The 10 Most Underrated Vacation Destinations in the World

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Tourist in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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You likely know the big names of travel destinations, such as Paris, Rome and London. While these cities have a lot to offer, they can steal the spotlight from other places with rich cultures and plentiful experiences.

Bounce, a company that assists travelers with luggage storage, recently analyzed Tripadvisor data on the world’s top travel destinations and their attractions to identify the most overrated and most underrated cities for travel. To do this, Bounce looked at the number of visitors as well as how much there is to do in each city, including the number of attractions with five-star ratings from travelers.

You can get plenty of advice on which popular cities you should visit, but let’s talk about the ones Bounce found are most underrated because they offer plenty of great attractions but don’t attract hordes of tourists.

10. Nice

Colorful buildings on a street in Nice, France
Rostislav Glinsky / Shutterstock.com

Location: France, Europe

Overall score: 7.84 out of 10

When many people talk about traveling to France, they immediately think of Paris — it’s the most-visited city in the world, after all. But Bounce ranked Paris as one of the No. 1 overrated travel destination. However, Nice — France’s fifth-largest city on its Mediterranean coast — has plenty to offer without the crowds.

There are serene areas like the Promenade des Anglais (the English Walk), where you can take in views of the palm tree-dotted beachfront and see one of France’s 12 Statue of Liberty reproductions. There are several other coastal locations to enjoy a stroll or hike. If you enjoy historical sightseeing, Nice is a great choice as well, with a 17th-century villa, a palace and historic cathedrals.

9. Hurghada

Harbor in Hurghada, Egypt
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Location: Egypt, North Africa

Overall score: 7.9 out of 10

Hurghada, on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, is a dream for travelers looking for beautiful beaches. With turquoise water and pretty coral reefs, it’s a great location for snorkeling and scuba diving. It won’t be hard to find water parks in the resort town or locations to swim with dolphins, either. Hurghada is also home to Sand City, a sort of outdoor museum with 42 sand sculptures and 17 reliefs.

8. Honolulu

Honolulu, Hawaii
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Location: Island of Oahu, Hawaii, United States, North America

Overall score: 7.95 out of 10

On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Honolulu offers a breadth of captivating scenery as well as cultural and historical sites that include the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, making it a great destination for a range of travelers.

There’s a plethora of walking areas on Honolulu’s side of the island, such as the Diamond Head State Monument, a crater resulting from a volcanic eruption 300,000 years ago, and Manoa Falls, which features a 150-foot-tall waterfall. You can even visit Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on American soil.

7. Lima

The capital city of Lima, Peru, on the Pacific Ocean
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Location: Peru, South America

Overall score: 8 out of 10

Lima draws in travelers with its unique history, culture and culinary experiences. The city is home to museums like Museo Larco, which showcases pre-Columbian artifacts, and the Museo de Arte de Lima, exhibiting Peruvian art. Lima is also the only capital in South America facing an ocean and is considered the gastronomic capital of Latin America, making this city one that offers a range of experiences, from surfing to food tours.

6. Krakow

Krakow, Poland
Grisha Bruev / Shutterstock.com

Location: Poland, Europe

Overall score: 8.11 out of 10

Krakow hosts numerous historical attractions. Main Market Square is touted as one of the best areas in the city. U.S. News & World Report describes it as the world’s largest medieval market square. Its historical architecture and bustling atmosphere attract tourists and locals alike.

You can take in the architecture of the city’s Gothic churches and cathedrals, too. Visitors can check out the many museums, which cover subjects like World War II, stained glass, pinball machines and aviation. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is about 40 miles outside of the city, on the site of the infamous Nazi concentration camp where more than 1.5 million people lost their lives.

5. Rio de Janeiro

Panoramic view of Rio De Janeiro and Sugar Loaf, Brazil
Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock.com

Location: Brazil, South America

Overall score: 8.32 out of 10

Rio de Janeiro is underrated, according to Bounce’s analysis, despite being home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World — Christ the Redeemer. The 124-foot-tall Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ stands on one of the area’s mountains at a 2,310-foot elevation.

That’s not the only iconic location in Rio de Janeiro, either; the Escadaria Selaron is a 250-step staircase adorned with more than 2,000 tiles that were picked from around the world. It’s a colorful and picture-perfect stop for tourists.

4. Heraklion

The city of Heraklion on the island of Crete, Greece
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Location: The island of Crete, Greece, Europe

Overall score: 8.53 out of 10

Heraklion, the capital of Crete, is known for its beaches, museums, food and wineries. Its Old Town is considered a must-see. In the square sits the church of Agios Titos, built by Byzantine emperor Nicephorus Phocas in 961. Heraklion also hosts one of Europe’s biggest aquariums.

And it has to be mentioned that the Knossos Palace sits just outside of the city limits. That historical palace was a part of the Minoan Crete civilization, which ruled nearly 4,000 years ago, and is said to be where Theseus, the founder of Athens, killed the legendary Minotaur in King Minos’ labyrinth.

2. Porto (tie)

Porto, Portugal
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Location: Portugal, Europe

Overall score: 8.74 out of 10

Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is a great place for travelers looking for a more laid-back experience. Visitors to the city on the Douro River can stroll through art museums and get a taste of the area’s port wine — its most renowned export. There are dozens of wine cellars, and Porto even has a Port Wine Museum. Visitors can enjoy some of the city’s most notable wineries, including Ferreira, which was built in 1751 and played an integral part of the region’s winemaking history.

2. Marrakech (tie)

Market in the city of Marrakech, Morocco
Matej Kastelic / Shutterstock.com

Location: Morocco, North Africa

Overall score: 8.74 out of 10

Marrakech, also spelled Marrakesh, is a vibrant city full of colorful architecture and fragrant foods. The Medina of Marrakesh located in the city’s center is, and was historically, an economic hub. It was once home to the area’s royals. The walls of the area are pink, and it’s filled with stalls serving food and merchandise.

Those looking for historic sightseeing opportunities also have other locations to choose from in the Moroccan city. One such site is Bahia Palace. Full of colorful mosaics and impressive latticework, the 19th-century palace gives visitors a peek into the lavish lifestyles that Morocco’s royals have enjoyed. Some members of the royal family will still occasionally stay here, but there are areas open to the public.

1. Rhodes

Mandraki Harbour in Rhodes, Greece
Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock.com

Location: Greece, Europe

Overall score: 8.95 out of 10

Rhodes, the Greek island and its capital city, has only 2.41 million visitors a year, Bounce says, despite it having many five-star attractions. It is perhaps most famous for the Colossus of Rhodes, a statue that was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, erected in the third century B.C. and destroyed by an earthquake about 60 years later.

Rhodes’ Medieval City — a UNESCO World Heritage site, meaning it’s legally protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — sits within a 4 kilometer-long wall. According to UNESCO, “Rhodes is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period.” Medieval City, featuring the Palace of the Grand Master and the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, makes Rhodes a great destination for historical sightseers.

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