Top 10 Hidden Gems to Discover on Your Next Vacation

Do you get tired of visiting the same tourist spots everyone goes to? While popular destinations can be great, there’s something special about discovering lesser-known places that crowds haven’t overrun. In this blog, we’ll share the top five gems you can find on your next vacation. 

  1. Kotor, Montenegro

Nestled in the Bay of Kotor, this picturesque town has stunning architecture, quaint cafes, and a stunning coastline. This town’s history dates back to the 14th century, and it is known for its well-preserved baroque architecture, with many historic buildings and churches lining the narrow streets.

One of the most notable landmarks in Perast is the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, which sits on an artificial island just off the shore. The church was built in the 17th century, and legend has it that the island was created by local fishermen who kept the tradition of throwing rocks into the bay every time they returned safely from a voyage. Over time, the stones accumulated and formed the island upon which the church was constructed.

  1. El Nido, Philippines

El Nido is a true tropical paradise located in the northernmost part of Palawan in the Philippines. Despite its incredible natural beauty, this hidden gem is still relatively undiscovered by tourists, making it an ideal destination for those seeking an authentic and secluded escape.

One of the most popular activities in El Nido is island hopping, where visitors can explore the nearby islands and discover hidden coves, lagoons, and beaches. Each island has unique features, such as towering rock formations, pristine white sand, or colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life. Make sure you stop by Cadlao Island on your journey to witness the most breathtaking views of El Nido and truly destress as you become one with nature. 

  1. Bled, Slovenia

The picturesque town of Bled is a true gem tucked away in the Julian Alps of Slovenia. Its main attraction is undoubtedly Lake Bled, a stunning glacial lake surrounded by lush green forests and towering mountains, and home to a tiny island in its center. 

Hiking is a popular activity in Bled, with many trails winding through the mountains and offering stunning views of the lake and town below. The hike to Bled Castle perched atop a hill overlooking the lake, is particularly popular. The castle itself has a history dating back to the 11th century. Visitors can explore its many galleries and museums, showcasing the town’s rich history and culture and impressive architecture and design.  

  1. Matera, Italy

Matera, a unique and ancient city in southern Italy, is a true wonder of the world. The town is located on the side of a cliff and is famous for its stunning architecture and historical significance. Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site inhabited for thousands of years, with its cave dwellings dating back to prehistoric times.

The cave dwellings, or “Sassi,” are some of the oldest in the world and are a unique example of how humans adapted to their environment. Many of the Sassi have been restored and transformed into museums, hotels, and restaurants, allowing visitors to experience the history and culture of Matera firsthand.

  1. Colmar, France 

Colmar, a charming town in the heart of the Alsace region of France, is a true gem. With its cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and stunning natural surroundings, Colmar is the perfect destination for a peaceful and picturesque retreat.  

Colmar is also home to many museums and galleries that showcase the town’s rich cultural heritage. The Unterlinden Museum, located in a former 13th-century convent, is one of the most famous museums in the region, with a collection that includes works by favorite artists such as Picasso and Monet. 
These five hidden gems are just the tip of the iceberg for off-the-beaten-path destinations. Whether looking for natural beauty, cultural experiences, or simply a break from the crowds, these places will inspire you to travel more and explore the world! It’s time to pack your bags and book your next vacation with the travel experts at Thomas Hogan Vacations! With over 100 years of combined experience, you will be in the right hands to have the best vacation! You can complete our online inquiry form or contact one of our agents to start planning today!


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Thomas Hogan Vacations is the premier travel agency in Myrtle Beach with over 35 years in business, specializing in personalized travel experiences. Thomas Hogan offers travel destinations which includes a Spain & Portugal escapade, a cruise to Alaska, a Northern European cruise, a trip to Rome & Greek Isles, a Panama Canal Cruise, a cruise to the Southern Caribbean and a tour of Northern Italy. Custom vacation packages include roundtrip airfare, lodging & accommodations, dining, transportation and more. Thomas Hogan offers vacation packages for couples, groups or individual travel. Thomas Hogan Vacations is affiliated with Travel Leaders which gives us the best global travel contacts. Thomas Hogan's corporate office is located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.