In an attempt to reduce the strain on over-saturated tourist destinations, new research from Booking.com has found that 51% of people would swap where they are travelling to for a lesser-known alternative in order to protect the environment.
According to Booking.com, London, Paris, Barcelona, Bangkok and Amsterdam were the top five booked destinations between 2018 and 2019. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together five ‘second city’ alternatives for those looking for a more sustainable trip away from the mainstream. Here are five, quieter ‘second city’ alternatives that have just as much to offer as their busy cousins.
England: Swap London for Manchester
Findings suggest that London was the most booked travel destination between 2018 and 2019. To ease the pressure, ditch the crowds and retreat to Manchester where there is still plenty to see and do. Take a day out and relax at Heaton Park – where there is fun to be had for the whole family. While the adults enjoy a round of golf, the kids can run wild with farm animals to see and play areas to explore. Head back into the city to visit what was once the Urbis Building, full of intrinsic wonders and now the National Football Museum.
Stay at Motel One Manchester - Royal Exchange in the heart of Manchester, close to both Piccadilly and Victoria stations. The modern sophisticated facilities and affordable prices will work for any budget.
France: Swap Paris for Cannes
Take to the South of France to experience all the beauty of the French Riviera, contrasting as a peaceful paradise from hotspot Paris. Instead, catch the glamourous resort town of Cannes famous for its international film festival. Walk the gorgeous Boulevard de la Croisette separating the beach from high-end fashion boutiques, infamous for the elite to parade.
Lay poolside at your leisure in Hotel Cannes Montfleury, propped up on a quiet serene hilltop. The scenery, sunshine and promenades are a key part of what will draw you into staying here, alongside a restaurant, two bars, and spa on location.
Spain: Swap Barcelona for Seville
Break out your dancing shoes in Seville, a city overflowing with just as much culture and heritage as Barcelona. Seville will be sure to seduce you. Learn the traditional flamenco dance and immerse yourself deep into Southern Spain. If you have two left feet, then check out the glorious archways and 14th century treasures at the Real Alcázar. Game of Thrones fanatics will recognise the Alcázar, as it is the setting of the beautiful kingdom of Dorne.
Live it up in luxury and book Hotel Sevilla, just a short stop away from the Seville Cathedral and Fine Arts Museum. The bright and cheery atmosphere inside accompanies a simple and modern décor providing you with a comfortable stay.
Thailand: Swap Bangkok for Chiang Mai
Swap Bangkok for the peaceful serenity of Chiang Mai. With hilltop mountain temples to climb and evergreen forests to trek, there is plenty to do in Thailand’s largest Northern city. Venture to the sacred sights of the Doi Suthep Kingdom, and then pop down the hill to the colourful Bhubing Palace rose garden which is there to be enjoyed all year round. If adventuring is not your thing, you can relax instead with an authentic Thai massage.
Tucked away for a proper retreat, Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort is not to be passed up. It is one of the top picks to stay in Chiang Mai, where guests can enjoy a classic boutique-style stay. This mesmerising spot offers nourishing organic and vegetarian options as well as a detox cleanse bar, to help you fully transform your health on holiday.
The Netherlands: Swap Amsterdam for Rotterdam
Visit Rotterdam which is only an hour away from the well-known tourist destination of Amsterdam. Cross the iconic Erasmus bridge also called ‘the swan’, connecting the northern and southern areas and treat yourself to canal-side shopping in the city. Visit the funky yellow Cube Houses for something different, contemporary houses that will jazz up any sight-seeing itinerary.
Nestled under the Erasmus bridge, Hotel Santa Maria provides a cute and cosy place to rest. The location is handy to get to the sights nearby and see the city by boat, with Spido Harbourtrips only 300 metres away.