Avoid the crowds and spread the love with these alternative destinations.
Instead of Phuket: Trang
Maevadi Rosenfeldt of Tourism Thailand suggests heading further south to the province of Trang. "Trang is home to a charming old town and over 50 small islands. Dim sum breakfast, roasted pork and cake are the must eats. Hop on a speedboat for a day of island hopping, stop for snorkelling, diving or simply lying on the beach soaking up the sun. Highlights are Koh Kradan, Koh Ngai, Koh Mook and Koh Chuek."
Instead of Positano: Procida
"Procida offers the same characteristic jaw-dropping natural landscapes the Amalfi area is known for," says Emanuele Attanasio of the Italian National Tourist Board. "The island sits in the Gulf of Naples and along the coast you'll see the yellow, blue, red and orange colours of the island's houses, once home to fishermen, reflecting in the clear waters of the sea." Must-sees include Marina della Corricella, the island's oldest fishing village; Palazzo d'Avalos, a 16th-century fortress dominating the village of Terra Murata; and the islet of Vivara, a nature reserve of incredible beauty reached via a footbridge.
Instead of Dubrovnik: Cavtat
Croatian tour guide Ante Batarelo recommends continuing south down the coast, where, just over 20 kilometres from the Montenegro border, the picturesque seaside town of Cavtat has all of the attributes of Dubrovnik without the crowds. "A 30-minute drive or boat ride from Dubrovnik, Cavtat is situated on a peninsula, with beautiful walkways, a seaside promenade, lots of outdoor cafes and restaurants and charming Mediterranean ambiance," Baterelo says.
Instead of Kyoto: Kanazawa
To experience the same delights Kyoto has to offer, head to Kanazawa, up to three hours by bullet train from Tokyo, says Naoki Kitazawa of the Japan National Tourism Organization. "Often referred to as 'little Kyoto', there are plenty of similarities including preserved temples, traditional teahouses, and an abundance of nature, but it is lesser-known and much quieter," Kitazawa says. "Like Kyoto, Kanazawa also has a rich teahouse and geisha culture but while teahouses are often off- limits to tourists, in Kanazawa's Chaya district, there are teahouses that offer tourists the rare opportunity to reserve a geisha performance."
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Instead of Bali: Flores
For a tropical holiday beyond Bali, head east to the island of Flores, says Miriam Tulevski of Indo Insider Tours. "Flores and it's main town of Labuan Bajo are just a 70-minute flight from Bali." Tulevski says. "Flores is famous for its Komodo dragons, spectacular sunsets, rooftop bars and traditional villages. Try the fresh local barbecue fish along the waterfront. Speed boats can whisk you out on a daytrip or you can embrace slow travel on a traditional wooden sailing ship called a phinsi."
Instead of Barcelona: Zaragoza
Tourists seeking a lesser-known but still easily accessible destination in Spain should consider Zaragoza, says Chet Francisco-Ramos from Tourism Spain. "Only 1.5 hours by high-speed train from both Barcelona and Madrid, Zaragoza is Spain's fourth biggest city," Francisco-Ramos says. "It's home to two majestic cathedrals, monumental remains of the Roman Caesar Augusta, Renaissance-style palace houses and one of the most diverse gastronomic scenes in Spain. The surrounding region of Aragon is also bursting with lots of interesting, nature-based activities."
Instead of Santorini: Sifnos
Leave the crowds of Santorini behind and find your own private sunset spot in Sifnos, located in the south-west of the Cyclades island group, says Costas Yiannakodimos, formerly of the Consulate General of Greece, in Sydney. "Sifnos is an island of exquisite flavours, time-honoured customs and traditional villages. Its numerous chapels, windmills, lovely beaches, crystal clear waters and leisurely pace of life makes this destination ideal to explore." The island is also popular for its architecture, local delicacies, ceramic art and summer nightlife.