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These 6 Cities Make The Perfect Alternative Getaways

09/27/2017 12:45 EDT

There’s nothing better than a cultural escape to somewhere new, whether it’s a long weekend away with friends or loved ones, or part of a bigger trip. If you love exploring on foot, soaking up city sights, learning the history of a new destination and trying local cuisine, there is no shortage of incredible cities around the world to go and explore!

Capital cities around the world may be the go to for many, but why not swap the hustle and bustle of these popular cities for an alternative getaway? If you’re on the lookout for fresh ideas, Booking.com, rounded up some of the best cities for exploring.

New Orleans, USA

Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, attracts travelers who want to see the historic White House and iconic Washington Monument, but New Orleans’ big draw is its food and music scene. Catch the infamous Mardi Gras and Jazz festival in the spring and indulge in the thriving food scene all year round. Booking.com travelers endorsed New Orleans for food, live music and nightlife, and the top accommodation types are hotels, hostels and motels.

Where to stay: Ace Hotel New Orleans, located in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, is known as the hipster hotel and one of the trendiest places to stay. The rooms are incredibly designed and decorated with artwork from local artists, and guests can enjoy the outdoor pool, fitness center, delicious food at the onsite restaurant and tasty cocktails at the bar. The French Quarter is only one mile from the property and The National WWII Museum is just 650 yards away. In 2016, the three foreign nations that sent the most visitors to New Orleans were the U.K., Australia and Germany. (Visitors from other parts of the U.S. were the largest group of tourists to the city.)

Marseille, France

Paris may be famous for its museums, landmarks and incredible food, but if you’re looking for a new idea for a French city break, why not take a visit to the oldest city in France, Marseille. This port city was founded 2,600 years ago and today you’ll find great shopping, chic restaurants and designer hotels. It’s a great destination all year round with lovely walks in the spring and autumn and beautiful beaches in the summer. Marseille has been endorsed by Booking.com travelers for its museums, culture and food, with hotels, aparthotels and apartments proving the most popular types of accommodation. In 2016, the three nations that sent the most visitors to Marseille were the U.K., Germany and Italy.

Where to stay: Located in the centre of Marseille, Les Appartements du Vieux Port is just 150 yards away from the Old Port and offers guests a fully equipped kitchen and a modern-style décor. An array of restaurants, cafes and shops can be found in the area and the apartments are a short drive from the Opera.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The capital of Croatia, Zagreb, attracts visitors with its romantic city charm, but the UNESCO world heritage site Dubrovnik makes for a truly incredible trip, thanks to its picture-perfect location by the sea. This magnificent walled city is full of Baroque style churches, delicious restaurants, stunning beaches and of course, the unique medieval old town. Booking.com travelers endorsed this city for its old town, the history and sightseeing, with apartments, hotels and guesthouses being the most booked types of accommodation.  In 2016, the three nations that sent the most visitors to Dubrovnik were the U.K., Spain and France.

Where to stay:Prijeko Palace guest house is just five minutes from the beach and located in the heart of the beautiful UNESCO-protected Dubrovnik Old Town. Set in a palace, recreating the 16th century architecture, the rooms at Prijeko Palace are all individually designed, brightly lit and alternate between modern and Baroque styles. The guesthouse has a restaurant and a bar or guests can wander out to explore the nearby shops, restaurants and cafes serving Dalmatian delights.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Vietnam’s capital Hanoi is famous for its busy street life, French feel and colonial buildings and serves as a gateway to the rest of this beautiful country, but it’s the bustling and beautiful Hoi An that’s the real draw. The UNESCO world heritage site was once a trading port. Travelers can explore the old town on bicycle, venture out to nearby beaches and spend hours visiting the city’s famous tailors.  Booking.com travelers endorsed Hoi An for its food, shopping and old town, while the top accommodations include homestays, resorts and villas. In 2016, the three nations that sent the most visitors to Hoi An were the U.K., Germany and Australia.

Where to stayLoc Phat Hoi An Homestay-Villa offers lovely rooms with a balcony and terrace, set in a relaxing garden. Hoi An is best explored by bike and guests can rent these from the property. The UNESCO World Heritage Ancient Town is just five minutes away and Cua Dai beach is just ten minutes away.

Girona, Spain

If you loved Spain’s capital Madrid for its museums, culture and incredible tapas, then why not try Girona? Soak up the Catalan culture by exploring the architecture, cathedrals and museums as well as sampling the fine cuisine at the city’s Michelin starred restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. It’s also just an hour’s drive from the beautiful coast of Costa Brava if you want to get in some beach time. Booking.com travelers endorsed Girona for its history, architecture and food, and the top types of accommodation booked are hotels, apartments and guest houses. In 2016, the three nations that sent the most visitors to Girona were France, the U.K. and Italy.

Where to stay:Montjuic Bed & Breakfast is a neoclassical villa in Girona’s exquisite Montjuic area, 550 yards from the Cathedral and Jewish quarter. The pool and terrace boast amazing views over Girona ― the perfect escape after a day out in the city’s heat. Guests can enjoy a daily homemade breakfast made with organic produce, and for lunch and dinner, the city’s popular cafes and restaurants are just 15 minutes’ walk away.

Bologna, Italy

Rome may be renowned for its historical sights, culture and out of this world cuisine, but Bologna, which has stayed off the tourist track, is a strong contender ― especially if you’re a food fan. You could spend forever perusing the restaurants – from high end to cheap local haunts ― as well as exploring the city’s religious architecture and cultural events. Booking.com travelers endorsed Bologna for its food, culture and architecture, while the top types of accommodation are hotels, bed and breakfasts and apartments. In 2016, the three nations that sent the most visitors to Bologna were the U.K., Spain and Germany.

Where to stay: Apartments Centre Bologna offers self-catering accommodation right in the centre of town, close to the Piazza Maggiore and Via Zamboni. These stylish and modern apartments can sleep up to four people and serve as a great base for exploring the city.

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