Discover hidden gems with these destination dupes

In response to a growing desire among travellers to uncover hidden gems free from the hustle and bustle of mass tourism, we've curated a collection of 'destination dupes'— our favourite spots for those seeking the essence of popular locations without the crowds. Often more affordable, these picks promise the same joy and beauty as mainstream places, but allow you to experience them in a quieter, more personal setting.

Discover hidden gems with these destination dupes

Paros instead of Santorini

While the sunset views from the volcanic caldera of Santorini draw the crowds and the Instagrammers, many from cruise ships, its fellow Cycladic Island of Paros is much more low-key, with gorgeous golden sand beaches, crystalline waters, and lovely walks along Byzantine footpaths linking traditional villages lost in time. Its capital and ferry port Parikia stands out for its preserved seaside windmill and 4th-century Byzantine church.

Perth instead of Sydney

The west coast city has the benefit of being accessible by direct flights from London, but that’s not the only thing it has going for it: the capital of Western Australia also offers sandy beaches, riverside parks and gardens, and fantastic cultural venues, as well as being the gateway to natural wonders, including the Pinnacles Desert. It’s also great for foodies thanks to its fresh seafood and cuisine ranging from traditional Aussie to Vietnamese.

Palermo instead of Lisbon

Like the Portuguese capital, Sicily’s main city oozes charm, impressive architecture, and great food. Must-sees are the 12th-century cathedral with its royal tombs and Cappella Palatina with its Byzantine mosaics, but you’ll want to spend just as much time browsing the stalls in locations such as the Ballarò street market and trying fantastic local dishes.

Memphis instead of Nashville

The big-hitting home of country music is Nashville, but its Tennessee neighbour, Elvis' hometown of Memphis, is just as compelling. A visit to Graceland is a must, of course, but so is a trip to Sun Studio, where The King changed music history with his live recording of 'That's Alright, Mama’. The city is also known as the Barbecue Capital of America – don’t leave without sampling some of its legendary ribs.

Pattaya instead of Bangkok

For those who like things lively, this eastern Gulf Coast city blends cabaret bars, night markets, amusement parks, great shopping, golf courses, and beaches with fascinating culture to rival that of the Thai capital, including several sacred places and temples – the most prominent being the hillside Wat Phra Yai Temple with its gleaming 12-metre-tall golden Buddha.

Taipei instead of Seoul

The South Korean capital is rivalled by that of Taiwan – an exciting, bustling hub of street food hotspots, night markets, striking modern architecture (such as the bamboo-inspired Taipei 101 skyscraper) contrasting with tiny lanes dating from Japanese colonial times, and wonderful shopping. There are also great day trips to the hot springs of Beitou.

Curaçao instead of Saint Martin

The Dutch Caribbean islands of Curaçao and Sint Maarten are both desirable destinations off many visitors’ radars. Visit the former for its enchanting capital Willemstad, with its pastel-painted colonial architecture, floating bridge, and sand-floored synagogue, as well as for its untouristy beaches and coves, its fabulous diving sites, and the marine wonders of its coral reefs.

To book your getaway to one of these destinations, call your Travel Counsellor today.

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