For many people, it can be hard finding the time to take a holiday so when you do, you want to make the most of it. This often leads to treading the paths most-travelled as recommendations take the strain out of researching destinations.
Naturally, major tourist destinations are popular for a reason, making them the safe choice for a great holiday. After all, not everyone wants a different adventure every time. But such popularity can have its drawbacks ranging from high prices to traffic-stopping hordes of people.
With this in mind, the Flexicover Team has found some lesser-appreciated gems to stand in for their more ‘popular’ counterparts!
Korcula instead of Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik’s stock has never been higher, particularly as one of the locations for the hit show, Game of Thrones. While everyone should visit the ‘Jewel of the Adriatic’ at least once, you could end up battling crowds rather than fully enjoying the city. However, head 100km north along the Dalmatian coast and you’ll come to the island of Korcula and Korcula Old Town on the east coast is a veritable mini-Dubrovnik! It too is a walled settlement and most of the buildings have the same Venetian style, complete with red terracotta roofs. Aside from the amazing architecture, the island has beautiful beaches and a strong cultural heritage, as shown by the traditional 17th century Moreška sword dance. And it’s even claimed that this is the birthplace of noted Venetian merchant-traveller, Marco Polo!
Herculaneum instead of Pompeii, Italy
In 79CE Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on the European mainland, erupted and famously buried the ancient city of Pompeii under ashes and cinders, exposing its inhabitants to blasts of hot air reaching 250°C - hot enough to kill even those sheltering inside stone buildings. Like Pompeii, nearby Herculaneum was destroyed in the same eruption though, thanks to hotter material falling there, the town has been better preserved with numerous intact frescoes, mosaics and two-storey buildings really adding the sense of being in an ancient town - Pompeii has very few buildings that are still in good shape. As it’s much smaller than its more famous neighbour, it’s relatively easy to cover it in half a day with a fraction of the crowds!
Waimea Canyon instead of the Grand Canyon, USA
Visiting the Grand Canyon is probably quite high on many people’s wish list but head further west to Hawaii and you’ll find Waimea Canyon, also known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’! Located on the western side of the island of Kaua'i, Waimea offers a striking alternative to Arizona’s popular attraction. The canyon was formed by the usual river erosion in combination with the collapse of a volcano. At 16km long, 900m deep and 1.6km at its widest point it’s somewhat smaller than its namesake but it could be argued that Waimea Canyon rivals its beauty with land colours in deep reds, greens and browns, each created by different volcanic flows over the centuries. Plus when you’re done there, it’s a lot closer to the beach!
Bagan, Myanmar, instead of Angkor, Cambodia
Cambodia’s temple city of Angkor is its most visited, most famous and highest earning tourist attraction, even being depicted on the national flag! But this fame has resulted in crowds of both tourists and local children constantly trying to sell you anything from coconuts to postcards. Over in Myanmar (Burma), Bagan was the capital of the Pagan kingdom, constructed around the same period as Angkor (9th to 13th centuries) and its height it boasted 10,000 Buddhist temples, stupa (pagodas) and monasteries. The number remaining today is estimated to be between 4,400 and 2,000, mostly lying in a single flat plain. Due to recent events, it attracts a far smaller percentage of visitors than Angkor giving ample opportunity for some solitude whilst watching the sun rise or set over this stunning landscape!
Avebury instead of Stonehenge, UK
Closer to home, on a 780sq km chalk plateau in southern England sits one of the best known landmarks, Stonehenge – a prehistoric monument that’s an important site for modern Pagan and New Age worship as well as tourists from around the world. While the tour buses make a beeline for Stonehenge, 40km to the north lies the largest stone circle in Europe. Though it lacks the huge stones and dramatic trilithons of its sister site, Avebury in Wiltshire is arguably a much more rewarding place to visit for its sheer scale; the henge is about 430m across. Built around 2,800BCE, the massive monument circles the town, crossing roads and farmland. It’s bigger, older and much quieter than its counterpart and you can wander in amongst the stones and actually touch them, which you can’t presently do at Stonehenge!
Wherever your travels take you and whichever city you are fortunate enough to visit, we at
Flexicover are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away. Safe travels!