What Countries Do Tourists Overlook the Most?

By Allyson ChenLast Updated Apr 10, 2020 2:04:26 PM ET
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Photo Courtesy: DeAgostini/Getty Images

There are so many beautiful places in the world to visit. But, many tourists overlook these locales as potential vacation spots. If you’re looking to visit a place that’s not overrun with tourist traps and inflated prices, have a look at these countries. They’re safe to visit and have lots to do. Plus, you’ll see some gorgeous scenery. With all that relaxing you’ll indulge in, you’re sure to return home feeling rejuvenated.

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Ecuador

This neighboring country of Columbia and Peru is often overlooked by tourists visiting South America. Ecuador is peppered with award-winning restaurants and plenty of incredible sights to see. You can also visit pristine, powder-sand beaches with lots of places to go swimming.

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Photo Courtesy: Delphine Ménard/Wikimedia Commons

Another advantage of taking a vacation to Ecuador is that it's easy to navigate, and the United States dollar is its national currency. It's a beautiful country with much to see and do. If you find yourself wanting to visit South America, don't neglect Ecuador. It's truly a gem and can provide an unforgettable experience.

Montenegro

Breathtaking beaches, amazing architecture, seaside restaurants worth writing home about, mountain ranges, ski slopes, forests — that’s just a taste of what you can expect if you make a trip to Montenegro. It's a very diverse vacation spot with activities and sights for every type of traveler. Also, it's quite budget-friendly compared to its neighbors.

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Photo Courtesy: Marcin Konsek/Wikimedia Commons

The beaches here are known as some of the most beautiful in Europe, and you won't have to deal with the overwhelming crowds. Check out ancient towns and stunning hiking trails. This country also boasts some of the most affordable ski slopes in all of Europe.

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Panama

Lots of people choose to vacation in Central America, so it might sound strange that Panama people often overlook Panama. It's the epitome of a tropical vacation paired with a rich history, retreats and remote mountains that are pretty breathtaking.

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Photo Courtesy: Dronepicr/Wikimedia Commons

Most people opt to visit Costa Rica instead of basking in the sun in Panama, so don’t expect tons of tourists here. But if you’re really looking to get away from it all, there are a lot of uninhabited islands close by to visit that are virtually untouched and pristine. This is an amazing vacation spot for anybody looking to do something a bit out of the norm.

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Romania

Even if you're not into vampiric legends and all things Dracula, there’s still a lot to explore in the country of Romania, especially if you're a person who enjoys attractions that are on the more atypical side. In Romania, you can find tons of them, including a theme park located in a salt mine.

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Photo Courtesy: Alexandru Panoiu/Wikimedia Commons

There’s lots to do and lots to see in this beautiful country. You’ll even find plenty of wellness spas that feature saunas and treatment options you won’t find in the United States. And did we mention? Drinks in Romania are pretty affordable!

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Taiwan

Taiwan is one often overlooked gem of East Asia. While it may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of this region, it should be. It's packed with interesting cultural events and has some of the best food in the world. If you love exploring, there are markets galore where you can find unique souvenirs.

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Photo Courtesy: Taiwankengo/Wikimedia Commons

The Taiwanese also get very creative in the way they serve their fantastic food — there’s a chain restaurant that presents its meals in mini toilet bowls! If you're looking to immerse yourself in a new culture and want to visit a country that’s more bustling and alive, consider Taiwan for your next vacation.

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South Africa

South Africa is an incredible place for a vacation. The wildlife, the sights, the culture, the tours — they’re all once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You can go on just about any type of wildlife safari you want, seeing lions in the wild, catching the sight of elephants roaming or viewing the wildlife up close and personal.

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Photo Courtesy: D. Gordon E. Robertson/Wikimedia Commons

There are also varied options for lodging while visiting South Africa, including luxury resorts. The scenery alone will be something you’ll never forget, but the kindness of the locals might just top it.

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Dominica

Dominica is a Caribbean island nestled between Martinique and Guadeloupe. There, you’ll encounter jungles, stunning mountains, natural hot springs and so much natural beauty. It's the perfect place for a romantic vacation and an adventurous one bundled together.

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Photo Courtesy: Postdlf/Wikimedia Commons

Plan to chill out at a luxury hotel or explore the gorgeous Trafalgar Falls. Spend days hiking, ziplining, relaxing on the beach or simply taking in the scenery. A visit to Dominica can check all your vacation boxes, so get there before more people discover this wonder.

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Finland

If you enjoy spas, Finland will wow you in the best way. This country loves its saunas and has tons that are both beautiful and restorative. If you prefer to see the great outdoors, there are nature excursions to suit your interest. You can do boat rides, head into the country or spend time in one of the amazing cities.

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There are also a lot of cultural sites, sandy beaches and some pretty interesting (and reportedly haunted) locations. Try out one of the intriguing tours on offer to turn your trip into a true learning experience.

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Malaysia

It used to be a common belief that Malaysia was unsafe, but society here is very modern. Officials have implemented policies and designed an infrastructure that helps keep citizens and tourists alike safe. Malaysia boasts beautiful city views, jungles, glittering coastlines and plentiful wildlife. Actually, Malaysia is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world.

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Photo Courtesy: Jorge Láscar /Wikimedia Commons

The experiences you can enjoy here are seemingly endless, and there are options for just about any taste. Visit the Petronas Twin Towers or head to the Batu Caves. Hike Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Malaysia. Or, enjoy the wealth of dining options to learn about the local culinary culture. There’s something for everyone!

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Lebanon

If you don’t travel near Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel, it’s generally a safe country to visit — and it’s a beautiful one, too, with everything from beaches to snow-capped mountains. Watersports and hitting the slopes are both options for enjoying the outdoors. There are loads of museums for history buffs and plenty of historical buildings.

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Photo Courtesy: Nassif.seif/Wikimedia Commons

There’s also a variety of beautiful hiking trails and forests with trees that look like they're right out of a storybook. Check out Beirut, spend time at the beach, hike the forests or have a weekend of skiing.

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Mozambique

If you prefer a more laid-back vibe when you travel — paired with options to have once-in-a-lifetime encounters with wildlife — the African country of Mozambique should be on your radar. There are pristine beaches where you can take part in reef diving and surfing, and you can also opt for safari experiences that are out of this world.

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Photo Courtesy: Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

You can also swim with manta rays and sharks. It's close to South Africa but doesn't get as many tourists, so you'll get to experience the beauty with even fewer crowds. Mozambique is a forgotten gem that deserves a lot more attention than it gets — but not so much that tourists start flocking here!

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Singapore

Want modern architecture, culture and lots of diversity? You may want to check out Singapore. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, and if you love history, you have learning opportunities galore! There are beautiful cultural traditions you can experience and famous landmarks that you can’t pass up — like the Merlion statue.

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Photo Courtesy: Erwin Soo/Wikimedia Commons

Visit resorts and hotels that offer unique experiences to even the most jaded traveler. Enjoy opulence and relaxation at the glam Marina Bay Sands, or head to the famous Raffles Hotel and enjoy the nation’s signature drink, the Singapore Sling.

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Uruguay

While this country in South America may be one of the smaller ones, the experiences are anything but little. It's located between Argentina and Brazil. Here, there are vibrant cities, laid-back beach towns, a spectacular wine region, delicious food and lots of cultural opportunities.

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Photo Courtesy: Marcelo Campi/Wikimedia Commons

Foodies rave about the cuisine in Uruguay, and as time has passed, the food has only been getting more spectacular. Try the country’s famed "asado," a spread of barbecued meats grilled over open flames and served with crusty fresh bread.

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North Macedonia

If you're looking for a truly unique place to visit, consider North Macedonia, which was formerly part of Yugoslavia. There are enormous statues that will remind you of something out of a movie, the oldest bazaar in the Balkans stunning architecture, museums and tasty cuisine. History buffs, foodies and shopping fanatics will all find something to enjoy here.

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Photo Courtesy: Don macedone/Wikimedia Commons

There are lovely sights to see, including one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Another thing that makes this country a great one to visit is the cost. If you're seeking something budget-friendly, North Macedonia won’t break the bank.

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Malta

Ever thought of a Mediterranean island getaway? Worry about throngs of tourists who have that same idea? Take a look at Malta. The weather is incredible, and you’ll likely find that traveling here is more affordable than it is in many other European locales.

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Most meals in Malta take place outdoors because of the fantastic weather. Also, if you're a fan of Italian food, you’ll be in culinary heaven here. This tiny island lies only about 50 miles off the coast of Italy, and the cultural influences are undeniable.

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Madagascar

For those who have an adventurous side and love animals, there are few more intriguing places on Earth to vacation than Madagascar. It's the fourth-largest island in the world, and when it comes to nature and unique creatures, it's breathtaking. Because it’s somewhat isolated, it’s not an incredibly popular tourist destination.

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Photo Courtesy: Treehgr/Wikimedia Commons

About 80% of the wildlife here is endemic and not seen anywhere else in the world, making it truly a once-in-a-lifetime place to see. Madagascar also boasts numerous national parks and nature preserves — it’s ideal if you’re the outdoorsy type.

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Georgia

If you want to visit a country where the residents are known for their warm hospitality, Georgia is the place to be. The country itself is small, but those who live here are known for their big personalities. Expect everything to be nothing less than sensational, from the people to the food to the landscapes that you just have to see to believe.

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Photo Courtesy: Dito1993/Wikimedia Commons

Fancy a bit of hiking? The mountain trails there are out of this world. Plus, there’s a ton of intriguing history to learn about. And if you love shopping, you can’t miss the markets here. Be prepared to find unique cultural tokens, not mass-marketed, cheap souvenirs.

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a place of beauty, culture and incredible food. It's surprising that many more people don't consider visiting. The beaches here are amazing, with some even being named among the top 100 in the world, according to various publications.

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Photo Courtesy: McKay Savage/Wikimedia Commons

Sri Lanka is also known for its tea plantations that are beautiful all their own. Learn about local culture and get some relaxation in by visiting and sipping freshly brewed tea. This country also boasts some of the most beautiful train journeys on the planet.

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Laos

For decades following the Vietnam War, Laos kept itself isolated and it wasn’t seen as a safe place to visit. That’s changed a lot in recent years. While some areas are still off limits due to unexploded land mines, Laos is generally a safe country for travelers. And its pristine natural beauty can’t be beat.

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Photo Courtesy: Allie Caulfield/Wikimedia Commons

People backpack all over this country, often moving from hostel to hostel. If you’re the adventurous type, there are cave systems and underwater lakes to explore. And if you think you know Southeast Asian food because you love Vietnamese and Thai, Laotian cuisine is sure to delight you with its distinct regional dishes.

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Andorra

Ever heard of Andorra? If you love traveling, you'll be glad you learned about it. It's tucked in the Pyrenees Mountains where scenic vistas are ample and absolutely beautiful. Many of the cities are very quaint, and the stone buildings will transport you to a different time.

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Photo Courtesy: carmen_carbonell/Pixabay

There are lots of ancient sites to visit, and you’ll have so many reasons to get outdoors. There are hiking trails that seem to be totally untouched, and if you’re a skiing buff, you absolutely must hit the slopes here.

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Poland

Poland is starting to grow when it comes to tourism, so you may want to make your reservations soon. From castles to ossuaries to beautiful forests, there are lots of captivating things to see here. On a more somber note, Poland’s place in WWII is undeniable, and several former concentration camps are open to visitors.

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Photo Courtesy: Radek Kołakowski/Wikimedia Commons

Poland also delights when it comes to food. From farm-fresh cheese to traditional doughnuts and pastries, there are so many tasty things to sample here. Head to a local bakery to get paczki, a type of filled doughnut flavored with orange zest and rose petals — they’re a must-try snack.

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Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a beautiful island in the South Pacific with a rich history. There are shipwrecks to be explored while you’re scuba diving, gorgeous beaches, waterfalls that look too beautiful to be real, snorkeling excursions and exotic restaurants that’ll have you drooling.

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Photo Courtesy: Bruno.menetrier/Wikimedia Commons

This island country is a hidden gem that deserves much more attention than it gets. There are also mountains and scenery that seems never-ending. Enjoy food and drinks on the beach and catch the sunset of a lifetime.

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Estonia

Estonia is filled with architecture of centuries past and presents various opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime photo-ops. There's also a lot of history and culture that you can dive into. Off the mainland, there are over 2,000 islands that you can explore.

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Photo Courtesy: Simm/Wikimedia Commons

Each one appears to be more fantastic and diverse than the last, boasting lighthouses, fortresses, museums and villages that are almost too quaint to be believed. If you want to visit someplace unique, Estonia is the perfect place for stepping back in time.

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Belize

For those who love scuba diving and all things water, Belize is a paradise. For everyone else, it's still a paradise filled with jungle adventures, vibrant wildlife, hidden waterfalls, Mayan ruins, a sinkhole that can be seen from space and plenty of other interesting sights.

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Photo Courtesy: JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Whether you're interested in a long stay or a week away, you won't run out of things to do. Some of the most experienced scuba divers in the world have said this is the most beautiful place they've been diving. Ready for extreme beauty? Check out Belize.

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Slovenia

Slovenia is a peaceful place, boasting low crime rates, friendly people and plenty of beautiful architecture and natural surroundings. It's very underrated in terms of travel, possibly because it's such a laid-back place. The landscapes are diverse, and you can camp just about anywhere. If you love rafting, the rivers here are waiting to be explored.

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Photo Courtesy: Marjolein/Wikimedia Commons

There are lots of adventures to be had, and most of them won't break the bank. To save even more during your travels, stick to the countryside and quaint small towns instead of staying in the capital, Ljubljana, the entire time.

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Botswana

Botswana is another great place where you can see animals in the wild. The safari spots here are some of the best in the world. Seeing the elephants is one magical experience you have to try. The landscapes are diverse, too, which is ideal if you prefer to explore.

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Photo Courtesy: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Botswana has everything from jungles to mountains to salt lakes to deserts. You can even see prehistoric rock paintings. Hiking trails, great food, friendly people and scenery that's incredible are just some of the things that await you in Botswana.

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Jordan

If you thought Utah’s landscapes were otherworldly, you’re sure to love Jordan. The terrain is so unique here that it’s frequently used as a filming location for movies that are set on Mars. Viewing the stars at night in the desert is said to be life-changing. But the unique vistas aren’t the only reason to visit.

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Photo Courtesy: Daniel Case/Wikimedia Commons

Although it’s located in the Middle East, Jordan is quite safe for travelers. And that’s a good thing, because you don’t want to miss out on the distinctive cuisine here. Be sure to try "knafeh," a sweet cheese pastry that’s flavored with rose and pistachio.

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Tasmania

Strap on your hiking boots; there’s a lot to explore in Tasmania. This captivating island is about the size of Ireland and is located off the coast of Australia. Here, you'll get a mix of wild locations — rural and rugged landscapes that are truly beautiful — and urban cities. This underrated destination is also a foodie's paradise.

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Photo Courtesy: Joern Brauns/Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps even more laid-back than Australia, Tasmania is a great place to head if you want to see things at your own pace and enjoy the outdoors. The capital city, Hobart, is safe and easily walkable. Head to Salamanca Market to pick up locally made souvenirs from the vendors.

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Wales

Wales is often overlooked for other, more popular destinations, but it’s a gorgeous country to visit, and the climate is temperate. There are ruins that are some of the most well preserved in the entire world. If you love gothic architecture, Wales has exactly what you're looking for.

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Photo Courtesy: Ham II/ Wikimedia Commons

For couples, it can be a very romantic place. It's a haven for rugby and opera, too, so if those interest you, Wales can check a lot of boxes. Want to get outside? There are dozens of parks with miles and miles of trails to explore. It's serene, relaxing and welcoming to visitors.

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Nepal

Climbing Mount Everest isn’t the only reason to visit this stunning country nestled between India and Tibet. Nepal is also a great destination for hikers of all skill levels. But if you aren’t interested in spending all your time giving your legs a workout, fret not.

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Photo Courtesy: glorioushimalaya/Pixabay

From taking in the sights via a helicopter tour to paragliding above rolling hills, seeing the country from the sky is another engaging option. After a day of adventure, head to the capital city Kathmandu to indulge in tasty eats like samosas, kebabs and a refreshing yogurt drink called lassi.

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