July 17, 2024

Turkey instead of Saint Tropez? Destination dupes could help you avoid the crowds in 2024

Turkey instead of Saint Tropez? Destination dupes could help you avoid the crowds in 2024

You might not see iconic monuments or famed museums, but the experience promises to be more relaxing and surprising.


Travel experienced a boom in 2023, with visitor numbers in many hotspot destinations returning to pre-pandemic levels.

But while it may be a relief for the tourism industry, travellers are finding their favourite places overcrowded and overpriced.

This is where ‘destination dupes’ come in, which travel booking company Expedia lists in its predictions for 2024’s biggest travel trends.

What are destination dupes?

Scroll through TikTok and you’ll find hundreds of videos about ‘dupe’ recommendations – affordable alternatives to trendy, branded and often pricey products.

Applied to travel, these become destination dupes, where influencers or social media users suggest less crowded and less expensive alternatives to honeypot holiday spots.

You might not see iconic monuments or famed museums, but the experience promises to be more relaxing and surprising.

Plus, it can help out destinations like Dubrovnik or Venice, which are struggling to cope with overwhelming tourist numbers.

Girona is a destination dupe for Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain’s most visited city and authorities have been forced to curb party tourism and cruise passengers to reduce the impact on residents.

Instead of fighting the crowds, try opting for Girona, which is under an hour away by train from Barcelona in the Catalonia region.

The city has architectural riches for the history buff, like the imposing medieval walls, the labyrinthine Jewish Quarter and the majestic, pale stone cathedral.

If you’re there for the food, meals out are around 25 per cent cheaper in Girona than in Barcelona, according to cost comparison site Numbeo.

Bodrum is a destination dupe for Saint Tropez

If you’re looking for sea, sand and glam on a budget, think about heading to Turkey’s Turquoise Coast instead of France’s Cote d’Azur.

The coastline of the Bodrum peninsula is lined with resorts with direct access to the limpid water.

Wander into the town centre and you’ll find the high life at the Yacht Club and mouth-watering Turkish mezes at the always-crowded Gemibaşı restaurant.

You can splash out on a big-name hotel here, but there is also plenty of more reasonable accommodation, and boat trips and seaplanes are more wallet-friendly than on the French coastline.

Treviso is a destination dupe for Venice

There’s no Bridge of Sighs in Treviso, but there are attractive rivers lined with historic palaces and leafy weeping willows.

The city is under half an hour from Venice by train or car and there’s an airport just outside it.

Instead of battling crowds in the lagoon city, enjoy Treviso’s elegant arcades and buildings replete with battlements at leisure.


Wine lovers will appreciate the proximity to the vine-carpeted hills where the top-quality Conegliano-Valdobbiadene prosecco is produced.

Procida is a destination dupe for Capri

The island of Capri off Italy’s Amalfi Coast has long welcomed the glitterati to its chic hotels and upmarket boutiques.

But for a significantly more affordable holiday that’s a bit more down to earth, head to the island of Procida off the coast of Naples.

Italy-based journalist and blogger Isobel Lee, who posts under the name Testaccina, shared the dupe on TikTok.

She calls the island of pastel-coloured fishermen’s houses “affordable and less busy”, with a three-hour private boat tour costing just €30 and a five-hour nighttime kayak excursion for €50.


Puglia is a destination dupe for Santorini

If Santorini’s nightly sunset battle for the best photo spot between selfie-stick-wielding influencers is not for you, consider Puglia in southern Italy instead.

The region of around 800 kilometres of coastline has dreamy beaches and dramatic cliffs just like the Greek island. 

It also has its own version of Santorini’s iconic white houses. Puglia’s idiosyncratic trulli are circular buildings with conical roofs that received UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996.