Hidden Gem Travel Destinations You Should Absolutely Visit

Hidden Gem Travel Destinations You Should Absolutely Visit

If you’re anything like me, deciding where to take your next international getaway is one of the most challenging decisions to make. There are so many incredible places to see. And while the big tourist cities — like Greece or Tokyo or Paris — are popular for a reason, perhaps you’re looking for something more off-the-beaten path.

So I browsed the r/travel subreddit and gathered responses from the Community in order to round up a bunch of lesser known (yet incredible) destinations to consider in place of trendier vacation spots.


Instead of Greece, go to ALBANIA: “It’s Greece’s less famous neighbor. It has beautiful beaches, tasty and quite cheap food, and lots of gems to explore. The only downside is that many people don’t speak English.”


Instead of Germany, go to POLAND: “Poland, particularly Poland beyond Krakow, was never on my radar before I moved to Germany and started traveling there all the time since it’s right next door. And WOW, Poland has everything. Cool cities, great food, beautiful castles, stunning countryside, and a fascinating history. It really doesn’t get the tourism it deserves, although I do like that the major sights aren’t crowded with other tourists.”


Instead of Tulum, go to BELIZE: “Besides for Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, the rest of Belize is not super touristy. You’ll find everything from the second largest barrier reef in the world to lush rainforests. It’s cheap, the people are very friendly, and it’s relatively safe.”


Instead of Seoul, go to BUSAN: “Busan, South Korea is this bizarre juxtaposition of ancient and super modern, and everything is both chaotic and incredibly organized. I’m not sure how it functions but it does…and seemingly way better than other large cities. The scenery, the food, and the people were fantastic.”


“Instead of Andalusia, visit NORTHERN SPAIN: “Northern Spain is where you’ll find incredible beauty that rivals anywhere else in Europe, but for a fraction of the cost. You could spend months exploring the Basque Country, Asturias, Cantabria, and Galicia alone. Driving around the Picos de Europa mountain range is a great experience. You can travel between rural mountain towns and quaint beach towns within an hour. Madrid, Barcelona, Andalusia, and other vacation towns in Spain get so much attention, but the north is really underrated.”


Instead of Sicily, go to MALTA: “Not surprisingly it’s a bit more popular with Europeans, but Malta is practically unheard of among Americans. It’s a fantastic place to visit: Cheap, stunningly beautiful, and pretty good weather year round. I was there last month and there were a fair number of tourists around the main sites in Valetta, but almost no one around once you went even slightly off the beaten path.”


Instead of Thailand, go to SRI LANKA: “Sri Lanka is the pearl of the Indian ocean, ripe with natural beauty and history. It’s home to friendly people and tasty (often spicy!) food, sandy beaches, palm trees, and lots of wild life.”


Instead of Croatia, go to MONTENEGRO: “Montenegro is truly a hidden gem in the Balkans. Podgorica is a lovely city, and visiting the coast in and around Budva feels like stepping back in time.”


Instead of Bali, go to BORNEO: “Borneo, and especially Kalimantan (the Indonesian portion of the island) is worth a trip. Lots of people visit Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Java, and Bali, but not as many people head to Borneo. Even those who visit Borneo mostly stay in Malaysia and very few venture into Kalimantan. There you’ll find rainforest, orangutans, leopards, and beaches, and it’s way less crowded than Bali.”


Instead of Lake Como, go to LAKE GARDA: “I never hear Americans talking about this lesser-known Italian lake town, but its honestly one of the most beautiful places Ive ever been.”


Instead of Cape Town, visit NAMIBIA: “Namibia is just above South Africa, yet it’s the most isolated country in the world after Mongolia in terms of population. Ever see pictures of amazing giant sand dunes in the desert? That’s Namibia. This country boasts the same great safari game parks and five star resorts you’d find in other popular African destinations. I visited Etosha National Park, which was one of my favorite travel experiences. And you will never see the stars burn as brightly as they look in the Namib desert.”


Instead of Sydney, go to TASMANIA: “When people think of Australia they think of beaches and reefs. Tasmania has massive rain forests, beautiful scenic islands, and it’s home to the bustling city of Hobart, one of the largest Antarctic ports.”


Instead of the Caribbean, go to PUERTO RICO: “My wife and I went to Puerto Rico last year on our honeymoon. It was so easy to get there — it felt like cheating. Old San Juan was gorgeous and we also spent time on the islands to the east, Culebra and Vieques. I’d love to go back and spend more time on Culebra. It was very laid back and there was great snorkeling right off the beach.”


Instead of Iceland, go to ALASKA: “I visited Alaska and stayed in a small town three hours from Anchorage, and I had the time of my life. It’s completely untouched wilderness, and it was mind blowing. Moose would walk along the river bank while we fished and orcas swam next to our boat when we visited Kenai Fjords National Park.”


Instead of Dubai, go to OMAN: “Oman isn’t a party destination, but if you like the outdoors it’s got everything you could want. There’s hiking, camping, dune bashing, miles and miles of untouched coastline, and even rainforest. This country is a hidden oasis. It’s still an under the radar destination, the people are some of the nicest I’ve ever encountered, and it’s completely safe.”


Instead of Costa Rica, go to ECUADOR: “If you are an outdoorsy person, you’ll find heaven in Baños, Ecuador. There is easy access to biking, whitewater rafting, bridge jumping, canyoning, zip lining, amazing waterfalls and viewpoints. And there’s even pretty good nightlife. I would also recommend Mindo, located in Ecuador’s cloud forest. Ecuador is on the US dollar and everything is extremely cheap.”


Instead of the Bahamas, visit the US VIRGIN ISLANDS: “St John USVI is the best place I’ve ever visited. It’s not cheap and I wouldn’t call it “overlooked,” but most of the island is national forest so only a quarter of the land is developed. There were multiple days where my wife and I would look around and it would only be us or a few other couples on a large stretch of beautiful beach.”


Instead of Japan, go to TAIWAN: “Taiwan is a really nice place to travel. The people are lovely and hospitable. It’s cheap to travel within the country, and it’s very modern and safe. You get the best of all worlds: City life and nightclubs but also beautiful mountains and scenery. And the food is a delicious blend of the best of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine.”


Instead of Israel, go to LEBANON: “Go to Lebanon for the amazing food, nice people, the nightlife, and beautiful scenery throughout the country. Also the food! I’ve been to Israel, which was amazing in itself, but I enjoyed Lebanon even more.”


Instead of Tuscany, go to BOLOGNA: “Bologna, Italy. IMO, it’s arguably the best food city in the best food country in the world. I will never forget the tortellini al brodo, tagliatelle al ragù, and panna cotta I ate there. I also loved walking up to the Madonna di San Luca and seeing the amazing view from the top.”


Instead of Lisbon, go to ALENTEJO: “If you’re looking for a quiet Portuguese getaway, Alentejo is for you. You can visit Roman ruins, old churches, and see Moorish architecture in southern Portugal. There’s also a ton of natural beauty from lakes to rolling hills and big, open farms. The region makes great local wine and the food is delicious too. You can easily combine a trip to Alentejo with a visit to Spain or the Algarve.”


Instead of Amsterdam, go to UTRECHT: “Utrecht has a very Dutch feel with canals and typical narrow houses. It doesn’t suffer from all the tourists Amsterdam has, but it offers all the same comforts (English speakers, places open late). Also, from Utrecht you can basically take the train all around Europe.”


Instead of Vietnam, go to LAOS: “Laos is one of my favorite countries. I loved traveling along the Mekong River by cargo boat. The ancient capital of Luang Prabang and the city of Vientiane are great places to visit. The food is phenomenal and the whole country is relatively unspoiled by tourism.”


Instead of Paris, go to BORDEAUX: “Bordeaux, France is really fantastic. The food, weather, and wine are amazing; plus, it’s a much cheaper and friendlier alternative to Paris. In fact, all the ‘second cities’ of France have pleasantly surprised me.”


Instead of Tokyo, go to HOKKAIDO: “My husband and I went to the city of Sapporo, located on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. It was spectacular. When most people think about traveling to Japan, Tokyo is the number one destination. Sapporo, however, is much less touristy. The mountains around the city are incredibly beautiful, and the food is to die for. A scenic hour-long bus ride takes you to the old city of Otaru, best known for its glass blowing industry and beautiful canals. The subway system is amazing and the people are friendly and helpful. Ive visited a few places in my travels, but Sapporo stands out as the best so far.”


Instead of Honolulu, visit HILO: “Many travelers overlook this whole island, but the lush and green Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii is especially incredible. The highway from Waipi’o Valley down to Hilo extends over valleys and cliffs. There are waterfalls and dramatic ocean views, and we were constantly pulling over wanting to take photos.”


Instead of Dubrovnik, go to ISTRIA: “Istria, the Croatian peninsula closest to Italy in the Northern Adriatic Sea never seems to get as much love as parts of southern Croatia (Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, etc.), but it seriously deserves it.”

What’s a lesser-known destination that others should know about? Tell us in the comments!