Turn Up For The Books: Holiday Extras Most Popular Summer Destinations

Holiday Extras Croatia Zadar Forum-credit ivo-biocina

By Richard Jones

While 2022 was the year that the world finally opened back up, this summer has seen holidaymakers become a bit more adventurous and shop around for special destinations that tick all their boxes.

New analysis of nearly a million bookings from Holiday Extras has uncovered the places that have boomed in popularity – and there are some interesting risers, with unusual city escapes, exotic beach breaks and a couple of old favourites coming to the fore.

Tirana Holiday Extras

1. Tirana, Albania – 303% increase in bookings vs 2022

Topping Holiday Extras’ list is the Albanian capital, dubbed ‘Europe’s last unturned stone’. Known for its cheap prices and warm hospitality, Tirana is nicely situated between the Dajti mountain and the coastal plains. A walking tour of the city, covering Skanderbeg’s Monument, the Pyramid, the National Museum mosaics, the Blloku and the Presidential Palace is a good way to see the key sights.

Amman Holiday Extras

2. Amman, Jordan – 182%

As the Jordanian dinar weakens against the pound, the country, which is located at the crossroads of the Middle East, can be a cheaper venture. A few hours from the spectacular red sandstone wonder of Petra, the city of Amman has become increasing appealing. Here you will find earth-shattering landscapes, ancient history and tantalising food, as well as stunning beaches.

3. Santander, Spain – 202%

Although it is not as busy as some Spanish resorts, the Cantabria port city has excellent beaches including Playa los Peligros. The monumental zone, where most of the museums and official buildings are, begins at Paseo Pereda and finishes opposite the Museum and Library Menéndez Pelayo. Best of all is the seafood, including local delicacy squid, freshly caught in the local region.

Croatia zadar Holiday Extras

4. Zadar, Croatia – 83%

Two years ago, Zadar was an emerging Croatian city, drawing in tourists who wanted to explore the medieval Adriatic coast without Dubrovnik’s cruise ship crowds and high prices. Now, as Zadar’s popularity has grown, more flight routes are heading there. Just outside Zadar, Kraljevski vineyard produces some of the region’s most prized wine, while the leafy Ugljan Island is only a 25-minute boat ride away.


5. Montreal, Canada – 83%

Canada’s second largest city is a cultural melting pot that rivals Paris with its rich French history, rare art and sophisticated culture. Many of the City of Saints’ most notable structures can be found in the Old Town including the City Hall, Place d’Armes and the Bonsecours Market. Mont Royal Park is a great place to picnic, while Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal is an iconic heritage building.

6. Izmir, Turkey – 70%

With its ancient cities, castles, ports, temples and stunning coastline, the Turkish Riviera otherwise known as the Turquoise Coast, grows in popularity every year. Despite being the third biggest city in Turkey, Izmir has remained relatively undiscovered by British tourists, until this year. History lovers are spoilt for choice, while there are restaurants specialising in meze and fresh seafood everywhere.


7. Iași, Romania – 68%

A less obvious city break option than its compatriot Bucharest, Iași is just as beautiful and exciting. Some of its most famous attractions are the magnificent Palace of Culture, Metropolitan Cathedral Iasi Church and Anastasie Fătu Botanical Garden Park. The best place to stay is in the downtown area, where options range from budget-friendly accommodations to five-star hotels like the Pleiada Boutique Hotel And Spa.


8. Tokyo, Japan – 63%

The Land of the Rising Sun is one of the world’s most popular destinations, and its capital city is the perfect place to start exploring it. For those with a strong interest in tech gear or geeky hobbies, Akihabara is the place to go, while if you want a historical experience, you can attend a Kabuki show. One of the most picturesque and iconic scenes in Japan is the rows of cherry and plum blossom trees.

9. Sal, Cape Verde – 54%

If you’re looking for an unusual beach break, Cape Verde offers the best of all worlds – African prices, western standards of hospitality and warm weather. The archipelago of islands is growing in popularity with Brits, and there are regular direct flights from several UK airports. The island of Sal, home to long, white-sand beaches swashed by bright-turquoise shores, is where the tourist industry is really booming.

Chania Holiday Extras

10. Chania, Crete, Greece – 44%

A contender for one of the Greece’s most beautiful resorts (no mean feat), Chania features a Venetian harbour fronted by candy-coloured buildings, a faded fortress and a disused Ottoman mosque, all of which look out over the water’s bobbing fish boats. While many tourists come for the beaches, many of which have Blue Flag status, others seek ancient history at the museums and rich architecture.

For more information and to book airport parking, hotels and lounges, car hire, transfers and insurance, visit the UK market leader at HolidayExtras.com
Main Image: Ivo Biocina

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