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19 of the most underrated places to visit around the world

Albania

Imagine if you could travel back in time and visit the Empire State Building when it wasn't so expensive, the Colosseum when it wasn't so crowded and Stonehenge before it was roped off. Here's 19 places to visit that are way better than their more famous counterparts, and probably make for better Instagram pics too!

1. Santa Monica, Echo Park, Silverlake, USA

santa monica pier

Hollywood and theme parks are one way to see LA, but hitting up some of the coolest neighbourhoods gives you a very different view of the city – one that feels more real and authentic to how the locals live.

2. Union Square, NYC, USA

union square nyc

Head to Union Square over Times Square for a dose of history and a slice of real life in the Big Apple. Union Square is where you’ll see people playing chess, weekly farmers markets and the average New Yorker going about their business.

3. Chicago, USA

rooftop bars chicago

If you’re after a view of all of Chicago, don’t pay the high price and wait inline for the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). Head to a nearby sky high rooftop bar for the same view for the cost of a drink!

4. India

amritsar golden temple

Despite being an overwhelming cultural experience like pretty much nothing else on Earth, there are some parts of India which might be better to visit than others. Get to Amritsar and go to the Golden Temple. If you’re staying in the Delhi area go to the Red Fort where you can see Mughal buildings and art close up.

5. London, UK

london sky garden

Check out the Sky Garden rather than the London Eye – it’s free and gives just as spectacular a view. Make sure you book well in advance and get your phone ready – there will be some serious ‘gramming taking place here.

6. Roman Baths, Bath, UK

romanbaths bath

If you’re not feeling up to the crowds at Stonehenge but would still like a dose of English history, head over to the Roman Baths in Bath. They’re wonderfully preserved and not too busy even in summer.

7. Paris, France

tour montparnasse

Swap the top of the Eiffel Tower for the top of Tour Montparnasse – it allows you to have a view of all of Paris AND the Eiffel Tower is included. Avoid the crowds at Notre Dame and head to Sainte Chapelle for the most beautiful stained glass you’ve ever seen.

8. Galway, Ireland

galway

Dublin is fun, but basing yourself in Galway while in Ireland opens up a whole new raft of possibilities. Galway is a smaller city, so there’s less hustle and bustle but its way closer to tourist attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. You can also spend a good day and night pretending you’re in an Ed Sheeran song.

9. Italy

villa_adriana04

Italy has some of the world’s best known historical tourist attractions, but gems can often be found just outside the main cities. Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli is an amazing feat of architecture and gives you a real insight into how the emperors lived.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a must do, but there’s no need to spend too much time in town. Head out to Siena instead. The city centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as being famous for its cuisine, art and museums.

Speaking of cuisine, what’s a visit to Italy without sampling some of the amazing food? Head to Bologna for a medieval experience of Italy’s famed food. Apparently the gelato is amazing here too (when isn’t gelato amazing?), so make sure you sample some.

10. Nara, Japan

nara japan

Hitting up Tokyo and Kyoto is a no brainer, but taking the 30 minute train ride to Nara is well worth it. Find heaps of beautiful Buddhist temples and ancient gardens plus feed the cheeky deer in Nara Park until your hearts content.

11. Newfoundland, Canada

newfoundland canada
Want to see a moose, caribou, lynx or black bear? Get yourself to Newfoundland where you can head out on a boat or kayak tour, and you’ll have a good chance of getting up close and personal with humpbacks, orcas, minke whales and finbacks. In the main town of St. John’s, visitors can explore fantastic museums, visit significant historical and cultural sites, or take part in a very lively nightlife. George Street has the most pubs and bars per capita of any other street on the continent – how’s that for unexpected?!

12. St Petersburg, Russia

title - st petersburg

St. Petersburg is Russia's second largest city, with history and architecture like none other. It’s famous for its drawbridges and the rich collection of art and history you can see at its museums. Despite the cold, St Petersburg is a real jewel of the North that is like stepping back into a more opulent era.

13. Albania

albania

Forget Greece or Croatia, Albania is the place to go for a dose of Balkan sea and sunshine. Emerging from its communist past, Albania is now open and friendly with plenty of historical ruins to explore, and a flourishing nightlife.

14. Iceland

iceland

You may have seen Iceland feature in films and TV shows like Game of Thrones and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but the country is so breathtaking that it’s still underrated. Pictures just can’t do it justice – this country is a place unlike any other, and for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get away from it all, it’s truly unbeatable. Soak in the blue lagoon, explore fjords in the north and gaze at rainbows and waterfalls, found at nearly every turn.

15. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Brazil-Sao-Paulo

Imagine the whole population of Australia, mixed with the largest Japanese population outside of Japan and the vibrant Brazilian culture and you get Sao Paulo. This mega city with amazing food, markets, architecture, museum and nightlife often plays second fiddle to Rio De Janeiro but it shouldn’t. Boasting 30km of bike paths, 12,500 restaurants and 15,000 bars, Sao Paulo is an adventure and a half.

16. Glasgow, Scotland

Ashton-Lane glasgow

Scotland’s largest city is a mecca for up and coming indie music, innovative restaurants and vintage shops. It might be cool and cloudy, but that doesn’t stop anyone!

17. Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

lapland finland

Childhood dreams really can come true! The village of Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland is the closest thing you’ll get to seeing where Santa lives. Thick white snow covers everything in the village – including Santa’s workshop and glass-roofed igloos. Taking a reindeer ride through the woods while gazing at the amazing aurora borealis is about as magical as it gets.

18. Ikaria, Greece

ikaria

Home to one of the oldest populations in the world (1 in 3 residents are over 90) as well as spectacular natural beauty, Ikaria is nowhere near as popular as some of the other Greek Island. The perfect day here is spent dipping in the hot springs at Therma Leukadas, cooling off at the beach and a glass of homemade wine.

19. Fjällbacka Harbour, Sweden

fjallback harbour sweden

Fjallbacka is a holiday port town that’s been kept secret by the Swedes for too long. Surrounded by fjords and cliff formations, Fjallbacka is known for fishing, watching seals play and trying the local oysters. Think of it as a less crowded Scandinavian French Riviera.

 

If you're about to book your ticket to some of these amazingly underrated places around the world, you'll probably want to read this: 10 Tips for Surviving a Long Haul Flight 

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