While well-known countries such as Japan and Greece are probably firmly on your travel bucket list, there are plenty of off-the-radar destinations that also deserve your attention.
The south coast hosts pristine beaches to suit everyone; it doesn’t matter if you prefer sandy or pebble bays, Albania has them all.
If you’re looking for more hustle and bustle though, capital city Tirana is the cultural, entertainment and political centre of Albania. It can be chaotic at times but has a buzz you won’t find anywhere else.
In the villages, rural culture is still strong, with many families taking care of their needs through their own gardens and livestock.
Neighbouring Peru and Columbia have really stormed ahead in the tourist ranks over the past two decades; but little Ecuador, sandwiched between the two and about one-fifth the size of them combined, should not be ignored.
This diverse country boasts a rich cultural heritage, fine food, the Amazon jungle and Andean highland. The swimmable coastlines are teeming with marine life including seals, turtles, manta rays and sharks.
If that’s not enough, it has an incredible climate and is super easy to navigate.
Unspoiled, undeveloped, and untamed. Some 2500km of rugged, unspoilt coastline are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
The world-class coral reefs are perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and sunset sailing. Islands off the coast rival anything the Maldives has to offer and are largely uninhabited.
Bring along patience, a tolerance for long bus rides, some travel savvy and a sense of adventure, and jump in for the journey of a lifetime.
No matter what type of traveller you are, Georgia truly has something for everyone. It’s home to ancient cities, several UNESCO World Heritage sites, snowy mountains, lush nature, and delicious wine.
In just a matter of days, you can go from swimming in the Black Sea to skiing in the Caucasus mountains while enjoying a taste of bustling city life in between.
The fourth-largest island in the world is considered a paradise for nature lovers.
Rich in flora and fauna, much of which is found nowhere else on earth, the former French colony offers a beguiling range of things to see and do as well as many areas to be explored.
Despite the rising tourist numbers, Madagascar still retains an element of genuine adventure for those who visit. The roads are often unpaved, wife can be temperamental at best and the bureaucracy can be frustrating, but it’s all part of the experience.
Read more: World’s best wildlife trips
Neighbouring Croatia tends to get more exposure these days, but Montenegro is just as stunning. In fact, the beaches on its lush coastline are some of Europe’s most beautiful.
But when you’ve had your fill of sun and sand, there’s plenty more to do.
Head to the country’s less-travelled eastern interior for sublime mountain ranges, pristine lakes, and wild forests. Montenegro is also home to some of Europe’s most affordable ski slopes come wintertime.
You’ll most likely have heard of Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, and the fun photo opportunities it offers; but Bolivia has so much more. It’s celebrated for its colourful history, fascinating customs, diverse wildlife and jaw-dropping landscapes.
Bolivia is certainly a country of extremes. It’s one of the highest and most remote countries in the world and features everything from freezing snowy mountain peaks to sweltering Amazon lowlands.
Most travellers who choose to spend time in Jordan are surprised by its diversity and staggering beauty. It hosts everything from stunning natural beauty to world-renowned historical and religious sites.
Scuba diving is probably not something you would associate with a famously dry country, but the warm waters of the Red Sea offer up ample underwater exploration.
If that’s not enough, people often leave feeling touched by the generosity and kindness of the locals.
How many of these are on your travel radar? Have you already visited any of them?
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