“Oh it’s the latest hot destination. You should check it out.” Cue a swish and a saunter back to your desk. If you’re looking for somewhere alternative to head off on your travels this year; something above and beyond the mediocre, then you’ve come to the right place. Allow me to present – the Pillow Guide to the top 10 hottest off-beat holiday destinations. 1. Lund, Sweden
Scandinavia is fast becoming a hot-spot for alternative city breaks, and Lund is no exception. In the province of Scania in southern Sweden, Lund is a cultural delight for all tastes. Not to be missed is the city’s famous carnival, the Lundkarnevalen. Scheduled every four years, it’s due in 2014, so get booking! Expect costumes, satirical performances and general madness – it’s not to be missed. 2. Alghero, Sardinia
If mainstream is a little bit too, well, mainstream for you, then off to Alghero in Sardinia you must trot. This ancient town has evidence of human habitation from as early as 4000 BC, as well as a beautiful medieval old town made up of a labyrinth of tiny lanes and piazzas. Perfect for a lazy afternoon of getting lost. 3. Split, Croatia A must for all seafood lovers, Split is a non-touristy haven for those visiting Croatia. The Nostromo restaurant is easily the best in town. Right on the edge of the old fish market, expect locals and authentic seafood galore. 4. Nashville, USA Here at Pillow we’re rather embarrassed to admit that we’ve been watching More4’s Nashville on the sly. What better way to celebrate our American TV habit than visit the city in the flesh. It’s everything you’d expect and more: flashing neon lights, cowboys and honky tonk bars open till the wee hours. Take us there – now.
5. Zurich, Switzerland On first appearances Zurich may look like a boring banker city – but think again. Home to the Dada art movement, it has an amazing cultural heritage. Head to the edgy district of Aussersihl for cool bars, restaurants and hotels.
6. Thessaloniki, Greece Give boozy, party destinations in the Med a wide berth this summer and head instead for Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki. Great nightlife but without the 18-year-olds, Modiano Market is packed with cool bars and clubs. Head over to Ladadika after a liquid dinner for a fantastic night out. 7. Atlas mountains, Morocco Active types will love spending a week (or three) cycling round Morocco’s incredible Atlas mountains. With mixed terrain and beautiful scenery, there’s something for all abilities. And when the day is done, a beer costs just £1.50. Deal.
8. Zighy Bay, Oman The Six Senses hideaway hotel in Zighy Bay, Oman, is so remote that guests have the option to paraglide into it. Yes, you heard us correctly. Oman isn’t the most obvious holiday destination, but it’s full of authentic Arabian charm that makes it one of the best of-beat destinations around. We guarantee you’ll be throwing your iPhone off the cliff by the end, and never want to go home.
9. Montreal, Canada Skyscraper heaven but with so much more chic than NYC, Montreal is the new kid on the urban retreat scene. Markets, restaurants, music, and everything else your heart could desire are all here. 10. Bagan, Burma If you’ve got some real cash to splash, you’d be hard pushed to find a better holiday than Bagan in Burma. The country is quite simply spectacular with breathtaking scenery and scatterings of Buddhist temples. Explore the temple ruins and jungles for a truly Indiana Jones-style vacation.