Social media can cause almost anything to become famous overnight (anyone else remember the blue/gold dress saga of 2015?). Home to the weird, the wacky (goat yoga?!) and the wonderful, social media plays a huge part in the trends that creep into our everyday lives. The down side of this is that many of our favourite spots across the world are becoming victim to overtourism, with more than 70% of people saying Instagram has an influence on where they decide to travel. Beautiful photos of places like Petra, Lake Louise and Dubrovnik dominate our newsfeeds, but we risk our favourite landmarks being compromised and unable to cope with the demands of the tourism industry. Avoid becoming an Instagram sheep (or yoga-doing goat...), with our 'Instagram swap' suggestions of lesser-visited but equally Instagrammable locations across the world...
Instead of St Tropez go to Comporta, Portugal
One hour away from the hustle and bustle of lovely Lisbon is the super cool celeb-favourite, Comporta. What the Hamptons is to New Yorkers, Camporta is to Lisbonites. With 12 miles of dreamy, uninterrupted white sand beach, we'd argue that it is impossible to take a bad photo of Portugal's best kept secret. Comporta is actually made up of seven small villages and three beaches, guarded by sand dunes. Aside from a few bohemian boutiques and some stylish restaurants, the area is home to (thankfully) not much else. But this doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do. Camp under the stars on the beach, eat delicious fresh fish, ride horseback along the sea, try your hand at surfing and explore the harbour - which is full of wooden docks and fishing boats.
Instead of Lake Louise, Canada, go to the Tara River Canyon, Montenegro
Startling turquoise waters framed by chiselled mountains, dramatically plunging down to deep ravines. You'd be forgiven for presuming we were describing Lake Louise in Canada, but we are in fact talking a little closer to the UK - Montenegro in fact. The Tara River is a whopping 1300m deep at its deepest, and the best way to explore this jaw dropping phenomenon is on an exhilarating rafting adventure. Discover rocky and pebbly terraces, sandy beaches, high cliffs, and more than 80 large caves along the canyon. Also, the Tara River bridge has been listed among the 'top 20 most beautiful bridges in the world'. Now get snapping...
Beat the Crowds at the Lempuyang Temple, visit the Pura Beji Sangsit, Indonesia
The Lempuyang Temple in Bali is a classic example of overtourism thanks to Instagram. Dubbed as the 'gates of heaven', people queue up by the dozen to strike a pose at the Insta-worthy gate, only to find that the photos are somewhat better than the reality. An influencer who posted a viral photo implied that the gates are situated by a pristine pool of water, mirroring the 'heavens' above. It was in fact just a piece of glass held under the smartphone camera, to give the scene a more dramatic look. Instead, skip the queues and go to Pura Beji Sangsit, a beautiful temple dedicated to the rice goddess Dewi Sri. A gorgeous example of northern Balinese architecture, admire the elaborate foliage-like carvings and sheer intricacy of the temple.
Instead of Table Mountain, see the fantastic Flower Season Across the Western Cape, South Africa
Whilst millions of people each year get the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, South Africa's most photographed attraction, to see (the admittedly spectacular) views, we can't help but feel they are missing a trick. Cape Town's sensational flower season runs officially from 1st August - 30th September, where you can see spectacular blankets of flowers spreading across the nature reserves of the Western Cape. The West Coast National Park offers particularly incredible views, as a rainbow of wildflowers seems to engulf the entire landscape, creating cinematic and jaw-dropping views that even a first-generation iPhone could take an amazing photo of.
Instead of South America or Aruba, see flamingos on Lake Nakuru
Do you even have social media if you haven't seen a photo of at least one 'influencer' posing with or posting a photo of a #flamingo? Yes they may be printed all over everything you've ever bought from Paperchase, but these beautiful creatures are so much more than just a fashion trend. While most people flock (see what we did there?) to South America or Aruba to see these perfectly pink phoenicopteridae (wading birds), head to Lake Nakuru in Kenya, where thousands if not millions gather to feast on the free-for-all algae buffet (tasty) the lake has to offer. Besides flamingos, you can also see impalas, hyenas, giraffes, rhino, pelicans, eagles and much more. While the Lake Nakuru park is not large compared to the Masai Mara, it certainly provides a full and colourful safari experience.