20 Incredibly Gorgeous and Underrated Travel Destinations

underrateddest

Although I absolutely adore the big cities like Paris and London, it’s often nice to venture off the beaten track to some of the most underrated travel destinations. I’ve previously written about the small secret European towns to visit, but I wanted to share some of my favourite places around the world that don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve.

iceland

1. Reykjavik, Iceland

With a backdrop of snow-topped mountains, churning seas and crystal clear air, Reykjavik is home to colorful buildings, wild nightlife and a capricious soul. It has an open-minded and energetic culture renowned for excellent museums, captivating art, rich culinary choices, and funky cafes and bars.

belgrade, serbia

2. Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade is one of the most happening cities in Europe, yet it’s often overlooked by many tourists. The old-world culture has given way to a new-world nightlife that I keep hearing about from friends all over the world. Grandiose coffee houses, quirky sidewalks, smoky dens and historical buildings line lively pedestrian boulevards. Deeper in Belgrade’s bowels are museums guarding the cultural, religious and military heritage of the country. Serbia’s capital is indeed an underrated city that seems the place to be.

Kayangan Lake in Coron Island, Palawan

3. Palawan, The Philippines

Palawan was voted the most beautiful island in the world, and for reasons I cannot argue with. Despite the title, it’s crystal clear waters and lush tropical rainforests are still very much untouched by tourism.

havana, cuba

4. Havana Cuba

The U.S placed an embargo on Cuba in 1960 which has left Cuba in a time warp. It’s like traveling back to the 50’s. But there are many other reasons why you should consider visiting Cuba such as the stunning beaches, friendly locals, vintage bars and cars, and incredible architecture. [Read on: why you need to visit Cuba.]

Lviv, Ukraine

5. Lviv, Ukraine

A city with a lively history, Lviv (also spelled L’viv and Lvov) in Ukraine’s west was founded in the 13th century and has changed flags many times in the years. It exudes an authentic Central European charm as pre-tourism Prague or Krakow once did. Quaint cobbles, coffeehouses, green-domed churches and a mountain top 14th century castle make up this gorgeous city.

6. Mozambique, Africa

Many people travel to other Indian Ocean islands like Mauritius and Seychelles, but Mozambique is less developed and has much to offer those who venture here. Rugged coastlines, turquoise waters, world-class reefs, remote archipelagos, colonial-style architecture and a pulsating nightlife make up this African country. Jump in for a journey of a lifetime.

India

7. Alleppey, India

Alappuzha (or Alleppey) is a city on the Laccadive Sea in the southern Indian state of Kerala where it is home to a vast network of waterways and more than a thousand houseboats. Wandering around the small but chaotic city centre, with its modest grid of canals, you’d be hard-pressed to agree with the ‘Venice of the East’ tag. Float along and gaze over the succulent green paddy fields and village life.

Valparaiso, Chile

8. Valparaíso, Chile

A two-hour drive from Santiago, this port city has long been known for the colorful houses that dot its steep hills. Chaotic cerros (hills), Latin American street art, a maze of steep, sinuous streets, alleys and escaleras piled high with crumbling mansions make up what is this wonderful city, with an edgy air of ‘anything goes.’

Bolivia

9. Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, amid the Andes in southwest Bolivia, is the world’s largest salt flat. It’s the legacy of a prehistoric lake that went dry, leaving behind a desertlike, 11,000-sq.-km. landscape of bright-white salt, rock formations and cacti-studded islands. I wrote it as one of the most surreal destinations in the world.

morocco

10. Essaouira, Morocco

The seaside city of Essaouira is protected by 18th-century seafront ramparts with old brass cannons. It is authentically Moroccan at it’s soul: narrow alleyways, damp sea air mixed with aromas of spices and thuya wood, women in white haiks, midday palm-tree shades against red city walls, and the sound of Gnawa singing reverberating from shops.

Doha, Qatar

11. Doha, Qatar

Doha is a modern and rapidly developing city and, considering the money being poured into construction, Doha looks set to become one of the premier cities in the Gulf within a few years. The city comprises of picturesque architecture, dazzling harbours and a multicultural community.

Big Sur, California

12. Big Sur, California, USA

It’s only recently Big Sur has made it’s way onto our radars. It features stunning views and landscapes that haven’t been developed or commercialized, and the cell service is pretty much non-existent. The majestic cliffs drop into the Pacific create perhaps the most postcard-worthy sunsets in America.

Mexico

13. Las Pozas, Xilitla, Mexico

This destination certainly goes beyond the more popular Mexican tourist spots. In the town you’ll find Las Pozas, a surreal garden built in the middle of a jungle. Surround yourself with spiral staircases leading to nowhere, stunning waterfalls and surrealist statues.

Carribean

14. Anguilla, Caribbean

Consumerism has devoured many spots in the Carribean but Anguilla has mantained its charming shacks whilst weaving modern vacation properties in the mix. It is the laidback Caribbean at its best.

alcati

14. Alaçatı, Turkey

A smart new crowd is heading for a tiny Turkish village of Alaçatı, where the galleries, beach clubs and slow-food scene make it summertime’s coolest spot. Dating back to around the 14th century, the town is an unpretentious place, scattered with ivory‑coloured stone houses and rustic boutique hotels.

Norway

15. Ålesund, Norway

Perched at the top of Norway’s Western Fjord country, picture-perfect Alesund is spread over several islands stretching into the Atlantic with mountains as a backdrop. After a devastating fire in 1904, it was rebuilt in absolute Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) style. If its natural beauty doesn’t grab you, its architecture surely will.

Trier, Germany

16. Trier, Germany

Trier is Germany’s oldest city which lies at the head of the scenic Mosel Valley near the Luxembourg border. It boasts some of the best Roman antiquities outside Rome itself, although today, Trier feels young and thriving.

isle_of_skye

17. Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Isle of Skye is known for its rugged landscapes and picturesque fishing villages, but when the mist closes in there are plenty of castles, crofting museums and cosy pubs and restaurants. Immerse yourself in the wild beauty of the Scottish Highlands!

Mostar

18. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the cross-cultural center of Eastern Europe; the place where East meets West. Mostar is one of the most charming and interesting places you’ll ever experience, with a real homely feel. It is both architecturally and naturally magnificent and tourism is just starting to pick up.

19. Salvador, Brazil

Brazil’s former capital is renowned for its African-influenced cuisine, music and architecture. Known as “the Capital of Joy,” because of its exuberant week-long Carnaval celebrations, Salvador brims with contemporary music and art amid architecture that has gone untouched since the 17th century.

Valencia, Spain

20. Valencia, Spain

With thriving cultural, eating and nightlife scenes, Valencia is still often overlooked for Madrid and Barcelona. It’s full of strikingly futuristic buildings and Modernista architecture, but still keeps a characterful old quarter.

What other underrated destinations would you add to this list?

  • All of these destinations are so beautiful! I actually haven’t heard of a lot of these, but I’ve plotted some of these down on my traveling bucket list! It’s crazy how many beautiful places are actually out there to explore! Love posts like these! xo

    McKenzie | therosynook.com

  • Every single destination here is beautiful and I’m feeling the need to travel to every place on this list. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of half of these yet they’re insanely beautiful!

    Jodie | Jodie Loue

  • Belgrade is a gorgeous city, definitely underrated :) You’re the first to mention it so woop woop!
    I really want to go to Anguilla!

    Creepers & Cupcakes

    • Anguilla is fabulous! I live and work in Anguilla (Frangipani Beach Resort) and it really is an untouched gem – perfect for beach lovers who want great dining and great live music!

  • It’s so nice to see Valencia, my home city, there! I agree it is absolutely gorgeous and it has so much character. Not to mention the albufera, a salted water lake right by the sea, and the smell of orange blossom that hits you as you step off the plane during spring. I loved this post and have just started a list of destinations where I would like to go to, some of which were here. I think North Wales is a hidden gem as well. The Snowdonia Natural Park is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful in autumn.

    Inma x
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.com

  • These places all look absolutely beautiful! I think if I end up going away this year it’ll be to either Morocco or a greek island. So, Essaouira might be a contender now!

    Em | beauty&bullshit x

  • So many beautiful places!! I went to Lisbon last year and I think it’s such a beautiful place that is underrated in Europe!

    Miriam ♥ A whole lot of serendipity

  • These all look wonderful! I have some new places to add to my bucket list! I wish I was able to visit Valencia when I was in Spain. Everything looks so gorgeous!

  • I visited Trier many years ago! Loved the place very much!

  • Wow! These places look stunning and colourful – especially Salvador and Cuba! I really must visit them.

    Jemima x
    anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk

  • I wanna visit them all, they all look stunning and so gorgeous! I’ve been to Valencia a few times and it is truly a really beautiful place, even though I much prefer Barcelona! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  • Definitely saving the post for future reference! I’ve been to California so many times, but still have not had the chance to visit Big Sur. It’s definitely on my bucketlist now!

    Mimi
    coffeeandsunday.com

  • There are so many places on here that I’m dying to visit like Big Sur and Havana. Reykjavik is absolutely amazing – we visited in 2014 and it’s one of our favourite places so far.

    xo April | April Everyday

  • I seriously need to travel more in my life!! Those salt flats in Bolivia are gorgeous!!! I want to go to Iceland one day, and Morrocco, and Brazil, and the Philippines, and so many other places!! =)

  • These are amazing choices, Ive always wanted to go to Iceland, Big Sur, Havanna, The Philippines, Brazil, and more.

  • shelby

    All of these are amazing!! So beautiful :D
    The Fernweh Wolf / Travel & Lifestyle Blog

  • megsiobhan

    Palawan looks absolutely stunning. I’ve only seen that one picture and I already want to up and leave where I am to live there. Yes please.

    Meg | A Little Twist Of…

  • Fifi

    These destinations all look so dreamy! Definitely very inspiring xoxo

    https://goingbyfifi.theblogpress.com/

  • Ika

    Where was the picture of Valencia, Spain, taken? I’ve spent three months there and none of the places I visited in that city looked anything like that. It’s a beautifu city, but very different from the photo.

    • It’s from Port Saplaya in Valencia :)

  • Stunning photographs! Adding all of this to my someday-travel-list.

  • Reykjavik and Havana are right up there on my ‘to-visit’ list, they look so wonderful!
    Also, I can completely agree with you on Trier, it’s stunning. I spent a few days there two years ago and I absolutely loved my trip – so much history in that town, it’s absolutely breathtaking and the people are so friendly!

    Franzi. x // [http://franzizzy.blogspot.com/]

  • pat.

    Big Sur is majestic–a must see.

  • judiabbott

    Kotor, Montenegro

  • Helga Baechler

    the castle illustrating your isle of skye post is the eilean donan castle in scotland – and its NOT located on the isle of skye

    • Thank you for letting me know Helga, I should’ve noticed that! The photo has been updated.

  • Al

    Interesting, I just came back from

    Essaouira Marocco and I have a similar photo from the top of the riad (hotel). Essaouira is way more relaxed than the Marrakesh market. Amazing, long and wide beach… nice people and great food.

    http://www.livit.es

  • Amazing list! I loved Belgrade! I haven’t been to Mostar, but Sarajevo is one of my favorite cities in Europe!

  • Wow, this is an incredible list! I haven’t even been out of the US, haha. Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to visit some of these places!

    http://www.llindatt.blogspot.com

  • Dee

    Awesome list but I can’t believe you didn’t include Cape Town, South Africa in the mix – has to be one of THE most beautiful cities in the world and the low Rand currency will benefit all those travelling from Europe or USA/Canada

  • Amy West Travel

    I’d add Malta as well!

  • Diana Maria

    These all look like a dream, all places I’d love to visit one day! Scotland is on my bucket list for sure, it looks so majestic!

    My Lovelier Days

  • I’ve been to exactly 0 out of these 20 stunning travel destinations. I’ll add them all to my list to inspire me to travel. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

  • Great travel escapes!

  • thewelltravelledman

    Great list, haven’t been to all of them but those that I have been … couldn’t agree more! So many more amazing places to explore!

  • Samara Joyce

    These are all so amazing! Definitely adding to the bucketlist xxx

  • Zorica

    Amazing list…Been in Belgrade and Valencia…incredible cities
    Hope to visit the rest of the list..
    Great post
    You can check my post about Valencia
    xx
    https://theonethattravels.wordpress.com/

  • Love this post! I always enjoy going to places that aren’t packed with tourists! These will definitely be going on my travel bucket list :)

    http://www.travelmatters.co/

  • Of those, I’ve only been to Valencia. Lots of the other ones are on my to do list though. Mozambique especially, and I’m starting to think more and more that I need to check out Eastern Europe more. Have you heard of Ksamil in Albania?

  • Greg Kennon

    I thought I had the travel bug already, but I think I just got bit again!

  • What a fun list! I live in Anguilla so can definitely give a thumbs up to that one, but love hearing about Bosnia and some of the other lesser trafficked European destinations. Great inspo!