If you’re new to travel, you most likely are yearning to see world famous sites like the Eiffel Tower or Sydney Opera House. You may not be comfortable going to a destination without a good tourism infrastructure, or where you may have difficulty being understood. Don’t forget, there is a reason that tourist hot-spots are popular, it’s because they are wonderful places to visit! However, my favourite thing to suggest to clients is that they mix things up a bit. By all means visit the famous cities, but try and get out and see some small towns as well. You’ll see a different side of the culture, the pace of life is usually slower, people tend to be friendlier, and you can have a more authentic experience. Smaller towns will usually be less crowded and less expensive as well!
One of my favourite memories of Italy is of staying in Coversano, small town in Puglia. As we sat eating dinner in the main square, we were able to watch the people of the town promenading around the square. We recognised and were greeted by our cooking teachers of the day before, out with their families. We really felt like a part of the town though we were only there for a few days!