Put these under-the-radar spots on your must-visit list…
Sure, we love big, bustling cities. But there’s something to be said for small towns where life moves slower, traditions are everywhere and the people stop to say hello. From North Africa to New Zealand, these are some of the most charming little places in the whole entire world.
SIDI BOU SAID, TUNISIA
This bohemian North African village is a popular vacation spot for wealthy Tunisians. The landscape resembles the Greek Islands with its whitewashed buildings and bright blue trims.
Where to stay: 5 Bedroom Villa ($440 per night)
No, that’s not Cinderella’s castle… it’s a real place situated in the Slovenian Alps near Austria. The iconic Bled Castle, which dates from the year 1011, now functions as a museum, restaurant and wine cellar, and looks out onto a glacial lake.
Where to stay: Scenic Lake House ($158 per night)
CUA VAN, VIETNAM
Located six hours from Hanoi, this 700-person floating fishing village in Ha Long Bay is stunning, thanks to teal water, colorful raft houses, limestone hills and winding streets.
Where to stay: Private Boat Suite ($200 per night)
FRANSCHHOEK, SOUTH AFRICA
The Napa Valley of South Africa, Franschoek lies 75 kilometers from Cape Town. The Dutch-influenced vineyard town is a booming producer of Syrahs and Pinotages.
Where to stay: Thatched Four Bedroom Cottage ($276 per night)
Whatever, Paris. This town in southeastern France is way more romantic than getting jostled by tourists at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
Where to stay: Charming 1 Bedroom Cottage ($102 per night)
Best known for its dramatic setting on the Li River, the town of Guilin dates back to the Qin dynasty (that dates back to 221 BC, in case you didn’t know). In addition to just looking beautiful, Guilin hosts a handful of annual traditions, like the March Song, a reed-pipe and bull fighting festival.
Where to stay: Four Bedroom Penthouse with a View ($150 per night)
You may want to move to Scandinavia after seeing this adorable Norwegian town. Stay in a quaint cottage and spend the days fishing, kayaking and hiking; at night, you may even catch a Northern Lights show.
Where to stay: Two Bedroom Seaside Cottage ($252 per night)
With Crayola-colored houses and jutting cliffs, this Northern Italian coastal gem is just begging for the Instagram treatment.
Where to stay: Three Bedroom Villa (€200 per night)
This lesser-known Greek island is situated between Mykonos and Santorini. You’ll find white marble and crystal clear water as far as the eye can see.
Where to stay: Five Bedroom Luxury Villa ($330 per night)
QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND
This resort town on New Zealand’s South Island is slow-paced, scenic and cosmopolitan all at once. During the winter it becomes a popular ski destination.
Where to stay: Two Bedroom Waterfront Retreat ($300 per night)