Did you know more than 799,916 cruisers visited the UNESCO World Heritage site of Dubrovnik in 2016? Or that 18m people visited Paris, outnumbering the number of locals by 704 percent.

Popular European cities are literally being swarmed by tourists every year, and although its a great thing for the local economy, it’s not so fair on the locals who’s lives are disrupted by the peak-rush.

Hoping to take the pressure off mainstream destinations and ease the growing anti-tourist sentiment in Europe, Intrepid is encouraging its guests to visit less frequented cities in 2018 with just as much beauty and sites to offer but without the crowds.

The inaugural list of ‘Not Hot Travel’ went live today – coincidentally (not so much) on World Tourism Day – alongside the brand’s newest Europe brochure.

According to Intrepid’s Chief Executive, James Thornton, the list will help travellers escape the masses by discovering less frequently visited locations.

“Overtourism has become a real issue in many of the world’s most beautiful cities and it’s impacting the experience for locals and for travellers, so in 2018 we’re encouraging travellers to consider the alternatives, and look beyond the typical destinations.”

James Thornton, Intrepid Travel Chief Executive

So what are these ‘Not Hot’ spots to consider?

 

North Cyprus

Intrepid Travel Cyprus

Instead of Croatia, bask in the warm hospitality, hunt for castles and monasteries and swim off the shimmering northern coastline of Cyprus.

Intrepid Travel’s first Cyprus tour is an eight-day itinerary taking in castles and monasteries, idyllic swimming spots, the Tree of Idleness, traditional bread and cheese making and the chance to stay in a traditional Cyprus village where residents are preserving local culture and heritage.

 

Calabria & Sicily

Image: Liam Neal

Image: Liam Neal

Instead of Venice, discover Italy’s vibrant south, a hidden gem starring dramatic cliffside villages, clear waters and delicious seafood.

A 15-day tour from the Amalfi Coast to Palermo combines the best of Calabria and Sicily with the chance to meet an anti-mafia movement in Palermo and immerse in the culinary delights of Calabria while it still has relatively low tourist numbers.

 

Portugal & Azores

Intrepid Image: Lili Popper/Unsplash

Image: Lili Popper/Unsplash

Instead of Spain, experience the food and wine culture of Portugal, or go Island hopping and hike around Sao Jorge or Faial Islands in the Azores.

A 10-day tour offers the chance to discover a new side to ancient Portugal, island-hopping from mainland Lisbon and ending in Sao Miguel with the rolling blue hydrangeas of Faial, the steep cliffs of Sao Jorge and the vineyards of Pico in between.

 

Finland

Intrepid Finland

Image: Kay How Kee

Instead of Iceland, explore Finnish Lapland in winter, home of the indigenous Sami people, it’s a magical Arctic wonderland of pristine peaks and snow-dusted woodlands.

From the docks of Helsinki to mountainous Yllastunturi and Santa’s workshop in Rovaniemi, an eight-day tour of Lapland includes hiking through Finland’s spectacular taigas, getting cosy with the locals over a glass of salmari and experiencing the rush of a real dog-sled.

 

Moldova

Intrepid Moldova

Instead of Tuscany, enjoy the largest quality wine collection in the world without the crowds.

A 13-day tour takes in the best of Romania’s remote Danube Delta, the Ukraine’s atmospheric abandoned Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and highlights of Moldova from a breakaway strip of land called Gagauzia to a guided wine tour of Mileștii Mici which sits on top of the world’s largest wine cellar, and Transnistria.

 

Tatra Mountains, Slovakia

Intrepid Image: Kanika Mediratta

Image: Kanika Mediratta

Instead of the Alps, combine a traditional sleigh ride, village visits and traditional cooking in this winter wonderland.

An eight-day winter itinerary featuring the Tatra Mountains combines beautiful scenery, local culture and food activities such as a traditional sleigh ride in Zakopane, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Jasna, a Zalipie village visit and cooking class in Krakow.

The new Europe brochure offers unique itineraries from Finland to Spain, Central Europe to Morocco and incorporates Intrepid’s first trip to Cyprus.

Click here for more information.

READ: Anti-tourism is an issue for Travel Agent & the industry

READ: From touring to cruising, Intrepid plans to build a ship

Which of the ‘Not Hot’ spots would you like to visit?