Before you book your flights for your next summer getaway, ask yourself if there is somewhere a little more unusual you could venture to instead. It is easy to fall into the trap of only considering the places that are most documented, when there could be a much more interesting – and often much cheaper – destination instead. How about one of these for your next trip away?
Another tiny country nestled in between two tourist hotspots (Croatia and Italy) is humble Slovenia. With its Venetian coastline and Mediterranean climate, stunning mountain scenery and glacial lakes fed by hot springs, it really has it all. Dreamy baroque architecture, dramatic castles, gothic churches, along with an impressive collection of museums and galleries. Not to mention the rather special cuisine that borrows a little something from each of its neighbouring countries.
Belize, Central America
When British tourists head to Central America, it’s often to the huge resort areas in the Gulf of Mexico, or nearby Costa Rica. But nestled in between Mexico and Guatemala is the lesser-known tiny country of Belize. Its entire coastline sits on the Caribbean Sea and boasts the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef. Inland, it’s all about the jungle, with an extensive network of national parks and the most beautiful wildlife. There’s plenty of fascinating human history too, thanks to its Mayan past – complete with stone temples and excavated tombs.
The Aeolian Islands
Just north of Sicily’s shores lies a volcanic archipelago that has claimed the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site, whilst remaining surprisingly uncrowded in the summer months. Of the seven Aeolian Islands, Lipari is the liveliest and Panarea known for its appeal to the rich and famous.
Smoldering volcanoes, black sand beaches and hot mud baths are just some of the things you will find on the Aeolian Islands. Along with shipwrecks, caves and the most delicious wines.
Images of Albania’s southern coastline could easily be mistaken for some far-off tropical island. But this hidden treasure is right here in Europe, and has thus far fallen under the radar of mass tourism. White sand beaches and turquoise waters, luscious mountain forests, unusual local architecture and Ancient Greek ruins make up its idyllic landscape; plus the food is fantastic.
This lovely archipelago can be found off the northwest coast of Africa and is surprisingly cheap to fly to. Its volcanic islands offer up a mix of Creole Portuguese-African culture alongside idyllic, white sandy beaches. The largest island of Santiago is becoming more of a tourist hotspot, but regular ferries run to the other lesser-known islands where local life and nature still thrive.