Five Underrated Countries To Visit

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From a medieval African trading town to a Mediterranean island nation, these overlooked outposts are worth a look.

 

Austria

What Americans (and some Europeans) forget about Austria is that 100 years ago, it was a great Imperial capital of Europe, on par with London, Paris, Rome… and then the political fortunes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire faded. So most everything that people love about, say, Paris, goes just as well for Austria.

 

That means incredible museums and art galleries and impressive palaces like the Schonbrunn are all accessible via the safe and clean Vienna subway system. The ski towns are also some of the best in the world, Estes added, especially Innsbruck: “a city by the mountains that every [US] ski town from Vail to Stowe to Tahoe tries to copy.

 

Mozambique

Mozambique has stunning white sandy beaches that are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. There are islands off the coast that rival anything the Maldives have to offer and are largely uninhabited.

 

Visitors can enjoy many aspects of the landscape: a safari on the Limpopo River valley, surfing and reef diving off the coast of Tofo, or swimming with whale sharks and manta rays near the Bazaruto Archipelago. The country’s history can be appreciated in Mozambique’s colonial architecture or in medieval trading towns, such as Sofala, which were frequented by Swahili, Arab and Persian traders.

 

Bhutan

Nestled between better-known neighbours China, India and Nepal, Bhutan is a small country that is well worth a visit, said Amit Sinha of New Delhi. Located on the eastern side of the Himalayas, the country is peaceful and full of panoramic views, including views of Gangkhar Puensum, the tallest unclimbed mountain in the world.

 

The country is also known as one of the world’s happiest. In fact, instead of measuring output in standard economic GDP, the country measures GNH (Gross National Happiness), based on sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation and good governance. Its capital, Thimphu, is the only capital city in the world without traffic lights.

 

Malta
The Mediterranean island nation of Malta is warm, cheap and accessible, making it a perfect alternative to more-visited neighbours like Italy and Greece. Locals speak English as well as Italian and Maltese, so Anglophones won’t have any problem communicating.

 

Happily, outdoor libations are plentiful and cheap. Locals recommend ordering the pastizzi, a traditional savoury pastry, usually filled with ricotta, washed down with local Cisk beer. Beyond culinary pursuits, the island’s megalithic temples ­– built between 5000 and 7000BC – are renowned for their architectural beauty and skill, given the limited resources available at the time they were constructed.

 

Canada
While the United States attracts tourists for its iconic cities and famous national parks, its northern neighbour’s charms often go overlooked.

 

Beyond its vibrant cities, Canada’s vast landscape offers plenty of opportunity for exploring, with its national parks often less crowded than those of its neighbour to the south. In Algonquin Park in Central Ontario, visitors often hear wolf howls, while lobster boils are a favourite activity in the coastal national parks of Gros Morne and Terra Nova in Newfoundland.

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