Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: 16 Enchanting Hidden Gems for Your Summer Adventure

Seeking a summer escape beyond the usual tourist trails? Here are some great ideas.

Summer is the perfect time to explore lesser-known destinations that offer unique experiences without the crowds of more popular tourist spots. For those looking to avoid the crowds and experience something unique, exploring underrated summer travel ideas can be a refreshing alternative. This list of 16 underrated summer travel ideas will take you from secluded beaches to ancient cities, showcasing the diversity and beauty of hidden gems around the globe.

1. The Azores, Portugal

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: The Azores

Nestled in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores are a group of nine volcanic islands in Portugal, each with its own unique charm. Often overshadowed by mainland Portugal, the Azores offer stunning landscapes, from green rolling hills and tea plantations to dramatic cliffs and hot springs. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the mild climate, go whale watching, or hike to the breathtakingly beautiful Lagoa do Fogo.

2. Svalbard, Norway

Located in the Arctic Circle, Svalbard is a place of raw, polar beauty. Summer brings the midnight sun, providing 24 hours of daylight to explore glaciers, fjords, and maybe even spot a polar bear. It’s a unique destination for those interested in wildlife and adventure in a less-traveled region.

3. Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Among the underrated summer travel ideas, there is Plovdiv. This town is one of the oldest cities in Europe, a hidden gem that blends history, culture, and vibrant street life. With its ancient Roman theatre, colorful old town, and a lively arts scene, Plovdiv is a delightful spot for those who enjoy exploring rich cultural heritage without the bustle of larger European cities.

4. The Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: The Gobi Desert

For a truly off-the-beaten-path experience, the vast expanse of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia is hard to beat. From camel trekking to visiting traditional nomadic families, the Gobi offers an unforgettable adventure. Summer is the best time to visit, with the Naadam Festival showcasing Mongolia’s culture and sports like wrestling and horse racing.

5. Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Offering rugged natural beauty, Newfoundland and Labrador are perfect for nature lovers. The region boasts spectacular coastal hikes, abundant wildlife, and a chance to witness icebergs and whales. The friendly locals and rich maritime history add to the charm of this often-overlooked summer destination.

6. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: Lake Bled

Nestled in the Julian Alps, Lake Bled is a stunning slice of Slovenian paradise. The lake, with its iconic island and church, provides a fairy-tale-like setting perfect for relaxation and adventure. Visitors can enjoy rowing to Bled Island, hiking in the surrounding mountains, and tasting the local delicacy, Bled cream cake. Summer in Lake Bled is pleasantly warm, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the nearby Vintgar Gorge.

7. The Faroe Islands, Denmark

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: The Faroe Islands

Located between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands are a cluster of 18 volcanic islands known for their dramatic landscapes, from steep cliffs and rugged coastlines to grassy heathlands. Summer is the best time to experience the Faroe Islands’ unique culture, with its traditional grass-roofed houses, and to engage in bird watching, hiking, and boat tours.

8. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat, an archipelago in West Papua, is a haven for divers and snorkelers. Known for its rich marine biodiversity, Raja Ampat’s crystal-clear waters are home to colorful coral reefs and a plethora of marine life. The islands themselves are scarcely populated, offering serene beaches and a chance to disconnect from the world.

9. Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Isle of Skye is a mystical and picturesque island off the west coast of Scotland. Known for its rugged landscapes, medieval castles, and coastal villages, Skye is a dream destination for photographers and hikers. The Quiraing, the Old Man of Storr, and the Fairy Pools are must-visit spots, especially in the summer when the weather is milder.

10. Luang Prabang, Laos

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: Kuang Si Falls

This UNESCO World Heritage city in Laos is known for its well-preserved architectural, religious, and cultural heritage. Summer visitors can enjoy the night markets, serene Buddhist temples, and the beautiful Kuang Si Falls. The Mekong River also offers opportunities for boat trips and riverside dining.

11. Bhutan

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: Tiger's Nest

Bhutan, the land of the Thunder Dragon, is not only known for its commitment to happiness but also its unspoiled natural beauty. Summer is a great time to explore its majestic monasteries like Tiger’s Nest, lush valleys, and traditional Bhutanese culture. The government’s sustainable approach to tourism ensures a unique and authentic experience.

12. Salta, Argentina

Salta, in northwest Argentina, is a region of stunning landscapes and rich colonial history. With its colorful canyons, Inca ruins, and vibrant local markets, Salta is an ideal destination for those seeking both natural beauty and cultural experiences. The Train to the Clouds offers a breathtaking journey through the Andes.

13. Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca is a cultural gem known for its indigenous heritage, colonial architecture, and culinary delights. Summer brings the Guelaguetza festival, celebrating the region’s diverse cultures with music, dance, and traditional costumes. Visitors can explore ancient Zapotec ruins like Monte Albán, enjoy the local cuisine, and browse the vibrant markets.

14. Tasmania, Australia

The island state of Tasmania is a natural wonderland, with vast wilderness areas, stunning beaches, and unique wildlife. The summer season is perfect for exploring its national parks, such as Freycinet and Cradle Mountain, tasting fresh local produce, and discovering its burgeoning art scene, including the famous MONA (Museum of Old and New Art).

15. Aysén Region, Chile

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: San Rafael Lagoon, Aysen Region

Chile’s Aysén Region is a remote area of Patagonia that offers dramatic landscapes ranging from glacial fields to lush forests. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for trekking, kayaking, and wildlife spotting. The Carretera Austral, a scenic route running through the region, provides a breathtaking journey through unspoiled nature.

16. The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

Dallol volcano, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

To end the underrated summer travel ideas, one of the most alien landscapes on Earth and an extraordinary adventure is the Danakil Depression. Known for its active volcanoes, colorful sulfur springs, and salt flats, it’s a destination for the intrepid traveler. Visiting during the milder summer months makes the harsh conditions more bearable.

Underrated Summer Travel Ideas: Conclusion

This diverse list of underrated summer travel ideas offers a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and adventure. From the remote islands of Indonesia to the ancient streets of Bulgaria, each destination provides a unique and memorable experience for the summer traveler. Plan your next summer trip today!

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