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Europe’s ‘breathtaking’ alternative to Santorini



Santorini is one of Europe’s top destinations but the Greek island becomes very crowded during peak season.

The volcanic island is also one of the continent’s most expensive holiday destinations with tourists paying high prices for hotels and restaurants.

If you’re looking for a similar vibe for a bargain price, there’s a beautiful destination in Italy that might fit the bill.

Steven Purdham at Cycling for Softies recommends trading a holiday in Santorini for a break in gorgeous Puglia.

He said: “At the heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia remains lesser-visited compared to other Italian coastal settings, like the Amalfi coastline, but it is no less spectacular.

“Offering stretching views of the Mediterranean Sea, its Ionian Coast offers a natural paradise dotted with verdant pine woods and vegetation.”

Situated in Italy’s sunny southern region, Puglia is home to one of the country’s largest natural parks but it’s much less known than Sardinia, Sicily or the Amalfi Coast.

Steven added: “Not to mention that its archaeological ruins, baroque churches, and traditional Italian villages make for the perfect blend of history, much like you’d find in Santorini.

“Venturing just out for its coastlines, its vineyards are some of the best in the country, and the cuisine served up in eateries across the region is delicious and unique.”

Visit pretty Alberobello to see traditional stone dwellings in one of Italy’s prettiest white towns.

Bari is a bustling port but tourists will find some of the region’s best seafood on offer in the city’s restaurants.

When it comes to beaches, try the seaside town of Polignano A Mare, which has a cove sheltered by limestone cliffs.

Families will love the flamingos at Sentiero Airone nature reserve or the caves at Castellana Grotte.

If you still can’t get Greece off your mind, Simon Calder said his top choice of the cheapest islands in 2024 is beautiful Thassos.

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