Nothing puts a damper on a trip like getting to your destination and finding out it's crawling with tourists. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top under-the-radar places you should visit before the rest of the world discovers them.
Colmar is a little French town near the German border that’s filled with cobblestone streets and colorful latticed houses. “With its 67,000 inhabitants, Colmar retains a ‘country town’ atmosphere which contributes so much to its charm,” the Colmar tourist office explains. Take a canal tour to appreciate the homes and stop by the magnificent St. Martin’s Church. Colmar is also surrounded by vineyards, so take a wine cellar tour while you’re there.
Lincoln Park, Chicago, U.S.A.
Lincoln Park is an underrated neighborhood that offers a variety of things to do. Tee off at the Jackson Park Golf Course, take a photo by the Standing Lincoln Sculpture and walk around the tranquil Lincoln Park Conservatory & Gardens. Food options in Lincoln Park range from deep-dish pizzeria Pequod’s Pizza to the high-end Boka (where Spanish octopus with sorrel is on the menu) or the beautiful American restaurant North Pond.
Castelluccio is a small village with big charm located in the Umbria region of Italy. At 5,000 feet above sea level, it’s the highest village in the Apennine Mountains. Due to earthquakes in 2016, the town was not accessible for a while, but it's now open again — and even the drive to reach the village is breathtaking. Lentils and poppies bloom each year, creating blankets of color across the region. The wonderful food is also a huge draw.
Sooke, British Columbia
Sooke is a town on the south end of Vancouver Island, around a half-hour away from Victoria. The Sooke Harbour House Resort & Hotel is one of the best places to stay. With 28 guest rooms filled with local antiques, jetted tubs and beautiful water views, it’s a peaceful retreat where you can enjoy your vacation. Charter a private boat for whale watching or photographing the many lighthouses along the coast.
Black’s Beach, San Diego, U.S.A.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to put your toes in the sand, Black’s Beach in San Diego is your best bet; it’s one of the most uncrowded beaches in California. Officially called Torrey Pines City Beach, Black’s Beach is two miles long and sits under 300-foot cliffs. Hang gliders regularly leap from the cliffs; sit back and watch them soar through the sky. Black’s Beach has permanent lifeguard stations, but be aware that because of the cliffs, the beach is somewhat difficult to access.
Gippsland, a rural region in southeastern Australia, is a beautiful area with a diverse array of things to do. Stay at Bear Gully Cottages, beachfront cottages where you can swim, fish and snorkel around rock pools that are virtually private. Spend your days touring rainforests such as Tarra Bulga National Park. Or go underground at the Buchan Caves. Gippsland is also home to Croajingolong National Park, a UNESCO reserve that has everything from beaches to mountains to rainforests.
Samburu National Reserve, Kenya
Ideal for wildlife lovers, Samburu National Reserve hosts a variety of plants and animals alike — including rare species such as the Grevy's zebra and East African oryx. The Saruni Samburu resort offers luxurious and eco-friendly villas with views of Mount Kenya and the Kalama Conservatory. When you’re not watching the sun set over the mountains, you’ll be at the “hippo beach” eating a gourmet lunch or walking through the bush, tracking animals with Masai warriors — a truly immersive and unique experience.