Sure, Paris is one of the world’s most popular destinations for good reason. Sightseeing in Barcelona is a must-do for any globetrotter, of course. And yes, a trip to NYC is a bucket-list essential. But, where should you go when you want to circumvent the bustling crowds of tourists? Luckily for you, we have the answers. From an Argentinian farm at the end of the world to a calming abode in Japan’s Imperial capital, these are the five finest alternative holiday destinations to check out this year.
Swap: the chaos of Paris
For: a retreat to a remote Patagonian farm
If fighting manic shoppers on the Champs-Élysées isn’t your thing, then consider a trip to Bahía Bustamente – a private sheep farm hidden in Argentina’s Patagonia region. Boasting around 210,000 acres of land and surrounded by the idyllic water of the eastern coast, this tranquil location will give you close-up vistas of fauna and flora in abundance, hundreds of birds, dolphins, orcas and over 50,000 penguins. Better still, Wi-Fi isn’t an option due to the remote location, so you can concentrate on your partner rather than scrolling on your six-inch smartphone all day.
Swap: the capsule hotels of Tokyo
For: the ryokans of Kyoto
Accessible only by a boat ride in a cedar vessel and enclosed by warm, autumnal-coloured trees during the darker months, the Hoshinoya ryokan-hotel in Kyoto is an idyllic escape that will take you back in time to traditional Japan. Cherry blossoms and luscious forestry are dotted all over the ground, and each of the 25 rooms are complete with heated wooden floors, sliding glass doors, pearl-coloured bedding and paper screen windows that allow guests to look onto the river, foxes and deer below them. For a hit of zen, this is the place to be.
Swap: the wet and damp of the Lake District
For: the camping in a volcanic reserve in Bolivia
Forget the grim and grey experience of camping in northern England, and instead consider this unique trip through Bolivia’s most remote areas. For the months of August and October, bespoke travel company Black Tomato is offering wanderlust sufferers the chance to traverse the vast landscapes of Bolivia. You’ll be able to rest and recover in a private dome or yurt in locations such as the volcanic Eduardo Averoa Natural Reserve, discover La Paz with a renowned artist, enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon trip over the Uyuni salt flats and end your trip with a private aircraft flight where you’ll soar above the Andes.
Swap: the crowded safaris of Kenya
For: elephant-watching from your bed in Botswana
What’s better than watching Africa’s finest beasts and game roam around in the wild? Doing so from the comfort of your own room. At Botswana’s Meno a Kwena bush camp – a site held in high esteem by HRH Prince Harry – guests have the luxury of taking a pew just outside their room, sipping on a cocktail and watching the likes of wildebeest, elephant and zebra walk on by or splashing in the Boteti River. If the animal-watching gets a bit too fatiguing, you’ll also be pleased to hear that the loungers and daybeds on site will prove an adequate haven of rest.
Meno a Kwena
Swap: the riches of Dubai
For: a humble cabin in Iceland
Dubai is sleek and shiny, so a trip there is a sure-fire way to impress your significant other – but, it still lacks a certain degree of authenticity and charm. And few regions do charm better than Scandinavia. The pick of the lot? Iceland. Drenched with fjords, volcanoes and glaciers, this Nordic haven isn’t as expensive as Oslo or as image-conscious as Stockholm, and, thanks to its sparse population, it can feel a lot calmer than its more urban siblings. This bijou cabin based in remote Vaðlaheiði offers guests the perfect way to escape the chaos and manic of their life back home and also has unique views of aurora borealis during winter; a setting perfect for sipping on a glass or two of hyldeblomst.
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