When planning your next summer holiday, it’s easy to go back to the same place year after year: recent reports have shown that Spain is still the most popular destination for Brits going abroad and there’s no shortage of low-cost flights, particularly from the likes of Ryanair, easyJet, Thomson and other budget airlines. But our recent research here at Skyscanner has highlighted some surprising holiday destinations over the past year. As searches increase, will these holiday destinations prove to be the most popular in 2012?
Over the past year, we noticed searches to Estonia increasing by a whopping 89.8 per cent. This can be ascribed to the capital, Tallinn, being named joint European City of Culture for 2011. As a former Soviet country, there are also several interesting things to see: including the Student Lock-up in Tartu where students were held in solitary confinement from simple infractions such as refusing to return library books.
Outdoor activities abound, with gorgeous national parks, cross-country skiing, and even secret coves along the coastline favoured by skinny-dippers. If you’re looking for a place to stay, Haapsalu on the west coast is Estonia’s oldest seaside resort town and has lots of pretty wooden buildings to admire.
Cape Verde Islands
The Canary Islands are old news: savvy travellers are heading to the Cape Verde islands to get their dose of African sunshine. Before the Portuguese discovered the islands in 1462, they were uninhabited. There are nine islands to choose from: although only two airports, it’s easy enough to reach the others. Each island has its own culture: in the bustling markets of Santiago, the jumping nightlife of Sao Vicente, and the tranquillity of Boa Vista, there’s something for everyone.
You can’t get much further from a traditional holiday than a visit to Russia, but 10 per cent of Skyscanner poll respondents were very enthusiastic stating “we can’t wait to explore this exciting destination!”. With the 2018 World Cup set to take place in Russia, tourism is expected to flourish. In order to get a visa you first need an invitation from a resident (or hotel owner) and then you’re good to go. See you in Red Square.
As a co-host city for the Euro 2012 football championships, Ukraine has seen a real boost in tourism numbers. Ghouls will be sad to discover that the famous day trips to Chernobyl and Pripyat have been suspended, but there is far more to Ukraine than that. There are cathedrals, monuments, monasteries, and very good vodka, too. Ukraine still holds to its “old country” culture: wedding’s last for three days and people wear national dress on the street.
Vietnam Airlines now flies from London Gatwick directly to Ho Chi Minh City, reducing travel time for Brits by up to seven hours. Vietnam has been growing in popularity in the past few years, and now is the time to go. The country is still fairly undiscovered, unlike Thailand, which has become quite touristic in recent years. It’s got a great safety record, and it’s also very cheap: on £1 meals you’ll soon offset the price of your flight. Don’t forget to take a boat trip around Ha Long Bay.
James writes for cheap flight specialists, Skyscanner.net.