Adventures Without the Crowds: 12 Underrated Destinations

Some of the world’s best travel destinations fly wonderfully under the radar. Here are 12 such places that deserve more attention from tourists.

People gravitate to things that are familiar and popular. That’s why countries like Italy and France dominate the travel scene—they’re exquisite safe bets. Tourists flock to these places because they see everyone else flocking to them and assume they must be amazing.

They usually are! However, many other destinations of equal beauty and wonder get overlooked in the process. And that’s good news. These hidden gems are the holy grail for travel enthusiasts. They offer unforgettable experiences without the crowds, which usually means cheaper prices, too.

Here are 12 such underrated destinations to visit this year.

1. Poland

Wroclaw, Poland
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Poland rarely appears on European bucket lists, but it should. This enormous country has mountain ranges, beaches, and lakes. Its vibrant towns and cities are full of culture and history. The food scene is notoriously good. And, to top it off, Poland is far cheaper than more popular European destinations, such as Italy or France.

2. Northern Greece

Thessaloniki, Northern Greece
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Unsurprisingly, everybody loves and flocks to the Greek Islands. But northern Greece is incredible, too. It’s surprisingly and refreshingly different. What it lacks in beaches, it makes up for in natural beauty and sites of immense cultural significance. Highlights include the mighty Vikos Gorge, Meteora, Ioannina, and Mount Olympus.

3. Albania

Albanian Riviera, Albania
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Next door to Greece is another shockingly underrated country that’s been on my summer bucket list for years. The natural beauty looks second to none. It’s packed with picturesque towns, and it boasts a rich history revealed by its long list of castles and cultural attractions.

4. Malta

Valletta, Malta
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Forgive the cliché, but this tiny Mediterranean island truly has something for everyone. Ancient temples and fortified towns will satisfy the history buffs. Beautiful sandy coves with clear waters will appease beach lovers. Numerous famous filming locations will delight the movie fans…Malta deserves a place on anyone’s bucket list.

5. Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Georgia looks spectacular with its colorful cities, vast mountains, and pristine beaches. Sandwiched between the Black Sea, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, it’s another melting pot of cultures and traditions. And, to top it off, it also has a reputation for being highly affordable.

6. Sri Lanka

Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Known as the Teardrop of India, Sri Lanka is a relatively small country just off India’s southeastern coast. While its popularity has rebounded in recent years, Sri Lanka remains an underrated country.

From Sigiriya Rock and Adam’s Peak to Yala National Park and beyond, the country is blessed with a diverse array of natural and historical attractions. It’s a bustling, hectic country by Western standards, but that chaos is part of the appeal. So, too, is an exchange rate that makes this one of the cheapest destinations on this list.

7. Wales

Conwy Castle in Wales
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

People visiting the UK tend to gravitate to Scotland, Ireland, and certain parts of England – especially London. Skipping Wales is a mistake, though. From the mountainous north to the beautiful beach-laden south, it’s another stunning country. Expect rolling green hills, history, charming towns, friendly locals, and tons of outdoor opportunities.

8. Portugal

Pena National Palace in Sintra, Portugal
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Portugal is another oft-overlooked European destination. It’s a true gem, though. Expect historic cities, age-old castles, colorful buildings and traditions, excellent food and wine, outdoor activities, and so much more.

Portugal is also blessed with over 1,100 miles of coastline, so expect pristine beaches and epic surf—not to mention some of the biggest waves in the world. As the westernmost country in Europe, the sunsets along the coast are hard to beat, too.

9. Slovenia

Lake Bled in Slovenia
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Slovenia occupies a very distinctive place on the map. It’s a gateway to Eastern Europe, next door to the Balkans, and on the edge of the Alps. As a result, there’s a fascinating blend of cultural influences and landscapes.

Expect breathtaking scenery, endless outdoor opportunities, and vibrant cities. Slovenia’s a budget-friendly country, too. And, given its proximity to Italy and Croatia, it makes an excellent stop on any Euro trip.

10. Madagascar

Baobab trees in Madagascar
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

This enchanting, biodiverse island off Africa’s southeast coast is said to be perfect for an adventure. There are outrageously beautiful beaches, masses of unique fauna and flora (e.g., the Baobab trees), otherworldly landscapes, and a host of other exotic attractions.

11. Kyrgyzstan

Yurt camp in Kyrgyzstan
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Arguably, anywhere in central Asia could feature on this list. Yet Kyrgyzstan deserves a special mention. Many consider it one of adventure travel’s best-kept secrets.

Up until the 15th Century, this ex-Soviet country was at the heart of the infamous Silk Road. Nowadays, it’s better known for its wild open plains, alpine lakes, striking mountain ranges, and horse treks. Friendly locals, affordability, and its unique cultural traditions add to the appeal.

12. Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Millions of people flock to Southeast Asia every year. Yet the majority go to places like Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. By contrast, only a relatively small number explore their landlocked neighbor, Laos.

That’s good news, though. It means you can have this gorgeous country mostly to yourself. With waterfalls, rainforests, caves, cliffs, lagoons, rivers, ancient temple complexes, and age-old cities like Luang Prabang, Laos is a sumptuous destination ideal for the adventurously inclined.


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Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including and news sites across the US.