Photo: Flickr – dsasso
With National Geographic’s release of the best places to travel to in 2012, we got to thinking: what are some under the radar destinations that are worth your time and money?
Culled from Nat Geo and Lonely Planet, we’ve put together a list of the best places to visit that you’ve never even considered.
Now that consumer prices are tied to the Euro, there hasn't been a better time to visit Iceland in years. This North Atlantic country has everything from black sand beaches to immense waterfalls, with pristine mountain views in between.
And if you ever run out of things to see in Iceland, wait a little while: volcanic eruptions help to create more world to explore all the time.
Lesser known than some of the country's other beaches -- like Koh Phi Phi, where people go to pretend they are Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach -- Koh Lipe is only available by boat, which keeps all but the most dedicated beach-seekers away.
The beaches of Koh Lipe range from developed to deserted, and you can choose between lounging on the sand or checking out 25 per cent of the world's tropical fish species.
National Geographic called Pittsburgh an 'Extreme Metropolitan Makeover,' after decades of shaking off its rust belt status.
The Steel City is now better known for its college campuses, rolling hills, expansive rivers and emerging cultural scene.
Pittsburgh's architectural range was impressive enough for Batman to call it home during the upcoming Dark Knight Rises.
Looking for white wine and truffles? Forget France. Looking for the olive oil and rolling hills? Forget Tuscany. Istria, Croatia has all that, plus snorkelling.
Eastern Europe is a vastly under explored region of the world, and Croatia, which National Geographic describes as a good place to 'nurture your own inner Casanova,' could be the jumping off point of a great eastern adventure.
Despite being an enormous volcano chain, on the borders of numerous African nations -- including Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo -- many people would probably say 'Huh?' when you ask them if they've heard of the Virungas.
If security isn't an issue, hiking up these rolling green lava makers to catch a glimpse of 'both Eden and hell' sounds absolutely worth it. Wildlife such as gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants also abound.
If you think New England is a nice place to watch the leaves change, check out Muskoka. 2,500 square miles of shoreline, forest, historic towns and natural wonders give people tons of options, including the option of kicking back and watching the sun set over the lake.
As Nat Geo puts it: 'Lounge with friends, barbecue everything, watch the night sky from the dock in the pitch black, play board games while listening to the rain. And run around barefoot all day.'
Like other countries in Central America, Panama affords visitors the opportunity to check out mountain highlands and tropical beaches in the same day. You can also check out indigenous cultures that are slowly but surely disappearing.
What Panama does differently is the capital, Panama City, which is the future home of some impressive new hotels that are going up in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion.
The capital of Utah is easily accessible, in close proximity to the salt flats of Utah, 'majestic mountains,' and a few hours from places like Capitol Reef, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon.
There's no reason to miss out on a place like Salt Lake City -- unless you fear near beer or don't like Mormons.
From the Gobi desert to the snow tipped peaks, Mongolia is the place to go for untamed wilderness.
Fantastic natural colours, exotic wild life (actual reindeer or Mongolian ponies, anyone?) and a stoic people that have been living the same way for thousands of years are just a few of the reasons to check out the regions that lies in the shadow of Russia.
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.