Traveling under the radar: Lesser-known destinations

Travel Tips

It’s time to start planning your next trip. But where should you go? Maybe Hawaii is your next travel destination? Australia? Jamaica? Italy? With the hundreds of places to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down and choose just one.

But when it comes time to make your decision and choose that one place, ask yourself this question — Do I want to go to a popular travel hub that’s typically filled with tourists and where everyone I know has already been to? If you think like we do, your answer is not this time.

Traveling is all about exploring, and what better way to explore and really get to know the world you live in than by traveling to some of its hidden and undiscovered places? You don’t have to take another cookie-cutter vacation. Travel under the radar and book a hotel room in one of these lesser-known destinations and experience a vacation unlike any other.


Lying in the Mediterranean Sea is the southern European island of Malta. It may be small — it only takes about an hour to drive from one side of the island to the other — but it’s full of things to do. A big list of the activities offered on Malta get you outside enjoying the warm sun and salty sea. Swimming, scuba diving and wind surfing are popular activities, but so are hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. Gozo, Malta’s sister island, is loved by rock climbers and mountain bikers thanks to its steep cliffs and exceptional hill climbs.

Malta: view from Valetta

Malta Coast – Photo by Berit Watkin

Malta’s lively nightlife even has you enjoying the fresh Maltese air. Many of its clubs are open-air clubs, where you get the unique club experience of partying your night away under the stars and the open night skies. Another famous Malta attraction is Popeye Village in Mellieha. Be greeted by Popeye the Sailor Man and then have your moment in the spotlight as you become a movie star for the day.

The Popeye Village - Photo by Robert Pittman

The Popeye Village – Photo by Robert Pittman


Slovenia has remained an undiscovered land partially because of the major parties that border and surround it (Austria, Hungary, Italy and Croatia). But with its beautiful mountains, vineyards, castles and caves, we’re not sure why it hasn’t made a big name for itself yet in the travel landscape. Slovenia is great for water sports like river rafting since there are several rivers to ride down, as well as for sampling delicious wine with its more than 28,000 wineries scattered about.

Bled lake, Slovenia - Photo by Mirci

Bled lake, Slovenia – Photo by Mirci

The neatest quality Slovenia might have though is the fact that it sits on top of nearly 8,000 caves. Hire yourself a tour guide and have them lead you on an underworld exploration, or visit Postojna Cave and see all its rocky tunnels and passages by train.

Postojna Cave Park - Photo by Michael R Perry

Postojna Cave Park – Photo by Michael R Perry


Situated atop Europe in the Baltic region is Estonia. The western part of this country borders the Baltic Sea, so you don’t want to miss your chance to take a dip. Parnu Beach is a great spot for families with small children with its shallow, warm waters and fun attractions and a park nearby. It’s also perfect for couples on vacation, as the beach promenade is romantic to walk along.

Tallinn, Estonia - Photo by Kyle Taylor

Tallinn, Estonia – Photo by Kyle Taylor

When you’re not on the coast, Estonia is covered in forests. Close to 50% of the country is forested, meaning you have plenty of trails to hike, wildlife to see and national parks to visit. Lahemaa National Park was the first and is the largest national park in Estonia, and it’s also an important conservation area that acts as a home to many moose, brown bears and foxes, which you might see during your visit.

Lahemaa National Park - Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Lahemaa National Park – Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra


Andorra, tucked away in the Pyrenees Mountains, is covered with rugged landscapes and slender valleys. With all the white snow that falls every year and more than 300 km of slopes, Andorra is where you want to spend your next winter vacation. There are various winter sports that get you out on the mountains, but this microstate is best known for its optimum skiing conditions.

Vall d'Incles, Andorra - Photo by Ferran Llorens

Vall d’Incles, Andorra – Photo by Ferran Llorens

And when you aren’t skiing in Andorra, you’re shopping. Andorra is known internationally for its low taxation rates, and while it’s smaller in size, there’s nothing small about the shopping here. Take your pick from more than 1,000 shops selling the latest fashion in clothes and accessories, electronic devices, sporting equipment and more at extremely low prices.

Principe Benlloch, Andorra - Photo by alfonsobenayas

Principe Benlloch, Andorra – Photo by alfonsobenayas


Besides Malta, another low-lying island is Bequia. This very easy-going Grenadines island is everything you want in an island getaway. It has gorgeous turquoise waters, golden-sand beaches and bright coral reefs. Appreciate the waters and coral reefs underwater through snorkeling and scuba diving or above the water lying on a boat or tanning on the beach.

Bequia - Photo by Karyn Christner

Bequia – Photo by Karyn Christner

Bequia also has some great laid-back bars and local restaurants, where you can try a common Caribbean soup, goat water soup. When you get tired of relaxing in the warm waters (which may never happen), learn more about Bequia, its culture and what makes this island so special on an island tour by a Bequia taxi driver.

Bequia - Photo by martinvarsavsky

Bequia – Photo by martinvarsavsky

There’s so much of the world out there that you’ve never heard of — and maybe can’t even pronounce — that’s waiting for you to come explore what makes it such a fascinating place. There’s no better time than the present to travel to one of these lesser-known destinations for a unique vacation experience you’ll be talking about for years to come.

So what are you waiting for? Head to one of these lesser-known destinations before the rest of the world discovers them!

Search IHG Hotels