Alternative Holiday Destinations for 2023
Sometimes, the hardest part of planning a vacation is deciding where to go. With so many great destinations across the globe, choosing just one is a daunting task.
If you would like to do something different to the usual all-inclusive Florida, Cancun or Caribbean vacation, we have put together some top recommendations for other places to consider.
There are hundrds of potential destinatons to visit and to help narrow your search you will need to think about the types of activities you want to participate. Do you enjoy relaxing on the beach or zip lining through rainforests? Are you going to be traveling solo or with your family? Do you perhaps you prefer browsing through bazaars or exploring historic sites.
Whether you're looking for fun in the sun, endless adventure, arts and culture, or peace and quiet, check out these eight contenders for your next international vacation.
1. Thassos, Greece
Nothing beats a relaxing swim in a pool during a hot summer day. But did you know that you can experience nature’s very own swimming pool? If you’re looking for a hidden and lesser known travel destination, head over to Giola.
Located in Thassos, Greece, Giola has its sea lagoon, naturally carved inside rocks. You need to walk to get to the lagoon and you won’t be disappointed when you get there. The rocks resemble a terrace that’s why walking there is easy. The lagoon is so inviting, especially when the weather is nice and the seas are peaceful.
Aside from lounging around in the lagoon, you can book a yacht tour to explore Giola. You can also hike around the area so you can appreciate nature. You can also go scuba diving with the help of Popeye Diving Center and Vasiliadis Diving Club.
Thassos is also known for its healthy yet delectable dishes. You can try the famous Kolios Gourna - a smoked and baked mackerel that is filled with flavor. Known for their feta cheese, you should also try the Bouyourdi. The feta cheese is laid into a clay pot together with a variety of soft cheeses, sliced peppers, fresh tomatoes, black pepper, and olive oil. The pot is then placed into the oven until the cheeses melt. It’s a simple dish but still filled with flavor.
Thassos really is an amazing alternative to the more famous and well know Greece vacation destinations like Santorini and Mykonos.
If you are dreaming of a Caribbean getaway most people choose to jet off to exclusive destinations like the Virgin Islands, Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia. But there are so many other places in this region with just as amazing beaches, and which are usually a fraction of the price.
Cuba, Jamaica, Belize and Grenada are some alternative places to consider - all are different and have amazing resorts and activities.
Jamaica vacations are becoming more and more popular, this country has world class resorts, beaches and also you will get the opportunity to learn more about the culture and history of the island. See the previous home of Bob Marley and kick back and enjoy some of the most welcoming hospitality in the Caribbean.
3. Koh Lanta, Thailand
For a vacation filled with sun and sand, Koh Lanta, is the ideal destination. Surrounded by lush forests, turquoise waters, and soft white-sand beaches, Koh Lanta feels a lot like paradise on earth. In addition to soaking up the sun, you can go sailing on the calm waters of the ocean to explore the nearby islands or take a snorkeling or diving tour to view the diverse and colorful marine life. You can also enjoy a wide variety of water sports, such as surfing, parasailing, and canoeing.
Koh Lanta is a lot less touristy than other islands like Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao meaning you get a much more local and authentic experience.
Thailand is also known for its exotic cuisine. When you visit Ko Lanta, you should definitely try the country’s famous Pad Thai. The noodles are stir fried with chicken, shrimp, tofu, or vegetables. It’s then topped with chili, sugar, lime, and roasted peanuts. If you’re into shopping, there are lots of places where you can find a bargain. Try visiting a local market to get a glimpse of the islanders’ daily life. You can also find touristy shops filled with sarongs, dresses, shirts, and textiles at reasonable prices.
There are also lots of islands located near Koh Lanta including Phi Phi island which is home to one of the most popular beaches in the country. This stunning beach getaway was used to film the movie, “The Beach.” An iconic film needs an equally iconic view. Ko Phi Phi Leh does not disappoint. It is surrounded by a sea of green and blue and has been made famous in many movies.
4. El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
With 7,107 islands, the Philippines is full of natural beauty and millions of tourists visit this country every year. El Nido in Palawan is one of the most beautiful places you can visit in the ountry. This region is home to more than 50 white sandy beachesIf you’re a beach lover or a nature enthusiast, El Nido is the place for you.
Its warm cyan ocean is the perfect place to enjoy scuba diving, swimming with whale sharks, appreciate a variety of marine life, hike in its dense forests, and enjoy watching different bird species. Of course, go island hopping all day while feasting on delectable Filipino dishes served on the boat.
Filipinos are also known for their food. When you visit Palawan, make sure to try the popular Crocodile Sisig at the Kinabucha’s Bar and Grill. Located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, this restaurant serves it’s exotic dish on a sizzling plate. Served with flavorful ingredients, this dish is one of the most popular among tourists.
If you love beer, Palawan also has its very own brewery. The Palaweno Brewery is Palawan’s first and only craft beer brewery. They serve a variety of beer that are created with local ingredients. You can try the Honey Kolsh, Honey Nut Brown Ale, Palawan Wit, and Ambog Ale.
5. La Fortuna, Costa Rica
If you're an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys adventure, La Fortuna is the perfect place to use as a base for a trip to Costa Rica. The once sleepy agricultural town is now one of the top tourist destinations in the country thanks to its beautiful views of Arenal Volcano and the availability of exciting activities. Thrill-seeking tourists can try canyoneering at La Catarata de la Fortuna waterfall or flying through the rainforest on a zip line. If you love hiking, check out the trails at Arenal Volcano National Park. Then enjoy a soak in the Tabacón or EcoTermales hot springs.
6. Marrakesh, Morocco
Marrakesh is a vibrant, bustling city with a unique culture and lively atmosphere. To truly experience the environment, head to one of the many souks where you can buy everything from souvenirs to spices. At night, venture to Djemma el Fna to come face to face with snake charmers, fortunetellers, and musicians as they perform for the crowds. Immerse yourself in the local customs with a steam bath or sauna at a hammam. Be sure to also check out the Koutoubia Mosque, Badia Palace, Saadian tombs, Jardin Majorelle, and the Medina.
7. The Cotswolds, United Kingdom
If rest and relaxation are what you're after, head to the Cotswolds. Spanning 800 square miles in five counties, the Cotswolds is home to some of the most famous, historic, and unspoiled villages in England. From castles to country houses and markets to nature reserves, the Cotswolds is like no other place on Earth.
Take a stroll through breathtaking landscapes, enjoy a pint of beer at a traditional English pub, or spend an afternoon at the spa. While the Cotswolds villages are known for their honey-colored stone buildings, each charming community has its own unique features. Whether you choose to stay in one of the more popular towns, such as Cheltenham, Broadway, Bourton on the Water, a larger town like Glouceste, or a hidden gem like Naunton, you'll find plenty of ways to relax and unwind in the Cotswolds.
8. Marieta Islands, Mexico
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have an entire beach all to yourself? Well, you can now enjoy your own little coastline in Marieta Islands. Located in Mexico, this hidden beach was initially a military testing ground. However, it’s now one of the world’s secluded beauties. You literally have to swim for it before you can see this beach’s glory.
When you visit Marieta Islands, you can enjoy a variety of watersports such as swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling. It is best to visit the islands in the morning when the seas are calm so you can take the boat or ferry. Once you’re near, you can swim your way to its beaches. Get the perfect tan that you want while enjoying the sun from its sandy shores and cerulean waters.
To get to the Marieta Islands you travel from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, or from Punta de Mita, Nayarit, to the Marieta Islands by boat.
There are many great places to visit around the world. If you're having trouble deciding which one to choose, consider these severn contenders for your next international vacation.