Ah, summer travels—the beaches of Mykonos, the cliffs of Positano, the rosé of Provence… Yes, the sweet carefree nature of vacation this time of year is one to look forward to all year round, but beware of the enchanting sights of the Riviera, as it can quickly turn sour when these summer hot spots get riddled with tourists in peak season. Travel in the age of Instagram is an entirely different experience. Have just a few big names geotag a place like Capri or Ios, and you can bet everyone will flock there just a few months later.
So how do you experience the best destinations while still delighting in the peace and quiet that these expertly styled Instagram posts promise? Beat the crowds—and jump on a flight before everyone else does. To pinpoint the next big destinations to keep on our radar, we traced the most unexpected places where our favorite travel Instagrammers were jetting to—and we weren't disappointed. Don't delay—these breathtaking destinations are yours to explore. Just be sure to touch down before everyone else does.
Skip the crowds of Santorini and Mykonos, and follow @garypeppergirl to the lesser-known island of Paros in the Cyclades where dramatic white sculpted cliffs meet crystal clear turquoise waters, forming swimming coves. For a slightly more local experience, take a 30-minute boat ride to Antiparos, where you can experience breathtaking beaches and explore cave systems.
Sure, Provence is nice, but do as @bontraveler did this summer, and skip France's summer crowds. A short drive north will take you to the breathtaking Vaucluse region, known for its perched villages and delicious wines. Explore the Luberon region, and Roussillon's red ochre cliffs, wander the antique stores of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, or go wine tasting in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas, at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail.
When we think Italy in the summer, we typically think Positano, Capri, or Cinque Terre. But according to @laurenswells, Puglia, located in the heel of the country's boot, proves to be equally charming, full of character and decidedly less packed with tourists. Explore swimming spots like Le Maldive di Pescoluse or the Grotta della Poesia, or wander the cobblestoned streets lined with traditional "trulli" homes and experience the true dolce vita.
Mustique, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
If you're looking to escape the crowds, there is no better destination than the island of Mustique in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, @ashleynii tells us. The private island offers no commercial flights or hotels, but is accessible by The Mustique company, which has regularly scheduled charters from St. Lucia and Barbados—and over 100 private villas available for rental. Go snorkeling with the turtles of Tobago Cays, horseback ride on the beach, and finish off the day with a cocktail and dance party at the infamous Basil's Bar.
Croatia is beautiful, but insiders tell us that Montenegro is better (and far quieter). Follow in the footsteps of @gypsea_lust, and start your trip in Budva, one of Montenegro's larger cities lined with beautiful cliffsides and dramatic views of the Adriatic sea. Then make your way to Kotor, which offers the quaintness of Croatia—with its cobblestone streets, terracotta roofs, and insanely fresh seafood.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Looking to visit Asia this summer? Look no further than @stacieflinner's Instagram. The travel blogger has been on a yearlong world trip with her husband, most recently traveling around southeast Asia, from Vietnam to Thailand, Singapore, and Laos. She specifically recalls Luang Prabang as "the kind of place you have to see to believe." The ancient northern Laos city is filled with intricate Buddhist temples of breathtaking beauty. Spend a day at Kuang Si falls, where rushing waterfalls and natural pools create a showstopping attraction.
Not the type to spend days frying on the beach? Skip Tulum in favor of quaint Mérida, the fortresslike capital of the Yucatan. Rich with Mayan and colonial heritage, it's a favorite of @lucylaucht and has been attracting a lot of attention from architecture and design lovers thanks to hotels like the colorful Rosas & Xocolate and Coqui Coqui.
And now, the world's most beautiful islands to add to your bucket list.