Do you have an unfulfilled travel wish? If yes, then you’re not alone. One-third of Brits are dreaming about visiting somewhere fabulous they’ve never been before. However, paradise might not be as far away as you think. Along with a little help from Inspires by Avis, you can uncover stunning secret spots hiding just around the corner from your favourite holiday resort.
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Trending travel destinations that are high on social media hashtags can make a safe bet. But we’re interested in the other end of the spectrum too. You may have heard of Alicante, but what about charming Castalla just down the road? You might be surprised at what you can find a couple of hours drive away from Europe’s top travel spots.
Inspires by Avis could be the key to unlocking your ultimate travel destination. So go on, be spontaneous and explore the world’s most wonderful nooks and crannies.
Next time you find yourself exploring the island of Mallorca, why not take a little detour to historic Alcúdia? Bursting with Balearic charm, this attractive town is tucked away on the north-east coast, just a couple of hours drive from bustling Palma. Encircled by impressive 14th century walls, inside you’ll find narrow streets dotted with boutiques and authentic restaurants. Go in search of the nearby Roman ruins or head to the shoreline, which is sprinkled with an assortment of secluded coves and a lovely 14-kilometre beach.
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Val d’Elsa, Italy
This lesser-known medieval city might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Tuscany. But pretty Val d’Elsa, poised on top of a hill, is well worth adding to your itinerary. Just a short drive from Pisa and Florence, it’s easy to slot into a Tuscan road trip. You can expect sensational views over the lush countryside as well as plenty to explore around the city, which is famous for its crystal glassware. Browse the contemporary shops or step back in time with a visit to a museum.
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Bucks County, USA
Philadelphia’s Bucks County is like a breath of fresh air. Hop in your car in Newark, and half an hour later you could find yourself in this rural region. The scenic route will take you past quaint countryside scenes of farms and traditional towns, such as New Hope. Quirky boutiques selling handmade goods and top-notch restaurants line the high street here. Take a tour on a traditional 1920s steam train or spend an afternoon at Giggleberry Fair for some family fun.
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Step outside the Belgian city of Charleroi and explore the Hainaut province’s green belt, just 10 kilometres away. Wedged between two rivers, you’ll find picturesque villages scattered around the area. Such as Landelies, with its pretty port and abandoned quarries that are a rock climber’s dream. The area is rich in history too, such as Aulne Abbey, dating back to 637 AD. Take a tour of this fascinating building before popping into the Abbey’s Val de Sambre Brewery next door for a taste of Belgian beer.
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A favourite summer getaway among Scandinavians, including the Swedish royals, this enchanting group of islands can be found just an hour’s drive from Gothenburg. With over 8,000 islands making up the rugged archipelago, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Pretty fishing villages are perched along the shorelines with brightly coloured red huts. Relax on a beach or reenergise yourself by hiking in the hills with dramatic views of fjords and forests. You can also find Sweden’s only marine national park here, so the pristine waters are teaming with unique sea life.
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The vibrant seaside town of Syracuse sits on the south-east coast of Sicily. Around two and a half hours from the island’s lively capital, Palermo, Syracuse is cloaked in culture and ancient history. Its magnificent 5th century BC Greek theatre still hosts performances during the summer months. Syracuse is also home to the world’s largest Roman amphitheatre, which is surrounded by fragrant citrus trees. Back in town, the winding medieval lanes will lead you to cafés and restaurants where you can tuck into delicious Italian dishes.
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If you’re looking for a delightful daytrip during your visit to Copenhagen, then the quaint town of Køge could be the answer. In less than an hour, you could be wandering around the historic town’s medieval squares and soaking up the atmosphere at the farmer’s market. Visit the oldest traditional half-timber house in Denmark, built in 1527, as well as other historical attractions. Then for something a little more modern, make your way to the contemporary shops and restaurants around the marina.
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This small town sits between must-see Australian attractions like Uluru (previously known as Ayers Rock) and Alice Springs. With only 185 inhabitants, Imaṉpa is home to various indigenous groups. It’s a fantastic place to escape the selfie sticks and discover Australia’s traditional aboriginal culture. This naturally beautiful region encompasses the Angas Downs Indigenous Protected Area, just off the Luritja Highway, where you’ll find unique plants and native wildlife. The huge 320,500-hectare reserve includes several sacred sites and stone carvings too.
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Perched on the edge of energetic Montreal, this laid-back suburban town offers a whole host of things to do and see. Pull on your hiking boots and follow the trails through forests and up hills at Gault Nature Reserve. Then relax and recuperate in the open-air pools and thermal baths at the Strøm Spa Nordique, with stunning views of the reserve in the distance. You can take your taste buds on an adventure too, with eateries offering fabulous French style cuisine and sweet treats like gourmet chocolate.
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Santa Eulària des Riu, Spain
Take some time out from Ibiza’s infamous party scene with a trip to tranquil Santa Eulària des Riu. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Ibiza Town, a 30-minute drive will transport you to this elegant seaside resort. Backed by a promenade lined with palm trees, this wide sandy beach offers you a slice of holiday heaven without the hashtags and hype. Meander over to the chic marina area filled with expensive yachts, explore the designer boutiques or enjoy a meal with gorgeous views over the glistening Mediterranean Sea.
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