Move aside Italy, there are a host of hot new travel destinations demanding your attention.
The best part? They haven’t quite been discovered yet.
Skip the tourist hordes and venture into untouched territory with a trip to one of these up-and-coming countries on the New York Times‘ list of top destinations in 2015.
Milan may have taken out the top spot, but when you can visit unspoiled ancient churches, wine regions and pristine beaches, why would you bother with crowds?
Below are five surprising new travel hotspots for the adventurous in 2015.
Now: Oil-rich metropolis with stunning architecture and ancient culture.
What’s to love: Azerbaijan is a perfect mix of old and new, with UNESCO-listed cities living in harmony with mind-boggling skyscrapers.
Do, see, eat: Visit 2000-year-old settlements, hike in spectacular mountain ranges and feast on delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.
Getting there: Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Qantas fly to Baku several times per week.
Now: Ruggedly beautiful South American nation with an astounding mix of native cultures.
What’s to love: Stunning natural landscape with mountains, rivers and rainforests, and vibrant remote communities.
Do, see, eat: Haggle at La Paz’s buzzing markets, hike the Inca trail, sail through the Amazon and experience Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat.
Getting there: Delta and LAN Airlines fly from Sydney to La Pez via Chile and Peru several times a day.
Now: A buzzing capital with ancient Roman sites and hip cafes.
What’s to love: One of southeast Europe’s last unexplored countries, with the right mix of nightlife, outdoor activities and ancient history.
Do, see, eat: Visit 13th-century churches, sample wine from fourth-century vineyards and go clubbing in the capital of Skopje.
Getting there: Qatar Airways flies from Sydney, Perth and Melbourne to Skopje several times per week.
Now: Burgeoning Latin superpower with stable governance and a growing number of tourists.
What’s to love: Colombia has it all – pristine beaches, buzzing nightlife, snowcapped mountains, ancient ruins, and colonial architecture.
Do, see, eat: Visit ancient archaeological sites, learn to salsa dance, swim in tropical water and stock up at Colombia’s coffee plantations.
Getting there: Qantas and Delta Airlines fly from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Bogota several times per week.
Now: Exotic eastern European country with a burgeoning wine region.
What’s to love: UNESCO World Heritage sites, ski resorts, more than 2000 mineral springs, and delicious eastern European cuisine.
Do, see, eat: Get lost in ancient cathedrals, monasteries and wine-producing regions, and stuff yourself on Georgian cuisine like spicy dumplings.
Getting there: Qantas, Etihad and Qatar Airlines fly to Tbilisi several times per week.