This blog post was updated on August 6, 2021.
With summer in full swing, you might be looking for the ideal destination. However, in your quest for the perfect summer getaway, don’t forget that there are so many places that are a bit under the radar, but still have a lot to offer.
Here’s a quick scan of seven underrated destinations worth keeping in mind as you plan your vacations, weekend breaks, and impromptu excursions.
Whether it’s award-winning BBQ and down-home southern cooking, white sand beaches, music history, civil rights heritage, world-class fishing, golfing, a great range of outdoor activities, excellent college sports (especially football), OR simply kicking back to enjoy a relaxing time imbued with southern hospitality – Alabama’s a fine place to find something you’ll love.
Much of what keeps tiny landlocked Laos beyond the scope of most mainstream travelers is what makes it so appealing to the savvy few: no direct flights from outside Southeast Asia, no oceanfront beach developments (indeed no oceanfront), and minimal infrastructure to support big tour providers and middle-market tourists. But if you’ve ever experienced sunset on the Mekong, the warm reception of the Lao people, or the serenity and subdued dignity of Luang Prabang (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), then you know Laos is as charming a destination as you can find anywhere.
Dreaming of a tropical island getaway? Take your pick when you visit the Philippines, home to more than 7,000 of them. The welcoming Southeast Asian nation is one of the world’s most affordable (and increasingly trendy) destinations but still off the radar for the majority of travelers seeking some exotic fun in the sun.
Often overshadowed by bigger, brasher Spain (with whom humble Portugal shares its only land border) tiny Portugal is a seriously underrated — and underpriced — destination. With its long coastline, its wealth of historical sites, and its proudly celebrated cultural traditions, Portugal remains a hidden gem for a fulfilling and affordable European holiday. Food and wine lovers in particular will marvel at the bounty of great things to eat and drink, all available at a fraction of their usual going rate in other parts of Western Europe.
From the cosmopolitan delights of mega city Seoul to traditional fishing villages and mountain retreats, a visit to South Korea packs a memorable punch. Home to distinctively delicious (and fiery) cuisine, ancient Buddhist temples, pop culture seemingly gone berserk, and high-tech aspirations that have positioned it at the vanguard of global innovation – South Korea is dynamic and enticing.
As the slogan goes, Virginia is for lovers … lovers of sandy beaches and coastal living, American history, country roads, small towns, big mountains, and all sorts of fun.
Its bigger British cousins – England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – receive more visitors and recognition, but for rugged coastlines, quaint village life, and an independent spirit mixed with Celtic pride you’ll find few places as pleasant as bucolic and bountiful Wales.
Do you have a place in mind that you think is unduly underrated? Did you ever happen upon somewhere you didn’t expect much from but ended up falling in love with? We would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below about off-the-radar destinations that you think are worth visiting.
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