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Four off the beaten track holiday gems

Overtourism is a growing problem. Sarah Marshall recommends alternatives to packed-out destinations

The Le Gard region

By Sarah Marshall

We all want to visit the places that everyone's talking about - that's human nature. But when numbers swell, destinations lose some of their lustre.

The solution lies in putting an alternative pin in the map and finding somewhere with similar attributes that's not as well known. After all, our planet is vast, so surely there are enough hidden corners for us all to explore?

Swap 1: El Nido for Bali

Bali has long been a staple for travellers looking for a getaway with a reasonable price tag. But if you've ever been to Indonesia's busiest island, you'll know how crazy it can get. For a similar getaway at a comparable price point (but without the crowds), consider El Nido on the Palawan islands in the Philippines, known for its gleaming beaches, radiant coral reefs and multiple dive sites.

Swap 2: Tbilisi for Zurich

Zurich, like much of Switzerland, is a city with high standards - and has a price-point to match. If you're looking for photogenic towns set among soaring peaks and idyllic mountains, consider Georgia, once part of the USSR. Today, it's capital Tbilisi is a buzzing blend of cafes, theatres, restaurants and nightclubs.

Swap 3: Le Gard for Provence

Bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, Provence has everything travellers dream of when planning a trip to the south-east of France. A two-and-a-half-hour drive east, the Le Gard region has equally impressive landscapes and fine dining, but unlike more popular haunts, you won't have to jostle for views or book months in advance for a table.

Swap 4: Paros for Santorini

A favourite with Instagrammers, Santorini is the supermodel of the Greek islands. Don't expect to win too much of her attention, however, because you'll probably find yourself at the back of a very long queue. If you're after something less high-maintenance but equally good looking, consider heading for Paros. Also in the Cyclades archipelago, the laid-back island has the same white cube houses and arresting sunsets.

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