
Thessaloniki, Greece. Great history, awesome food, a vibrant nightlife, and exciting destinations you can explore nearby like Chalkidiki and Mount Olympus.
Kraków is a peach of a town. Only European city I’ve visited twice. And would again. I say it deserves a shout here, because most people will opt for a stay in Praha, Budapest, or Vienna in that general area.
It has tons of amazing historical sites, beautiful city scenery, and plenty of hidden gems if you like going off the beaten path. The nightlife is also great for people who enjoy that sort of thing.
Portuguese islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Spent 3 weeks there island hopping (did 4/9), and especially the city of Furnas on São Miguel is magical, and Peter’s Cafe Sport in Horta, Faial was the best hangout.
For whatever reason, the islands are super overlooked.
I loved Lombok (one island over) and Flores so much better. I wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy the time I spent in Bali, but I don’t think it has anything to offer that can’t be found cheaper and more authentic on other islands.
The Balkans! Croatia,Albania,Greece,Montenegro some of the best places to visit during summer.
I’m from Dorset on the jurassic coast so we have plenty of places to camp, glamp, and seaside hotels surrounded by 7 miles of beach with fossils. In Dorset we have an abandoned village that my ancestors came from, a destroyed castle, a famous forest called the New Forest thats also in the county of Hampshire home to wolves, and a tank museum.
If you like cultural place and historical country , i really suggest you to travel to Iran . Iran is a big country in the middle east. Iran has lot of professional ski resorts like Dizin resort, you can search about it on internet and you can visit it ‘s historical place like Isfahan & Shiraz. you can visit nomad too, and really enjoy my trip because of it , i suggest every one that love new experience travel to Iran. further more i should say it is one of my cheapest travel .
I love Albania! No issues as a solo female for 3 weeks. One of the most beautiful and unspoilt countries I’ve ever visited, and I am itching to go back. The standout for me was how friendly the people were, they would literally go out of their way to make sure I got to where I wanted to go.
You’re getting beaches that are equally as beautiful as those in Greece, but you can visit for a third of the price.
Istria, Croatia. This Croatian peninsula borders Italy in the Northern Adriatic Sea. It never seems to get as much love as the south (Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, etc.), but it deserves it.
I feel Portugal is a place that’s overshadowed by Spain, France, and Italy. It’s very cheap, artsy, has 300+ of the cleanest beaches lined up along the coast, great food, and moderate weather year round (except for when it gets hot during the summer).
Aljezur is a small coastal town that embodies everything that I love in the beach villages of Portugal. Nice local restaurants with live bands, amazing sunset views, nature walks, surf schools, and just a laid back atmosphere in general. You won’t find a McDonald’s or Starbucks here, but you’ll be happy you didn’t. There are also plenty of other towns just as great as Aljezur along the coast, too, depending on what you’re looking for. Lagos is Miami-meets-Lisbon, which is great if, well, that’s your thing!!
Deadwood, South Dakota: like a mini-vegas without the crowds. You can get a log cabin on the outskirts of town for a week for the price of two days in a Vegas suite.
The isle of Skye in Scotland in November. Felt like i was on a planet from Star Wars. Absolutely incredible
I loved Glasgow. People said it was just an old industrial city, but I found it to be so much more than that. Between all the green and history it was possibly my favorite stop.
Jim Thorp a small Pennsylvania town named after the greatest native American Olympic athlete of all time.
India, specifically the himalayan states of Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Ladakh and Kishtwar (Jammu and kashmir) and Himachal Pradesh. Cheap af and the landscape is out of this world with kanchenjunga the third highest mountain in the world and the highest in India ,Nanda devi the highest mountain in the state of Uttarakhand, alpine meadows, pine – deodar-oak-sal forests, red pandas, snow leopards and himalayan brown bears. Very low population density, no crime whatsoever and extremely safe to visit. If you know where to go and can be a bit adventurous then it is definitely one of the most beautiful areas of the planet earth.
You could go from 7000 year old historical sites to the most crystal clear beaches and coral reefs on the Red Sea, all within a short 2 hour bus ride. Everything is dirt cheap if you’re from Europe or America. Eat like a king with kebab and chicken and a whole arrangement of side dishes, it will set you back under $8-10 USD. So many amazing places to see besides Cairo/Giza. Luxor and Aswan have an amazing history and the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, Marsa Allam, and Marsa Matroh have amazing beaches and resorts (I’m talking 5 star resorts for under $100 a night all inclusive), and Dahab has awesome camping and hostels on the beach.
Georgia. It’s incredible. You have hiking, mountains, beaches, amazing and cheap food, cheap transportation, easy hitch hiking, and best of all, dirt cheap accommodation. The cheapest I’ve paid is $5 USD for 3 nights total lol. It’s not overpopulated by tourists either (yet), and it’s got an interesting mix of Asian middle eastern & soviet vibes. It’s a really cool culture.
Croatia, not everybody will like stuff here but its the only thing keeping my country’s economy running lmao
In the Tuscany region but not as crowded and touristy as Florence. Not a tiny town with nothing, but not so massive you get lost.
Go around the Palio and there is always something happening.
Personal Note: The B&B I stayed at was near the main square, right above a little coffee shop which was next to a old guy’s little fruit market. Waking up in the morning and going downstairs for a cup of coffee and some fresh fruit was too perfect. I would do anything to go back to that little place and enjoy a simple cup of coffee.
So many places… (in no particular order) San Gimignano, San Marino, Normandy, Brittany, Kentucky, Quebec City, Krakow, South Island New Zealand.
There are many beautiful places that are off the radar. Skip the big cities, go for the places between them.
Basque Country in France.
I was blown away the first time I saw some of the coastline in French Basque Country. Biarritz in particular is breathtaking. Blue-as-Caribbean water, amazing weather, awesome surf culture, friendly people, lots of restaurant and bars options, etc. Then you have the Pyrenees hovering over in the distance. It’s like you’re in a painting. I was sad when I told people about it and no one had a clue where it was.
Criminally underrated area, and absolutely worth a weekend trip in the summer, if you can make down.
There are loads to see and do. Titanic quarter. Where it was built and full history of it. There are numerous tours of the city showing all sides of the ‘troubles’. There have been quite a lot of movies and television shows filmed there in recent years. The Antrim coast is beautiful! There is so much to see and do.
Huron National Forest in Michigan.
The forest is located around the second knuckle of the first and middle fingers on your hand map, and it’s amazing.
Armenia! It has most of the same upsides as its more talked-about neighbor Georgia, but it’s a lot less traveled (by non-Russians at least). As a consequence, it is somewhat cheaper and you’re less likely to be surrounded by touts when walking down the street. Yerevan is a very interesting city, in particular.
Moldova has beautiful landscapes, really friendly people, and really good wine. In fact, Milestii Mici holds the world record for the largest wine cellar in the world.
Portugal. Reasonable flights from N America, and everything is super cheap once you’re there. Bonus: its absolutely gorgeous there, and the food is amazing.
Albania. They have a beautiful coastline like Greece, an extremely interesting history, super friendly people, and it’s way cheap. People don’t go because they think it’s unsafe, but I never once felt unsafe.
It’s Europe’s hidden gem. Super cheap once you’re there but it has beaches like Italy, stunning canals and bridges, lovely architecture, beautiful castles, Caves with the infamous proteus fish. Ljubljana’s downtown looks so beautiful it almost felt like a movie set. Also, you can rent a car and drive to Italy if you wanted to take a day trip.
The Islands are the most northern points as tourists tend to do the Isle of Skye and not further on to Uist, Lewis, etc…
I’m from there but have been living in the US for the last 9 years, can’t wait to go back and visit my country.
Cape May, NJ
It is literally the southernmost town in NJ. Cape May is best known for its huge Victorian mansions, incredibly wide beaches, outdoor shopping, and none of the loudness/commotion that comes with a typical resort town.
Plus Wildwood is right next door, which has the Boardwalk, amusement parks, etc. for when you do want the resort feel.