Spring break is right around the corner and I know some of you still don’t know where you’re going. I always waited until a few weeks before spring break to make that decision. I put the “pro” in “procrastinator” in college. Anyway, it irks me when I see college kids flocking to Florida or Mexico to spend seven (or more if you skip class) precious days. These destinations are crowded and the prices are inflated. How do you possibly have fun relaxing on the beach with hundreds of other people around? There are so many more incredible places around the world to have the perfect spring break experience besides the obvious ones. In no particular order, here are nine underrated spring break destinations outside of the U.S. I promise that you’re going to have cooler stories from your spring break trip than your friends who went to Cabo.
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1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is an amazing city that pretty much any spring breaker will love. The city comes to life at night and parties usually don’t start until midnight or 1 a.m. I’m a grandma living in a twenty-seven-year-old’s body so I didn’t participate in the nightlife much. However, most of my friends who visit stay up until the wee hours of the night tangoing and drinking.
Speaking of drinking, prepare yourself to fall in love with the food and wine. Argentina is home to delicious steaks and amazing wines. If you’re not worried about your budget, have dinner one evening at Don Julio. Make sure you make a reservation because that place can get packed out. It’s beef heaven in there. If you’re on a budget, you can still indulge in the steaks at Gran Parrilla del Plata. You’ll get a complimentary glass of champagne or limoncello at the end of your meal if you order a drink. Also, wine in Argentina is dirt cheap. I can guarantee that you can get a pretty decent bottle of wine there for the same price as a cocktail in Cancun. Steak and malbec should be your motto when you’re here.
If you’re up for an adventure, you can take a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay from Buenos Aires. There are plenty of other things to do in Buenos Aires if you’re not up for that kind of adventure. Check out the colorful neighborhood of La Boca. Stuff your belly with empanadas. Visit the San Telmo Market. Take a few Spanish classes. You won’t leave feeling disappointed from Buenos Aires regardless of what you do.
2. Melbourne, Australia
I’ve probably spent close to three months in Melbourne and I can fully attest that it’s a spring breaker’s heaven. Melbourne is a hip and chill city with lots going on. It’s culturally diverse and has housing and dining options that fit any traveler’s budget. Also, the food game is strong here. You can basically find anything you’re craving without even looking hard for it. Moreover, the wine here is also cheap and delicious.
Melbourne is the spring break spot for you if you love exploring and adventuring. You can spend your days walking through streets filled with street art and wandering through museums with a world-class cup of coffee in your hand. You can also grab some takeaway and have a little picnic in the botanical gardens. Go winery hopping in the Yarra Valley or do some hiking in the Dandenong Ranges.
I personally love that you don’t have to go far to find good beaches in Melbourne. There’s one right in the middle of the city — St. Kilda Beach. I highly urge you to take a road trip along the Great Ocean Road. It’s one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives and the views will blow you away.
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3. Istanbul, Turkey
Another great underrated spring break destination is Istanbul. It’s actually one of my top five favorite places in the world. This city is exploding with things to do and it’s budget-friendly. The weather will also be good when you visit for spring break. You’ll find the perfect balance of relaxing and sightseeing here.
One of the most obvious things to do in Istanbul is to eat everything. I legit gained quite a few kilos when I was here because the food is that good. You cannot leave this city without eating kebabs at Dürümzade. I will be so disappointed in you if don’t eat here. The legend, Anthony Bourdain, said that this is one of Istanbul’s best kebab joints. Also, smoking shisha until the early morning hours is so fun. I stayed out until 4 a.m. every day killing my lungs. No regrets, though.
Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and Basilica Cistern are some of the many things to see here. You’ll learn so much about rich culture and history while you’re here too.
4. Tallinn, Estonia
This list of underrated spring break destinations can’t be complete without Tallinn on it. Tallinn is a true gem in Eastern Europe. It lies on the Baltic Sea about 80 kilometers south of Helsinki, Finland. This city has medieval vibes and is all around chill. It’s also budget-friendly. This city is going to be a hotspot soon and it’s better if you can visit while tourism is still low here. Tallinn is rich in cultural heritage and there are so many laid back and fun things to do.
Wander through the museums and cathedrals. Get lost in the Old Town and have cocktails at one of the many pubs in the area. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the perfect spring break for me. Don’t forget to take the ferry across the sea to Helsinki for the day. It’s totally worth it.
5. Bridgetown, Barbados
I know what you’re thinking right now. “Why would you put a Caribbean island on this list?” Well, because, Barbados is underrated. It’s further away than most Caribbean islands, flights are more expensive, and hotels are more costly than other neighboring islands. Therefore, Barbados isn’t crawling around with heaps of college students like Jamaica and the Bahamas.
Barbados is the definition of paradise. I’ve been here three times and I can’t get enough of it. The beaches are pristine with powdery sand and crystal-clear water. Plus, the locals are warm and welcoming.
You can keep yourself occupied by lounging on the beach, taking a submarine tour, and taking trips out to the countryside. A trip to the Bridgetown Night Market on Friday nights is a must. You can eat lots of delicious seafood and mingle with the locals. Carlisle Bay and Pebbles Beach are two of the best beaches in Bridgetown. Finally, spend the day at the Crane Resort. Their beach is jaw-dropping.
6. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is my absolute favorite place in the entire world. When I think of home, I think of Cape Town. This city is truly captivating. The landscapes are rugged and stunning. You have the beach on one side and the mountains on the other side. I’m not lying to you when I say that it’s the most beautiful place I’ve visited.
In addition to the scenery, you’ll find some pretty amazing wines and steak here. Hussar Grill has the best steak in town and they don’t charge a corkage fee. You also have to try biltong while you’re there. It’s basically beef jerky but way better than jerky in the States. Also, it’s mandatory that you indulge in a bottle of Pinotage.
There are several fun day trips to take from Cape Town. You can go to Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town and see the hundreds of penguins that hang out on the beach. Moreover, you can have the time of your life bouncing from winery to winery in Stellenbosch. Hermanus is also a lovely town to visit. You might be lucky enough to do some whale watching there too.
If you’re headed to Cape Town for spring break, just know that I’m jealous of you.
7. Tbilisi, Georgia
Before I start giving you all the reasons why you should visit Tbilisi, it’s important to note that I’m talking about the country of Georgia — not the state in the States.
If you’re looking for a truly unique spring break experience, this is the city to visit. First of all, it’s a budget-friendly destination. Everything is reasonable here including accommodation, food, and transportation. Even most of the historic sites are free. The architecture is diverse and the city has a deep history.
Don’t even get me started on the food — it’ll leave you wanting more. Khinkalis will make you gain a few kilos but that’s okay. These meat-filled dumplings are totally worth it. Khachapuri is just wow. This cheese bread/pie delicacy is the best thing I ate in Georgia.
8. Yangon, Myanmar
Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar is an up and coming tourist destination. They just started allowing foreign tourists to visit a few years ago. It’s not as developed as Thailand or Singapore, but they make up for it in terms of the experience you’ll have here. You’ll get a raw perspective in this country.
Myanmar is known for its ancient temples and archaeological sites. You should spend a day exploring Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. It feels like you’re in a movie. I also highly urge you to speak with locals as much as possible because you’ll learn so much about this gem of a country and the local culture.
9. Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor is an untapped paradise that belongs on the list of underrated spring break destinations. It’s another medieval city in Eastern Europe. It sits on the sea and mountains and is all around perfect. It offers everything and more than its overly crowded neighbor, Croatia, does.
Get lost in the cobbled streets of the Old City. Hang out in the bay and get some sun. Kotor literally looks like a town that you see in fairytale movies. It’s impossible not to love this quaint town. Plus, it’s budget-friendly.
Resources for Your Spring Break Trip:
Flights: I use Kiwi.com and Skyscanner. These are my go two search engines that help me find cheap flights all around the world and they will help you find flights to wherever you want to go for spring break.
Accommodation: If you want to stay at a hotel, use Hotels.com. I use it all the time because it provides the cheapest rates for hotels. Don’t forget to join their rewards program. Every tenth night is free!
Travel Insurance: You never know when accidents can happen. Don’t forget to protect yourself against flight cancellations, unexpected illnesses, theft and more. RoamRight has great customer service and benefits.
Tours: I’m mostly a DIY (do it yourself) traveler, but I don’t hate on people who do tours. You can use Viator and there are tons of fun tours listed for whichever destination you choose.
I hope that you found this list of underrated spring break destinations helpful. There’s nothing wrong with spending your spring break in more commonly known places. However, there’s a big wide world to explore and there are other unique places that are worth a visit as well. No matter where you decide to spend your holiday, I know you’ll have a great time.
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