7 Underrated Destinations You Should Visit & Explore In 2016

Some popular destinations feature on most travellers’ wish lists, and for good reason. But often, the lesser known – but no less impressive – places take a back seat. From secluded islands in Japan’s inland sea to the least travelled to great lake of northern Italy, these underrated destinations have the hallmarks of an unforgettable and original adventure. Trafalgar shares some of the best unappreciated places to visit in 2016.

1. The Seto Islands, Japan

The sheltered Seto Inland Sea lies between the lush mountainous island of Shikoku, and the coast of mainland Honshu, where Hiroshima looks out across the water. Within these waters as many as 3,000 islands and islets can be found, with five of them paving the way between Shikoku and Honshu. The Seto Island Bridge stretches between these five islands, making it possible to travel all the way from Shikoku to Honshu across the remote islands and suspension bridges, while taking in panoramic sea views. Visit the Seto Islands on the Splendours of Japan with Hiroshima itinerary.

The Seto Bridge Japan - AspirantSG
The Seto Bridge. Credits to iStock / Ikuni.

2. Boquete, Panama

Within Panama’s lush mountainous highlands lies the small rural town of Boquete, where coffee, flowers and fruit all flourish in verdant natural surroundings. The area is best known for its coffee plantations, where visitors can gain an insight into the coffee-making process. In this region the indigenous Ngobe-Bugle people make a living from the plantations, picking the red coffee berries when they ripen. From the town, venture out into the surrounding mountains. Explore Boquete on the Panama, the Canal and Beyond, and the Secrets of Panama and Costa Rica itineraries.

Boquete River Flowers Serenity Vista Panama - AspirantSG

3. Terra Nova National Park, Canada

Situated on the east coast of Newfoundland, Terra Nova National Park encompasses four hundred square kilometres of forest, meadows, ocean inlets, and a coastline dotted with bays sheltered by rocky cliffs. Visitors to the park can explore on land or water to discover the wildlife and natural beauty of its untouched wilderness, while taking in the sweeping views. Travel to Terra Nova National Park on the Secrets of Newfoundland and Labrador itinerary.

Terra Nova National Park - AspirantSG

4. El Cajas National Park, Ecuador

In the Ecuadorian highlands, at an altitude of between 3,100 and 4,450 metres above sea level, El Cajas National Park is a rugged expanse of forested mountains, valleys, glacial lakes and lagoons. Endemic and rare wildlife, such as the giant hummingbird and the elusive puma, thrive within this environment, making it of particular interest to wildlife enthusiasts. One of our favourite places to visit in 2016, travel through this spectacular land, passing archaeological ruins left behind by the Incas. Visit El Cajas National Park on the Secrets of Ecuador itinerary.

El Cajas National Park, Ecuador - AspirantSG
Photo from Condé Nast

5. Rocamadour, France

Tucked into a forested cliff-face, the historic commune of Rocamadour overlooks a lush gorge where a tributary of the River Dordogne flows through. The commune’s monastic buildings are a revered pilgrimage site, with important historic sites to visit like the wooden Black Madonna carving. Try the region’s goat’s cheese that has adopted the Rocamadour name, along with the local organic walnuts. Travel through Rocamadour on the Secrets of France itinerary.

Rocamadour France - AspirantSG

6. Connemara, Ireland

Located on the west coast of Ireland, encompassing a section of the Wild Atlantic Way, Connemara feels far removed from the rest of the country, with mile after mile of rugged landscape. The attractive coastal town of Clifden lies on Connemara’s windswept coastline, looking out across the Atlantic Ocean and the small islands that lie off its coast. Within this countryside sits Kylemore Abbey, which was founded by Benedictine nuns, and where visitors are now welcome. Explore Connemara on the Secrets of Ireland itinerary.

Connemara, Ireland - AspirantSG

7. Lake Orta, Italy

Lake Orta. Credits to iStock / Robertobinetti70

While Lake Orta is one of the least known of northern Italy’s great lakes, it has long attracted those in the know for its surrounding landscape of mountains and woodland, and the rich history that can be seen through its Romanesque and Baroque architecture. The lake’s beauty and the romance of the lakeside village has inspired locals to refer to it as Cinderella. Visit Lake Orta on the Secrets of Italy trip.

Lake Orta Italy - AspirantSG
Photo from Pommie Travels

For more information on Trafalgar or any of their itineraries, visit www.trafalgar.com or call +65 6922 5950. Follow the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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