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10 Destination Dupes That Rival Popular Hotspots—Without the Crowds and Expense

10 Destination Dupes That Rival Popular Hotspots—Without the Crowds and Expense

With the world steadily recovering from the pandemic, luxury travel is experiencing a significant resurgence. According to the UN Tourism Organization, international tourist arrivals reached 97% of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2024, with more than 285 million tourists traveling internationally between January and March. This marks a 20% increase from the same period in 2023.

This summer, millions are planning to embark on their long-awaited vacations. However, more than 60% of today's travelers seek to avoid crowded hotspots and manage expenses better due to ongoing economic challenges, reveals a survey by This has given rise to the trend of travel swaps, also known as destination dupes—alternative locations that offer similar experiences to popular, often crowded and expensive, hotspots.

Here are 10 destination dupes offering the same charm and beauty as their famous counterparts. Each was carefully selected by the Go-Be team through extensive research and trends analysis, considering factors such as cost, crowd levels, and unique attractions:

1. Santorini vs. Paros, Greece

  • While Santorini is renowned for its stunning sunsets and iconic white-washed buildings, it is often overwhelmed by tourists and has become overly commercialized.
  • Paros offers similar picturesque views and beautiful sunsets but with fewer crowds and more affordable accommodations. Visitors can enjoy charming villages, sandy beaches, and vibrant nightlife while experiencing a more traditional Greek lifestyle.

2. Barcelona vs. Valencia, Spain

  • Barcelona is famous for its cultural attractions, including Gaudí’s architectural masterpieces and vibrant street life, but it faces significant tourist congestion and pickpocketing.
  • Valencia provides a more relaxed alternative with beautiful beaches, a historic old town, and modern attractions like the City of Arts and Sciences. Known for its culinary scene, including the birthplace of paella, it is generally less crowded and more budget friendly.

3. Italian Lakes, Italy vs. Lake District, UK

  • The Italian Lakes, especially Lake Como, attract tourists with their scenic beauty but can be prohibitively expensive and crowded with celebrity seekers.
  • The Lake District in the UK offers similarly stunning landscapes with serene lakes, rolling hills, and charming villages. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering numerous hiking trails, water activities, and historical sites at a more affordable price point.

4. Dubrovnik, Croatia vs. Tirana, Albania

  • Dubrovnik has gained fame for its medieval architecture and coastal beauty but faces issues with overtourism, leading to inflated prices and a strain on local resources.
  • Tirana, Albania’s capital, offers a rich cultural experience with historical sites, a vibrant art scene, and close proximity to beautiful beaches and mountains. It’s a budget-friendly option that provides a unique and authentic travel experience without the congestion.

5. Mykonos vs. Naxos, Greece

  • Mykonos is known for its nightlife and upscale beach clubs but has become a hotspot for luxury tourism, making it less accessible for budget travelers.
  • Naxos offers beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, and a more laid-back atmosphere. It’s ideal for those looking to experience Greek island life without the high costs and crowds, providing a more serene and authentic environment.

6. Paris vs. Lyon, France

  • Paris is a top destination with iconic landmarks but faces challenges like congestion, pickpocketing, and long lines at attractions.
  • Lyon is renowned for its gastronomy, historical architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. It’s less crowded and offers a more authentic French experience, often at a lower cost. Lyon also boasts excellent museums, quaint old villages, and a thriving culinary scene.

7. Swiss Alps vs. Slovenian Alps

  • The Swiss Alps are famous for stunning scenery and ski resorts but can be very expensive and crowded during peak seasons.
  • The Slovenian Alps offer equally breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing at a fraction of the cost. The town of Bled, with its picturesque lake and castle, is a highlight, providing a serene and affordable alternative to bustling Swiss resorts.

8. Prague, Czech Republic vs. Gdansk, Poland

  • Prague is known for its beautiful architecture and rich history but can be overcrowded, especially during peak tourist season.
  • Gdansk is just as enchanting, offering old-town charm, a vibrant history, and a beautiful Baltic Sea coastline. It’s less crowded and more affordable, making it a great alternative for history and architecture enthusiasts.

9. Venice, Italy vs. Bruges, Belgium

  • Venice is famous for its canals and historic charm but faces severe overtourism, environmental concerns, and high prices.
  • The less-crowded Bruges offers a similar picturesque experience in a more relaxed atmosphere with beautiful canals, charming streets, and well-preserved medieval architecture.

10. New Zealand vs. Tasmania, Australia

  • New Zealand, renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and thriving culinary scene, has become increasingly popular during its peak tourist season.
  • Tasmania is an excellent alternative for outdoor adventure and wildlife exploration. This less-crowded paradise offers diverse natural beauty, including mountains, rainforests, and pristine beaches.

Best Ways to Navigate the Hotspots

If a popular hotspot is still on your bucket list, here are some great ways to explore these beautiful cities to enjoy a more fulfilling travel experience without the large crowds and expense:

  • Travel off-season: Shoulder seasons, the timespan between a location’s peak season and its off-season, often offer milder weather, fewer tourists, and lower prices. This period mostly falls in the spring and fall, but it varies by location.
  • Visit attractions early or late in the day: Peak crowd times usually run from 10 AM to 2 PM. Avoid them by visiting before or after these times.
  • Stay Longer in One Place: Instead of hopping from one crowded tourist spot to another, consider spending a half-day or longer in one location to explore it more thoroughly and at a relaxed pace.
  • Tap local resources: Engage with local tourism boards and travel blogs to discover lesser-known attractions and hidden gems.
  • Opt for guided tours: Small group or private tours can provide local insight, exclusive experiences, and access to off-the-beaten-path locations, helping you avoid stress and crowds.

At Go-Be, we want every traveler to lose their fear and enjoy the journey.
Go be a dreamer, an explorer.
Be a guide, a fun-lover.
Be yourself, be together.
Just Go-Be!

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