IT’S being tipped as a top trend for travel. Destination dupes – affordable alternatives to popular holiday hotspots – are going to be big next year, according to Expedia.
In its Unpack ’24 report, it highlighted three easy-to-reach destinations – Paros in Greece, Palermo in Sicily, and Liverpool – as places that are a little unexpected, more affordable and every bit as delightful as tried-and-tested destinations love.
Here we reveal what you can expect there, and in three other holiday alternatives, and suggest some great places to stay.
PAROS, GREECE, FOR SANTORINI: It’s hard to go wrong with a postcard-perfect Greek island in the Aegean Sea, but there are fewer crowds in Paros than Santorini.
If you’re a history buff, Paros’s ancient marble quarries and Ekatontapiliani Church will give you just as much to ponder as Santorini’s Venetian Castle.
And both islands ooze Cycladic charm, with blue-domed churches, white-washed buildings and cobbled alleys. Popular beaches include Golden Beach and Kolymbithres.
Stay: Discover Paros with friends or family by renting the H2O private villa complete with pool.
Sleeping six in three bedrooms, prices average at £129 per night or just £22pp, per night. See vrbo.com.
Now the secret is out and prices have risen, but the Sicilian city of Palermo checks many of the same boxes: Moorish castles, jaw-dropping harbour views, fresh oysters and cotton-candy sunsets.
Stay: Book into the characterful Sant’Agostino B&B in Palermo’s historic centre. The 3H hotel has characterful rooms with beams and swishy white voile curtains.
Outside is a pretty courtyard garden perfect for breakfast. Rooms are £155 per night on average. See hotels.com.
LIVERPOOL FOR LONDON: A trip to London is a reliable hit, but a jaunt to Liverpool is more surprising and, like the capital, brimming with art and culture.
The city has the UK’s largest number of museums and galleries outside London – add Tate Liverpool and The International Slavery Museum to your itinerary.
Nightlife is, if anything, better than London and more affordable.
Stay: The upmarket aparthotel Cove Paradise Street is mere minutes from Liverpool One shopping centre and the delights of Royal Albert Dock.
The apartments feature living, dining and kitchen areas. Prices from £104 per night. See hotels.com.
LA GOMERA, CANARY ISLANDS, FOR MADEIRA: Just a ferry ride from Tenerife, La Gomera gives Madeira’s dramatic interior a run for its money.
With more than 400 miles of trails across volcanic soils, the island’s lush landscapes are ideal for outdoor activities.
Don’t miss the Garajonay National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Across the island, you’ll see Los Roques, huge blocks of magma jutting from the vegetation.
The Valle Gran Rey Rural Park is another gem where beautiful springs and cliffs await.
Stay: With incredible views from its pool and terraces, the Parador de La Gomera boutique hotel has traditional Canarian-style rooms from £142 per night on expedia.co.uk
BILBAO, SPAIN, FOR BARCELONA: Bilbao, the jewel of the Basque Country, seamlessly blends its rich historical heritage with a modern vision.
It also offers a delicious culinary scene – pintxos, the Basque version of tapas, is not to be missed.
Its coastal position means the sea is still a star of the show, but without Barcelona prices.
Stay: Check in to the upscale Catalonia Gran Via Bilbao Hotel in the city centre for easy access to the sites.
Expect smart, modern rooms and indoor and outdoor pools. From £82 per night. See expedia.co.uk.
COTENTIN PENINSULA, NORMANDY, FOR CORNWALL: The Peninsula’s natural landscapes, with its rugged cliffs and golden beaches, make it the perfect dupe for Cornwall.
You can explore picturesque coastal destinations, such as Barfleur, and visit Utah Beach, which played such an important part in the D-Day Normandy landings.
If you love fine cuisine, this peninsula won’t disappoint – delicious Cotentin grass-fed lamb, fresh seafood and Camembert cheese accompanied by local cider offers a unique culinary experience.
Stay: Oozing real charm, the Manoir de Savigny in Valognes offers a superb base for your trip. Rooms cost from £127 per night on expedia.co.uk.