I recently listened to an influencer podcast that was highlighting how Instagram has made a handful of travel destinations overly-popular in recent years. Our feeds have become infiltrated with the same photos of Positano, Tulum, Palm Springs and countless other destinations.
Don't get me wrong... I love a lot of these places. Some of them you absolutely should see and there is a reason they've become so popular! But it got me thinking... are these the only places a lot of people are planning travel to? The ones that are "Insta-famous"?
If that's the case, consider this my humble attempt to put drop in the bucket and point us toward a better way forward... one that involves a greater curiosity for the world and a sense of discovery (beyond your Instagram explore page). If you too have found yourself lusting over these type of destinations, here are some other wonderful places I'd argue you should consider that aren't overly-infiltrated with tourists or "grammers" seeking out the same exact shot.
INSTEAD OF POSITANO... CONSIDER MADEIRA, PORTUGAL
In a sparkling sea of deep cobalt blue just off the northwest coast of Africa, you'll find Madeira: a rugged island with mountains soaring straight out of the water. If you don't already know its country of origin, based on its geographic positioning you'd likely guess Morocco. But this tiny island is Portuguese through and through. Known for its famous namesake wine and warm, subtropic climate, Madeira is a little slice of heaven that you won't want to miss.
Similar to Positano, Madeira offers a stunning, rugged, dramatic coastline...
Perhaps you were looking forward to drinking copious amounts of Italian wine? Fear not-- Madeira is known for their very own fortified wine that's made directly on the island. In fact, Maderia actually has a long winemaking history, dating back to the Age of Exploration when it was a port of call for ships heading to the New World (or East Indies).
Rich in culture and exploding with color, Madeira has more to offer in terms of natural beauty than most destinations I've visited. For further reading, check out my Madeira Travel Guide.
INSTEAD OF TULUM... CONSIDER HVAR, CROATIA
Known for beautiful beaches and ancient ruins, Tulum has been attracting travelers by the thousands. Yet there's a tiny Dalmatian Island in the Adriatic sea that offers all of these as well. Hvar, Croatia may already be a popular summer destination among Europeans, yet I'd argue that American tourists will find this resort-town to be a breath of fresh air with a unique spin. Hvar is a 13th century town (that also claims to be the sunniest spot in all of Europe). The architecture is historic and beautiful, and there are countless boat excursions available to hop around all the neighboring islands for those who want to soak up the scenery of the sparkling sea. Read my Hvar Travel Guide to learn more about this breathtaking hidden gem.
INSTEAD OF PALM SPRINGS... CONSIDER OJAI, CALIFORNIA
I'm a big fan of Palm Springs, but I'd also argue it's not the only town outside of LA that deserves a spot on your travel list. Set in the Topatopa Mountain Valley, Ojai is brimming with beauty + charm. Similar to Palm Springs, it's a perfect retreat from the hustle + bustle of southern California where you can enjoy scenic landscape, delicious food + wine and the perfect touch of character. To read more, check out my Ojai Travel Guide.
INSTEAD OF MOROCCO... CONSIDER GRANADA, SPAIN
Before I dive into my reasons you should consider Granada, let me be clear that Morocco is somewhere I haven't traveled to and somewhere I very much want to see. With that said, I still chose to include this comparison because it's no secret that Morocco has become a very popular Instagram destination. Again, none of the above reasons should deter you from visiting a popular destination... my point is simply that you have options- and you shouldn't overlook the ones that aren't as "Insta-famous."
Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain's Andalusia region, you'll find Granada- one of the most interesting cities I've ever visited. You can practically throw a stone to Morocco, so naturally there is tons of Moorish influence peppered all throughout the city (my favorite bits? the architecture + the cuisine). Head to my Granada Travel Guide to get the full scoop on this beautiful Spanish city.
There are countless other destinations I could include in this list, but for the sake of brevity I'll end here. My hope is that this serves as a friendly reminder that while tools like Instagram are an incredible way to introduce us to places we'd like to visit, they shouldn't be our only source of inspiration. The world is wide and full of wonders. Stay curious and always be open to the idea of venturing somewhere that maybe isn't the most popular path... I've discovered some of my favorite destinations this way.
Still looking for more inspiration to decide where your next trip should be? Head to the travel guide section of my site and start dreaming!
Thanks as always for stopping by!