16 Best Underrated Travel Destinations For 2022

Shining the spotlight on some underappreciated travel gems

16 Best Underrated Travel Destinations For 2022

Shining the spotlight on some underappreciated travel gems
underrated travel destinations - slovenia

Tourism hot spots like Paris, Rome, and Greece are undeniably popular, and for good reason, so it’s pretty easy to just go with the flow and base your entire bucket list on more well-known destinations like such.

But what if you want to uncover something a little more off the beaten track? Somewhere truly unique, unsaturated, and untouched by the masses.

There are so many off-the-radar destinations that deserve your attention when planning those dream travels, from mysterious medieval towns to quirky villages, lush fairytale forests, and hidden coastal treasures.

Here are our 16 best underrated travel destinations you need to visit.

1. Cape Verde

underrated travel destinations - cape verde
Santa Maria | Martin Widenka

Winding hiking trails, music-filled streets, volcanic landscapes, and colourful coral reefs await at this tropical archipelago gem. 

Cape Verde is a wonderland few travellers know of, and you can find the chain of stunning islands just west of Senegal and Mauritania. The island of Sal boasts a more all-inclusive resort style stay, while the remainder of the archipelago is a backpacker and outdoor adventurer’s ideal playground. The landscapes here are simply stunning, and the culture strikingly unique. 

A stop at the island of Santa Antao is highly recommended for the views, and the best time to pay a visit is from November to April. 


2. Albania

underrated travel destinations  - albania
Town of Berat | Johnny Africa

Albania is rarely brought up when planning those Europe travels, but don’t be so quick to overlook it. 

The coastline here seems almost untouched it’s that pristine, while the Alps offer hiking trails dotted with ancient towns from the Ottoman Era. It’s also home to plenty of rich history, with archaeological sites that include prehistoric mounds, medieval bathhouses, and ancient Greek and Roman temples. 

Locals here are some of the friendliest you’ll come across, and compared to other neighboring nations it’s extremely affordable – not to mention all the cheap cuisine you’ll find is 10/10 delicious.  


3. Transylvania 

underrated travel destinations  - transylvania
Bran Castle | Cristian Balate

Yes, the mysterious land of Dracula and howling wolves is actually a real place. Just not so dark and gloomy

Transylvania is a region in central Romania famous for medieval towns, mountainous borders, and Gothic fortresses associated with the bloodsucking legends. A visit here is essentially like stepping into a time machine and going back a few hundred years – think horsedrawn carts, bustling villagers, and dirt roads. 

Bran Castle near Brasov is a major hotspot for most tourists, as is the pastel-hued city of Sighișoara and churches of Biertan and Viscri. 


4. Meteora, Greece

underrated travel destinations  - meteora
Meteora | Vangelis Batsikostas

Though we’re huge fans of island hopping through the turquoise waters of Greece, to the north you can find a true treasure few venture into. 

The area of Meteora was originally settled by monks during the 11th century, with a collection of breathtaking monasteries standing tall to this day on the rising rocky landscape. One simply cannot fathom how beautiful this place is without seeing it in real life – it’s quite literally something out of a picture book. 

It’s located a few kilometres northwest of the town of Kalabaka, and recommended monasteries to pay a visit to include The Great Meteoron, The Varlaam Monastery, and St. Nicholas Anapafsas Monastery. 


5. Slovenia

underrated travel destinations  - slovenia
View over Lake Bled | Neven Krcmarek

All those fairytales of magical green forests, castles, and dragons seem strikingly real through the scenery of Slovenia. 

You’ll find it in Central Europe, with the majority of the landscape home to mountains, lakes, and ski resorts, though you’ll also find Italian-like architecture and wine country chucked into the mix. Many describe the small region as a combination of worlds, where you can climb mountains in the morning and take a sea dip in the afternoon. 

You’ll have to do your own research to sort through the endless list of things to do here, but recommended faves include a visit to Piran, Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, and Lake Bled. 


6. Bergen, Norway

underrated travel destinations - bergen norway
Bergen | Mao Yuqing

Bergen is often overshadowed by Oslo when on route to Norway, but we want to shine the spotlight on it for just a moment. 

The colourful houses that dot the old wharf location are surrounded by a picturesque backdrop of mountains and fjords, including the Fløyen Mountain which can be accessed via trails for panoramic views across the land. 

This area is certainly one to tick off the list if you lean more towards the great outdoors, with endless hiking opportunities, ziplining, paragliding, and nature-filled day trips. 


7. Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama, Japan

underrated travel destinations  - shirakawa-go and gokayama
Shirakawa-gō village | Dennis Agusdianto

The historic villages of Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama line the Shogawa River Valley in remote mountains.

The villages, Ogimachi, Ainokura, and Suganuma, have been designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, and are iconically known for their traditional thatched roof, gassho-zukuri style farmhouses. 

A combination of the unique architecture and natural beauty makes these quaint little villages quite the bucket list item when traveling Japan, especially through spring when sakura cherry blossoms bloom or winter when the area is blanketed with snow. 


8. Sicily 

underrated travel destinations - sicily
Taormina | Ruth Troughton

Though Sicily will be a very familiar name compared to some of the other undercover gems on this list, it’s still not as widely visited as other popular locations when doing Italy. 

It’s right at the toe end of Italy’s ‘boot’, and usually more bearable than its counterparts for the fact that it’s not overflowing with tourists. Sicily is a land of golden beaches, citrus groves, sparkling waters, historic attractions, and strong culture. You could sprawl out in the sun here all day just as easily as you could eat street food and wander the many palazzos. 

When in Sicily it’s also imperative that you gorge on as many culinary delights as humanly possible, including glossy green olives, cannoli, seafood, gelato, and limoncello. We don’t make the rules.


9. Bulgaria

underrated travel destinations  - bulgaria
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral | Fred Moon

A lot of people don’t realize that Bulgaria is just above Greece, so the climate and food are pretty similar. 

The fascinating villages are abuzz with art and nightlife, blending cultural influences from Persian, Ottoman, Slavic, and Greek origins, whilst the scenery is that of green forest mountains and long stretches of beach. 

Well-recommended haunts include Belogradchik Rocks, St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari, Bachkovo Monastery, and Sunny Beach. 


10. Taipei, Taiwan

underrated travel destinations  - taipei
Taipei | Tom Ritson

When it comes to standout Asian destinations, Taipei is up there among our favourites. 

The friendly neon-clad city is a unique scape of traditional China, Japan, and U.S. influences. Here you’ll find a booming street food scene, eclectic night markets, countless shop fronts, and many things within the realm of whacky and wonderful. Fun fact: dining out is so popular here that many studio apartments don’t even have a kitchen. 

When it comes to popular attractions, make sure to check out the National Palace Museum, Longshan Temple, Shilin Night Market, and Taipei 101. 


11. Poland

underrated travel destinations  - poland
Colourful houses in Wroclaw | Reiseuhu

With stunning yet quirky architecture, historical castles, outdoor adventures, and a strong sense of arts and culture, Poland offers up a unique opportunity on every corner. 

It’s definitely pleasing to the eyes, and each city within holds something completely new. Fascinating history, bursting culture, party strips, a bit of R&R – you name it. You can’t simply just ‘pop into’ Poland, it deserves its own dedicated few days at least. 

Get a taste of the medieval in the historic centre of Kraków, see the colourful Town Hall in Zamość, immerse yourself in the lively arts and textiles of Łódź, or feel some serious Harry Potter vibes at Czocha Castle. 


12. Turkey

underrated travel destinations  - turkey
Hot air balloons in Cappadocia | Niketh Vellanki

Most are likely familiar with Turkey, but so few ever have it on their radar when it comes to trip planning. 

If not for the cuisine and endless diverse landscapes, visit for the utterly beautiful Cappadocia hot air balloon display. You’ll be able to set up high on a lookout in the clouds and watch as hundreds of hot air balloons gently ebb and flow above the ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations and valleys. 

The experience is at the top of many people’s travel dreams list for a reason. 


13. San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

underrated travel destinations  - san cristobal de las casas
Street and people in San Cristobal de las Casas | Guido HN

If you’re booking a trip to Mexico, we’ll let you in on a little secret called San Cristobal de las Casas.

This city is located on a mountain in Southern Mexico, far from other really touristy areas or Cancun. It has an intriguing and lively cultural flair and provides for a truly authentic experience, given the small amount of tourism going through the area. The old pastel dotted town oozes plenty of charm, with a heap of cute shops, hearty food, and history to fill your days with. 

San Cristobal makes for the ideal place to set up base and take on various adventures throughout the state of Chiapas, and is generally much cheaper than staying in Cancun. 


14. Puglia

underrated travel destinations  - puglia
Sunset on Puglia | Marcel Pirnay

The high-profile destinations in Italy are constantly swarming with tourists, but you’ll find a slight escape from the madness in the Puglia region. 

The allure here lies in its picture-perfect small towns, hidden piazzas, rich palaces, food-filled trattorias, coastline markets, and exquisite beaches, and tourists are slowly beginning to catch on. 

If you’ve only got the time to visit one area, make it either Valle d’Itria for the classic countryside and towns or Salento for some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. 


15. La Roque-Gageac, France

underrated travel destinations  - la roque gageac
France Comfort Holiday Parks

La Roque-Gageac is one of the most beautiful villages in all of France. Probably the world. Yep, push Paris to the side for a moment. 

It sits in a stunning position on the north bank of the Dordogne River, with yellow village homes sporting traditional Perigord rooves backed by a steep cliff. One of the more impressive standouts among the architecture is the 15th-century Renaissance Manoir de Tarde, with a tall round tower and mullion windows on display. 

Over near the church, you’ll find a tropical-style exotic garden to wander through as you make your way up the hill bursting with all different forms of plants and greenery.


16. Tasmania

underrated travel destinations  - tasmania
Wineglass Bay | Lochlainn Riordan

The little island state of Tasmania just off Australia’s mainland is often sadly forgotten in favour of bigger city hotspots such as Melbourne or Sydney.

Tasmania holds a treasure trove of unique experiences and stunning natural beauty in its picture-perfect location – just take a look at the best Instagram locations in Tasmania for inspiration. It’s a place of wild, stunning landscapes, incredible gourmet food and wine, relaxed lifestyle, and a dash of history.

If there was one place to escape your chaotic life and soak in the fresh air, it’s here. 


Get even more travel inspiration on So Where Next.

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