Swap St Tropez for Piran, Lisbon for Palermo, and Paros for Santorini…

Maldives, Amalfi Coast, and Mykonos are some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. However they are also often crowded, overpriced, and overrun by tourists. Enter one of 2024’s biggest travel trends: ‘destination dupes’. What if we told you that there are more affordable and less crowded alternatives that are every bit as beautiful and memorable as the well-known destinations.

Whether you’re planning a quick getaway this Eid or looking for summer travel inspo, here are 10 destination dupes to inspire your next holiday…

Piran instead of St Tropez

Looking for a chic coastal getaway without the hefty price tag? This Slovenian gem offers a laid-back vibe reminiscent of St Tropez but with a fraction of the crowds and costs. Picture-perfect streets, charming cafes, and stunning sea views make Piran a true hidden gem. While there are no sandy beaches in Piran, you can still enjoy plenty of sunshine and seaside fun from jumping in the many piers and swimming in the calm and crystal-clear shores. If you’re willing to swap the glitz for some old-world charm, Piran is the ideal coastal escape.

Hvar Island instead of Mykonos

Sprawled around a harbour filled with yachts, this Croatian gem offers a similar party scene to Mykonos but with a more relaxed vibe and less of a tourist crush. After a stroll along the palm-lined seafront promenade, make your way to the hilltop castle for panoramic vistas. Wander through the charming cobblestone streets packed with rustic-chic seafood restaurants and trendy cocktail bars, and don’t forget to explore the local boutiques stocking handmade jewelry and designer swimwear. Hvar offers a blend of sun-soaked fun and Mediterranean charm without breaking the bank.

Montenegro instead of Amalfi

There is no place quite like the Amalfi Coast in summer drawing tourists from all corners of the globe by air, land, and sea. For an escape that effectively replicates the coastal scenery of Amalfi with fewer crowds and cheaper price tags, Montenegro is your answer. With quaint Italian-like towns, rugged mountains, crystal clear waters, as well as a more laid-back vibe, this Balkan beauty is a perfect mix of charm, adventure, and magic.

Palermo instead of Lisbon

For travellers seeking a Mediterranean adventure, Palermo, the vibrant capital of Sicily, offers a stunning alternative to Lisbon. With its rich history, diverse architecture, and coastal beauty, Palermo provides a similar backdrop for relaxation and exploration (without the price tag and crowds). Whether you’re savouring Sicilian delicacies from the bustling street food markets, wandering round the ancient streets, sipping on aperitivo at one of the wonderful trattorias and natural wine bars, and marveling at the beauty of the medieval churches, the underrated city is ready to welcome you with open arms and leave you spellbound.

Paros instead of Santorini

You can’t go wrong with a Greek island escape, but this summer, consider the friendly and more affordable island of Paros for an authentic Cycladic getaway. According to travel agency Expedia, Paros is 193 percent less crowded than Santorini, which is also known for its sky-high prices. Lose yourself in the twisting alleys of white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches, enjoy long lazy lunches filled with delicious seafood, discover the island’s remote beaches, go surfing, and, for history lovers, Paros’s ancient marble quarries and Ekatontapiliani Church will give you just as much to ponder as Santorini’s Venetian Castle. It’s truly one of Greece’s best kept secrets.

Zanzibar instead of Maldives

While we’ll never tire of the Maldives’ iconic crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches, Zanzibar offers a more accessible alternative for tropical bliss, just a short five-hour flight from Dubai. With its dream-like beaches, superb seafood, and vibrant coral reefs, Zanzibar offers the perfect blend of relaxation and underwater adventure. Additionally, its rich cultural heritage, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Stone Town and spice plantations, provides unique experiences not found in the Maldives.

Gudauri instead of the Swiss Alps

One for the winter sport enthusiasts… Nestled amidst the rugged beauty of the Caucasus mountains of Georgia, Gudauri is one of the world’s most underrated skiing destinations for its excellent value for money, breathtaking panoramic views, uncrowded slopes, and exceptional terrain catering to all skiing levels. All at a fraction of the cost typically associated with the Swiss Alps. Its ski season spans from mid-December to the end of April, offering ample opportunities for enthusiasts to experience its snowy splendor and burgeoning food and wine scene.

Copenhagen instead of Amsterdam

Swap the Dutch capital for some Danish hygge this summer. Copenhagen offers a delightful alternative for those seeking a charming European city break, boasting picture-perfect canals, colourful buildings, a buzzing cultural scene, tasty food, and more. While it may not necessarily be the cheaper option, you can enjoy cycling around the city, indulging in delicious pastries, and exploring hip neighborhoods—minus the crowds.

Liverpool instead of London

If you’re considering a city break in the UK (firstly, why?), but secondly, Liverpool makes for a refreshing alternative to the capital and a vibrant cultural getaway with rich history. While London will always hold a special place in our hearts, Liverpool boasts an incredible music scene, top notch restaurants, plenty of iconic attractions and museums (the largest number outside of London), and a stunning waterfront. The endlessly walkable city has a side that appeals to everyone.

Pattaya instead of Bangkok

Just around the bay from Bangkok, this vibrant coastal city offers a relaxed vibe with its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and exciting attractions. While Bangkok dazzles with its temples and markets, Pattaya provides a different kind of excitement, with water sports, amusement parks, and vibrant street scenes. Plus, it’s just a short drive away from the capital, making it an easy and fun alternative for your Thai adventure – especially if you’re travelling with family.

Images: Unsplash