Is This Europe's Best 'Alternative' Holiday Destination?

Photo: Mekdat / Getty Images.
The Old Town District in Tallinn, Estonia
Once you've caught the travel bug, there's no going back, and you'll probably find yourself wanting to explore more unusual destinations that still feel a little bit "secret" or off the beaten track.
So it's interesting to check out the "Alternative Holiday Index" compiled by travel website ebookers. The index ranks 31 European countries on how appealing they are as an "alternative" holiday destination by comparing factors including arts and culture options, food quality, the availability of cheap beer, convenience for solo travellers and Instagrammability.
Estonia comes out on top after scoring scoring top marks for Instagrammability, the friendliness of its locals, and its authentic, high quality food.
Writing for Refinery29 in 2016, Emily Zemler praised Estonia's capital city, Tallinn, as a "good holiday destination for those who don’t want to overdo it on spending".
"History buffs can visit the Estonian History Museum and the city’s Old Town, which is walled in and navigated by its cobblestone streets," she wrote. "[But] of course, you’re not just here for the sightseeing: Tallinn’s nightlife is boisterous and you can pick between raucous nightclubs and loud, boozy pubs."
Direct flight times between London airports and Tallinn are typically around the three-hour mark, with both Ryanair and British Airways flying direct.
Fellow Baltic nations Lithuania and Latvia place second and third respectively on the index. Lithuania is singled out as the best alternative destination for couples thanks mainly to its authentic food, romantic settings and access to nature.
Solo travel is an increasingly popular option, especially for millennial women with wanderlust, and the Alternative Holiday Index ranks Estonia, Lithuania and Sweden as the best alternative holiday destinations for solo travellers.
Closer to home, both Ireland and the Netherlands rank inside the top 10 destinations for solo travellers. You can check out the Alternative Holiday Index and play around with its various ranking categories (which – fair warning – is pretty addictive) here.