Too often we swing through a country and do nothing more than a highlights tour. When time allows it’s important to step outside the big hitter sights and find a more down to Earth place to explore. We accrued this list of commonly overlooked, but highly suggested cities for your next trip.
Krakow may be the more popular Polish destination, but that doesn’t mean you should skip Warsaw. It has a brutal history which are evident in its museums, architecture, and culture, but it also offers a lot in the form or arts, music, religion, and generosity. It truly is fascinating to watch the older generations interact with the young. So much has happened in one lifetime in this city, but the people haven’t lost their spirits. Visit a park on a holiday and you can visibly see this.
Rio de Janeiro may get most of the talk, but the energy, vitality, and nightlife of Brazil’s largest city should not be overlooked. The shopping options abound. The cuisine is diverse and delicious. The culture is engaging and colorful. It has numerous museums, shows, and concerts. It truly immerses you in an authentic Brazilian experience.
Paris may be the “City of Lights,” but Lyon is the city for food. Allow yourself plenty of time for a homecooked, belly filling lunch. It’s cheaper than dinner, and arguably better. Keep the wine flowing and you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the meal and your company. Allow yourself time to get out of town and see the countryside. Head to some weekend markets to sample the meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Move leisurely through this region to experience everything it truly has to offer.
You can’t see Japan without Kyoto. It’s a perfect counterpart to Tokyo, and only a few hours away on the Shinkansen (bullet train). While Tokyo is the more modern Japanese city, Kyoto holds on to some of the more traditional architecture elements. Tokyo was predominately destroyed during World War II, but Kyoto has held on to the more traditional elements of Japanese architecture. This unique opportunity to step back in time is a must see while visiting this country.
Boston, New York, and San Francisco are the obvious choices for anybody traveling to the U.S, but Washington, DC shouldn’t be missed. The political capital of the country, it has monuments, memorials, and museums that bring to life the country’s diverse history. Free admission to most of the sights also give this city an edge over some of the more expensive cities for the budget conscience traveler.
Innsbruck is a much smaller alternative to Vienna. The main sites include the Golden Roof and the Dome. Also spend time wandering the small streets of the old town. The charm of Innsbruck is more than just its old town. Make sure you get into the surrounding mountains to fully experience the place.
When you think of Australia, you usually think of Sydney. It has the sights, the beaches, and the fame. If you’re looking for something different, consider spending some time in Melbourne. It was recently ranked number three in a survey of the most livable cities. With its popular cafe, arts, and music scene, it has a European vibe. Check out the graffiti streets if you’re looking for an interesting art show. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a more laid back vibe the its counterpart, Sydney.
An hour south of Los Angeles, San Diego is a less chaotic option. It’s clean, vibrant, and has perfect weather. The San Diego zoo is a famous sight, as are many of the missions and neighborhoods. The Gaslamp Quarter is a great place to enjoy dinner. Spend a day at Sea World, or head to Coronado Island to explore. Give yourself some time to relax on the beach and definitely dine on some seafood.
Laurie is happiest on the road and has visited over 50 countries. She dreams about meeting tribal people, hiking through rice paddies, and driving longtail boats through crystal-clear waters. She enjoys photography, social activism, and helping others quit their jobs to travel. Laurie co-founded Budget Your Trip, and lives the life any nomadic soul would yearn for.