Off the Beaten Track – 50 Alternative Holiday Destinations

By louisejohnston

June 10, 2017 at 9:42am


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Sure Maga and Barca are great holidays... but you'll always be rewarded when you venture off the beaten track. 

We've discussed this at lengths in the office, and here are the best alternative holiday destinations we've gathered together.

Think we've left somewhere out? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

1. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz. It is often referred to as the northernmost Caribbean city but has a huge French influence and you'll be spoilt for places to eat and socialise.

2. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and one of the largest cities in Europe. The city has an abundance of hot springs and 'taking to the water' has been a tradition dating back to the Romans. There are plenty of bathhouses but also the architecture (especially Art Nouveau) in Budapest is in its own league.

3. Sylt, Germany

You may not believe us but this Island in Germany is famous for its surf but also accommodates hikers and cyclists. Its known for boutiques and upmarket shops and restaurants so its the perfect get-away for those of you who aren't short of change!

4. Cappadocia, Turkey

Most well known for its moon-like landscape, Cappadocia is also the best place in the world to live a cave-like experience. They've dozens of hostels and houses that have literally been carved into the landscape. Explore their underground cities or take a balloon ride, there's something for all variations of the modern day adventurer here.

5. Sintra, Portugal

Like something straight out of a Disney movie, this is a fantastic heritage site in Portugal. There are loads of private tour and sightseeing options here for those of you who like to experiece a little fairy tale and keep busy during your vacations.

6. Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland

The 'Wild Atlantic Way' is a driving route of Ireland's west coast, from West Cork to Donegal. The well-signed route includes 157 'Discovery Points' where drivers can stop and learn more about the must-sees and attractions along the way.

7. Pyeongyang City, North Korea

Its no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most fascinating cities to visit in the world. Heavy emphasis is paid to their capital and its monstrous monuments that pay tribute to Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and the Juche idea.

8. Reykjavík, Iceland

During the summer this city is flushed with 22 hours of sunlight and storms and blizzards during the winter. This city has quite obvious Viking history. Reykjadalur aka Steam Valley is also the easiest hot spring areas to reach from Reykjavík which is what Iceland is best known for!

9. Los Penitentes, Argentina

Los Penitentes has incredible scenery in the winter with its snow covered mountains. This area in Argentina is a huge ski resort and perfect for those of you who love a sporty break and an apres ski!


10. Vladivostok, Russia

Called Russia's San Fran, Vladivostok not far from the boarders to China and North Korea. The city is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet and the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean. This place is perfect if you're obsessed with military history and shipping.

11. Hvar, Croatia

Hvar Town is estimated to draw around 20,000 people a day in the high season. The main square is always bustling with young people. Its a main stop off for Yacht Week which is fast becoming the best holiday alternative for university students. Don't let the young people deter you, Hvar has dozens of amazing restaurants and they're famous for their fresh fish and Croatian wines.

12. Muscat, Oman

For those of you that may not know, Oman is the hub for most of the world's exports in teas and gold. There's everything from safari tours to sightseeing to their famous opera house in one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

13. Charleston, USA

This city is drenched in Southern charm. Prepare to take a romantic trip down the cobblestone roads in one if their famous horse and carriages. The perfect place to take a chilled break and retire with a glass of sherry.

14. Naples, Florida, USA

A nice alternative if you love the sun, sea and sand but want something far, far away from the Miami vibe. This cosmopolitan sea-side city has everything you need for the perfect sun holiday.

15. Belgrade, Serbia

This place is a foodie's dream. Packed with alternative little coffee shops, bespoke ice-cream vendors and quirky restaurants. Its by no means a pretty place but Belgrade boasts incredible nightlife for nighttime revellers.

16. Amman, Jordan

Amman is a modern Arab city rather than one of the great cultural centres of the Middle East. Jordan is home to one of the most amazing deserts, Wadi Rum, famous for its spectacular scenery.

17. Peninsula Valdes Argentina

Lying on Argentina's eastern Patagonian coast, this peninsula is home to some of the country most amazing wildlife. Elephant seals, Magellanic penguins, right whales, guanacos, orca whales, armadillos and foxes are almost guaranteed sightings during high season. Perfect for those of you thrill seekers who love spotting these creatures in their natural habitat.

18. Antelope Canyon, USA

Bound to cause photo envy on Instagram, this place isn't even a block long but the water and wind carved landscape is worth travelling half way across the world to snap. You can also go water rafting so again this place is best suited for the great outdoorsy types!

19. La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Located 1,000 metres above sea-level this Swiss city is famous for being a huge watch-making district. Perfect place is you're into architecture too- its the centre of Art Nouveau.

20. Pamukkale, Turkey


We're mad for the hot springs- this place is also full of them. In this region there are 17 hot water springs in which the temperature ranges from 35 °C (95 °F) to 100 °C (212 °F). Perfect for a little retreat or romantic get-away.

21. Sardinia, Italy

This beautiful island off the coast of Italy is perfect for hiking trails, kayaking along its captivating coastlines. And lets not forget Italy is renowned for their incredibly tasty foods and brilliant wines so you're sure to have a well-rounded trip.

22. Gili Islands, Indonesia

Only a short boat trip from Bali, the Gili Islands explode with colour and is the best example of picture perfect serenity.

23. Lagos, Nigeria

Named after the Portuguese word for lagoon, Lagos has been a port, a British political centre and, until the early nineties, Nigeria's capital. Maybe the complete opposite to calm but this city is full of vibrancy and you have no choice but to get stuck into the local culture.

24. Myanmar, Burma

Ancient Asia is alive and well here. It would be a rare sighting to see Western clothing. Well over 100 ethnic groups live here and with this cultural diversity there is no shortage of things to do.

25. Ivory Coast, West Africa

Blighted by conflict but surrounded by rain forests and epic beaches there's no denying that the Ivory Coast is the best place to go deep into the heart of the local culture for a fraction of the cost of the most popular places in West Africa.

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26. Java, Indonesia

Great for snorkelling this is another beauty in Indonesia. Also there are so many ancient monuments and its home to the largest in the world. Ideal location for a spiritual retreat.

27. New Ireland, Papua New Guinea

The island lies between two and five degrees south of the equator. Apparently you'll experience a VERY laid-back vibe and you'll be submersed into beach life very quickly with an array of sea sports available all around this provence.

28. Antananarivo, Madagascar

This country is located off the coast of Africa. The city is filled with bazaars and markets, cut from traditions of passing cargo ships. Filled with steep alleys and stairways this place isn't for the unfit but is rewarding if you're looking for an energectic vibe.

29. Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo's cosmopolitan side supports ever-more stylish eateries, galleries and museums. Surprises abound in its old quarters where you can find great local food and discover all sorts of tiny local shops and the place is dotted with health and wellbeing spas.


30. French Polynesia Islands

These islands are literally in the middle of nowhere. Sculpted by sky-piercing, moss-green peaks and lined with vivid turquoise lagoons, this is certainly a place to take it slow and experience warm, laid-back chic.

31. Kabul, Afghanistan

When the Taliban fled (post 9/11) they left a city wrecked by years of war. But today, Kabul seems to change on an almost daily basis. Lots new buildings are quickly thrown and the air is thick with the sound of mobiles. Its definitely a place to visit if you aren't one to ignore the economic and bloodshed landscape of the past 20 years.

32. Alesund, Norway

Here's where most of our cod comes from. This little fishing port is super if you're looking for a quiet break, do a few hikes and capture the scenery on a good camera.

33. Zakopane, Poland

Nestled in the foothills of the Tatras, Zakopane is Poland's most fashionable mountain resort. It's an excellent base for hiking in summer and skiing in winter and home to one of the world's best views.

34. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Bled's greatest attraction is its crystal blue-green lake, measuring just 2km by 1.4km. The lake is lovely to behold from almost any vantage point, and makes a beautiful backdrop for the 6km walk along the shore. Mild thermal springs warm the water to a swimmable 26° C from June through August. You can rent boats, go diving or simply snap countless photos.

35. Jade Mountain, St Lucia

Literally the most perfect Honeymoon destination this resort is nestled into the mountains and has views that look airbrushed. Nice and relaxing and boasts hot springs.

36. Shirakawa, Japan

Lots of people head straight to Hong Kong when they go to Japan but we assure you to take a trip to Shirakawa. You'll be submersed in the local culture of this tiny place nestled in a valley.

37. Ponto-cho, Kyoto, Japan

Ponto-co is known for geishas and home to many geisha houses and traditional tea houses. Its also famous for the preservation of forms of traditional architecture and entertainment.

38. Burano, Italy

You can sightsee the entire village by motorboats and is only a short trip from Venice. Most famous for their brightly coloured houses, the locals take huge pride in their homes. A little slice of Italy without the hustle and bustle of the main cities.

39. Montana, USA

Montana is everything you could imagine from a Hollywood movie set in the mountains. The perfect destination for the great outdoorsy types but beware of the wolves and grizzlies.

40. Siem Reap, Cambodia


Siem Reap is a fast-growing city with plenty of new hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. But chances are, you're here not because of the city itself, but for what's nearby: amazingly well-preserved ancient temples.

41. Orkney & Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK

This northern part of the UK feels more Scandinavian than Scottish. Orkney, in particular, boasts a well-preserved treasury of Stone Age settlements, such as Skara Brae, standing stones and chambered cairns. Great of you love an historical holiday.

42. Calvi, Corsica

Calvi is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica. Calvi has beaches to rival the Côte d'Azur with more than 600 miles of coastline. its also well known for the huge jazz scene- so perfect for sun gods and music lovers.

43. Antibes, France

Antibes lies on the Mediterranean in the Côte d'Azur, located between Cannes and Nice. Like above, it has a huge jazz scene so this place is not short of amazing nightlife options.

44. Gozo, Malta

Gozo is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Malta is filled with amazing examples of architecture that was built in the early 17th century.

45. The Aran Islands, Ireland

The Aran Islands or The Arans are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. You can only get to these islands by boat or helicopter. This is the type of country-side all Americans imagine Ireland looks like so that means its super quaint and peeled back.

46. Tulum, Mexico

Paradise. Tulum's spectacular coastline with all its confectioner-sugar sands, jade green water, balmy breezes and bright sun makes it one of the top beaches in Mexico.

47. Guantanamo, Cuba

Guantánamo Bay is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the southeastern end of Cuba. Infamous for US Navy base its But its nightlife is truly formidable.

48. Portland, Oregon

It's an up-and-coming destination that has finally found itself, is racially progressive, culturally diverse and politically charged. The city is also an awesome spot to plant roots, settle in and chill out for while.

49. Darwin, Australia

Darwin is Australia's only tropical capital and gazes out confidently across the Timor Sea. And believe it or not it's closer to Bali than Bondi. Its a super youthful city and the perfect get away for young couples looking for an adventure.

50. Beirut, Lebanon

Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. If you're looking for the real East-meets-West so talked about in the Middle East, this is precisely where it's at.

Where will you go first?


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