Underrated Hidden Gems for Travelers Looking to Go Off the Beaten Path

Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Photo by AXP Photography on Unsplash

Some locations have always been, and likely always will be, travel hotspots, while others come in and out of fashion as sought-after destinations. There are other certain places, however, that never seem to make it onto mainstream travel radar. Sure, there’s something to be said for the cleanliness and quiet that their lack of tourism allows for, but at the same time, it’s difficult to understand how such gems could remain hidden for so long. If you’re a traveler looking for beautiful destinations off the beaten path, here are a few to consider.

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Along the Silk Road in southeast Uzbekistan is Samarkand, an ancient trade city with a colorfully rich history and buildings to match. Its turquoise domes, intricate mosaics, and legendary Registan Square stand as architectural marvels sure to leave travelers of all backgrounds in awe. Stop by the Bibi-Khanym Mosque and Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, then head to the Siyob Bazaar to shop for spices, textiles, and other local handmade products. 

Białowieża, Poland

Białowieża is a small, yet undeniably charming village in eastern Poland along the Belarussian border. Situated in the middle of the last primeval forest in Europe, the Białowieża National Park serves as a sanctuary for ancient oak trees and wild European bison as well as nature-loving travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Plan your own trek on one of the park’s many hiking trails, or book a tour to learn about the forest from those who know it best.

El Rocío, Spain

In the heart of Spain’s Andalusian region, El Rocío is a distinctive village known for its lively Romería festival and surrounding Doñana National Park. Though Romería is one of Spain’s largest annual festivals, El Rocío has a permanent population of just over 700 and has a sort of Wild West feel, thanks to its sandy streets and abundance of semi-feral horses. In addition to horseback riding, the town is also an ideal location for birdwatching.