16 Enchanting Travel Destinations the Masses Ignore

While famous sights and big cities are popular for a reason, the world abounds with charming small towns and gorgeous natural formations that we typically don’t see on top travel lists. 

Hidden Gems Around the World

Happy man dressed like a tourist holding his passport up and his luggage over his shoulder.
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One user in the popular travel community on Reddit specifically sought out these hidden places. They asked the community to share the incredible small places they’ve been to that aren’t on anyone’s travel radar. 

May the responses inspire you to book a trip to an undiscovered locale!

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Registan, the heart of the ancient city of Samarkand - Uzbekistan
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Uzbekistan rarely makes travel lists, but the hidden gem holds numerous wonders for the trepid explorer. Samarkand was a critical stop on the old Silk Road. Visitors can immerse themselves in the country’s history, culture, and natural beauty. 

Białowieża Poland

The governor's mansion in Białowieża Poland.
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Visitors to Poland typically visit the capital city and tour the horrific history leftover from Nazi occupation, but they’d be wise to discover the charming small towns scattered throughout the country. 

Step in Białowieża to step back in time and see a glimpse of rural Europe. 

Greek Isles

Aerial view of Old Greek orthodox church on island Panagias in Parga, Greece.
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Everyone goes to Santorini and Crete, but many travelers don’t realize the Greek Isles consists of nearly 6,000 small islands.  

Skip the famous ones and take a ferry to the lesser known islands. You’ll be able to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Mediterranean in quiet solitude. 

Northern Colorado

A person riding a bike on a path along the river near Fort Collins, CO.
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Colorado sees millions of visitors each year, but most head to the Rocky Mountains via Denver, skipping the impressive cities near the state’s Northern border. 

Make time to stop in Loveland and Fort Collins for epic travel experiences you can’t find anywhere else. 


The archeological ruins at Akrotiri on the Greek Island Santorini
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Tourists flock to Pompeii to view a volcanic city, but an older, lesser-known ruin is just as well preserved. The 16th Century BC settlement highlights how advanced the Minoans were, with the marble multi-level buildings preserved in ash. 

Head to Santorini to tour these impressive ancient ruins. 

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lake at Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.
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Everyone obsesses about Banff National Park in Canada, leaving its lesser-known counterpart, Waterton Lakes, an ideal destination for tourists looking to avoid crowds. 

Waterton Lakes National Park boasts impressive scenery and vast swaths of wilderness. 

Cartago Province

The tropical green hills in the Cartago Province of Costa Rica.
Photo Credit: Guayo Fuentes via Shutterstock.com.

Though Costa Rica sees thousands of visitors every year, most head to San Jose and Tamarindo. However, the Cartago Province is just as beautiful and far less touristed. 

The area features charming mountain towns and fantastic hiking opportunities. 


Neolithic ruins on the islands of Orkney, Scottland.
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The small Island archipelago off Scottland’s northern coast features stunning scenery and neolithic architecture. 

Though Orkney does see a fair share of tourists, many skip the smaller islands. 


Aerial View of Namibia's Capital at Sunset - Windhoek, Namibia
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African countries don’t get a lot of love on travel bucket lists, but tourists would be remiss to overlook stunning Namibia. 

The country features a lively culture and fantastic street food, the best dark skies you’ll ever see, and numerous wildlife sanctuaries protecting the most impressive large land mammals calling Africa home. 

Madhya Pradesh National Parks

Two Bengal tiger lying on the road in the jungle at Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
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The National Parks in India are just as impressive as those in Africa, but they have tigers. 

According to one user, the scenery in the famed Disney tale The Jungle Book was inspired by the Madhya Pradesh National Parks. 

Turkish Kurdistan

A hot air balloon flying over Mardin, a city in Southeastern Turkey, at sunset.
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The southeastern portion of Turkey borders Syria, Iraq, and Iran, so many tourists tend to avoid it. However, the region abounds with history. 

It’s the safest place in the world to view Mesopotamia, the birthplace of civilization. The region also boasts the finest Turkish cuisines, so travelers won’t feel they missed out if they go here rather than the larger, more popular cities. 


A lighthouse on the shore of Lake Superior near Duluth, MN
Photo Credit: Frank Kennedy MN via Shutterstock.com.

Minnestota’s Twin Cities may attract a fair share of visitors, but few from outside the region prioritize visiting Duluth. 

The city is a gateway to Lake Superior, offering fantastic adventures for outdoors people. The area features splendid hikes, roaring waterfalls, and excellent skiing in the winter. 

Gyeongju, South Korea

Woljeonggyo Bridge in Gyeongju, South Korea.
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South Korean visitors flock to Seoul, but many skip Gyeongju, a marvelous city bursting with history. 

Tombs of ancient kings lay undisturbed in the small hills surrounding the city center, while the museums feature artifacts collected from around the globe due to the city’s position on the ancient Silk Road. 

The Rest of Illinois

One of the things to do in Illinios outside Chicago is visit the state capital
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Everyone travels to Illinois to explore Chicago, one of the most impressive cities in the United States. Nobody ventures outside the Windy City to explore the vast bounties offered throughout the Prairie State. 

Explore ancient ruins at Cahokia Mounds, have a river adventure on one of the world’s longest rivers, and visit all the Lincoln historical sights sprinkled across the state. 

Canyons of the Ancients

Tower ruins at Hovenweep National Monument in the Canyons of the Ancients.
Photo Credit: Zack Frank via Shutterstock.com.

Many Americans think they have to travel overseas to explore ancient ruins, but a 164 thousand acre tract of land in America’s Southwest proves them wrong. 

The Canyons of the Ancients features sites dating to the 12th century AD in a network of ruins spanning Colorado and Utah. 

Ohrid, Macedonia

Church of St. John the Theologian -at Kaneo, Ohrid, Macedonia
Photo Credit: Lukas Bischoff Photograph via Shutterstock.com.

The Pearl of the Balkans sits upon Lake Ohrid, offering stunning views of rolling mountains from its pristine shores. The city features historical sights dating from antiquity through the Middle Ages and beyond, including Roman tombs and a Medieval fortress. 

Explore More: The Best of Texas

barn with the Texas Lone Star flag painted on the roof
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Planning a trip to the Lone Star State? With four iconic cities and miles of wilderness, it’s tough to decide what to do!

Here’s What You Should Do and See When You Visit Texas

Source: Reddit

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.