Looking for some future travel inspiration? I took a look back at some of my past trips and put together a list of underrated places to visit in 2024 I think everyone should consider!

I’ve been very lucky to turn travel into a full time job, and in the past few years alone I’ve visited some serious bucket list destinations over and over again.

That said, here are some more underrated places I’d recommend anyone visit! If you’re worried about contributing to over tourism or want to go a little off the beaten path, check out these places instead of their more popular counterparts!

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite picks!

Haarlem, Netherlands - places to visit in 2024

Haarlem, Netherlands

Haarlem is one of those places that I have a feeling won’t seem so “underrated” in a few years. As everyone, including the Netherlands’ own tourism board, has pointed out – Amsterdam is feeling a little beleaguered. The city is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But when you have so many young tourists coming for seedier reasons, it’s easy to see why most locals are a little on edge.

The place everyone recommends instead? The little city of Haarlem only 20-30 minutes away by train. Since most tourists never even leave Amsterdam, Haarlem feels like a calming oasis. I would know – I spent a few weeks there this summer!

It has all Dutch charm you’d hope for – windmills, canals, lego-like buildings – without the sketchier tourists. Plus it has a beach! Literally! On my birthday this year I ran to it from my friend’s place and had such a lovely time getting lunch and relaxing for a bit.

Like most of the Netherlands, the best things to do is wander around and see where your legs take you. If you’re there on a Saturday, check out the outdoor market and don’t skip the Indonesian food at De Lachende Javaan Restaurant or lunch at Hofje Zonder Zorgen.

I’m really excited to move to the Netherlands, and I’m sure I’ll have even more underrated places to recommend this time next year.

Kansas City - places to visit in 2024

Kansas City, Missouri

My visit to Kansas City was brief and part of a longer road trip down to Oklahoma from Pennsylvania, but I was instantly charmed. Listen, Taylor Swift put Travis Kelce and KC on the map, but I feel like even without the whirlwind romance, this city was due for a boom in popularity.

It has a ton going for it, and if I wasn’t on a time crunch, I would’ve stayed for a few more days. Stay at The Truitt – an adorable bed and breakfast with some impeccable interior design. Pop into any of the world class museums whether it’s their giant World War I Museum or the very cool Arabia Steamboat Museum. Do NOT skip trying out all the BBQ spots you can find and always ask for the burnt ends.

Plus, if you plan you trip for warmer weather, there’s a ton of greenspace to enjoy and watch the sunset from. The Scout statue is a particularly cool view as is the one from the exterior of the WWI Museum.

Viñales, Cuba - places to visit in 2024

Viñales, Cuba

Truthfully, I could put the whole country of Cuba on this list, but if I have any Canadian readers, they’ll give me a hefty side eye. Plus I always feel like putting a whole country on a list like this is a cop out when other lists do it. Instead, I decided to narrow in on spotlighting Viñales in eastern Cuba. I chose it both because it was my favorite stop on my tour and because I do think it’s pretty underrated compared to more coastal areas.

I mean, after all, most people think Cuba – island – beach. But Viñales is all lush mountains, colorful architecture, and trekking. Not to mention this is where you’ll want to try the famous Cuban cigars.

We had a blast while we visited and did everything from hiking to a cave to eating some of the best food I’ve had all year at Finca Agroecológica El Paraíso. And that incredible view above? Look for a lookout next to Hotel los Jazmines.

If you’re American, just know that YES, we can visit legally. I went with Cuban Adventures who organized all the logistics but gave us enough free time to explore on our own. (They even gave me a code – SAM01 – for you to get 5% off). Cuba is such a cool place, and I hate that Americans (myself included!) write it off because they think we can’t visit easily!

Hualien - places to visit in 2024

Hualien, Taiwan

When I visited Taiwan a few years ago, I knew I was going to make time to visit Taroko Gorge. Everyone I knew who’d gone had visited in different ways, so I knew I had options. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to hang around for a few days, so I opted to stay in the cute city of Hualien.

I’m glad I did because Hualien is such a charming place! A little less bustling than Jiufen and Taipei, and I loved finding all the cozy cafes, delicious eateries, and random gems along the way. I got my own room in the cutest hostel, and when I asked the host what his favorite restaurant was, he responded by starring a ton of places to eat in Hualien on my Google Maps.

Spend at least one day just walking around Hualien. I stumbled across the most random landmarks doing this – including the Martyr’s Shrine pictured above. Nanbin Park and Qixingtan Beach are great even in rainy weather, and if you can get there the water around Qingshui Cliff is mesmerizing.

Don’t skip the dumplings at Gong Zheng Bun Store (花莲公正包子店) or the dishes at TainanLu Meat Rice (台南魯肉飯). And of course, don’t miss the Dongdamen Night Market. I only didn’t go because it rained the whole time I was there!

May wildflowers in Wichita Mountains - places to visit in 2024

Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma

I really loved spending two weeks in Oklahoma, and I think its flyover reputation is unwarranted. However, if I had to pick just one place I’d tell everyone to go to no matter what, it hands down has to be the Wichita Mountains – especially in late spring/early summer when the yellow wildflowers are in full bloom.

My friends took me here for a few days of camping and hiking, and even only seeing a small fraction of the park, I immediately wondered why this place hasn’t been made an official national park. (It’s a national wildlife refuge but still!!) The hiking is gorgeous and some of it felt like being in Jurassic Park. Not to mention it’s a great way to truly get off the grid – no cell reception most places let alone wifi.

If you do need anything, there’s a random gas station we’d drive to for snacks and ice, and, of course the tiny town of Medicine Park is right there. In fact, if you don’t want to rough it, book one of the bird house Airbnbs there!

My favorite hike had to have been Dog Run Hollow. We went at golden hour. It’s relatively flat and has tons of incredible views.

Naganeupseong near Suncheon

Suncheon, South Korea

You know any list I was going to make about places to visit in 2024 was always going to include somewhere in South Korea. While my natural instinct is to always insist Namwon because truly no one ever seems to visit, this time I’m giving the place to my second Korean home, Suncheon. Next year is actually a fantastic year to visit because the whole city has gotten a huge face lift since they hosted the International Garden Expo in 2023.

It’s kind of absurd just how much is packed into a place most Koreans will call the countryside. (Seriously – Korean countryside vs what I think of when I say countryside are two very different things). Both in and near the city you’ve got an incredible hike between two historic temples, a ginormous protected bay (also with a small hike), a massive garden that will take you hours to explore, a cool, retro film set, and a huge historic hanok village that’ll put you right into the Joseon dynasty.

Watkins Glen in autumn

The Finger Lakes in New York

When it comes to wine regions, I still think the Finger Lakes is one of the most underrated spots in the country. Naturally, the summer is the most popular seson, but if I had to recommend a time to go, I’d say autumn without a doubt. It’s a lot quieter and the foliage paired with the wineries and lake landscapes is just incredible.

The region is huge, so you’ll want to narrow down where you go so you’re not overwhelmed driving around. If you’re coming from the south, plan to stop into Owego and Corning and then pick 1-2 lakes to check out. I know Seneca and Keuka the best, so that’s where I’d recommend going. Penn Yan, Hammondsport, Watkins Glen, Geneva… Pick your small town and enjoy! Whatever you do, do NOT miss the small hike through Watkins Glen State Park and the dumplings at Sans Dumpling.

Also for those of you that don’t mind a little extra driving or are coming from Canada, I highly recommend stopping off at Letchworth State Park (aka the “Grand Canyon of the East”) either on your way back on your way down.

Vinh Long - places to visit in 2024

Vinh Long, Vietnam

Again, this one was hard to narrow down! But when I thought about it – I really wanted to remind people how cool Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta is. I visited on a whim after seeing a cool photo of a temple on Instagram, and it remains one of my favorite places in Vietnam. If you know anyone who loves pottery, this is a non-negotiable!

Stay with at my friend, Yennie’s bnb, Mekong Pottery Homestay, and she and her mom will be more than welcoming! Her uncle owns a pottery factory too, so you can even do a cool tour to see how it all comes together and check out the inside of one of those massive kilns seen above. (I have a link via Agoda to book but you can also just message them on Facebook!)

One thing you shouldn’t miss is biking over to the pottery village (Làng Gốm Vĩnh Long – seen above) at sunrise. It’s such a cool place and almost feels otherworldly. Also if you like fish sauce, the bún mắm I had Bún mắm Cô Ba is still my favorite.

Cordoba, Spain

Córdoba in Spain

Back when I studied in Madrid and planned a four day weekend to Granada, I had time for one day trip and I had to make the choice between Córdoba or Sevilla. I chose Córdoba and even after a return road trip around Andalucía last year, I still say it’s one of my favorite places in Spain.

My suspicions that it’s underrated were confirmed twice in the last week when two separate friends mentioned they were visiting Spain and they were planning to split their time between Barcelona, Madrid, and Sevilla.

Naturally, I immediately told both of them to make time for Córdoba even if it was just a day trip! In one small space, you’ve got FOUR World Heritage Sites – including, most importantly, La Mezquita-Cátedral, which is truly one of the coolest pieces of architecture ever (seen above) -, those instantly photographable flower pot alleys, plenty of yellow and white facades (you know the Tiktok image that comes up automatically for green screens?), and a whole river to walk across via the Puente Romano (seen in “Game of Thrones”). I could go on, I love this place so much.

I know I can’t convince most people to stay here for a night or two like we did, but I am BEGGING you, porfa, to give it a day trip from Sevilla at the very least. It’s less than an hour by train and entirely walkable!

Lovund - places to visit in 2024

Helgeland in Norway

Norway is like the bucket list country of the world, and after going multiple times I can’t argue with that. Most people have some region in the country on their ultimate wish list, and I can see why.

However, there’s one region that is still very underrated – at least with outside visitors to Norway. In fact, it’s so underrated, it’s often left out of English guidebooks and coverage of Norway!

Lucky for me, Silvia was living in the Helgeland Coast of Norway when we first visited her all the way back in January 2020, and was a very passionate advocate for people visiting there. Maybe not in winter like we did but definitely in warmer weather. Want to summer like a Norwegian local? Join them in Helgeland while they flee the cruise tourists in southern and western Norway!

And don’t worry – even if all 5+ million Norwegians joined you in Helgeland at the height of summer, they’ve got about 400+ km of coastline and multiple islands to spread out.

I loved visiting Vega and Lovund, but Silvia has been to even more places and islands along the coast, so check her guide for a complete view and to better plan your coastal trip. I definitely need to go back – every single person we met told us to come back in summer!

And there you have it – all my top picks for the most underrated places to visit in 2024. Remember I’m picking based off of where I’ve been. Let me know below what I should be adding for 2025!

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2 Comments

  1. I’m glad I found this post, I just recently moved to South Korea and have been looking for places to explore. Suncheon is definitely on my list now.

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