Certain destinations have earned their popularity for a good reason; they deliver on everything that you would expect from a good vacation: food, culture or scenery. However, most of these destinations are flooded by mass tourism today. Local governments have been actively taking steps to curb overtourism to handle the excess volume of tourists. If you do book a trip here, expect your perfect view of the local attractions to be blocked by crowds despite paying a hefty price or getting into possible tourist traps.
If pushing your way through a mass of people isn’t what you imagine your ideal vacation to feel like, then here are alternatives to some of the most popular destinations around the world.
Instead of Amsterdam try Ljubljana
For years, Amsterdam has been celebrated as the “Venice of the North”, however, with over 17 million tourists visiting it every year, the local government has put strict regulations on local accommodation options and limited noisy, beer-guzzling tourists to maintain the local quality of life. With an active nightlife, tulips, bikes and waterways, its western neighbour, Ljubljana is the perfect alternative to enjoy the same attributes. Explore Tivoli Garden, the city’s largest park or bike around the city through its main bike-sharing programs. With free public transportation and tulip exhibits held every year, it is rightfully crowned as the European Green Capital. During your visit to the city, take a bit of the famous Ljubljana cake which incorporates ingredients from all over Slovenia in it.
Instead of Switzerland try Estonia
The snowy mountains of Switzerland may seem like the perfect destination to live out your Bollywood fantasies, but the reality is that it is one of the most expensive European countries to visit. With tourists trying to take the perfect click almost everywhere in the country, try making an alternative try to Estonia instead. This Baltic gem is filled with medieval towns, pretty seaside towns and beautiful waterfalls. Perfect weather conditions with architectural marvels, make it one of the most ideal places to spend time with your loved ones.
Instead of Bangkok, visit Chiang Rai, Thailand
Compared to its sister towns of Chiang Mai and Bangkok, this provincial town has a more relaxed feel. With an impressive collection of temples, art and music, the city is gradually developing its tourist sector. Visit the famous Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple), and Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) or take a stroll along its waterfront area. A vacation in Chiang Rai is all about relaxing and savouring each moment of the trip.
Instead of Dubai, visit Oman
The glitzy desert of luxury resorts, unlimited shopping and man-made attractions has made Dubai a popular destination. But to explore the true beauty of the Middle- East without the crowds, scoot across the border to Oman instead. Whether you want to explore adventure sports or explore a wadi, there is no shortage of things to do in Oman. Visit the beautifully curated collection at Bait al Zubair Museum or the beautiful Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which is open to Westerners keen to learn more about Islam. With several eye-catching resorts, Oman offers a more positive approach than its neighbouring country by recognising its traditional past.
Instead of Bali visit Raja Ampat Islands
The Island of Gods is a stunning place to have a vacation for sure. However, with herds of travellers arriving in Bali each year, what was once a beautiful oasis has become a tourist trap. Try something different and head to the lesser-known tropical paradise of Raja Ampat in Indonesia instead. Made up of 1500 islands, it is just as beautiful as Bali and has an abundance of marine life. Spot the Komodo dragon at the Komodo National Park or go island hopping while discovering abandoned villages and historical sites.
Instead of Reykjavik try Baffin Islands
The Blue Lagoon along with other popular attractions at Reykjavik attracts millions of tourists each year often making you feel overwhelmed by all of it. Head over to the fifth-largest isle in the world instead, at Baffin islands. The landmass in the North Atlantic Ocean shared several attributes such as fjords, northern lights and the Arctic Circle. Smaller than Reykjavik, it offers you a lot of opportunities to soak up the outdoors at its many national parks though. Climb up to Mount Thor which has the largest vertical drop or explore the Sirmilik National Park for checking some rare wildlife species.
Over-tourism can not only be a burden on locals but also spoil the natural beauty of historical sites. Do your bit, by choosing alternative destinations and getting a fresh perspective on these unique locations.
Curated by Neha Bhise