Regardless of your travel status, most will have heard of iconic places such as Times Square, The Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pizza and Table Mountain – and probably more than once! Whilst nobody can deny their allure, it’s places such as these that keep us away from the world’s many hidden gems.
From beautiful, culturally rich cities to small mountain top hideouts, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to travel. In fact, underrated destinations can hold just as much appeal as that of the most famous hotspots.
Where to go
If you’d decided to leave the comfort of your McCarthy and Stone property, choosing a hidden gem as opposed to a tourist hotspot is a great idea. It is important to do your research beforehand though as lesser known attractions can be harder to find.
Prior to booking flights and accommodation, it’s also a good idea to look into a good insurance policy as elderly travellers can often be charged too much for insurance. Once this is sorted you can enjoy sampling the many delights of the world – perhaps starting with this list of our top five underrated tourist destinations.
1. Malealea, Lesotho
With a backdrop of picturesque mountains, Lesotho is not only an unspoiled destination but due to its location (just a short hop from the main sights and sounds of Cape Town) it’s also fairly easy to get to.
Instead of a scattering of skyscrapers and busy crowds, it’s here that you’ll find a pristine mountainous region, overshadowed by world-class views and brimming with an abundance of cultural artefacts as well as a number of hospitable people. From craft stalls to an array of accommodation options in the shape of century old trading posts and quaint lodges, there’s something to suit all – regardless of age.
2. Quito, Ecuador
Although Peru has been a renowned destination for many years, Quito (the capital of Ecuador) is a destination that appears a little more off the beaten track. In fact, it was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an ancient Inca city. Today, it boasts a mish mash of famous monasteries, Flemish and Italian indigenous art, architecture and Spanish fusions.
This is the perfect hotspot for those interested in historical artefacts. If you’re travelling with a disability it may be wise to pre-organise any transfers though.
3. Gdansk, Poland
For those looking for a destination a little closer to home, Gdansk may be just the ticket. It is here you’ll stumble upon an eclectic mix of architecture, old buildings and friendly people. Although a large amount of the architecture was destroyed in a violent attack, the people of Gdansk have painstakingly reconstructed it over the years, allowing those who choose to visit a view of some of the town’s most important historical elements.
4. Doubtful Sound, New Zealand
Although New Zealand is classed as the second most popular tourist haunt in the world, there’s still much that has been left unexplored. If you’re quite simply wishing to embark on a tranquil holiday that offers some form of escape, New Zealand is just that. In fact, other than staring out at the breathtakingly crystal clear waters, you need not do anything else!
5. Yerevan, Armenia
Said to be one of the world’s oldest, inhabited destinations, Armenia is a must-visit for those in tune with their architecture, culture, arts and entertainment. From 16th century castles to the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts and the Erebuni Fortress, it’s a history buff’s dream destination.