16 Hidden Travel Gems That Will Wow Most Travelers

Stephanie Allen

Tirana, Albania

Selecting a destination can be hard for anyone planning a vacation. Do you choose a familiar place? One that’s a popular tourist hub? Or do you find a place that’s off the beaten path?

You’re not alone if you’re looking for a unique travel experience. An amazing 95% of wanderers want to spend some part of their trip enjoying new adventures. These unique spots may not be the first places to mind when planning a leisure trip, but they’re worth a look. 

1. Albania

Albania
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The Balkan Peninsula probably doesn’t come to mind during vacation planning, but Albania has much to offer you. If outdoor exploration is your thing, you’ll find plenty of places to go. 

From the Albanian Alps, riders on horseback can take in breathtaking views of the valleys and countryside. The rocky beaches on the Ionian coast, the Albanian Riviera, have warm temperatures and are drenched in sunlight for 300 days out of the year. 

2. Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

Wisconsin
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The Apostle Islands, off the shores of Wisconsin, are a part of the U.S. National Park Service. Located in Lake Superior, the 21-island chain has mainland and island attractions for guests.

Meyers Beach runs along 12 miles of the mainland, bordered by Lake Superior. It’s a popular spot for swimming, kayaking in warmer months, and walking across the frozen lake in winter to see the ice caves. 

3. Argentina 

La Boca, Buenos Aires
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South America’s southernmost country is the home of soccer (football) legend Lionel Messi. It’s also the home of gorgeous sites across the country. The Palacio Barolo, whose structure was inspired by the three cantos of Dante’s Divine Comedy, is a major landmark in Buenos Aires. 

The seasons are opposite of those in the northern hemisphere, meaning you can ski in Argentinian Patagonia in July, walk on the ice fields in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, and view the breathtaking Glaciar Perito Moreno. 

4. Belize 

The Blue Hole, Belize
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Costa Rica is popular among tourists visiting Central America. Belize, its neighbor to the north, is a perfect destination for nature lovers who can enjoy visiting sites aside from its famous cayes, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. 

Birders will think they’re in heaven at the Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve, and you can traverse the dense rainforest on foot by ATV, horseback, or zipline. Belize’s botanical gardens are also an attraction that must be seen. 

5. Croatia

zagreb, croatia
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Croatia is the very definition of a hidden gem. You may know people who travel there to visit family and friends, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill vacation hub. That’s what makes Croatia such a special destination. 

Perušić is an old town notable for its dozens of caves, ideal for exploring the earth's underground mysteries. Vela Lukahas different natural Mediterranean beauty: islands and rock-lined beaches.

6. Lake Maurepas, Louisiana

Lake Maurepas
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It may be locally known as the Maurepas Swamp, but don’t let the name turn you off. It’s a region that’s full of life and southern hospitality. Outdoorsmen and women will feel right at home at Lake Maurepas. 

Activities include hiking, camping, boating, fishing, hunting, and trapping. If birding and watching the local wildlife is more your style, you’ll have the chance to see nesting osprey and majestic bald eagles, along with egrets, wood ducks, and herons. 

7. Latvia 

Riga, Latvia
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Situated in the middle of the Baltic states, Latvia has some of northeastern Europe’s most diverse locations to visit. There are adventures to be had across the country between the beaches, cities and a national park. 

Jūrmala is a seaside resort with miles of shoreline and numerous spas. Twenty minutes away in Riga are architectural marvels like Gothic-designed cathedrals and Art Nouveau buildings. You can hike around Gauja National Park to see the medieval castles in the forest. 

8. Malta

Malta
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Vacationers who prioritize sustainability can add Malta to their list of spots that integrate environmentally friendly practices in tourism. There are opportunities to see the local populations engage in sustainable activities like beekeeping and gathering rock salt. 

Go on a walking tour of the Buskett Woodlands and Kennedy Grove, or witness sustainable farming at the Tal-Kampanjol Aquaponics Farm. Walk the trails along the Chadwick Lakes and watch exotic bird species at the Salina Nature Reserve. 

9. Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands
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Formally known as the Republic of the Marshall Islands, this Pacific Ocean island chain is one of the least visited places in the world. According to a recent news article, they’re working hard to change that.  

The country is advocating for sustainable tourism to protect delicate ecosystems, and there are areas to see that are mindful of that mission. The island of Bokanbotin is fully solar powered and Beran Island offers sustainable surfing. 

10. Montenegro 

Perast, Montenegro
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In the heart of the Balkans is the nation of Montenegro, which is so small you could drive across it in a few hours. Bordered by mountains and the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro will provide you with a beautiful travel experience. 

Take a step back to the town of Risan in the Bay of Kotor, which has existed since ancient times. Lounge on one of any number of red sand hidden beaches and rub elbows with the rich and famous at St. Stephen's Peninsula. 

11. Nepal 

Mount Everest
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The most highly adventurous voyagers visit the country to challenge themselves to climb Mount Everest. Don’t worry; no one has to climb that behemoth to enjoy Nepal

In December, you can attend the colorful Vivaha Panchami Hindu festival. Village tours let you observe Nepalese culture firsthand, participate in a faith-healing session, or watch the sunrise and sunset from the hills of Nagarkot. 

12. Newfoundland and Labrador 

Panoramic views with bight blue summer day sky with puffy clouds over the harbor and city of St. John's NewFoundland, Canada.
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The Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador may not be as widely known as the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, but it’s just as inviting. Take a chance to get acquainted with the region. 

Culture enthusiasts will enjoy the extensive number of museums and historical sites. Whale watching, iceberg viewing, boating tours, and seeing fossils up close are just a handful of the outdoor excursions. 

13. Paraguay 

Aerial Drone Fly Above Asuncion City Waterfront in Paraguay, Daylight Cityscape Panorama of South American River
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Located in the heart of the continent, Paraguay is often overlooked for tourism in favor of other South American countries. A second look proves there are many attractions for you to take in. 

Walk on cobblestone streets in the capital city of Asunción and study colonial architecture. A stay at San Rafael Park, a reserve in Encarnaciôn that borders the Atlantic Ocean, allows you to enjoy the forest and the water. 

14. Poland 

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With its 16 distinct provinces, Poland is full of historical sites and countryside that are nothing less than stunning. Kraków and the country’s capital, Warsaw, are familiar names, but the cities and towns off the beaten path are worth a visit. 

One of the major attractions is the Medieval Town of Toruń, the birthplace of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, in Pomorskie province. Sailing through the Great Lakes of Mazury in Masurian province is a mariner’s delight.

15. Romania 

Cluj-Napoca, Romania
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Upon hearing the name Romania, the first things that come to mind are Transylvania and Dracula’s castle, which is named Bran’s Castle. It’s a fascinating piece of history that draws visitors globally. Other Romanian features aren’t as renowned but are equally interesting. 

Get to know the people of the Maramures region, who have a higher life expectancy than most. Take a scenic drive on winding rural roads to see the lush countryside, which almost demands to be photographed. 

16. Ruby Falls, Tennessee

Ruby Falls
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Waterfalls are one of nature’s wonders, but Ruby Falls is an extraordinary sight because it’s a waterfall located far underground inside Lookout Mountain. Words don’t do it justice and must be seen in person to believe. 

The world’s tallest underground cave waterfall open for viewing is accessed by taking a glass-door elevator 260 feet downfrom the surface. Once off the elevator, you can walk along a path to the waterfall's base.

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