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A new ranking has uncovered the world’s top ‘alternative’ travel capitals


The study removes the world’s capitals to reveal a list of cities outside the usual tourist traps.

Malaga in Spain was found to be the world's most popular alternative travel destination.

Travellers often say they’d like to visit ‘off the beaten track’ places, but where would they go first if you removed every capital city in the world from consideration?

That was exactly the rationale behind a new study from the Premier Inn hotel chain, which analysed Google search data of the world’s most popular places to visit after removing national capitals from the list first.

After studying millions of online searches, the Spanish city of Malaga emerged as the leading ‘alternative’ capital travellers would most like to visit with 478,000 queries.

Here's a map of the world showing the highest-ranking alternative capital in each country surveyed.

The top five in this rank included Venice, San Francisco, Antalya and Brighton, each earning more than 100,000 Google searches in their own right.

The fabled floating city ranked higher than Naples, Florence and Pisa with its network of scenic canals and famous Renaissance architecture giving it the edge.

Australia’s top ‘alternative capital’ was Perth, which came in sixth place with 93,420 individual searches. New Zealand also appeared on the list, with Auckland coming in 24th spot.

The top ten was rounded out by the Egyptian city of Hurghada, Porto, Antwerp and Rio de Janeiro.

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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 22 March 2023

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