Alternative travel locations within
a stone's throw
Who doesn’t like to fantasize about all the places that you want to visit? I don’t presume to be the only one that has a long bucket list full of destinations all over the world that I want to visit. Social media, movies and TV-shows daily remind me that there are so many beautiful spots all over the world. Preferably, I would pack my bags today and visit them all. Unfortunately, I am constrained by the fact that I can’t leave my daily life that easily and that it would cost a lot of money to travel around the world. But besides this, I know that traveling does not only cause for a lot of enjoyment for me. Flying around the world has a direct impact on the increasing CO2 emissions that cause for air pollution and climate change. Therefore, it can contribute to the health of our planet that we start thinking differently about tourism. In this article, I will introduce some alternative destinations for people in Europe, that replace faraway tourist attractions and I hope to inspire you to visit them.
Often the favorite attractions for tourists are in coastal areas. Not only does the coast offer beaches on where one can relax, it can also offer cliffs that provide for spectacular views and coastal walks. Where Asia or the Caribbean are known for their bountiful islands with iconic white sand beaches and the bluest and clearest seas, one does not have to travel all this way to find them. A little closer to home, around the Mediterranean area are a lot of sights with beautiful beaches as well. Think of places such as Greek Islands or the Croatian coast to visit. Also, don’t forget that we have an enormous coastal line in the Netherlands as well. It is also not necessary to travel all the way to Australia to find beautiful cliffs, such as one can find them on the Great Ocean Road. Not only can you find such cliffs around the Southern coast of Portugal, but they are also to find at the coast of Bretagne in France or along the Southern coastline of the UK. For example, you can walk along the beautiful South West Coast Path in the UK, where you can appreciate the beauty of them. I had the pleasure to walk a really small part of this path and I can’t wait to see more of it one day.
Another highlight for some travelers are mountain landscape. Where there are lots of beautiful mountain landscapes all over the world, which include the Rocky Mountains, the Andes, the Himalaya, and many more, it cannot hurt to take a look at the mountain landscape that are nearby. The Alps, for example, offer a great alternative, with lots of possibilities for hikes or winter sports. Also, as they are spread over multiple countries, amongst others France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy, visiting the Alps offers many different experiences. When you think about visiting the Alps, remember that these area also offers lots of eco-accommodations.
Other attractive sights for tourists include desert landscapes, which are mostly widespread and guarantee spectacular views. Traditionally, one would think of the Sahara desert in Africa, although one can find similar landscapes a little closer to home. Although it is not an official desert, in the Southeast of Spain lays Europe’s only desert; the Tabernas Desert. Additionally, I wouldn’t say that it is comparable, but in the Netherlands as well there are lots of places that have the characteristics of the widespread sand areas. Not only in the dunes around the Noordzee coast or the Waddeneilanden, but also in National Park de Hoge Veluwe or in de Utrechtse Heuvelrug.
Not only nature, but culture can be a main attraction for tourists as well. While these culture difference might be bigger when travelling to faraway places, don’t forget that Europe offers different cultures in all countries. For example, the Greek culture a rich history that can be observed in the cities of Athens, Olympia or Delphi. The same goes for Italy, where cities in the North have played a big role in the Renaissance. Venice, Florence, Milan and many more have been of great importance in early modern trade routes between the East and the West and therefore still show signs of this past through architecture and arts.
All in all, the world has so much to offer and it is inevitable that your bucket lists keeps growing and growing. I just want to encourage you to not forget that you don’t have to go far to see new landscapes, enjoy new things and discover new cultures. And that by staying closer to home, you reduce travel’s environmental impact as well.