Travelers Tell All: The World’s Most Underrated Destinations

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Underrated Destinations in North & Central America

El Salvador (Don’t Stop Living) Facebook|Twitter|YouTube

When backpacking through Central America, my plan was obviously to visit every country in the region over a three month period.

One thing I noticed constantly was that other travelers I met up with were also going to each country like me, but 90% of them were skipping El Salvador completely. It just baffled me a bit, that this small country was neglected by lots of tourists. With this in mind I made sure I set aside a bit longer to see El Salvador as I was convinced it would be worth the trip. In the end, I was so inspired by the country and its people that my 10 days spent in El Salvador were the best 10 days from my entire time in Central America.

Where do I start with the sightseeing? Well it was a busy time and I managed to go surfing at Barra de Santiago, stay in a beach hut by the Pacific Ocean, do a crocodile river tour of the Mangrove Forest, tour the charming entrepreneurial city of Santa Ana, visit the viewpoint at Devil’s Gate, visit Joya de Ceren (the only UNESCO Heritage Site in the country), visit the Mayan sites at Tazumal and San Andres, attend an indigo workshop in Chalchuapa, party in San Salvador and the craziest moment of all – the Bolas del Fuego.

Basically on the last day of August every year in the town of Nejapa there is a Fireball Festival – if you want to know how crazy the Fireball Festival is check it out here. Locals throwing fireballs at each other in a town where seemingly health and safety is nonexistent.

El Salvador is the real gem in the Central American jigsaw, miss it at your peril – it is one of the most under-rated tourist destinations on the planet and a country with proud, friendly, welcoming people.

boat mangroves el salvador

 

Tulum, Mexico (1 Fun Girl Travels) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Pinterest|StumbleUpon

Tulum is extremely underrated and distinct as it is one of few walled cities built by the Mayans.  It is also one of the only Mayan cities that is well preserved and contains its own pristine beach on the Caribbean! Where else can you walk on the beach, grab a bite of authentic Mexican food, see ancient Mayan temples, and explore the eccentricities of a small town in one place?  

I didn’t know this at the time, but there is also a place along the road on your immediate right where the Mayan Pole Flyers do their pole flying. They perform throughout the day and you can sit and watch! You could spend a few hours, or a day depending on your mood.  If you can manage to get there, DO IT!  TRAVEL OUT LOUD! 🙂

tulum mexico

 

Underrated Spots in South America

Sao Paolo, Brazil (How to Travel Light) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Google Plus

When people think of Brazil, they think beaches, beautiful people, the sun, party time. They think Rio. But São Paulo is the culture capital of South America, a bustling, rough, real city where a lot is happening all the time. Also, São Paulo is undergoing a very special moment, with immigrants arriving from war zones and young adults regaining the streets with parties and bikes and open air markets.

Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/murilocardoso/900896447/
Photo by Murilo Cardoso

Underrated Places in Europe

Emilia Romagna Region, Italy (Keep Calm and Travel) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

Italy is one of the most famous holidays destinations in the world, too bad that the tourists just tend to visit the usual spots: Rome, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Venice, and Florence to name the most popular ones.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Emilia Romagna, a region that is in my opinion extremely underrated. The food (OMG…THE FOOD), nature, and cultural heritage are some of the reasons why everyone should visit this place. A tip for you: If you happen to visit Tuscany, don’t miss the opportunity to cross the “border” to the nearby Emilia Romagna and head to Parco del Frignano.
As usual, I believe that images speak louder than words so decided to avoid giving you a detailed explanation on why you should go and let the picture speak for itself. Even with the clouds this place is truly astonishing (and totally underrated, as we were the only people visiting it that day. Can you believe that?!)

Galicia, Spain (A World to Travel) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

As a Spanish passport holder myself, it would make no sense to talk about the main touristy hubs in the country. Therefore, let me tell you about the North West corner, where I was lucky to be born: GALICIA.Why it deserves a place in this list comes without saying. This region alone, even when it is only one of the 17 autonomies of the country enjoys about one third of all the seashore in Spain due to its estuaries and intricate coastline. That converts into endless unpolluted and uncrowded beaches. Affordable and with a great cuisine, it also has cities worth visiting like Santiago de Compostela, the end of the famous St. James Way and Lugo, which features 2000 year old perfectly preserved city walls. If you go a bit more inland, you can also find gorgeous mountains and even a ski resort! With just over 3M inhabitants, slow travel and a great life philosophy are awaiting you there!

Gothenburg, Sweden (Indefinite Adventure) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

While Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, usually gets all the attention (much of it well deserved), Sweden does have other cool cities too! One of them is Gothenburg, the country’s second largest city situated on the North Sea coast in the south west of Sweden. With a long history as a port city, the city was among the richest in the world for some time. Nowadays, the seafaring heritage is visible everywhere along the canals and seafront. Gothenburg also has a large student population, meaning it’s a very young and vibrant city with many music, art and cultural events going on all year round.
Be sure to check out the Fish Church (an indoor fish market), the Botanical Garden (with free entry!) the Volvo Museum if you’re interested in cars and the Liseberg amusement park if you’re travelling with children. Furthermore, Gothenburg is well served by budget and national airlines making it a long weekend trip there easy from many places in northern and western Europe.

Montenegro (Anekdotique) Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

It’s pretty popular to travel the Balkans in Eastern Europe these days, especially in summer time. But one travel destination that is totally underrated is the tiny Republic of Montenegro, a quiet coastal state with cobblestoned old towns like Budva and Kotor, huge fjord-like bays and stunning panoramas as from the picture book. On top of these, the Montenegrins are an open-minded bunch of people who will welcome everyone with open arms and filled plates of delicious hearty food. If you want to choose the right time to go, make it summer!

Sibiu, Romania (Travelers Universe) Facebook|Twitter|Google Plus

Back in 2007, Sibiu was the European Capital of Culture. Eight years fast forward, and there still aren’t many tourists in sight. The truth is, the whole country is underrated. So much wasted potential!
Sibiu still preserves its innocence and authenticity. I’m in love with the colorful houses and the cute rooftop windows that look like eyes. There are several guild towers still in place and the Bridge of Lies is surrounded by fascinating legends.
Unspoiled and relaxed. That’s Sibiu! Though most people I talked to (locals included) prefer Brasov for it’s location surrounded my mountains, for me, Sibiu is the prettiest Romanian city. I visited twice in recent years and I can’t wait to go back.
Editor’s Note: I’ve made no secret of my unrequited love affair with Romania. It’s twice appeared on my lists of the top ten countries I’d like to visit. This is just fuel to the fire!

Your Say

You might have noticed that Oceania and Africa are conspicuous in their absence. Is this a controversial oversight?

What is your favourite less-known or underrated destination?

 

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