The new year is here and travelers are undoubtedly already making plans for their upcoming adventures in 2023. Popular destinations like Chiang Mai, Thailand, or Amsterdam, Netherlands, are on most people’s bucket lists, but this also means they become crowded and overpriced due to the high demand for accommodation and tours in these areas.
Travelers who want to get away from big tourist crowds and discover authentic destinations this year should add these cities around the world to their list of places to visit.
10/10 Antigua, Guatemala
Guatemala is a frequently overlooked destination for travelers backpacking through Central and South America, so this gem of a city is still relatively unscathed by mass tourism.
Just an hour from the Guatemala City airport, travelers can easily take a cab to Antigua where they will find cobbled streets, historic buildings, and volcano views.
Not only is it an affordable place to stay, but it’s a great base for exploring the natural beauty of Guatemala like the Acatenango volcano and Lake Atitlan.
9/10 El Paso, Texas, USA
El Paso, Texas, is perhaps the most underrated city to visit in the United States. Located in far west Texas on the border with Mexico, the city boasts a unique culinary fusion (Tex-Mex) and beautiful historic hotels like the Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park and Hotel Paso del Norte, Autograph Collection.
There is no shortage of activities for travelers to enjoy, from taking a cooking class at Texas Culinary Institute to going hiking in Franklin Mountains State Park, 20 minutes outside the city.
Visiting El Paso is a great jumping-off point for exploring other parts of far west Texas like the city of Marfa or Big Bend National Park.
8/10 Ksamil, Albania
Most backpackers planning a trip around Europe aren’t making plans around Albania, but they should be. This country has everything travelers could want in a European destination: delicious food, stunning beaches, mountainous landscapes, hiking trails, and historic cities.
The best part? It’s way more affordable than traveling around Western European countries like the Netherlands, France, or Germany.
Ksamil is the beach town on Albania’s coast that travelers should be sure they visit when exploring the country. It’s got stunning blue waters to rival those of the Greek islands at a fraction of the price.
7/10 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Travelers who love European cities like Paris or Milan but are seeking a destination that is more affordable will fall in love with Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital. The city is beautiful with historic architecture and colorful neighborhoods like Recoleta and La Boca.
The Recoleta Cemetery is a unique attraction in the city to explore, plus the food scene here is amazing. There is a significant Italian population in Buenos Aires so in addition to local cuisine, there are also a lot of authentic Italian restaurants.
A definite item to add to the bucket list when visiting: take an Argentine tango lesson or attend a show.
6/10 Arequipa, Peru
Travelers to Peru may overlook Arequipa in favor of spending more time in Cusco or the Amazon. However, this beautiful city, nicknamed The White City, deserves a spot on the bucket list all by itself. Arequipa is a clean, safe city surrounded by gorgeous mountain peaks.
This region of Peru has its own unique cuisine [name here], which is known for being spicier than the dishes in Lima or Cusco.
When visiting, adventurous travelers will want to book an overnight excursion to Colca Canyon where they’ll hike through South America’s Grand Canyon equivalent and look for Andean Condors.
5/10 Kerala, India
India’s well-worn tourist trail is famously nicknamed the Golden Triangle, featuring Agra, Delhi, and Jaipur. While this hits the highlights of a portion of the country, India is so vast that visiting Kerala offers a totally different experience.
The state of Kerala is located on the tropical Malabar Coast of India and provides a more tranquil, nature-focused travel experience than visiting some of the more popular cities.
Fly into Kochi and book a tour to explore the region, including a visit to Periyar National Park, sometimes called the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
4/10 Sofia, Bulgaria
Another Eastern European gem, Sofia, Bulgaria is a vibrant capital city with budget-friendly prices and breathtaking architecture. Sofia has lots of architectural sites like churches, theaters, and museums to explore.
Be sure to stop at the Boyana Church and St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral to admire the structures or learn about the city’s past at the Regional History Museum Sofia.
3/10 Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
Many international travelers visiting Canada immediately flock to the glacial blue lakes in Banff and Jasper National Parks. However, the East Coast of Canada is just as beautiful and can be even more cost-effective as a road trip destination.
Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia is a scenic spot for nature lovers to enjoy hiking, road-tripping, and more.
2/10 Oaxaca, Mexico
Travelers to Mexico are frequently seeking beach destinations like Cancun, Tulum, or Puerta Vallarta, but Oaxaca is the place to visit before too many tourists discover just how incredible it is, inviting crowds.
Oaxaca is a visually appealing city with classical architecture, cobblestone streets, and colorful buildings. Besides being a haven for social media influencers, Oaxaca offers a chance to learn about the region’s history and unique culinary dishes.
1/10 Santiago, Chile
Many travelers only visit Chile as part of an excursion into Patagonia, but the city of Santiago is a place to plan a trip to this.
Ranked as one of the safest cities in South America, Santiago boasts modern architecture, mountain views, hiking paths above the city, and an exceptional culinary scene.