Best Travel Destinations to Live Like a Local
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Best Travel Destinations to Live Like a Local

Living la vida local

Consider yourself a culture vulture? Like to go off the beaten track and explore your holiday destinations like a local would? You and almost 70 per cent of UK holiday makers, according to a new research by Audley Travel. But where to go to achieve that local feeling? Here are the best travel destinations to live like a local.

Best Travel Destinations to Live Like a Local

Brown Wooden Bridge Near the Lake

Credit: Ron Lach via Pexels

Going on holiday, there’s nothing worse than beautiful destinations being flooded with tourists (and, when in this mindset, you, of course, do not count). It might be why you feel opposed to visiting the likes of Venice or the Pyramids of Giza, and enjoy the idea of nestling yourself in local life in the Italian mountains. 

According to a new survey by Audley Travel, if you prefer to live like a local and go off the beaten track, you might be a ‘culture vulture’: someone who prefers to absorb the culture of their chosen holiday destination authentically, inspired by the behavior of the locals rather than falling into tourist traps.

‘There are so many amazing places to visit all around the world and travellers get so much more from their trip by embracing the local culture and foods,’ says Adam Kemp at Audley Travel. ‘More and more people are now avoiding common tourist areas and seeking a more authentic experience – this is the best way to really experience a destination as the locals do.’

Aerial View of a Beach, Berehove

Credit: Yaroslav Shuraev via Pexels

In the UK, we are proud to travel: 45 per cent of us have a bucket list of travel destinations we aspire to visit, and almost half of us display trinkets from far-flung places around our homes, according to Audley Travel. But Audley Travel’s research also revealed that four in five travellers prefer to go off the beaten track, and one in four prefer seeing under the radar landmarks as opposed to world-famous sights. If that’s you, here are some travel destination ideas to help you fulfill your dream of living like a local.

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Best Travel Destinations to Live Like a Local

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Cloudy morning sky over sea and Dunwich eath heather

The Staycation: Dunwich, Suffolk

Dunwich is a serene settlement surrounded by countryside beauty, while still being close to gorgeous beaches – a true hidden gem. Visit Dunwich Heath and Beach for swathes of heather and gorse, and listen out for the songs of rare birds. Top it off with a pub lunch in a cosy coastal pub – idyllic.

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Safari: Arusha, Tanzania

Looking for a safari that is off the beaten track? Look no further than Nomad Tanzania’s Entamanu Ngorongoro trek. Walk along the rim of the country’s iconic Ngorongoro crater, or take a day hike along the rolling highlands. Opting for an off the beaten track getaway doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice luxury. The camp, which is gorgeously decorated by the works of local creators, boasts views of the crater and the Serengeti national park. Head between October to May for the landscape to be in its lush, Eden-like prime.  


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El Lodge Sierra Nevada Ski

Skiing: Sierra Nevada, Spain

Skiing? In Spain? Not as unlikely as you might think. The Sierra Nevada mountains rise over 3,000 metres – higher than most Alpine resorts. Head to El Lodge, helmed by the team behind the Marbella Club, for a boutique hotel with a chalet feel. A huge terrace overlooks the piste, so you can ski straight from the door, and the outdoor pool – heated to hot tub temperature – is the highest in Spain. Perfect for an off the beaten track short break, or combine with Granada, one hour away, to extend your holiday – in true culture vulture style – into a city break.


Blockley village church with cottages alongside

The Cotswolds: Blockley, Gloucestershire

The Cotswolds is full of chocolate box staycation villages, but the beauty of Blockley remains a well-kept secret (despite being a filming location in the BBC series, Father Brown). Located near Upton Wold – the ‘hidden garden of the Cotswolds’ – this elegant village, once a silk trade hub, is, of course, the perfect destination for avid walkers. Wander through streets of golden cottages, embark on The Cotswolds Way, or simply use Blockley as a quiet base to explore the rest of the Cotswolds.

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Biking up to Hedon Spa & Hotel in Parnu

Nordic Adventure: Estonia

Fancy a Nordic getaway but want to escape the tourist crowds flocking to Finland, Norway and Sweden? Try Estonia. Widely thought of as an eastern European nation, Estonia has its roots in Nordic tradition. Head to the Hedon Spa & Hotel in Pärnu where minimalist rooms look out to a beach and the Baltic Sea beyond. With sumptuous spa facilities and a delicious restaurant (Restaurant Raimond, with an à la carte menu that reveals the country’s modern palate), this is a perfect base for wilderness explorations, but offers a luxurious stay in its own right. 


Wet and Wild: Exploring Estonia

Image courtesy of Danel Rinaldo

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Are You A Culture Vulture?

Do you like to learn a bit of the local language before you go on holiday? Do you ask locals where to go for dinner once you arrive? How many guidebooks do you own? If it’s five or more, these could all be signs that you’re a culture vulture. According to Audley Travel, 17 per cent of British travellers would even eat insects to immerse themselves in the local cuisine. Audley Travel have collated a list of 20 common traits to look out for – are you a culture vulture, too?

Top 20 signs of a ‘culture vulture’:

  1. Always trying the local cuisine
  2. Always visiting museums in a holiday destination
  3. Avoiding tourist traps and exploring hidden gems
  4. Trying to learn local languages
  5. Using local transport to get around
  6. Choosing restaurants and cafes bustling with local people
  7. Trying to visit more than one destination during a trip
  8. Learning local etiquette to avoid making a cultural faux pas
  9. Doing a walking tour of the city with a local guide
  10. Trying new or unique foods like insects
  11. Booking hotels that are locally owned or historically significant
  12. Socialising with local people
  13. Asking locals for recommendations
  14. Checking for local festivals/ celebrations
  15. Buying local crafts and artisan trinkets to return home with
  16. Going somewhere nobody else has been
  17. Collecting passport stamps
  18. Visiting all seven continents
  19. Watching documentaries on the destination before visiting
  20. Knowing about the art from a destination


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Featured Image: Biking up to Hedon Spa & Hotel in Parnu, Estonia. Copyright: Danel Rinaldo.