Compiled by expert travelers at Travel Lemming, here is the annual roundup of undiscovered treasures and up-and-coming places that deserve your attention.
This selection includes destinations that are ideal for long stays and encourage a more conscious and environmentally aware approach to travel.
1. Guatapé, Colombia
Explorers who venture to Guatapé encounter one of Colombia’s most breathtaking destinations. A short day trip from Medellín to Guatapé is the perfect starting point for various adventure activities. Delight in the town’s colorfully decorated houses and panoramic views of the reservoir. Climb the iconic Stone of El Peñol, marvel at handicrafts in the Plaza del Zocalo, enjoy a coffee at Café La Vina and take a picturesque boat tour.
2. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Nestled in the mountains near the Arkansas-Missouri border, the quaint town of Eureka Springs enchants all who discover its charm. Eureka Springs is known for its historic architecture, artistic ambiance and invigorating natural springs. Streams and grottos meander through the town center, while expansive lakes are just a short drive away.
3. St. John’s, Canada
St. John’s has an unmistakable charm in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, located directly on the east coast of Canada. This vibrant city is known for its abundance of fresh seafood, breathtaking natural beauty and time-honored traditions. Enjoy a craft beer at the Quidi Vidi Brewery, immerse yourself in the exhibits at The Rooms Museum, embark on scenic hikes along the East Coast Trail and take an unforgettable drive along the scenic Irish Loop.
4. Kodiak, Alaska
While Alaska is a well-known tourist hotspot, Kodiak Island remains a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Lovers of the great outdoors can experience a variety of adventures here, from scenic hikes to extraordinary fishing experiences to exciting aerial bear-watching tours. Climb the heights of Barometer Mountain, stroll along the docks, try your hand at halibut and salmon fishing and join in the festivities of the Kodiak Crab Festival.
5. Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee, is known in American culture as the birthplace of rock ‘n roll, blues and soul. With famous venues like Sun Studio, Graceland, the Stax Museum of American Soul, and the Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum honoring the city’s rich musical heritage, it’s a pilgrimage site for music lovers. Stroll down Beale Street, enjoy a BBQ, visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland, and catch a Grizzlies game.
6. Phú Quốc, Vietnam
The largest island in Vietnam, Phú Quốc is a hidden paradise for luxury lovers and those who enjoy being in nature. With some of the best beaches in the country, a famous pearl farm, and breathtaking sunsets, the island is a paradise for tourists. Take a ride on the Hon Thom Cable Car, hike along the waterfalls, go diving and snorkeling and watch the enchanting sunset on charming Long Beach.
7. Stavanger, Norway
Secluded Stavanger is the starting point for Norway’s breathtaking, frost-kissed fjords. A comprehensive ferry system takes adventurers seamlessly to numerous nearby islands and picturesque fishing villages. Take a boat trip through the Lysefjord, hike to the top of Preikestolen and explore the vibrant stores along Øvre Holmegat.
8. Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala, manages the balancing act between a popular tourist destination and a hidden gem. It offers a variety of tours, restaurants and cultural activities for travelers while preserving its cultural authenticity. Explore the Acatenango volcano on a hike, shop at a local market, visit coffee farms, take part in a chocolate workshop and consider attending a Spanish school.
9. Yucatán, Mexico
In 2024, the spotlight will finally illuminate Mexico’s Yucatán state, situated on the namesake peninsula. Often overshadowed by its more touristy neighbor, Quintana Roo, Yucatán is set for a transformation with the inauguration of the Maya Train. Indulge in authentic Mayan cuisine with dishes like cochinita pibil and papadzules, embark on a cenote-hopping adventure, and explore ancient Mayan ruins at Uxmal, Ek’ Balam, and Chichén Itzá.
10. Gizo, Solomon Islands
Gizo, along with its captivating neighboring islands, provides a perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle. Submerge yourself in the pristine, crystalline waters to behold countless untouched coral reefs. Abundant with exotic marine creatures, it’s a paradise for those who love underwater exploration. Whether you choose to dive or snorkel, savor the delightful cuisine, engage in fishing activities, or explore local fresh markets in Gizo Town.