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The 50 best up-and-coming holiday destinations
Destinations & Inspiration

The 50 best up-and-coming holiday destinations

Suzie Dalton
By Suzie Dalton - 18 minute read

In 2015, we pre­dict­ed that the fol­low­ing coun­tries could emerge as hol­i­day hotspots over the next ten years.” And we’re delight­ed to con­firm that our instincts were right! From the rugged beau­ty of Montenegro’s coast­line through to the dynam­ic pace of life in Viet­nam, many of these up-and-com­ing vaca­tion des­ti­na­tions have grown in pop­u­lar­i­ty, but they’re still un-touristy enough to be off the beat­en track. So of the 50 that we first flagged up, here’s just a few of the coun­tries that we’d encour­age you to explore:

Indone­sia

Indone­sia is made up of 17,800 islands, rang­ing from the sleepy delights of Lom­bok to the cul­tur­al­ly-rich Flo­res. Komo­do Nation­al Park is a delight for nature-lovers, while Bali made it into our list of the top 10 roman­tic retreats! For loads of great ideas, we like this blogger’s arti­cles.

bali hillside woman with basket on head

Admit­ted­ly Croa­t­ias charms have been unearthed since we first wrote this arti­cle – but with tiny islands lit­ter­ing the coast, amaz­ing seafood, unspoilt towns and the nicest peo­ple, it’s not real­ly sur­pris­ing. Thank­ful­ly there are still many peace­ful expe­ri­ences to be had, such as wild swim­ming in Imotski’s lake and hik­ing in the Velebit moun­tain range. For loads of undis­cov­ered gems, check out this Time­Out arti­cle with some ideas on Croa­t­ia hol­i­days des­ti­na­tions.

Croatian seaside town

Moroc­co

Mar­rakesh and Casablan­ca have under­stand­ably grown in pop­u­lar­i­ty (because they’re quite frankly amaz­ing), but there are still plen­ty of undis­cov­ered delights for any­one look­ing for a qui­eter break in Moroc­co. The four-day cher­ry fes­ti­val in the beau­ti­ful town of Sefrou (which is just 30km from Fes) is a unique expe­ri­ence. And if you are stay­ing near Agadir, then take a trip to the town of Mir­left to explore the stun­ning beach and surf­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. For more ideas, then this Cul­ture Trip arti­cle is a great start­ing point.


hillside of houses in Morocco

Philip­pines

With gor­geous white sand beach­es, the most daz­zling coral reefs, lush rain­forests, and stun­ning walk­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties – all topped off by a spec­tac­u­lar street food scene – Cebu is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty. This emerg­ing des­ti­na­tion is the ide­al place to kick band and unwind, while adren­a­lin junkies can try their hand at water­fall jump­ing and rock climb­ing at Kawasan Falls. For a great over­sight of why you should vis­it, check out this use­ful Wan­der­lust round-up.

Bayside town in Philippines

Laos

Beloved by back­pack­ers but still very much an undis­cov­ered trav­el des­ti­na­tion, Laos is one of South East Asia’s best-kept secrets. Vien­tiane is the cap­i­tal city, but Luang Pra­bang is the real jew­el in the crown. With beau­ti­ful French colo­nial archi­tec­ture and local del­i­ca­cies that com­bine French and Asian cui­sine, this sleepy town is a cul­tur­al expe­ri­ence that you’ll nev­er for­get. For loads of great ideas on Laos hol­i­days des­ti­na­tions, check out this trav­el blog.

Laos temple

Ugan­da

Whether you’re raft­ing the Nile (which hap­pens to be the world’s longest riv­er) or trekking to see the moun­tain goril­las, there’s a lot to love about the raw beau­ty of this coun­try. This Lone­ly Plan­et guide pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive over­sight of this up-and-com­ing destination.

Zebras in Uganda

Saint Lucia

Admit­ted­ly it’s hard to say that Saint Lucia is an undis­cov­ered vaca­tion spot (it’s now one of the Caribbean’s most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions) but that just goes to show how accu­rate we were with our pre­dic­tions six years ago! Head there for unfor­get­table div­ing, snorkelling and kite surf­ing action. We chal­lenge you to get to the end of this fan­tas­tic round-up of the key sights with­out book­ing a flight.

Boat in Saint Lucia

Pana­ma

Hot springs, cof­fee plan­ta­tions and white sand beach­es – it’s all here to explore. Pana­ma also hap­pens to be a haven for nature lovers. Three-toed sloths and howler mon­keys are natives of the coun­try, and you can spot the most daz­zling trop­i­cal fish when you go scu­ba div­ing. Water babies should check out this inter­est­ing read on the best dive sites in Panama.

Panama street

Sri Lan­ka

Home to sev­en UNESCO World Her­itage Sites, Sri Lan­ka is breath­tak­ing. For a mem­o­rable expe­ri­ence, vis­it Udawalawe Nation­al Park to spot ele­phants roam­ing free, or take a boat safari at Gal Oya Nation­al Park to see them swim­ming. This Wan­der­lust arti­cle also sug­gests that tea lovers should take a tuk-tuk to Lipton’s Seat to take in the views over the tea plantation.

Elephant in Sri Lanka

Geor­gia

Sand­wiched between Turkey and Rus­sia, Geor­gia is a hid­den gem. Large­ly bypassed for its bet­ter-known neigh­bours, this peace­ful coun­try has great hik­ing options and plen­ty of vine­yards to explore. But one of the high­lights has to be the dynam­ic cap­i­tal city of Tbil­isi. For an incred­i­ble view of the city, hop on the funic­u­lar rail­way to the top of Mount Mtats­min­da, and treat your­self to an authen­tic sul­phur bath at the end of the day. For lots of info on this fun city, immerse your­self in this Tele­graph round-up.

Palace in Georgia

Peru

Die-hard trav­el fans will argue that Peru isn’t an emerg­ing des­ti­na­tion, as they have long known about this love­ly country’s charms. If you’re look­ing to tick off the key sights, then trek to the Andes, hike the Inca trail and dip into the Ama­zon. But if you fan­cy tak­ing a path less-beat­en, head to the north for some excel­lent surf­ing options, or take a boat trip to the Islas Ballestas in the south to spot sea lions and Hum­boldt pen­guins. This Lone­ly Plan­et arti­cle nice­ly details the top 10 adven­tures you should have.

Mountain top ruins in Peru

Tan­za­nia

One of the loveli­est undis­cov­ered trav­el des­ti­na­tions has to be Tan­za­nia. Home to Serengeti Nation­al Park, you can expe­ri­ence lions and all man­ner of beasts. If you’re feel­ing extrav­a­gant, then enjoy an ear­ly morn­ing hot air bal­loon ride. For a tru­ly astound­ing sight, pay a vis­it to Lake Natron to spot 2.5million flamin­gos – and if you’re sporty, then con­sid­er a cycling tour.

Tanaznia sunset safari jeep

Viet­nam

Grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty year on year, Viet­nam has to be seen to be believed. Start your adven­ture at Hanoi, then head south to Hoi An – make sure you leave enough time to get the local tai­lors to hand­make your dream suit/​dress/​outfit. Grab a bowl of phở from one of the street restau­rants, and fin­ish your trip by explor­ing the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. With amaz­ing food, a fran­tic pace of life in the cities, and a beau­ti­ful (and serene) coast­line, this is a coun­try of deli­cious extremes. Read a few blogs (like this one) to cher­ry-pick what to put on your itinerary.

River boats in Vietnam

Cam­bo­dia

Cam­bo­dia is well-estab­lished on the par­ty-lov­ing back­pack­er trail, but for a more grown-up expe­ri­ence, it’s very much an up-and-com­ing hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion. To get a real feel for the coun­try, con­sid­er head­ing west to Kratié, and explore the fruit plan­ta­tions and rice pad­dies. Phnom Sam­bor pro­vides an unfor­get­table oppor­tu­ni­ty to see soft-shell tur­tles, while Kirirom nation­al park is sim­ply stun­ning. This arti­cle from the Guardian is jam-packed with great suggestions.

Cambodian ruins with tree roots

Zam­bia

Lake Kari­ba (the world’s largest man­made lake), Vic­to­ria Falls and Kafue Nation­al Park are just three rea­sons why Zam­bia is con­tin­u­ing to estab­lish itself as an emerg­ing des­ti­na­tion. A great way to dip a toe into the African coun­tries, make sure you expe­ri­ence a guid­ed walk­ing safari. Fur­ther­more, this family’s trav­el adven­tures are tes­ta­ment to the fact that even less­er-trav­elled coun­tries such as Zam­bia are doable with kids.

Railway bridge over river in Zambia

Mon­tene­gro

If you’re look­ing for the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of moun­tain scenery, medieval vil­lages and a beau­ti­ful coast­line, then Mon­tene­gro should be firm­ly placed on your must-see list. In fact, some would even argue that it packs an added punch because many tourists have yet to dis­cov­er its charms. Cul­ture Trip’s top sug­ges­tions include join­ing a beach par­ty on Veli­ka Plaza, explor­ing the old roy­al cap­i­tal of Cetinje and los­ing a few hours in Kotor Old Town.

View of waterside town in Montenegro with mountains

Admit­ted­ly, some of the coun­tries men­tioned in the info­graph­ic below (that was cre­at­ed in 2015) are cur­rent­ly unpre­pared for vis­i­tors – and there are a few on the list that we’d active­ly dis­cour­age you from vis­it­ing at this moment in time. How­ev­er, oth­ers boast fledg­ling tourism indus­tries, a wealth of nat­ur­al and cul­tur­al his­to­ry, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a warm wel­come from a fel­low Love Home Swap mem­ber. So when book­ing your next break, con­sid­er choos­ing the road less travelled.

50 best up and coming holiday destinations infographic