According to Booking.com research polling 34,000 respondents across 17 markets, we are all striving to get more diversity in our travel. Two thirds (66%) of global travellers said they wanted to add a completely new travel experience next year to what they’d done last year.*
Given our adventurous appetite, why not start by building a better bucket list? One that’s a notch or two higher on the intrepid scale with destinations that have just as much wow factor as say, the Inca trail, but far fewer tourists.
To help you tap into your adventurous side, Booking.com used traveller recommendation data to compile this list of places you may never have heard of or are pretty far off the beaten track, that you need to visit. All of these destinations have been highly approved by Booking.com customers, 95% of whom recommended them to other travellers.
Here’s the list for foodies, laying out the best but lesser-known gems for gastronomes:
Umbria is heaven for foodies and the medieval hill town of Todi is a shining example of what the region has to offer. The town itself is a beauty, with meandering narrow streets and revered frescoes in grand churches. But the cuisine merits a visit all by itself. Umbrian food puts an emphasis on fresh, high quality ingredients used in simple recipes and with a lot of good meat. A classic dish is palomba alla ghiotta, spit-roasted wild pigeon with sage, rosemary and garlic. Expect out-of-this-world local olive oil, foraged greens and mushrooms and juicy fat figs warmed by the Umbrian sun.
Istria is known as the land of truffles, and Motovun is the jewel in its crown. This pretty hilltop village with extensive views is surrounded by woods perfect for foraging and hunting. Looking out over them while sipping a crisp local wine and tucking into fine cheeses and hams in the charming main square is a must.
Sayulita is a treasure trove for tasty street food, as well as having a huge range of restaurants to choose from. Take in the colourful atmosphere and relaxed vibes of this lazy jungle beach town while enjoying a Margarita in one of the brightly-decorated cafes. Expect affordable, filling fare, with every kind of taco under the sun, from coconut shrimp to organic steak.
Kagoshima is generally known for Sakurajima, a very active volcano that sits just opposite this seaside city on Kinko Bay. But its unique cuisine makes it a great destination for foodies. Varied, interesting local dishes include ‘black pork’, ‘Satsumaage’ (fried fish cakes) and tempura sweet potato. Shabu Shabu, a hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water is a must-try – think flavourful meat and delicious vegetables boiled to perfection and then dipped in aromatic sauces.
Tanunda is at the heart of the Barossa Valley wine region of South Australia, a gorgeous landscape of rolling hills and vineyards as far as the eye can see. You can feel the influence of the 19th-century German settlers here, with lots of German bakeries and sausage shops. But there’s also a variety of fine dining options that have cropped up to cater for the wine connoisseur crowd and most of the local wineries are open seven days a week for tastings and sales.
Sitting along the old trading route between the Sahara and Marrakech, the ancient fortified settlement of Ait Benhaddou has the dramatic appearance of being carved into the desert. Wander the streets of earthen clay architecture glowing orange in the African sun and head to the perfectly preserved Kasbah before tucking in to a tasty lunch. Expect authentic Moroccan dishes full of spices and mouthwatering flavours.
Rockport’s quaint, laid-back atmosphere has lured visitors for some time but it’s not just lobster rolls with lighthouse views. This mid-coast haven is big on slow food and offers some blissful waterfront dining options. Look out for sustainable local produce and an impressive assortment of food trucks offering high quality goodies.