Ditch The Maldives for Seychelles
We won’t deny we love The Maldvies and its calm azure water (not to mention it’s doable for a long weekend trip) but The Seychelles takes world class beaches to a whole different level. Picture this: powder white sand, dramatic granite rocks, rich underwater life (you’ll swim with turtles while waist deep in water), and no selfie-stick waving tourists. There are 115 islands to explore but Mahe, Praslin and La Digue are the most popular to hop between.
For the ultimate island getaway though, make tracks to The Four Seasons Desroches (35 minutes flight from Mahe) housed on its own island with 14 kilometers of white sand beach and where all 71 barefoot chic lodges come with its own private plunge pool – so packing a bikini is optional.
Photos: Dusan Eremic and Four Seasons
Ditch Tokyo for Kanazawa
Japan is always pleasure but when the usual Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka trail has done for the ‘gram to death, it’s time to seek out new spots. Situated off the shinkansen track, it’s a favourite of the Japanese, and no wonder. The city of Kanazawa takes its reputation for fine art, culture and cuisine very seriously. And as the best-preserved major Edo-period city in the country, its preservation of the arts is everywhere: from decorated screen doors using techniques normally reserved for Kaga Yuzen (the famous kimono style originated here) to the 700-year-old Daijoji Temple – a local favourite for meditation and reflection – and the Kenroku-en Garden, a beautiful example of a Japanese strolling garden. Then there’s the Kogei Festival in October and November where local craftspeople, chefs, tea masters, and academics collaborate to present culinary experiences that’s nothing short of mindblowing.
Ditch Santorini for Crete
Admit it, every summer someone will post a selfie with Santorini’s gleaming white cave houses in the background and you’ll think: “I have to go”. Don’t. The island, while beautiful, is a social media trap. To get an authentic feel of Greece, head to its largest island, Crete. From the jaw-dropping, rugged Balos beach where the Aegean, Ionian and Libyan sea meet, to the pink-sand Elafonisi beach with crystal clear water (the latter is easier to get to), the charming Venetian harbour town of Chania, to hiking the Samaria Gorge where remnants of Byzantine churches remain, this low-key island offers a taste of the good life for all budgets.
Photos: Dusan Eremic
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Ditch Italy for Portugal
2017 was the year everyone and their fiancee made it to Capri and Positano. Avoid the followers retracing the preset ‘grams and make tracks to Portugal, specifically the nine islands of Azores. Picked out by Airbnb as a #notyettrending destination, this not so secret island just got a lot easier to get to thanks to RyanAir and EasyJet introducing flights. Why go? Because nowhere else is quite like it: from Pico’s lava ground vineyards to Sao Miguel’s volcanic beauty, the Williamburg-esque vibe of Ponta Delgada, not to mention the numerous waterfalls and adventure hiking routes, plus year-round dolphin and whale-spotting opportunities. Best of all, they’re hell-bent on sustainable tourism initiatives, making your custom a relatively guilt-free one.
Ditch Dubrovnik for Belgrade
Game of Thrones fans may swear allegiance to Croatia’s Dubrovnik (aka Kings Landing) but ignoring its nearby neighbour Belgrade would be a mistake. While no walk of shame has been filmed at the Belgrade Fortress (also known as Kalemegdan), it’s no less impressive or picturesque. Situated on a 25-metre-high cliff with a view of both the River Sava and Danube, it dates back to 535 AD. While you’re there, explore the surrounding park – make sure to navigate to the cliff-like ridge that overlooks the Great War Island – and seek out Ivan Meštrović’s bronzed The Victor and look into the beautiful Saint Petka Church built over an ancient cave church. Don’t leave without taking a drink of its ‘miracle’ water for good health.
Photos: D.Bosnic and Charlene Fang
This article was first published on Female.
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