When you visit a country struggling with overtourism, how do you find your own space away from the crowds? Here are lesser-known travel destinations around the world you’ll love.
Tourist destinations are full of attractions, from boardwalks to roller coasters, but sometimes they can be crowded, expensive, and leave us feeling slightly unsatisfied. Even if you enjoy the touristy things, you might also think, “Is there anything else I can do here?” Fortunately, there are a ton of overlooked destinations a tourist can go to during their vacation that are off the beaten path. Visiting these lesser-known travel destinations in a country dealing with the challenges of overtourism also eases the pressure, while helping communities in areas often overlooked or undervisited.
Here we have compiled a list of overlooked destinations in popular places that you might never have thought of going to, but are definitely worth checking out.
Coffee Plantations, Hawaii
This may not be a specific destination, but it is definitely an experience you should try if you visit Hawaii. The islands of Hawaii are a huge tourist destination, and there is an endless array of things to do. With all of the beach resorts, tropical activities, and events, visiting a coffee plantation seems like an overlooked experience. But it shouldn’t be – for Hawaii is the only state in the USA that produces coffee, and all five major islands have coffee orchards.
The Hawaiian Islands are home to Kona coffee, which for you coffee lovers is one of the best coffees in the world. Unique as it is strong, Kona coffee is grown on most of the major islands on many plantations.
Many of these beautiful plantations offer guided tours you can take. It’s like a tour of a vineyard, but for coffee lovers. Many of these plantations are breathtakingly beautiful, with the added bonus of some of the world’s favorite coffee. The largest plantation in the US is located on the south shore in Kauai. In Maui, you can visit the Ka’anapali Estate in Lahaina or in Waikapu you can even take a tram ride as you visit Maui Tropical Plantation.
Colca Canyon, Peru
Peru is a beautiful country filed with natural wonder and incredibly warm people. Many people travel to Peru for the vibrant capital city of Lima. Others love Peru’s rich archaeological history and visit the Inca trail and the colonial city of Cusco. However, Peru is most known for the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, which attracts over a million visitors a year.
If you take a trip to Peru and wonder about the other, possibly overlooked destinations, consider going to Colca Canyon, that crosses Caylloma province, four hours from the city of Arequipa. Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world, and is much deeper than the Grand Canyon in America. You can take guided tours, or hike the area yourself. With beautiful views and protected scenery, Colca Canyon is an amazing destination that shouldn’t go overlooked. You might also get the chance to see an Andean Condor, the largest flying bird in the world, soaring around the Coropuna and Ampato volcanoes.
France is not an overlooked destination at all, not even in the slightest bit. Over 90 Million people visit France every year. People from around the world come for the sights and sounds of Paris, the beaches of the Riviera, and the breathtaking Palace of Versailles. Those are great, but there are a few overlooked destinations in this stunning country – such as Etretat.
Etretat is part of the Normandy coast in northern France, not to far from Paris. As the beaches of Normandy are a highly visited historical attraction, Etretat offers you a beautiful travel destination off the beaten path. If you visit the town and coastline of Etretat, you will find a spectacular view of the white cliffs that make the English Channel unique. Erosion has created extraordinary arches in the chalk and there’s an amazing needle-like structure, known as an Aiguille.
Opposite to the white cliffs of Dover, England, Etretat is a perfect place to spend a day enjoying the area after spending time on Normandy.
Japan is one of the most stunning and unique countries you can visit in the world. You can soak up Japanese culture in Tokyo, climb Mt Fuji, or ride the world’s fastest train. Of all of the incredible things you can do in Japan, you may not have thought about sitting on a sun-swept beach.
You have probably heard of Okinawa, either for its historical significance or military presence. However, it is very overlooked destination in Japan where you can have a great time. While Okinawa is not part of mainland Japan, you can take a short flight to Naha City, the capital of the prefecture. The prefecture is comprised of over 160 islands, 47 of which are inhabited remote islands.
Okinawa is a perfect place to relax, as it is more laid back and friendly than mainland Japan. If you have a Japanese vacation planned, this overlooked destination is great especially if you were afraid to miss out on the beach this year. In the crystal-clear waters, colorful coral reefs and a wide variety of marine life abound, making it perfect for snorkelling and diving.
When you think about visiting Russia, cities like Moscow and St Petersburg come to mind. Going to Siberia may not have crossed your mind at all. I mean, it’s one of the biggest wildernesses in the world–there’s nothing there, right?
One interesting thing about a country the size of Russia is how many overlooked destinations there are. Irkutsk is one of these. While Irkutsk is the most visited city in the area, it is overlooked in Russia as a whole. If you have ever thought about going out of your comfort zone and taking the Trans-Siberian Railroad, Irkutsk is a great place to stop. You can explore the city’s impressive architecture and culture, and learn a thing or two about an area overlooked by the world.
Irkutsk is also very close to Lake Baikal, the largest lake in the whole world. You can spend time on the water in a place that few people have ever heard of. Definitely an overlooked destination in a trip itinerary to Russia, you should consider this hidden gem in your travel checklist.
Isabela, Puerto Rico
Many people visit Puerto Rico every year, but most tourists tend to stay in the San Juan area. There is nothing wrong with that, but the island is filled with many overlooked destinations you can explore. One of these is Isabela, a small area on the northwest side of the island, part of the Porta del Sol tourist region.
Isabela is not as trafficked as other coastal towns in Puerto Rico, so it is a place where you can really sit back and relax in this tropical paradise. The beaches are known for snorkeling and surfing, and generally have a calm attitude. Jobos beach is one of the most popular for surfing, while Middles Beach and Playa Shacks offer dreamy crystal-clear waters. You can enjoy the activities here without the busyness of a commercialized beach, and let the breeze do the rest.
Eifel National Park, Germany
If you plan a trip to Germany, you might think about visiting Berlin, attending Oktoberfest, or touring castles made for fairy tales. If you are in fact thinking about fun things to do in Germany, consider looking up Eifel National Park.
Eifel National Park is a somewhat overlooked destination in Germany, but it is a great place to visit if you enjoy nature. The park is in the western part of Germany and borders Belgium. If you like nature, Eifel national park is full of natural beauty straight from a German folk tale.
It is shaped by volcanic activity, which you might find interesting in a country like Germany. In the park are endless hiking trails and activities for all four seasons. There is also a number of picturesque villages in the area that you can explore.
The Greek islands are a perfect destination for a trip to the Mediterranean Sea. Loaded with history, food, and scenery, Greece is a very popular country for tourism. While most who venture out to the Greek islands see Mykonos and Crete, most overlook the beautiful island of Milos.
Milos is a small island known for its beaches and natural beauty. If you visit Milos, you might be surprised to see how colorful it is–both naturally and architecturally. You can explore the selection of beaches and island features, and also spend time in the towns absorbing authentic Greek culture–untouched by mass tourism.
For beaches, Kléftiko offers turquoise waters while Sarakíniko stands out with its white sharp rocks cutting deep into a sheer cliff. Take in spectacular caves (Papáfragkas and Sykiá) and thermal springs (Kanáva, Alykí, Provatá, Pikropiyí). Divers can explore the underwater caves in the triangle formed by Mílos, Kimolos and Polýegos islands. Explore Pláka (the island’s capital), Adámantas harbour, Hivadolímni, Emporiós with the little lagoon of Revary and the old iron mines.
While an overlooked destination, Milos is a paradise island you should consider seeing if you want to visit Greece.