That’s the problem with great destinations – they become too popular for their own good. So we’ve found some alternatives that are just as good.

Instead of: Croatia

Try: Montenegro

The yacht set have known about Montenegro’s charms for years, but the rest of the world is just getting onboard. Sitting just south of Croatia, the country shares its same gorgeous coastline, beautiful beaches and historic walled cities, but with hardly any of the crowds. It’s sat at the border of east and west for more than 400 years, so expect a fascinating cultural mix and even a unique communist legacy thrown in.

Instead of: Prague

Try: Brno

Hard to pronounce, easy to love. The Czech Republic’s second city is a winning combination of old and new. Baroque cathedrals and historic houses rub shoulders with lively pubs, trendy cocktail bars and contemporary art museums. Plus, as with all of the Czech Republic, Brno is great value – and you won’t come across any of the UK bucks parties that seem to trawl other capitals in Eastern Europe.

Instead of: Cinque Terre

Try: Rapallo

There’s no denying that the Cinque Terre is stunning – provided you can find a hotel in high season. Instead, head around 50 kilometres north along the coast to the charming town of Rapallo. You’ll find the same brightly coloured buildings, a 16th century castle perched above the sea and pebbly beaches lined with retro changing huts. All this for a fraction of the price.

Instead of: Canary Islands

Try: Azores

These Portuguese islands sit around 2,000 kilometres off the west coast of continental Europe, so they’re something of a hidden gem. They miss out on most of the tacky package tours from the UK and have less of a party vibe than other islands in the Med. Referred to as the Hawaii of the Atlantic, you’ll find a landscape volcanic peaks and dramatic crater lakes while offshore there’s world-class surfing, diving and whale watching.

Instead of: Florence

Try: Bologna

Did you know some 16 million tourists visit Florence every year? That’s a lot for a town with a permanent population of less than 400,000. The university town of Bologna gets only a fraction of that and has just as much to offer. The streets are lined with historic religious architecture, the food is incredible and the whole city seems to embrace the culture of aperitivo (afternoon cocktails with friends). We’re sold.

Instead of: Berlin

Try: Warsaw

Berlin is considered Europe’s capital of cool, but Warsaw can give it a run for its money. The city was largely flattened in World War II and was rebuilt in a fascinating mish mash of styles that makes it unlike anywhere else in the world. Restored Gothic buildings sit alongside Communist-era concrete blocks and sleek glass towers rise from gritty laneways. It’s also home to fantastic museums covering everything from the Jewish ghettos to Chopin.

Instead of: Interlaken

Try: Bovec

Switzerland is notoriously expensive, so the Slovenian town of Bovec is a great value alternative. It’s known as the adventure capital of eastern Europe and the surrounding Julian Alps are ideal for hiking, canyoning, mountain biking, white water rafting and skiing in winter. The best part is, they will cost around half of what they would in Interlaken.

Instead of: Budapest

Try: Tallinn

It wasn’t long ago that Budapest was itself an ‘alternative city’, but cheap flights and the river cruise boom have pushed it up to the top of the list. The medieval city of Tallinn, capital of Estonia, sits on the Baltic Sea and is a unique mix if Scandinavian, European and Russian culture. The magnificent onion-domed St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is reason enough to visit, though once you’re there you’ll also love the cool design shops springing up and the very cheap (and very good) local beer.

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.