As you idly scroll through your friends' holiday pictures on lnstagram, chances are that you'll spy the same few locations again and again. Taipei 101 in Taiwan? Check. Times Square in New York? Been there, done that. Big Ben in London? Third person to post it this month. If you don't want that clichéd holiday snap, it's time to explore somewhere off the beaten path. Here are eight unique alternatives to the usual getaway spots.
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Instead of: London
Sure, London has plenty of tourist attractions. It has great museums and hotspots such as Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square. But it also has a reputation for being grey, rainy and somewhat of a downer. If you want to check out what else England has to offer, head out of the city and towards the coast.
Head to: Newquay
It's alright if you haven't heard of Newquay. Not many people have, which is what makes it the perfect unique getaway. The seaside resort town has nine accessible sandy beaches scattered along its coast, and it attracts holiday-goers from all over England in the summer.
If you're the active sort, Newquay has plenty for you - you can try your hand at surfing, or trek along one of the many coastal routes.If you prefer something a little less active, fret not. Newquay has plenty of beachfront cafes that you can visit for a great cuppa.
Instead of: Paris
Ah, Paris. The perennial hotspot for tourists and lovers, and now an annoyingly catchy Chainsmokers song.
The French capital is home to iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Of course, anyone visiting France should definitely spend a few days here, taking in the sights. But after you've walked the Champ Élysées and shuffled past the Mona Lisa with a million other tourists, where can you go?
Head to: Bordeaux
No French meal is complete without a good wine pairing, and where better to sip wine than Bordeaux? The port city on the southwestern coast of France is the hub of the wine world. Visitors there can not only visit wineries, but also check out museums and exhibitions on the tipple.
Bordeaux is not just about wine; the city itself is worth a gander too. It has the second-highest number of preserved historical buildings of any city in France, just behind Paris, with the historical quarter making the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Instead of: Beijing
The Chinese capital is rich in history and culture, boasting attractions such as the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Tourists can also immerse themselves in Chinese culture, from a night at the Peking Opera, to visiting museums housing delicate, translucent porcelain. But if you find the megacity overwhelming, then look southwest.
Head to: Chongqing
While Beijing is largely built-up, Chongqing is a stone's throw away from some of the most sublime natural views in China. The scenic Three Gorges region is accessible from the city, and the city is also the launching point for many cruises up and down the famed Yangtze River.
If you are more of an animal lover, do make a stop at the Chongqing Zoo. Along with the usual hippos and monkeys, the zoo boasts a uniquely Chinese star attraction: Giant Pandas.
Instead of: Rome
All roads lead to Rome. That's probably the reason why 13.5 million tourists visited it in 2014. Rome is a city that mixes the modern and the ancient, with structures like the Vatican, Colosseum and Pantheon, rising from a grid of modern streets. But if you're not up for brushing shoulders with a multitude of visitors, head out of the capital to less well-trodden streets.
Head to: Bologna
Yes, Bologna is where Bolognese sauce comes from. The earliest documented Bolognese recipe was recorded in 18th century in lmola, a small town nearby, and until today, Bologna retains its reputation as one of the culinary hubs of Italy. But it isn't all minced meat and tomato sauce.
There are walking tours to taste the best of Bolognese cuisine, and you can book factory tours to see where Italian delicacies such as Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Modena balsamic vinegar, prosciutto and wine are made.Visitors to the northern Italian town can take a walk around its historic centre to view its many porticoes (porches), which are a distinctive feature of the city.
Instead of: Auckland
Built around two large harbours, the coastal city, nicknamed "City of Sails", boasts some spectacular views. Auckland is also a haven for sports fans, and if you're there at the right time, you may be lucky enough to catch a rugby or cricket match at the famed Eden Park.
Yet, that means it is also a haven for tourists and is one of the main centres of New Zealand's recent tourist explosion. In case you haven't heard, the country as a whole is attracting more tourists than it can handle right now. Hotels in Auckland are perpetually full, so much so, a stranded US tour group recently had to seek shelter in a Maori meeting house
Head to: Rotorua
Devil's Bath? Champagne Pool? These aren't the names of nasty cocktails, but geological formations in Rotorua.The town is one of the world's hotspots for geothermal activity, as a result of the Earth's crust there being particularly thin. The result is odd geological formations dotting the region, including steaming hot geysers and thermal mudpools.
Aside from geothermal wonders, Rotorua is also a centre for Maori culture. In Rotorua, you can visit living Maori villages and listen to tours by a local guide, as well as watch traditional cultural performances. A much better way of seeing Maori culture than relying on it to be a backup hotel.
Instead of: Barcelona
Barcelona is known for its architectural wonders, which can be a little...Gaudi. The famed architect once called Barcelona home, and his works are littered all over the city. But all these attractions come at a price -- last year, the city hosted an estimated 32 million tourists, far outnumbering its 1.6 million residents. The numbers have swelled to such an extent that Barcelona recently passed laws intended to curb tourism.
Head to: Palma
Balmy Palma has an excellent climate throughout the year, with temperatures averaging 18 deg C.Because of the resort city's proximity to the ocean, holidaymakers can indulge in a plethora of fresh seafood, such as fish and shrimp. Tourists can take a trip to the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, which can be accessible by rail or road for breathtaking views of the city.
Instead of: Siem Reap
Siem Reap is a great launch pad to explore the ruins of Angkor, an ancient city that flourished from the ninth to 15th century. The temples and lakes of the region are certainly a magnificent sight. But if waking up at 5am to catch the sunrise and then scampering over stones isn't quite your idea of a holiday, why not head somewhere a little more urban?
Head to: Phnom Penh
A trip to Phnom Penh will make you say Angkor....Wat? While Siem Reap is beautiful in its history, the Cambodian capital is abuzz with the fresh dynamism of a country opening itself up to the world.. Among the many things to do, you can immerse yourself in a history lesson at one the city's many museums, or visit the Royal Palace.
Those who want to do a spot of shopping can check out Phnom Penh's many markets for a bargain. These include the Central Market, Russian Market and the Night Market.
Instead of: Langkawi
Langkawi is the go-to destination in Malaysia for a spot of sun and surf. But the beach destination has become so touristy that dining and shopping options can be quite pricey, and the beaches so crowded that it's hard to get that perfect, tranquil lnsta shot.
Head to: Kuching
For nature of a different sort, try Kuching. The waterfront city in Sarawak is certainly a hub for animal lovers. Visitors who are lucky enough can get up close and personal with Orang Utans at the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, for that once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounter.
Visitors can also check out Kuching’s many caves, including the majestic Fairy Cave, and the bat-filled Wind Cave.
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