There are hundreds of destinations across the world that tourists flock to every year. For good reason, too, as they are often steeped in history, have picturesque views and a plethora of fun and enlightening activities that differentiate them from your own hometown or country.
Yet there are many that are often overlooked underrated destinations for whatever reason, whether out of fear or simple ignorance of their appeal, that deserve to be higher on everyone’s list. New York City, London and Paris are great places to visit, but here are ten destinations you need to consider for your next sojourn.
Vastly underrated, the Philippines offer similar draws to other southeast Asian countries but with fewer tourists. The beaches are sandy and blue, catering to both divers and beachgoers wanting to relax in a peaceful, sunny climate.
In contrast to some other southeast Asian countries, the Philippines have a more western, colonial feel, not unlike South America. The country is primarily Roman Catholic due to its complex history and former colonial status under the Spanish empire, meaning the country is dotted with more churches than Buddhist temples.
It is very surprising how few travellers choose to visit the Great White North. Despite Canadians themselves being one of the most globetrotting populaces, they rank near the middle of the pack in terms of incoming tourists — especially when you consider their giant size.
The chill may deter some travellers, but Canada has an incredible wealth of purely beautiful landscapes. From the Canadian Rockies to the Atlantic coast, the world’s second-largest country is breathtaking. Montreal has a unique French draw you will not find anywhere outside of Europe, Toronto is one of the world’s most multicultural cities and it is seen in their food and culture and Vancouver has been consistently ranked one of the globe’s most livable cities for its high quality of life.
The small, Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan doesn’t see so few international travellers because of a lack of appeal, but rather, because of the difficult steps, it takes to get into the isolated Buddhist nation. Few airlines fly into the country and there is a steep tourism tax. Just 250,000 tourists visited Bhutan in 2017, the highest total to date, many of which came from nearby India and Bangladesh. Many more westerners, however, are beginning to come.
For wayfarers who are able to get to Bhutan, they will seemingly step back into time in one of the world’s happiest countries. The views of the Himalayan mountains and accompanying valleys are breathtaking. Hike and bike around the country’s cliffside villages and visit classic Buddhist monasteries and fortresses.
When people plan out trips to Europe, rarely will they add the Mediterranean country of Albania to their itinerary, opting instead for destinations like France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy (not to say they are not great places to visit — because they are!).
Albania has plenty to offer its tourists, including the Mediterranean vibe that draws millions to Italy and Greece, but without the crowds. Its beaches are stunning and untouched. Inland, the country’s two mountain ranges offer plenty of hiking, skiing and views of its many pristine lakes and untamed wilderness.
Travel is picking up in Mozambique but the country is still relatively devoid of tourists. The country offers great swimming, scuba and snorkelling along its lengthy coastline with the same African feel that makes millions flock every year to nearby South Africa.
For tourists who want to see wildlife, Mozambique is a great choice. Many game reserves and the continent’s largest marine sanctuary will give you the chance to see and experience things animal lovers have always dreamed of. The country remains relatively undeveloped, a humble change from the hustle and bustle of some of the more popular travel destinations.
For a country with such a well-known history, relatively few decide to visit the vast, landlocked country. The landscapes are truly varied, from rolling grasslands to the Altai Mountains and dense forests. The great Gobi Desert, one of the world’s largest, offers spectacular views in all directions from the backs of a Bactrian camel or in an offroad jeep.
Mongolia’s rich history, including its most popular figure, Genghis Khan, can still be seen everywhere from statues to hotels and vodka labels. Camping is free throughout the country and a popular draw for nature lovers who want to wake up under the near-constant blue sky. The cuisine in Mongolia is unique and the culture’s reliance on the pastoral lifestyle is ever apparent in their chosen dishes.
Not many even consider the middle eastern country of Iran as a travel destination, usually out of fear for their safety. The assumption that the nation is unsafe is mostly outdated and tourists to the country report few qualms and many have gone as far as to say it is safer than Europe. Every year, more airlines are increasing the number of flights into the nation’s capital of Tehran.
There is little doubt that there is a lot of history in the region — there are over 20 World Heritage Sites (top ten in the world) in Iran. Dozens of historical ruins offer tourists insight into the history of the country and ancient civilizations. Iran offers fantastic architecture, art, museums and elegant gardens.
Central America as a whole is a favourite for travellers, yet fewer head into Belize than any other country in the region, opting instead for countries like Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. This leaves Belize without the overcrowdedness of its neighbours, giving the lucky few who come to an unfettered taste of Central America.
The beautiful beaches and dense jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula will make for an unforgettable vacation. A Victorian feel still looms in the country which was once under the British crown and is seen in its architecture (particularly in the capital, Belize City). If you make it to Belize, its Mayan ruins have seemingly half as many tourists as those in nearby Mexico.
Much of the island nation of Madagascar is still unexplored and few tourists tap into the country’s rich wildlife that is not seen anywhere else in the world. Who hasn’t wanted to see lemurs in the wild?
Madagascar’s white sand beaches are among the best you can find along the Indian Ocean. Explore Madagascar’s diverse geography with a tour of the jungle or you will miss the best appeal of this island getaway.
The small, Danish archipelago of the Faroe Islands is unknown to many — but that will likely change as the islands continue to modernize. Before the islands, l, totally modernize, plan a trip to the islands (or do wait, if you want a more luxurious experience).
Rugged does not do the island’s coastlines enough justice. The landscape of the islands, made up of 18 rocky volcanoes between Great Britain and Iceland in the chilly reaches of the Atlantic, are as impressive as Iceland’s (if not more), yet without the tourist overload. Despite a crisp Viking look, the islands and its people are still vastly different from Scandinavia and the islands make for an incredibly unique experience.