5 under-the-radar travel destinations for 2024
Two young women looking at a map in a European town

Ready to start planning your next vacation? You and everyone else. Post-pandemic travel is surging and popular destinations are filling up quickly, with some places booking out months in advance. This year, skip the typical Italian summer or cherry blossom season in Japan and the crowds that go with them – instead, here are some top picks for under-the-radar travel destinations for 2024.

For architecture and history: Uzbekistan 

Located in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is part of the ancient Silk Road. It has incredible history, delicious food, and architecture that will make you feel like you stepped into Disney’s Aladdin. Be sure to see Tashkent, the capital, which is surprisingly urban with its mix of modern and Soviet architecture. There’s also legendary Samarkand with its tiled mausoleums and madrassas, plus Bukhara where you can barter for silk rugs, miniature paintings, and more.

Train travel across the country is comfortable and easy, and English is widely spoken in the tourist areas. While Uzbekistan might take a while to get to, visitors will be pleasantly surprised at how affordable it is to travel around this country. 

For a beach escape: Panama

When it comes to Central America, most travellers flock to Costa Rica. But if you’re looking to escape the crowds, then book a flight to Panama instead. The capital, Panama City, is home to the famous Panama Canal, often nicknamed as one of the modern wonders of the world. Head to the Miraflores Observation Centre to watch the massive ships pass by from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean.

The capital is worth visiting for a couple of days, but be sure to head out to the San Blas Islands for a tropical adventure – you can snorkel the turquoise waters, relax on the beaches, and dine on fresh seafood. Some of the islands are open for tourism, allowing you to stay overnight. Alternatively, you can do an island-hopping sailing trip. 

For a road trip: Romania

If you’re searching for a European destination away from the crowds, consider Romania. Famous for the Dracula legend, Romania is a beautiful country with plenty of fairytale towns, stunning castles, and mountainous scenery. Spend a couple of days in capital city Bucharest before renting a car to drive through Transylvania. Be sure to visit the iconic Bran Castle, which is known as Dracula’s Castle and Peles Castle. Small towns worth stopping and spending a night or two in include Brasov, Sibiu, Timisoara, and Sighisoara, which was the birth place of Vlad the Impaler, the man behind the Dracula legend. 

For a summer break: Tobermory, Ontario

You may think you need to head to a tropical island for a beach and scuba diving vacation, but there’s actually some pretty great dive sites in Ontario. Tobermory, which is located on the edge of Lake Huron, is a haven for scuba divers. The water here might be cold, but thanks to numerous shipwrecks and incredibly clarity, Tobermory is considered to be one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world – it’s even been nicknamed “the freshwater SCUBA capital of the world.” Most of the wrecks are best seen while scuba diving, but some are visible to snorkelers as well.

If you need a break from diving, you can enjoy the local scenery. The area has some great hikes and nature trails, one of the most popular being the Flower Pot Islands, which is part of the Fathom Five National Marine Park.

For a winter break: Le Massif de Charlevoix, Quebec

If you love the mountains and snow, then consider a ski or snowboard escape to Le Massif de Charlevoix. It’s the highest vertical drop in Canada east of the Canadian Rocky Mountain range and it makes for a great winter break.

Located about an hour from Quebec City, Le Massif de Charlevoix is close enough to the big cities but still manages to maintain the wilderness aspect. There are over 400 acres of ski hills with options for all levels, and there’s a limit on how many people can visit to make sure the slopes don’t get overcrowded. The typical season runs from the beginning of December until the end of April with peak season being January to March.

Hannah Logan is a Canadian travel writer who dreams of being just like Indiana Jones. You can follow her travels on her personal travel blog Eat Sleep Breathe Travel where she shares her travel tales and (mis)adventures around the world.

Hannah Logan is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.
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