Popular travel destinations are obviously popular for a reason. Whether they’re culturally rich, with stunning architecture and magnificent food; or they’re buzzing with activity, offering shopping by day and nightlife by night; or their geographical position makes them ideal for nearby travelers, as in the case of beach destinations – there’s always some key reason destinations are popular.
But the thing is, you can find all the above features – the rich culture, buzzing atmosphere and balmy beaches – in lesser-travelled places too. You just have to know where to look. If you want all the benefits of a popular travel destination without the throngs of tourists that often accompany them, here’s a list of four alternatives!
Instead of Prague, Head to Ljubljana
Prague sees so many tourists that, in fact, the Czech city recently been brainstorming ways to repel visitors. Instead of joining the crowd of rowdy tourists in Prague, head a little further south to Slovenia, a gem of a country perched between Italy and Croatia. The capital city, the tongue-twisting Ljubljana (L-yoob L-yana) is a heady mix of old Slavic architecture, beautiful canals, wide-open squares and a wide variety of cafes, bars and restaurants.
If traveling in the spring or summer, bring moisture wicking and wrinkle resistant merino wool – the Balkan climate can be either hot or wet, depending on the day.
Instead of Bangkok, Head to Phnom Penh
Bangkok is, according to a recent Global Destination Cities Index, the most visited country in the world. But head just a little east of it and you’ll step off the beaten path. Cambodia doesn’t get nearly the volume of tourists as Thailand, but it has comparable beaches, food, nightlife and culture. After a trip to the capital Phnom Penh, head to the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat, one of Southeast Asia’s true treasures.
Instead of the Bahamas, Head to Roatán
The Caribbean will always be a pull for North American’s looking to escape the heat, but rather than head to over-packed Nassau in the Bahamas, try the Honduran island of Roatán. The sky is every bit as sunny. The beach is every bit as fine. And the sea is every bit as blue. But there’s a fraction of the tourists.
Instead of New York, Head to Montreal
As the Telegraph puts it, Montreal is “half Paris, half Brooklyn”. This French-speaking Canadian city shares a lot in common with the Big Apple. Its sizeable Jewish and Italian populations have gifted the city culinary delights like the smoked meat sandwich, wood-fired bagel and pizza. Its hip, artistic districts centre on corner cafes and bars. And it has more than its share of great architecture. But what sets it apart is the French influence, which makes Montreal a truly unique world city. If you want New York without the business of New York, head to Montreal.
For a vacation that’s a little off the beaten path, pack your bags for one of these four fantastic destinations, and leave the tourist trail behind!