Little-known island that's the affordable alternative to the Maldives – with no jet lag, stunning beaches & £1 beers | The Sun

IF you fancy a holiday to the Maldives without the price tag, there is a hot new destination to try instead.

Here's everything you need to know about it, including what it's like and how much a holiday will cost you.

Why Zanzibar?

Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania in Africa, is to be the hottest new destination this summer.

Being dubbed the new Maldives, it is a much more affordable location with all-inclusive deals for a fraction of the price.

Jaymin Borkhatria, chief commercial officer at Southall Travel, told Sun Online Travel: "Zanzibar is an untapped destination for those looking for an authentic Indian Ocean getaway. 

"Known as ‘The Spice Island’, it’s also famous as the birthplace of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.

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"And with an array of flight routings, connecting in Kenya, Ethiopia, the UAE or Oman, prices are lower than other Indian Ocean locations and accommodation is more affordable."

Honeymoon specialist James Chapman also agreed, saying Zanzibar "really does rival the Maldives for its beaches and ocean".

Cheap deals can be found for less than £1,000 per person, which includes seven nights and return flights too.

It is an ideal summer holiday destination, with the best weather between June and October and temperatures as high as 34C.

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What are the best Zanzibar holiday deals?

Away has seven nights at a 4* hotel, with return flights, for as little as £995pp, on a half-board basis.

If you fancy a five-star stay, then Southall has all-inclusive breaks from £1,145pp when staying at the Royal Zanzibar Beach Resort.

It's best to book a package holiday, as flights start from £554, according to Skyscanner, which take around 12 hours.

What is Zanzibar like?

Zanzibar is known for its amazing food, called the Spice Island due to influences from both India and Africa.

A popular tourist attraction is The Rock restaurant, a tiny restaurant on a rock off the shore of Pingwe Beach.

One of the most famous dishes on the island is the Zanzibar pizza, a savoury, greasy dough with spices, tomatoes, onions, meat cheese. 

The spice cake is also popular which is a sweet treat flavoured with chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Local booze is cheap too with beers for as little as £1 for a 500ml bottle in some bars, although the average price is between £1.50 and £3.

Holidaymakers can often head to Stone Town, a UNESCO heritage site, which has tiny winding streets to explore with Indian, Arab and European influences.

However, most tourists head straight to the beaches on the island, which are comparable to the Maldives.

Matemwe is the longest beach, and is popular with kite-surfers and divers, while Nungwi Beach in the northwest is one of the most famous with white sands and bright blue waters.

If you fancy a late night, then head to Kendwa Beach which is known for its Full Moon Party every month.

Tourists can also spot the giant land tortoises which roam the sands, as well as bottleneck dolphins in the water.

What else do I need to know about Zanzibar?

The official languages are KiSwahili and English, but most tourist resorts will speak English.

The local currency is the Tanzania shilling (TSh) with £10 being around TSh29,102.

Most hotels will accept US dollars or Tanzanian shillings, and some hotels will take credit cards but there are few ATMs so should take out enough money before your trip.

While bikinis and shorts and are fine at most resorts, it is a Muslim country so you should cover your knees and shoulders when travelling around.

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Your passport needs to be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.

You must also get a tourist visa which can be applied for online, and cost around £40 per person.

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