Overtourism – it’s the hottest buzzword in the travel industry this year. With the boost in income, the rise in cheap flights, the increase in Airbnb-style accommodation and social media highlighting hot destinations, visitors are swooping on certain cities in their droves. But as the tourism boards attempt to disperse the crowds and travellers seek a moment of solace it has also seen a rise in ‘second cities’. The cities that may have previously been overshadowed by their more famous compatriot are now stepping into the spotlight….
Swap Bangkok for Chiang Mai
Bangkok is loved for its glittering temples, mouthwatering street food and picturesque klongs, but if you wish to leave the crowds behind, visit the historic city of Chiang Mai. With Chiang Mai you can still visit temples, enjoy unique Thai dishes and the lush countryside. Leave your luggage at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort set on the Mae Ping River. Then spend the day touring temples with the Tuk Tuk Club, and the night at the Night Bazaar enjoying spicy Chiang Mai noodles.
Swap Rome for Matera
Rome may have the Sistine Chapel and Trevi Fountains, but it’s the hillside city of Matera that’s been crowned the European city of Culture for 2019. Famed for its Sassi (cave dwellings), some of these rock hewn homes are now the Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita hotel, which means that you can forget about joining a queue to see an ancient building, and sleep in one. But try and tear yourself away from your suite and visit one of the city’s six Michelin-starred restaurants or enjoy one of the theatrical performances for the festival.
Swap Paris for Bordeaux
Paris is always a good idea. But if you want a French experience without the crowds, catch the new high-speed train from the capital to the wine region. Bordeaux has really embraced the slow life. You can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage through the vineyards, visit some of the world’s finest galleries and dine at one of its Michelin-starred restaurants. You can also visit the new Cite du Vin, an $83-million dollar museum for oenophiles. Need to get some shut-eye? Book into the new Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey La Lique hotel set in a vineyard.
Swap Kyoto for Osaka
Kyoto is famed for countless temples, quaint streets and being rich in history, but Osaka, can wow visitors too. Within Osaka, you’ll also find the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan, the Shitennoji Temple, and Osaka Castle. As Osaka is famed for food it would be wrong not to visit a restaurant or two. Try Setsugetsuka Hanare, which serves up rich Kobe beef and silky foie gras. If you book into the new Conrad Osaka, you can do some sightseeing from your hotel suite as the hotel offers panoramic views of the city.
Swap Sydney for Perth
Sydney may have the Rocks and Bondi, but Perth has Rottnest Island and Maylands, named one of Australia’s coolest suburbs. This coastal city comes with acres of pristine beaches, artisanal coffee shops and glamorous hotels. No surprise it was named by the New York Times as one of the places to visit in 2019. Leave your luggage at COMO The Treasury, then catch a ferry to Rottnest Island, home of those cuddly quokkas. You can also visit the lively Freemantle markets for baked muffles and pillowy baos.
Contacts for subs
Anantara Chiang Mai - https://www.anantara.com/en/chiang-mai
The Tuk Tuk Club - https://www.thetuktukclub.com/
Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita - http://www.sextantio.it/
Ego - https://egogourmet.it/
Les Sources De Caudalie - https://www.sources-caudalie.com/en/vinotherapie-spa/
Le Quatrième Mur - https://www.quatrieme-mur.com/en/
La Cite Du Vin - https://www.laciteduvin.com/fr
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey La Lique - https://www.lafauriepeyragueylalique.com/en/
Setsugetsuka Hanare http://kobe-setsugetsuka.com/hanare
MariCar Osaka - https://maricar.com/en/osaka.html
COMO The Treasury - https://www.comohotels.com/en/thetreasury