Travel experts reveal 2023's most underrated holiday destinations
Cheaper... and potentially better!
If you're in holiday hunting mode, then look no further. The travel experts at Time Out Magazine have put together a list of hidden gems, under-appreciated spots, a group of locations you might not have thought of, but are definitely cheaper and potentially even better than the destinations you had in mind. Starting with...
1. Swap the increasingly popular coast of Croatia for the Albania Riviera
If you’re looking to skip the crowds and save money, Time Out's travel team recommends Dhërmi, a small town on the Albania riviera and set to become a new festival hotspot. James Manning comments; "Albania is drawing increasing numbers of summer visitors from across Europe - hot on the heels of neighbouring Montenegro, it’s very much the new hotspot to discover in 2023. It’s also worth visiting in winter to check out the smaller mountain towns, which have some great winter sports at a fraction of the prices you’ll find elsewhere in Europe."
Albania vs. Croatia savings: as much as 60% on the cost of a meal. There are also savings to be made of up to 77% on the cost of a local beer.
2. The Amalfi Coast is undoubtedly stunning but so is the lesser-known Pontine Coast south of Rome
Choosing a less-visited coastline rather than the ever-popular classics can help save money and also have a more relaxed and exclusive experience. James says: "The Pontine Coast is where Italians go, but it’s hardly known outside of the country. You’re much less likely to be sharing the beaches with tourists, and the villages and towns feel like they’re from a different era. It’s a slice of properly authentic Italy – without the inflated prices you’ll find in the tourist hotspots."
Pontine vs Amalfi Coast savings: The cost of a local meal can be as much as 50% less.
3. For a city break, pick the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo instead of Amsterdam
James explains the joy of choosing a lesser-known city break in eastern Europe: "Amsterdam nearly always features among the top ten most visited cities in the world. But Sarajevo never does. The cost of eating and drinking there is amongst some of the lowest you will find in Europe, giving you the option to eat in higher-end restaurants and still save money. And it’s a stunning city with incredible scenery, a genuinely unique culture and a welcoming energy."
Sarajevo vs Amsterdam savings: A meal in Sarajevo is as much as 68% cheaper and a local beer costs as much as 60% less.
4. While in Barcelona, make sure you hop over to Girona for the day
James Manning explains the benefits of travelling to the ancient city of Girona while visiting Barcelona: "Barcelona is a fantastic place which continues to attract many visitors. So while there for a few days, why not hop over to Girona for a day. It is less than an hour away by train and has incredible mediaeval streets and a vibey-yet-affordable food scene - plus the satisfaction of visiting somewhere that’s still off the mainstream tourist map."
Girona vs Barcelona savings: a three course meal can be as much as 17% cheaper and local beer as much as 25% cheaper.
5. Try out Guadalajara, Mexico’s second city, which is cheaper than Mexico City but just as cool
James Manning explains why Guadalajara should feature in your travel plans this year: "Mexico City may be cheaper to visit than some cities, but it’s still a national capital, and as such its eating and drinking costs are some of the highest in the country. Head over to Jalisco state instead to discover Mexico’s second city, Guadalajara - it has an increasingly exciting arts scene, great food and some of the best nightlife in the country. The Colonia Americana area was named Time Out’s coolest neighbourhood in the world in October, so 2023 is a great time to visit this up-and-coming cultural hub."
Guadalajara vs Mexico City savings: a three-course meal can be as much as 23% cheaper and a local beer as much as 30% cheaper.
6. People will always love Paris, but should also start a love affair with Marseille
James explains why Marseille has more to offer than blue waters: "There’s a reason why Marseille is on so many lists of must-visit places in 2023. You get a city and a beach break all in one, with historic streets, incredible multicultural food (featuring some of the freshest fish around), an incredibly cool arts scene, and boat trips and Calanque hikes on your doorstep. And the Mediterranean weather is a definite bonus."
Marseilles vs Paris savings: The real savings are on drinks, with a local beer and a coffee costing, on average 29% less. Restaurant prices are 7% lower.
You can check out Time Out's full list of 2023 money-saving travel recommendations right here.