How often do you see a blog or Instagram discussing the magic, beauty or different pace of life of cities like Prague, Paris or Bangkok? As great as these cities are, there is no shortage of content about them and sometimes you want something different to inspire your next adventure. Perhaps, you’d like some inspiration for some alternatives to some of those most popular destinations.
I asked bloggers for their favorite recommended alternatives to popular destination and got a few great answers! If you have a perspective on this topic to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your recommendation, links and a photo and I’ll add yours to the list below!
Adelaide over Melbourne by Steph of Big World Small Pockets
I highly recommend visiting Adelaide instead of Melbourne because this little city in South Australia is one of the true overlooked gems of the Land Down Under. With warmer and less volatile weather patterns than Melbourne, Adelaide’s climate is certainly a lot more hospitable. This makes visiting Adelaide’s’ coastline more enjoyable, especially given that the beaches here are much nicer than those near Melbourne.
Adelaide also boasts some incredible wineries only 20 minutes from the city – which is significantly closer than those around Melbourne – and exploring these makes for a great daytrip. Within the city itself, Adelaide has some fantastic hidden laneways with super pop-up bars, quirky cafes and vintage shops – these are a lot less touristy and overdone compared to those in Melbourne.
Adelaide also has some wonderful free museums, live music events and the annual Adelaide Fringe Festival, all of which cement this little city’s exciting artistic atmosphere and happening, lively ambience. So don’t worry about visiting Melbourne in Australia, I highly recommend the city of Adelaide instead.
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“Big Island” instead of Oahu/Maui by Kevin at Wandering Wagars
The island of Hawaii, also known as “The Big Island” stands in stark contrast to the more popular islands in the Hawaiian chain such as Oahu and Maui. While many of the islands offer incredible beauty and relaxing beaches, the Big Island has adventure and intensely contrasting nature, from lush rain forests to harsh lava fields. You can spend your day hiking, watch the spectacular sunset from the top of Mauna Kea and then spend the night snorkelling with giant Manta Rays in the quiet and quirky hippy town of Hilo.
If you love nature and adventure, and would rather spend your nights sipping coffee and chatting with locals rather than hitting the clubs, the island of Hawaii is just the adventure you need.
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Montreal over Paris by Kyle of Drift Away
Paris is world-renowned for its romantic feel and charm. But while visiting the famed “City of Light” is at the top of many a bucket list, alternative destinations can be just as, if not more enchanting than Paris: enter Montreal. Every bit as French as Paris, Montreal, sometimes referred to as the “Paris of North America,” is charismatic, cultured, friendly and stylish.
- Montreal is the perfect combination of North America and Europe. It has a beautiful skyline, dozens of lakes, parks and nearby mountains. It’s perfect for small hikes, skiing, snowboarding and more.
- Taste Montreal’s delicious dining. Montreal is an ethnic hub in Canada. There are loads of authentic eateries from countries all over the world, all over the city. Alternatively, you can try the dishes that Montreal has become famous for, smoked meat sandwiches and poutine (a combination of French fries, gravy and cheese curds).
- Montreal has youthful vigour. Montreal has a booming cultural scene filled with festivals, clubs, museums, raves, creatives, libraries, architecture, shopping and just about everything else.
There you have it, 3 reasons why you should visit Montreal instead of Paris. For a detailed budget city guide of Montreal visit Drift Away – Travel Site, a travel blog authored by a Montrealer named Kyle.
San Sebastian over Barcelona
Visiting Spain is a memorable experience for anybody and its streets are imbued with history, tradition and culture. But the Spain of Madrid is not necessarily the Spain of Barcelona. And perhaps neither is the Spain of San Sebastian. This is why I recommend visiting San Sebastian if you’re considering a trip to Spain.
San Sebastian is home of the Basque people in northern Spain. An area rich with its own identity, customs and traditions. The Basque language is unlike any in the world in that it is, by all means, untraceable in its origins. I can think of several additional reasons why this city has earned its way to being one of my favorites in Spain.
- The beautiful beach of La Concha provides a smaller and more intimate setting than Barcelona’s swathes of sunbathers
- The memorable food and drink experiences will burn their way into your memory keeping you coming back for more. The local wine is called txakoli, which poured correctly, is done by keeping the bottle high above the glass in a feat of bartender acrobatics
- The famous Guggenheim in Bilbao is a short ride away
There are three good reasons why San Sebastian should be at the top of your priority list when considering a trip to Spain.
Burma over Thailand
Southeast Asia has long been a key destination for backpackers and travelers due to its multitude of sights and ease on the wallet. And while Thailand has dozens of activities, sights, smells and sounds for the newcomer to the region, one country has seen great strides in the past decade as a destination for travelers: Burma.
Burma is a small but expansive country with a nascent transportation system so take this into consideration, but there are several key areas in Burma that are must-sees. Since these are so spread across the country, I’m recommending the country in general as a place to explore.
- Inle Lake – Inle Lake is a large lake with floating markets a short flight from Yangon. A very rural but striking destination, Inle Lake is growing with tourism every year so be sure to visit now.
- Yangon – The busy former capital of the city is rife with development. Hotel pipelines are starting to fill up as western companies move in to be first-to-market. This is a bustling city home to great food, pagodas and excitement.
- Kyaiktiyo Pagoda – Also known as the Goldern Rock, this is a seemingly gravity defying boulder upon which a pagoda is built, covered with gold leaves. It’s position on the ledge of the hill makes it quite a marvel and the legend associated with it says that a strand of the Buddha’s hair lay underneath it.
- Food – Laphet Thoke, Ohno Kau Swe, Mohinga, Nan Gyi Thoke and more. The food is difficult to describe as it’s a blend of east, southeast and central Asian flavors and varies from region to region in the country but they’re all amazing!
There you have it. Some great recommendations for alternatives to their more popular rival destinations. If you can, I think everyone would recommend visiting them all. But if you’re like most of us and budget and time are constraints, give these some serious consideration on your next travels!