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With 2013 here already, you may be starting to think about booking your next holiday. Instead of booking a trip to your usual destination, why not explore somewhere different? Guaranteed to deliver all of your favourite elements but with a different twist, we’ve selected three alternative destinations that you should definitely consider for 2013!

Sagres, Portugal

Instead of Albufeira or Quinta do Lago, try Sagres.

On the furthest tip of the stunning Algarve coast around 90 minutes west of Faro Airport, you will discover a little slice of heaven. Because it’s that little further to travel than say Portimao, most tourists don’t choose it as their base but in Sagres you will find a much quieter town. Blissfully free of crowds with all the beauty, wonderful weather and gorgeous beaches for which the Algarve is famed. As one of the most historic towns in the region, Sagres has plenty going for it and is relatively untouched by mass tourism, making it ideal for those looking for an authentic taste of Portugal. Those who enjoy fishing and surfing will be in their element thanks to the powerful Atlantic waves to the west, although if you’re looking to go swimming, don’t worry, as there are plenty of sheltered coves to enjoy too. The picture perfect harbour is the ideal setting for a relaxing afternoon in the sunshine, Cape St Vincent boasts breathtaking views and with many bistros and of course blinding beaches, all of which you don’t really have to share; it doesn’t get much better!

Santander, Spain

Instead of Murcia or Gibraltar, try Santander as an alternative destination.

As with much of Spain’s extensive coastline, Santander boasts white sandy beaches and sparkling seas, but it is located on the north coast so it’s often overshadowed by the likes of Alicante and Malaga. This northern coastal city is just as easy to reach with a typical flight time of just 2 hours, it offers an idyllic, Spanish escape without the swarms of people you may have to battle with elsewhere. The historic centre is compact but all the more easy to navigate with a friendly atmosphere! Explore the high concentration of museums as well as historic buildings and places of interest for some all-important bursts of culture. There are no less than 10 parks within the city limits, meaning a quiet place to relax is never far away! Your choice of beaches is overwhelming, all of which are safe and clean and the perfect setting to enjoy the glowing Spanish sun. To the east, the gastronomic delights of San Sebastian are easily visited, whilst to the west the historical delights of Oviedo city are just 2 hours away. Base yourself in beautiful Santander and uncover northern Spain for a change!

Bari, Italy

Instead of Rome or Venice, try Bari!

With deliciously moreish cuisine, fascinating cities and genuinely stunning countryside, Italy boasts a little of everything from the mountainous north to the beautiful southern coast. It’s incredibly popular for city breaks to places like Milan and Pisa but instead of visiting the classic locations, why not visit a city like Bari in 2013! On the Adriatic coast, Bari is known for its ferry connections to neighbouring destinations, meaning a high portion of visitors completely forget about the delights of Bari itself! It is most certainly worth a visit however; the well-preserved Old Town makes for a fascinating setting with many old churches such as Basilica of Saint Nicholas, with its stunning gold ceiling, as well as a multitude of museums and other historic sites. Bari itself boasts one beach but there are several more up and down the coast on which to bask in the Italian sunshine! Enjoy the best of both worlds on a holiday to Bari!

Are you thinking about your next holiday yet? Would you visit any of these destinations? Be the first to share your thoughts using the comment box below.

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