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Incredibly Underrated Travel Destinations Around the World

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The feeling you get when you discover a hidden gem is something that really gets you hooked on travelling. We’re passionate about creating a travel experience that gives you this feeling, with adventures that really show off the lesser-known side of a destination. The experts who guide our walking and trekking tours know a thing or two about special travel experiences, and whilst nothing beats a personal recommendation, we’ve crunched the data on over 350 hidden gems around the world to find the ones that are truly underrated.

Our new study analysed 356 travel experiences in over 130 countries. The travel experiences were given a score based on how highly reviewed they were compared to how popular they – at least are according to Google search volumes and Trip Advisor data. The travel experiences with the lowest score were deemed the most ‘underrated’, with the global results and continent breakdowns below. 

 

Our Experts’ Favourite Hidden Gems

Before we delve into the data, our experts share their most underrated travel gems:

1. Pacuare River Rafting, Costa Rica:

If you find yourself in Costa Rica, one of the most underrated places to visit, we think, is  Turrialba, nestled in the deep green Central Valley. The fertile lands surrounding this town make it the perfect place to sample the best of Cost Rica’s agricultural offerings such as coffee, nuts and cheese. Another underrated experience in these parts is rafting down the Pacuare River; flanked on both sides by rainforest, you can admire the incredible wildlife from macaws to blue morph butterflies. 

2. Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa:

When visiting South Africa safaris are the expectation for most travellers, but the Drakensberg Mountains deliver a hiking and camping experience unlike any others, and it is often overlooked. This is the highest mountain range in southern Africa so and explorers who are prepared for a moderate to challenging level of hiking will be richly rewarded with stunning untouched landscapes.

3. Kopacki Rit Nature Park, Croatia:

Our new London 2 Istanbul By Train experience gives travellers the chance to explore one of Croatia’s incredible national parks that isn’t often visited by holiday makers. The Kopacki Rit wetlands have an astonishing number of bird species, form kingfisher and woodpecker to eagles and storks. 

4. Toubkal Climb, Morocco:

One of the most underrated travel experiences of the Toubkal Climb according to our experts is the climb from Amred the day before reaching the Toubkal summit. Whilst the summit is the jewel of this experience, this walk has some unexpected gems to enjoy before you reach the mountain top; the town of Armed offers cheaper alternatives to tourist-flooded carpet shops in Marrakech as well as a local hammam experience, and then the walk is broken up with slightly more touristy, yet still very delightful little mountainside stalls and cafes offering freshly pressed orange juice, gifts and t-shirts.

 

Ten of Europe’s Most Underrated Travel Experiences

Travel Experience Region & Country Underrated Experience Score
Hiking Schafberg Peak Salzburg, Austria 2
Cynghordy Viaduct Walk Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn, Wales 5
Jokkmokks Fjalltradgard Botanical Garden Jokkmokks, Sweden 8
Boat Tour of the Streets of Giethoorn Overijssel, The Netherlands 16
Hike to Sandwood Bay Northern Highlands, Scotland 41
Rafting in Osumi Canyon Berat, Albania 42
Visiting Blakeney Point National Nature Reserve Norfolk, England 126
Hiking to the Adršpach-Teplice Rocks NE Bohemia, Czech Republic 159
Soca River Rafting Western Slovenia 206
Hiking the Massif de l'Esterel Agay, France 353
1. Ranking in the first spot for the best experiences off the beaten path in Europe is hiking to Schafberg Peak, a fun-filled adventure in Austria that suits hikers of all levels. Whether you choose to hike out of St. Gilgen village, or take the southern route via St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, this summit in the Lechquellen Mountains provides breath-taking views over Austria’s mountains as well as the glorious Wolfgangsee Lake.

2. Second on Europe’s most underrated travel list is the Cynghordy Viaduct Walk. Tucked away in the valleys of Wales, a walking route from Cynghordy to Llandovery will lead you to this railway viaduct that looks like something straight out of a movie scene. With the bright green rolling hills contrasting against the awesome arches of the viaduct, the final destination of this walk is spectacular, but the walk there is also magnificent, so take your time to enjoy the journey and natural beauty of Wales.

3. Sweden’s Jokkmokks Fjalltradgard completes Europe’s top three most underrated travel experiences. This stunning botanical garden delivers beauty all year long and is a must-see for travellers who love to visit parks and gardens. If you can, book a tour around the site, you will be amazed by the wonderous flora hiding right under your nose and the history behind it. 

 

Ten of South America's Most Underrated Travel Experiences

Travel Experience Region & Country Underrated Experience Score
Bodega Cerro Chapeu Rivera, Uruguay 10
Parque Nacional das Emas Goias, Brazil 11
Explore Navarino Island Puerto Williams, Chile 13
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park Puerto Natales, Chile 16
Dunes of Taton Fiambala, Argentina 23
Hiking Cochamo Valley Cochamo, Chile 27
Nomada Experience Motorcycle Tour Uyuni, Bolivia 30
Quebrada de Las Flechas Angastaco, Argentina 47
Kaieteur Falls Tour Potaro-Siparuni, Guyana 48
Visiting the Vina Eden Winery Punta del Este, Uruguay 60
1. Bodega Cerro Chapeu is a winery in Uruguay, bordering Brazil, and it takes first spot in our list of South America’s most underrated travel experiences. Home to horses, sheep and surrounded by open fields, the winery is a true ode to nature and the simplest joys in life. While wine tasting and delicious food is certainly integral to this winery’s experience, exploring the flat top hills and learning about the unique connection from soil to table is unmissable.

2. Whether you camp here, or take a guided tour, the 324,000 acres of Parque Nacional das Emas will leave an ever-lasting impression. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Goiás is home to incredible wildlife such as yellow and blue macaws, maned wolved, giant ant-eaters and even jaguars. Some lucky visitors have even witnessed the other-worldly bioluminescent light of firefly eggs that have been deposited in the park’s great termite mounds.

3. Exploring Navarino Island is one of the most underrated experiences and highly recommended to anyone visiting southern Chile. Between Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn, Navarino Island is home to Puerto Williams, the capital of the Chilean Antarctic, and is surrounded by impressive mountains and cliffsides covered with white glistening snow. Plenty of trekking and hiking trails exist to explore the island, most notably the Dientes de Navarino Circuit. This is Chile like you’ve never seen it before.

 

Ten of Asia's Most Underrated Travel Experiences

Travel Experience Region & Country Underrated Experience Score
Tada Falls/Ubbalamadugu Falls Chennai, India 6
Bambarakiri Ella Falls Suspension Bridge Matale, Sri Lanka 8
King’s Highway Tour Jordan 15
Diving in the Musandam Fjords Khasab, Oman 26
Exploring Orchid Island Lanya, Taiwan 32
Hauntu Haunted House Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 38
Mekong Delta Cruise Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 44
Mirror House Kuwait City, Middle East 48
Zhangye Danxia Geopark Tour Danxia, China 67
Walking the Amanohashidate Sandbar Kyoto, Japan 167

 
1. Hidden in the dense forest of Siddulaiah Kona, the Ubbalamadugu Falls are a magical sight to behold, with crystal clear waters cascading over a 100-odd metre drop. Suitable for those with good mobility, courageous explorers can even brave the rocky climb to dip in the pool above the falls. 

2. Another waterfall is featured in Asia’s most underrated travel list, this time it is the Bambarakiri Ella Falls in Sri Lanka. The waterfall can be viewed from three different viewpoints along the site’s suspension bridge. Most people view the falls from the beginning of the suspension bridge, but the view from the middle of the bridge and the angle from the other side of the bridge also offer incredible snapshots of the tumbling waters. 

3. Historically, the King’s Highway road in Jordan was an important ancient trade route that ran from Egypt across the Sinai Peninsula to Aqaba. Nowadays the King’s Highway makes for an impressive drive with phenomenal views. And whilst essentially it’s just a road, the King’s Highway is one of the most underrated travel experiences for anyone looking to learn more about the history and culture of Jordan. 

 

Ten of Africa's Most Underrated Travel Experiences

Travel Experience Region & Country Underrated Experience Score
Gishora Drum Sanctuary Gitega, Burundi 3
Roots Yard Off Grid Camping Volta Region, Ghana 6
Kapishya Hot Springs Chinsali, Zambia 9
Bazaruto Archipelago Inhambane Province, Mozambique 16
Langebaan Lagoon Western Cape, South Africa 16
Walking to Toubkal Refuge High Atlas Mountains, Morocco 28
Boat trip to Nosy Fanihy Island Nosy Be, Madagascar 40
Hiking The Drakensberg Lesotho & South Africa 41
Spiagge di Anse Marron – The Secret Beach La Digue Island, Seychelles 61
Pelican Point Kayaking Walvis Bay, Namibia 66
1. Taking the top spot of Africa’s most underrated travel experiences is the Gishora Drum sanctuary in Burundi. This wonderful experience preserves and celebrates the art of Burundi's ancient drum rituals, with this sanctuary being one of the most prominent drum sites in Burundi. This drum and dancing performance is like a tour through history, fast paced and beautiful, and needs no translation.

2. Following up next is the Roots Yard Off Grid camping experience in Ghana. The name says it all: away from bustling towns and the touristy centres, this campsite is run by a British-Ghanian family and offers vegan food, a relaxed atmosphere, plus easy walks around the area. An undiscovered treasure for certain.

3. The third most underrated travel experience in Africa is a visit to the Kapishya Hot Springs. Located in Chinsali, Zambia, these hot springs will leave visitors feeling rested and reinvigorated. A true hidden gem tucked away on the banks on the Mansha River, the Kapishya hot springs offer crystal clear waters, natural scenery that excites the senses and unmatched tranquillity.

 

Ten of North America's Most Underrated Travel Experiences

Travel Experience Region & Country Underrated Experience Score
Sable Island Tour Sable Island, Canada 3
Auyuittuq National Park Tour Pangnirtung, Canada 5
Great Stone Door Trail Tennessee, USA 7
Wolf Creek Habitat Indiana, USA 17
Eudora Welty House & Garden Mississippi, USA 26
Kayaking River Yasica Cabarete, Dominican Republic 31
Views from Hamilton Park New Jersey, USA 31
Ron del Barrilito Tour Bayamon, Puerto Rica 33
Pacuare River Rafting Cartago, Costa Rica 35
Exploring Lake Willoughby Vermont, USA 37
1. Canada is a country that is brimming with underrated travel experiences. Our study highlights the Sable Island Tour as one of North America’s standout hidden gems. But what makes visiting Sable Island so unique? How about the fact you can land a plane right on the beach? If that’s not thrilling enough, the wild horses and the world’s largest grey seal colony also await you here, the natural guardians of this special secluded island.

2. Canada is featured again at number two in North American’s underrated travel list, with the Auyuittuq National Park Tour. This one is for the serious hikers, with a 60-mile trail that requires overnight stays, but hardy backpackers are rewarded with some of the most gorgeous alpine sceneries in Canada’s eastern arctic. From melting glaciers to Mount Asgard and the Owl River valley, this hike is truly one for the books.

3. Rounding out the top three most underrated travel experiences in North America is the Great Stone Door Trail in Tennessee. Located in South Cumberland State Park, an area with multiple trail and hike options, the Stone Door is narrow 10-foot-wide but over 100-feet-deep crack that you can hike through. The Stone Door Trail itself is a fairly short and easy hike - roughly a two mile round trip amongst beautiful views, stunning drops from the high bluffs (over 200ft in some areas) and the purest air nature has to offer.

 

Ten of Oceania's Most Underrated Travel Experiences

Travel Experience Region & Country Underrated Experience Score
Bungonia National Park Walks New South Wales, Australia 3
Melbourne Dumpling Walking Tour Victoria, Australia 6
Keep River National Park Northern Territory, Australia 7
Desert Edge Tours Queensland, Australia 9
Purnululu National Park Western Australia 10
Mitchell River National Park Western Australia 10
Mont Rouge Estate Victoria, Australia 13
The Alan Gibbs Farm Auckland, New Zealand 18
Oparara Basin Karamea, New Zealand 25
Yubu Napa Art Gallery Northern Territory, Australia 37
1.  Heading Down Under? The Bungonia National Park walks in New South Wales top the list of most underrated travel experiences in this part of the world. The protected national park offers multiple trails, all set amongst some of Australia’s most striking nature. From towering trees to crystal clear waters, this park is a must visit for anyone looking for a relaxing day away from crowded city streets.

2. Next on this continent’s most underrated travel list is the Melbourne Dumpling walking tour. If the name doesn’t give it away, this walking tour takes you across Melbourne’s Chinatown with plenty of chances to dine on delicious dumpling and other delicious morsels of local cuisine. With a guide by your side, you’ll be sure to hit hunt down the tastiest samples whilst learning more about the area’s history.

3. Australia’s third most underrated travel experience is a trip to Keep River National Park. This park has less visitors than Australia’s other national parks, but boasts some wonderful examples of natural red rock outcrops and rock art. The Jememoon walk gets particularly high praise from people who have hiked the park’s trails. 

 

25 of the World’s Most Underrated Travel Experiences

Travel Experience Region & Country Underrated Experience Score
Schafberg Peak Hike Salzburg, Austria 2
Sable Island Tours Sable Island, Canada 3
Bungonia National Park Walks New South Wales, Australia 3
Gishora Drum Sanctuary Gitega, Burundi 3
Cynghordy Viaduct Walk Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn, Wales 5
Auyuittuq National Park Tours Pangnirtung, Canada 5
Melbourne Dumpling Walking Tour Victoria, Australia 6
Roots Yard Off Grid Camping Volta Region, Ghana 6
Tada Falls/Ubbalamadugu Falls Chennai, India 6
Keep River National Park Northern Territory, Australia 7
Great Stone Door Trail Tennessee, USA 7
Jokkmokks Fjalltradgard Botanical Garden Jokkmokks Fjalltradgard Botanical Garden 8
Bambarakiri Ella Falls Suspension Bridge Matale, Sri Lanka 8
Desert Edge Tours Queensland, Australia 9
Bodega Cerro Chapeu Rivera, Uruguay 10
Purnululu National Park Western Australia 10
Mitchell River National Park Western Australia 10
Parque Nacional das Emas Goias, Brazil 11
Mont Rouge Estate Victoria, Australia 13
Explore Navarino Island Puerto Williams, Chile 13
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park Puerto Natales, Chile 16
Boat Tour of the Streets of Giethoorn Overijssel, The Netherlands 16
Bazaruto Archipelago Inhambane Province, Mozambique 16
Langebaan Lagoon Western Cape, South Africa 16
Wolf Creek Habitat Indiana, USA 17
Study notes: We looked at 356 travel experiences around the world that have been deemed ‘hidden gems’ and summed the Google search volumes for terms relating to that experience with how many Trip Advisor reviews its accumulated. This was then cross-referenced with each experience’s Trip Advisor review score to reveal the experiences that are the least popular (in terms of Google searches and review count) but have the highest review score. 

Data sources include Google Keyword Planner, Trip Advisor and data is correct as of October 2022. 

Experiences in countries that the FCDO advises against travel to have been omitted from the list, as have experiences that are deemed unsafe or unsustainable. 

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