Over-tourism is a growing global concern. The negative environmental & social impact of too many tourists visiting one place all at the same time is well documented, yet travellers keep going to the same places in growing numbers.
If you’re seeking to avoid the crowds, inflated prices and your continued involvement in this issue, we have the answer for you. In this post, we uncover 10 fantastic less explored places for you to discover on your next trip in 2021 (assuming we’re still not being asked to stay indoors).
Before we dive in, don’t forget that our entire website is dedicated to uncovering less explored destinations. We’ve provided links to further resources we’ve published throughout this article, so make sure you click through to find out more.
Visit these amazing less explored places on your next trip
Without further ado, let’s get into it and unearth our first less explored place.
An easy hop across the border by train from Vienna, Austria, the Slovakian capital has much to offer tourists. If you’re a fan of pretty pedestrianised old towns, museums and galleries, decent nightlife and a contemporary cafe scene, you’ll love Bratislava.
Top attractions in Bratislava
- Bratislava Castle sits atop a hill that dominates the city’s skyline.
- The UFO bridge offers great views of the city accompanied by food and cocktails.
- The city centre is filled with street art, with a bronze bust called ‘Rubberneck’ being among the highlights.
Moulay Idriss, Morocco
For a true taste of life in Morocco without the tourist traps and hassle of Morocco’s big cities, head to this small town, just to the north of Meknes. As well as a non-touristy medina (which we recommend exploring with a local as your guide), the unmissable UNESCO World Heritage Site of Volubilis is also just down the road.
Top attractions in Moulay Idriss
- Simply wandering the streets of this town is a treat in itself and offers a taste of life in Morocco without the tourism.
- The partly excavated Berber city of Volubilis is truly remarkable and shouldn’t be missed.
- The surrounding mountains are stunning – explore them by walking from the town to Volubilis.
Find out more: Our complete guide to Morocco contains everything you need to know before you arrive.
Kyrenia/Girne, North Cyprus
North Cyprus doesn’t get as many tourists as the southern half of the island, yet there is so much to be seen. The town of Kyrenia/Girne is lovely in itself, but it’s also a great base for exploring the rest of the territory. You can catch a multitude of buses or you can hire a car very inexpensively.
Top attractions in Kyrenia/Girne
- The city’s primary attraction is Kyrenia Castle, a pristine 16th century Venetian castle.
- Just beyond the city’s limits, you’ll discover Bellapais Monastery, the ruins of a 13th Century monastery.
- Also a short drive away is Saint Hilarion Castle, a dramatic 11th Century castle in the mountains.
Find out more: Our complete guide to North Cyprus unveils all the wonderful things to see and do, all of which is easily accessible from Kyrenia/Girne. We also have a guide that’ll tell you everything you need to go before you go.
While nearby Split and Dubrovnik enjoy all the attention, those in Zadar to the north continue to enjoy a chilled out atmosphere. There’s plenty of historic buildings inside the walls of the pristine old town and the surrounding landscape and seas are gorgeous.
Top attractions in Zadar
- The narrow lanes of the fortified Old Town are all gorgeous, with off-white stone and marble used in abundance.
- The Church of St Donatus is a distinctive round building, constructed in the 9th century.
- Watch the sun set on the steps of the Sea Organ, underneath which are a series of tubes which the lapping waves of the sea interact with, creating a haunting and melodic humming sound.
Find out more: Our guide to Zadar contains a list of great things to see and do during your visit.
Denmark’s second city is a great less explored destination, particularly if you’re seeking somewhere to spend a long weekend. There are great food options, a youthful, modern vibe and world-class museums and art galleries.
Top attractions in Aarhus
- Den Gamle By is a truly remarkable and unique outdoor museum of Danish urban history and culture.
- Split across ten storeys, the ARoS Art Museum is a modern, accessible and unpretentious.
- Opened in 2014, the world-class Moesgaard Museum is a modern temple to all things anthropological.
Find out more: Our complete guide to Aarhus is jam-packed with great advice, tips and suggestions. For a weekend break in Aarhus, you won’t need to read anything else.
Czechia’s second city is painfully pretty, wonderfully progressive and perfectly set up for tourists. Despite the warm welcome and abundance of tourist attractions, it still remains in Prague’s shadow and is relatively unknown.
Top attractions in Brno
- Get a birds-eye view of the entire city centre from the Old Town Hall Observation Tower.
- Brno is a city of art, offering a plethora of galleries and street art. One of the artistic highlights (or lowlights depending on your perspective) is the quirky Astronomical Clock.
- The story of the Romani people is told in compelling detail at the Museum of Romani Culture, a short walk from the city centre.
Find out more: We have two article on Brno In the first, we’ll explain why we think you’ll love a visit to Brno. In the second, we list our favourite veggie-friendly cafes, bars and restaurants.
For a true taste of Bavarian culture, Schliersee is a great less explored choice. A short train ride from Munich, this small spa town has plenty of scenic outdoor pursuits for you to enjoy. We can recommend hiring an electric boat on the lake or hiring an electric bicycle and exploring the nearby villages amidst the mountains.
Top attractions in Schliersee
- The lake itself, after which the town is named, is a glittering spectacle which you can circumnavigate on foot or bicycle or sail on.
- An alpine rollercoaster can be found at the top station of the local cable car system.
- Hire an electric bicycle and explore neighbouring villages, each offering its own unique natural alpine highlights.
It’s hard to find a prettier and more authentically Italian lakeside village than Argegno in our opinion. Regardless, this village on the shores of Lake Como sees hardly any tourists compared with other villages close-by. The cable car up to the village of Pigra is splendid.
Top attractions in Argegno
- Argegno is a great base for exploring the rest of Lake Como, without having to deal with the daily crowds.
- A cable car takes visitors 540 metres up the side of the mountain to the peaceful village of Pigra.
- If you don’t fancy swimming in the lake itself, Argegno is home to its own lido.
Whilst knowledge of the Maltese capital is growing, it’s still relatively unheard of. We loved the unique architecture throughout the city centre and the warm welcome we received from locals.
Top attractions in Valetta
- The fortress city of Valetta is full of historical landmarks and unique architecture – simply wander the city centre aimlessly and see what you discover.
- Upper Barrakka Gardens is a great place to mix with locals and for splendid views of the harbour.
- Cross the narrow harbour by row boat or ferry and explore the three cities.
Find out more: Our article on why Malta is such a great winter destination also contains general advice about why you should visit Malta at any time of year.
Less than an hour’s train ride from London is this pretty and down to earth town. The town centre is quaint and has more than its fair share of independent shops and cafes, whilst the nearby lavender fields and wonderfully picturesque.
Top attractions in Hitchin
- The town’s primary attraction is the beautiful lavender field just outside the town centre.
- The town’s brand new North Hertfordshire Museum is small but full of interesting stories and artefacts from the local area.
- The town is a hub for independent businesses, offering many unique shops and cafes.
Find out more: Our complete guide to Hitchin contains everything you need to know to plan a visit to the town. We also have a useful guide on how to visit the nearby lavender fields. Additionally, if you’re travelling to Hitchin from London, we’ve got your covered.
Poznań is a city in Poland that’s packed with great things to see and do. The city is steeped in history, yet enjoys a youthful and laid back vibe with flourishes of modern architecture and public artwork. For tourists, the city offers a great deal and manages to do so without ripping anyone off, yet Poznań is still relatively unheard of in the travel world.
Top attractions in Poznań
- Stary Rynek (Old Market Square) is a great place to begin your exploration of everything that Poznań has to offer.
- Poznań Cathedral and its accompanying museum can be located on a island in the Warta River.
- Termy Maltańskie, an enormous swimming complex and thermal spa is accessible via a miniature railway.
Find out more: Our travel guide to Poznań uncovers a list of fantastic things to see and do during your city break.
The Slovenian capital city of Ljubljana is a delight. Much of the centre is pedestrianised, clean and peaceful with beautiful architecture lining streets that lead to attractive squares filled with locals enjoying life.
As you explore, you’ll love the friendly, calm atmosphere and the warm smiles you’ll be met with. Hiring a bike is very easy and the provision of safe bicycle lanes means that getting around is a breeze.
Top attractions in Ljubljana
- Depicted on the city’s coat of arms and visible all over the city, Ljubljana Castle is the city’s most recognisable icon and easily its most touristy attraction.
- Enjoy art, culture and nights out at Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Centre.
- The emerald green waters of the Ljubljanica River flow calmly through the centre of the city, providing residents and visitors an easy escape from modern life.
Find out more: Discover what there is to see and do in Ljubljana in our travel guide.