While popular destinations like Venice, Barcelona, Phuket, and the Serengeti impress with their incredible history and natural beauty, our selection of 10 stellar under-the-radar destinations provides unique insights into remarkable opportunities many travelers don’t take.
Instead of moving with the crowd, these destinations have yet to be overrun by international tourists eager for a peek at famous paintings, glances at passing rhinos, or moments lounging on the soft white sands of a gorgeous beach.
Our curated selection of overlooked destinations provides a glimpse into the unique experiences and memorable moments you can enjoy when stepping away from the beaten path.
Botswana’s Okavango Delta draws many visitors to the country, but those who veer off the beaten path to Chobe National Park will find a sparkling river system that hides Cape buffalo, hippo, and an impressive number of elephants amongst wetlands, grasslands, and rich marshland.
Chobe National Park’s unique location overtakes the waters and landscape at a point where Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana converge. Birders can scour the national park, searching for more than 440 recorded avifauna species, while the distinct scenery combines the marshy grasses of Linyanti with the rocky outcroppings of Savuti.
Spot Africa’s Big Five: Lions • Leopards • Elephants • Rhinos • Cape buffalo
Australia is a powerhouse of natural beauty, but Tasmania crowns the continent as a place with remarkable art, culinary prowess, and spellbinding nature from brooding mountains to sparkling beaches.
Active adventure can guide you through the epic scenery with kayaks or cruises, hiking or cycling. Dolphins arc through the sea, penguins waddle along the coastline, and waterfalls hide among the lush forests.
The island’s untamed wilderness is mysterious, with alpine lakes and winding rivers shimmering beneath mountain peaks cloaked in mist. Each discovery, from the food scene to the frenzied artistic ambiance of the Museum of Old and New Art, represents another island jewel immersed in or inspired by the landscape.
Best Things to Do: Museum of Old and New Art • Hike Freycinet National Park • Visit Cradle Mountain National Park • Whale watching • Wildlife spotting • Tour Port Arthur Historic Site
The city of Valparaíso is poetic in its connection to the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and the colorful homes rising up the hillsides overlooking the ocean.
The unexpected charm of the city depicts a history of dockworkers and sailors, as well as glamor and glitz, with a steep maze of streets, sinuous hills, winding staircases, vintage mansions, and working antique railways.
The painted facades add an indelible vibrancy to the city's culture, enhancing the scenery with recognizable charisma that connects the past and present. The overlooked jewel maintains its deep bohemian culture, while also offering visitors beaches with golden sands.
What to Expect: Gold-sand beaches • Vibrant street art • Historic neighborhoods • Panoramic hillside paseos or strolls • Thriving market culture
Thoughts of French Polynesia will likely conjure images of the famous island of Tahiti or the romantic shores of Bora Bora, but the Tuamotu Islands are the largest of the archipelago, consisting of more than 76 islands spanning over 7,722 square miles.
The unspoiled and uncrowded isles are a tropical paradise known for incredible snorkeling excursions. You can dip into the crystal-clear turquoise water in search of tropical fish, colorful coral atolls, and larger marine life like sharks and manta rays.
A favorite pastime for visitors is participating in “drift snorkeling”, which uses the turning tide to move between lagoons.
Adventures that Await: Coral-reef snorkeling • Jungle-trekking tours • Pearl farming • Polynesian dance performances • Island hopping
The vineyards and wines of Italy, France, and Portugal have gained prominence for their centuries or even millennia of cultivation, but Stellenbosch in South Africa offers you a glimpse into the future of wine production.
Whether you are a wine lover or amateur enthusiast, you will bask in charming landscapes, fantastic food, and a unique history when visiting the estates scattered around the outskirts of the town.
The local ambiance celebrates old-world colonial culture, with architecture featuring Cape Dutch, Georgian, and Victorian elements and furnishings spanning quiet, cobbled lanes.
Best Wine Varietals to Taste: Cabernet Sauvignon • Merlot • Pinotage • Shiraz • Chenin Blanc
The remote archipelago combines the temperate beauty of Atlantic islands with the cultural history of Europe. Rich with activity and remarkable scenery, the islands offer adventure for every kind of traveler.
Architecture shimmers with whitewashed walls and black basalt frames to create a monochrome effect against the lush surroundings. Historical cities brim with cobblestone streets and lively plazas lined with cafes.
From whale-watching tours to crater lakes, hot springs to horseback riding, the diverse topography, and connection to Portuguese exploration create a unique opportunity to embrace the heritage and indulge in thrilling experiences.
Activities to Enjoy: Whale watching • Cave tour • Views of Lagoa do Fogo crater lake • Hike to Miradoura da Boca do Inferno • Visit the tea fields • Bird watching
Learn more: Azores Islands Vacation Packages
With medieval walls and a labyrinth of unplanned alleyways leading to winding staircases and historic arches, the fascinating “White City” feels adventurous, historical, and enchanting. You will succumb to the tranquil ambiance, heightened by blue and green wooden doors popping out of the dazzling whitewashed walls of the surrounding structures.
The streets will lead you to surprising dead ends or captivating vistas that look out to the sapphire waters of the Adriatic. The 15th-century Gothic Cathedral separates Ostuni from neighboring towns, while boutique shops showcase local style and street vendors serve culinary staples.
Monuments to Discover: La Piazzetta Cattedrale • Church of San Francesco d’Assisi • Column of Sant’Oronzo • Bishop’s Palace • Seminar’s Palace
Sweet vegetarian meals and the oldest seaport in India only scratch the surface of Kutch’s grandeur. During monsoon season the fresh river floods with salty seawater, turning the soil into low-lying marshes that glisten with white salt in the dry season.
The slow pace of the arid landscape will become a captivating backdrop to adventurous exploration of nomadic tribal herders and traditional handicrafts, such as exquisite textiles, alluding to the depths of historic heritage grown out of the Thar Desert, including the former ashram of Mahatma Gandhi.
Best Places to Visit: Great Rann Of Kutch • Kalo Dungar • Topansar Lake • Kandla Port • Mandvi Beach
Slovenia often stands in the shadows of its neighbors like Italy, Austria, and Croatia, but the Kamnik Alps deserve your attention. In the summer, marvelous green pastures punctuated by wooden huts hark back to the oldest preserved herdsmen settlement in Europe.
In the winter, mountains are draped in snow and skiing becomes the focal activity along the alpine peaks. Enjoy the panoramas atop the lofty viewpoints at Kamnik or stroll past the pastel-washed medieval buildings of Šutna to learn about historic guilds and local folklore.
How to Enjoy the Alps: Cross-country skiing • Mountain biking • Mountain climbing • Cultural town tours • Horseback riding
Learn more: Slovenia Tours
Step away from the renowned shores of Bali for the sparsely populated Raja Ampat, a collection of 1,500 islands that are a part of the greater Indonesian archipelago.
Raja Ampat undoubtedly possesses the most alluring, untouched islands, whether you are searching the globe for exotic beaches shimmering with white sand, excursions into tropical jungles, or hidden lagoons filled with glassy turquoise waters.
Underwater enthusiasts can scan the colorful coral on snorkeling, kayaking, or scuba diving expeditions, while adventures into the lush jungles will introduce you to the local bird and wildlife.
Unique Marine Life to Spot: Dugongs • Hawksbill turtle • Papuan garden eel • Cendrawasih mantis shrimp • Papua walking sharks
Encounter the rare dugongs and other fascinating marine life amongst the coral reefs of Raja Ampat or taste Stellenbosch’s premier wine varietals at prestigious estates with views of rolling hills.
Whether looking for a familiar destination or somewhere quite new, you can find inspiration for your next tour by visiting Zicasso.