While the likes of Paris, New York, and Bangkok continue to attract tourists in record numbers, more seasoned travelers are looking to find the best of what the world has to offer beyond its flashiest, most popular hotspots.
The problem with planning a trip to an up-and-coming destination, though, is that there’s not enough information to figure out whether the experience will live up to your expectations. Luckily, a new report has revealed some of the trendiest destinations in the world.
These are the cities travelers are planning to flock to this upcoming year:
5. Valkenburg, Netherlands
Valkenburg, located in the picturesque Limburg province of the Netherlands, is a destination straight out of a fairytale.
The enchanting Valkenburg and Velvet Caves offer a unique glimpse into the region’s history, while the festive Christmas markets the region is best known for sprinkle that extra bit of magic in the city’s already otherworldly atmosphere.
Featuring medieval castle ruins, charming streets, and close proximity to the Ardennes, Valkenburg provides every traveler the opportunity to indulge in what they value the most.
4. Portland, Oregon, United States
Those looking to travel domestically next year might want to move Portland right to the top of their bucket list.
The City of Roses is attracting legions of tourists through its artisanal food, thriving arts community, and diverse cultural scene.
What really makes Oregon’s largest city a well-rounded destination, though, is its proximity to the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood, which leaves travelers with endless opportunities for outdoor activities.
3. Mérida, Mexico
Though the Yucatan peninsula is one of Mexico’s most visited regions, the state that shares the same name along with its vibrant capital, Mérida, is often overlooked in favor of better-known destinations like Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum.
That’s why visitors looking for a more laid-back experience while still getting to enjoy the pristine beaches Mexico is famous for are flocking to this underrated city.
Between its colorful colonial architecture, lively markets, and delicious cuisine, Mérida offers a lively, unforgettable experience to those lucky enough to book a vacation in the city.
Mérida is also just a short drive away from the ancient Mayan ruins of Uxmal and Chichen Itza, which just adds more historical appeal to the already-charming city.
2. Vlorë, Albania
Albania, once the Balkan’s best-kept secret, has been brought to the forefront of international attention these past few years thanks to its rich history, stunning Riviera, and welcoming culture.
If Albania is the Balkan’s recently-discovered treasure, Vlora is its shining jewel, boasting the perfect blend between the country’s captivating past and its breathtaking nature.
History buffs will be delighted to learn that Vlora is the city where Albania declared its independence more than a century ago, and you’ll be able to see the original declaration as well as stand in the very room where the event took place by visiting the National Museum of Independence.
What Vlora is probably best known for, though, is its pristine coastline that rivals even some of the Mediterranean’s most coveted hotspots.
While the beach season is over this time of year, the weather is still mild enough for you to enjoy a sunset picnic on the soft golden sand.
Thanks to Albania’s diverse topography, beach walks aren’t the only outdoor activity to look forward to.
There’s no shortage of stunning mountains to hike on near Vlora; however, I’d recommend making the 45-minute drive to Llogara, Albania’s famous National Park that offers hikers some of the most breathtaking views they’ll ever come across.
1. Beppu, Japan
Nestled on the island of Kyushu, Beppu is a city renowned for its healing hot springs and geothermal wonders.
Those fortunate enough to visit the gorgeous Japanese destination can witness how the geysers, mud baths, and steam vents create a truly otherworldly atmosphere.
The “Hells of Beppu,” in particular, is a must-see. Here, eight spectacular geothermal springs shoot off every 30 minutes, providing the experience (and backdrop) of a lifetime.
Beyond that, Beppu offers exceptional coastal views and is dotted with traditional ryokans, which will best be appreciated by those looking for an authentic Japanese experience.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com