While it’s still too soon to say what 2024 has in store for travelers, it’s clear that a handful of once-overlooked destinations are about to become some of the year’s trendiest hotspots.
Recently released data from the International Air Transport Association (AITA) showed that not only is global travel continuing to recover at record rates, but a couple of destinations are actually seeing unprecedented numbers of visitors enter their borders, surpassing even their pre-pandemic highs.
The report showed that these 5 European countries, in particular, are leading the way as the continent’s fastest-growing destinations.
Coming in at no. 5 is arguably the most surprising country on today’s list – Poland.
Though international travelers have historically overlooked Poland in favor of its more famous neighbors, like Germany or Czechia, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the cheap prices, safe atmosphere, and gorgeous sights found in the Central European country are just too good to miss out on.
Now that travelers are starting to become a bit more budget-conscious, finding a reasonably priced yet attraction-filled country like this is not something to take for granted.
Those looking to explore Poland’s storied past can walk through Krakow’s Old Town, Warsaw’s Royal Castle, or the heartbreaking Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, whereas visitors seeking to get more in tune with the country’s stunning nature will love a hike through the Tatra Mountains or the Masurian Lakes.
Having had the chance to explore some of the 316 km2 (122 sq mi) that comprise the tenth-smallest country in the world, I can attest to the fact that Malta is criminally underrated.
Valletta, the capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with Baroque palaces, churches, and gardens, though what I found most interesting was the impeccable blend of European and African cultural influences felt all throughout the city.
However, if you’re thinking about choosing Malta as your next summertime escape, Valletta is not the best place to stay.
Instead, think about visiting the northern part of the island, near Mellieħa Bay, where the white-sanded beaches share a striking resemblance to those you’ll find in the Maldives.
Considering how big solo travel has gotten these past few years, the fact that such a stunning, safe destination made it to today’s list should come as no surprise.
The land of fire and ice is not only home to some of the world’s most stunning attractions, like the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle, and the otherworldly volcanic terrains, but also a cultural treasure trove with a long history in music, literature, and art – and there’s no better place to experience all that and more than Reykjavik, the iconic capital.
A lot has been written about Greece this past year.
Having broken its all-time tourism record not once, but twice during these last few months alone, it’s clear that Greece is enjoying never-seen-before heights of popularity in the international travel scene, and, if current trends are anything to go by, 2024 will be an even busier year for the Mediterranean country.
That’s because Greece is a breathtaking, multi-faceted country that welcomes every type of traveler, from beachgoers looking to explore the pristine sands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, or Santorini to avid skiers who want to perfect their skills in thastate-of-the-art slopes of Vasilitsa or Florina.
City trippers will have a lot to do and see here, too – between the ancient allure of Athens and the lively atmosphere of Thessaloniki, Greece promises to never leave you bored.
Those who’ve been keeping up to date with the latest travel news know that Portugal has just left behind what can only be described as its most successful year in history.
More and more travelers are starting to appreciate not only the pastel-colored cities and sun-kissed shores but also the reasonable prices that set the country apart from other Western European destinations (if you’re on a particularly tight budget, you can check out this list of the 5 cheapest cities in Portugal).
Whether you’re planning to explore the historic streets of Lisbon, the untamed beauty of the Azores, or the idyllic beaches of the Algarve region, I can guarantee that the wonders of Portugal will live up to the hype.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.