Travelling expands the mind and opens your eyes to new experiences and possibilities. However, sometimes it can seem like everyone visits the same destinations over and over again. You’ve probably heard of all the world’s “best cities” from New York to Rome and Paris, but sometimes, it’s worthwhile to venture off the beaten track and discover some lesser known cities.
If you’re looking for some new cities to add to your “must visit” bucket list, here are some of the world’s most underrated hidden gems.
Suzhou is a city located in west Shanghai, China. It’s easy to explore by foot and embodies an elegant charm that captivates all who wander its streets. Head over to the Humble Administrator’s Garden that dates back to 1513 and soak up the natural beauty with a romantic stroll through the garden of zigzag bridges and tranquil pools. When you’re ready to indulge in some Chinese cuisine, visit Tóng Dé Xīng, a noodle soup restaurant that’s been operating for 200 years!
Explore the Old Town of Tallinn for the ultimate cultural experience, where you can roam through the 15th-century tower, Kiek in de Kök and explore the Gothic Town Hall. The city is known for its medieval influences, and you can explore it all by foot as everything is pretty much within walking distance. If you love the arts, you’ll not want to miss St. Nicholas Church, which is a 13th-century landmark boasting fantastic religious art that’s well worth a visit.
Cape Town, South Africa
Known for its natural wonders including the Table Mountain National Park and the Green Point Urban Park, visiting Cape Town is perfect if you’re into adventures and exploring the great outdoors. History buffs will want to check out Robben Island, one of the world’s most famous prisons that Nelson Mandela called home for many years.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you’re looking for more of a big city experience with lots of shops, museums and theatres, Buenos Aires in Argentina is ideal. The city comes alive at night with DJ’s playing great music all night long. You can also enjoy plenty of sight-seeing in Buenos Aires such as the 19th-century Casa Rosada, which is also known as the “pink house”. If you’re in the mood for a show, check out the Teatro Colón, the city’s most famous opera house.
Galway is a harbour city on the west coast of Ireland known for its bohemian vibe and medieval influences. Music is heard through the streets, and the people are welcoming and friendly, making every visitor feel right at home in an instant. The city is located where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean and is the perfect starting point for a road trip along the Atlantic Way. If you’ve taken a flight to the Emerald Isle, you can find a car hire company and rent a car for the duration of your stay. Since Ireland is quite a small country, you can quickly drive to other regions and explore more of the island during your visit.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Looking for something a little more…magical? Add Siem Reap to your bucket list for more of a heritage experience complete with temples such as the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom and the ruins of Angkor. For entertainment, check out the Phare the Cambodian Circus, which is a captivating performance complete with talented acrobats and art performers.
Vietnam is a beautiful country and its capital, Hanoi, is well worth a visit. It boasts centuries-old architecture and an exciting art scene to keep you captivated and entertained. If your taste buds are feeling adventurous too, you can treat them to a few dishes from Chim Sao, one of the best restaurants in Hanoi. Dine on a portion of duck with star fruit and enjoy a glass of red wine before heading out to enjoy the rest of your evening.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Not all of the world’s greatest hidden cities are occupied. Machu Picchu is an ancient and abandoned city perched on top of the Andes Mountains in Peru. The city dates back to the 15th century and was built by the Inca Pachacutec. The city is made up of dry-stone walls and offers astounding panoramic views. But if you want to visit this ancient city, you’ll have to strap on your walking boots because it’s a bit of a climb to reach the top!