While big cities like Paris or Rome are probably at the top of your travel bucket list, there are plenty of off-the-radar destinations that deserve your attention.
From overlooked second cities — Bergen, Norway, and Valparaíso, Chile, to name a few — to beautiful islands such as Anguilla and Pangkor Island, Malaysia, INSIDER has you covered with unexpected spots that you’ll want to visit.
While often overshadowed by Oslo, the Norwegian capital, Bergen — the country’s second-largest city — has plenty to offer.
From the vibrant buildings that dot Bryggen, a historic harbor district and UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the spectacular views from Fløyen Mountain, which is accessible by funicular, charm and natural beauty abound. An ideal destination for watersport fans, visitors can also go kayaking and rafting through Norway’s famous fjords.
Sarandë (also spelled Saranda), a resort in the Albanian Riviera, is equally known for its archaeological ruins and its beaches.
While you’ll find the remains of a 5th-century synagogue in the town itself, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates to prehistoric times is located about 12 miles outside Sarandë. The site, Butrint, has in the course of its storied history functioned as a Greek colony, a Roman city, and a bishopric.
If you’d rather catch some rays than sightsee, some of the most popular beaches in the area include Mirror Beach, Santa Quaranta Beach, and Pulebardha Beach. “A friend’s photos of Pulebardha Beach was the impetus for my visit to Albania and it was well worth the visit,” writes a TripAdvisor user.
As an added bonus, the Greek isle of Corfu is just a short ferry ride away.
US News and World Report ranked Anguilla— a British overseas territory — as the Caribbean island with the best beaches. With an embargo on cruise ships, casinos, and even high-rise hotels, Anguilla is far from a tourist trap.
According to users on TripAdvisor, Shoal Bay is one of the best beaches on the island — and possibly in the world. “The white powder sand and turquoise water is so peaceful and beautiful. Although all the beaches on Anguilla are beautiful, in my opinion Shoal Bay East is the best,” one user raves.
In a word, Valparaíso is colorful. Chile’s second-largest city is known for its street art and eye-catching graffiti, and the rainbow of houses that dot its steep roads — among them a home owned by Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. If the incline becomes tiring, you can hop aboard one of Valparaíso’s funiculars, which offer a new perspective on the maze-like geography.
Neruda expressed his love for the city in the poem “Oda a Valparaíso,” in which he observes how Valparaíso looks as if “life has always surprised [it].”