Ten massively popular resort towns Aussies love to hate

There are some resort areas that Aussies flock to en masse. In Kuta, the Gold Coast, Denarau and Ko Samui, you'll never be too far from the Aussie twang. But other countries have their favourites too, and there are several massively popular resort towns where finding an Aussie is proper needle-haystack territory. Such as …

Benidorm, Spain

Of the Spanish coastal resort towns, Benidorm to the south of Valencia is the most notorious. It attracts more than 5 million visitors a year, mostly from northern Europe on package holidays. The reputation of fry-ups, boozy Brits and bingo is, on the whole, perfectly justified. But there are also a host of good theme parks on the doorstep, while Benidorm's oft-ignored old town is surprisingly pretty. See visitbenidorm.es

Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

The latest destination to capture the "good value" (i.e. cheap, and occasionally nasty) package holiday market is Sunny Beach on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast. But the incoming English hordes are just joining the Russians who have headed there for decades. It's awash with neon tackiness, many are there to get as drunk as possible on cheap beer, and by Australian standards, the 10-kilometre-long, sunbed-covered beach isn't that impressive. See bulgariatravel.org

Hurghada, Egypt

Egypt's Red Sea resorts have dwindled in popularity with Europeans in recent years due to terrorist incidents, but that's not stopped the Russians flocking to Hurghada in massive numbers. This has led to a bizarrely large resident Russian population too. Aside from the beaches, the main attractions for anyone else are the diving and snorkelling. See Egypt.travel

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

If Russian tourists monopolise Hurghada, it's not a patch on how Chinese tourism has transformed the Cambodian coast. A decade ago, Sihanoukville was touted as an in-the-know, up-and-coming backpacker hangout to add on to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Now, massive Chinese money has poured in, development has exploded, and more than a little sleaze and crime has settled in. See tourismcambodia.com

Ayia Napa, Cyprus

Ibiza may be the king of European seaside clubbing, but Ayia Napa in Cyprus is the queen. The music tends to have a more urban slant, and the vibe has traditionally been more cheap and cheerful than its Balearic rival. Recent efforts have been made to take it more upmarket, with an increased focus on festivals and events. But the 27 beaches that made Ayia Napa a hotspot in the first place are still there, and the Venetian-era monastery is still a worthy sightseeing detour. See visitcyprus.com

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun's transformation from nothing to all-conquering Caribbean tourist resort started in the 1970s as part of a deliberate government plan. The "Hotel Zone" stretches for 24 kilometres along a sandbar between the Caribbean beaches and a lagoon, and is largely filled with Americans, Canadians and Europeans. But beyond fun in the sun, it makes a great base for visiting ancient Mayan sites and the world's second-longest reef system. See cancun.travel

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

On Mexico's Pacific coast, Cabo San Lucas is at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula and has a slightly different vibe from Cancún. It's younger, and even more Spring Break-ish. But it also pulls in road-trippers from the US west coast, and has long been a popular surf spot. Big game fishing and whale-watching are also in the mix. See visitloscabos.travel

Varadero, Cuba

For most Aussies that make it to Cuba, it's capital Havana's cultural energy that – rightly – has the most appeal. But the big money-spinner is beachy resort strip Varadero, which offers classic all-inclusive and watersports-style seven- and 14-night breaks for Europeans and Canadians seeking a bit of winter sun. In a hugely distinctive country, Varadero could be anywhere. See cubatravel.cu


Tumon, Guam

In what feels ripe as a pub trivia question, Tumon is a US resort city that receives 10 times more overseas visitors than Americans. Almost all of the million-plus visitors per year come from Japan and South Korea, and the big high-rise resorts along the coast are largely set up to cater to them. In parts, it's a mini-Vegas, with plenty of local debate about the amount of, ahem, adult entertainment on offer among the malls and marine reserves. See visitguam.com

Sal, Cape Verde

When most people think of desert islands, they're actually thinking of relatively lush spots with palm trees and a bit of interior jungle to go along with the beaches. Sal pretty much is an actual desert, though, with distinctly Saharan landscapes off the coast of West Africa. In recent years it has become a winter sun hotspot for Europeans who've realised that southern Europe is a bit too cold for the beach in January and February. See caboverde.com

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