From Sapporo to Taroudant: Here are 11 underrated cities that should be on your bucket list
David Attenborough said “the world is full of wonders” – and he’s not wrong.
There are so many amazing cities to visit, sights to see and delights to try. But with what seem like limitless options, it’s easy to miss some key spots. your to-do list.
As travel begins to return to normal, we believe your destination list needs a boost as well.
So here are 11 cities that may have gone under your radar.
11. For snow lovers: Sapporo, Japan
Surrounded by ski resorts that put Europe to shame, Sapporo is an often overlooked city in from Japan North Island, Hokkaido.
Beautiful all year round, Sapporo has the bustle and modernity of Tokyo and the traditional vibe of Kyoto.
The best time to visit is during the snow festival in February – winter sports lovers should head to Teine, Niseko and Kokusai.
For sightseeing, take a trip to historic Hokkaido Village, the Sapporo Beer Factory, and the nearby towns of Otaru and Jozankai (home of the Onsen).
Back in town, dine on king crab at the Nijo Crab Market or Raman at any traditional ramen house; believe me, they are all of excellent quality.
At night, get to know Japan’s LGBTIQ+ community and head to Susukino, Sapporo’s version of London’s Soho district.
10. For a scenic road trip: Istria, Croatia
Technically a county, Istria is on the Adriatic coast and far from the often crowded Dubrovnik. This area of Croatia is perfect for road-trip enthusiasts and those who appreciate old architecture.
Rovinj and Pula are two of the larger coastal towns where many visitors prefer to stay. Further north, the villages of Motovun and Grožnjan offer tranquil getaways and unparalleled views.
Enjoy fresh seafood at the breathtaking Villa Stefanija’s, Stefanija’s Kitchen or sample the truffle treats at Restaurant Zigante in Livade.
For those who love Croatia, living there has become more attractive.
9. For the best beaches in the UK: Cornwall, England
The UK is not synonymous with beautiful beaches and great weather, but this corner of the country has a lot to offer. Again, a county not a city, Cornwall is one of the most treasured places in the UK.
During your visit, swap the standard hotel room for unique and unusual rentals and glamping options – there are plenty available on Airbnb.
Newquay is perfect for families, while St. Ives is more peaceful and slower paced.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a day trip to the Minack Theatre, an outdoor theater perched on the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean.
8. For culture and beautiful views: Kotor, Montenegro
Travel to Montenegro has increased in recent years, and it is understandable why.
The whole country has something to offer. But the top of everyone’s list should be Kotor. This coastal town is set between limestone mountains and is a maze of medieval streets, museums and palaces.
The cobbled squares are packed with cafes, bars and live music, making it the perfect place for all ages and interests.
7. For markets and food: Taroudant, Morocco
Labeled “Grandmother of Marrakech”, Taroudant is a more intimate walled city in southeastern Morocco.
For those who have visited Marrakech, Taroudant offers the same atmosphere but with a more authentic side. The the bazaars are just as entertaining and the tagine just as tasty – maybe even more so!
It is a must for those who like to travel “off the beaten track”. The locals are friendly and helpful, and for female travelers there is significantly less harassment.
6. For independent restaurants and stores: Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is a truly underrated city with incredible music, arts, and food scenes.
Neighborhoods like Gastown and Main Street are full of independent shops, restaurants and bars that you wish were international chains.
For those who love Asia foodVancouver’s Chinatown is the third largest in North America, and dim sum is considered the most authentic outside of Asia.
For those looking for a fun week, Vancouver is definitely worth the trip.
5. For effortless cool: Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is a city that just has something about it. It’s effortlessly cool and oddly welcoming.
Signs, announcements, and public transportation are in Korean and English, making it easy to navigate the city. The metro system itself is simple and convenient.
For shopping, explore Gangnam’s underground markets and stock up on skincare at SkinFood.
For traditional sightseeing, head to Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Insa-dong area.
For something more unique, book a trip to Korea’s Demilitarized Zone, a strip of land between the North and South Korean border.
Before you go, be sure to stock up on kkul-tarae, a dessert made from braided honey. You can have any topping you like – I recommend peanut butter – and it’s freezable.
4. For breathtaking beaches: Perth, Australia
When considering a trip to Australia, the most common options are sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. But on the southwest coast, Perth holds firm.
The city is much smaller than the other more popular options, but it has just as much to offer.
The beaches are just as breathtaking as those on the Gold Coast, especially Cottesloe, Mettams and Leighton.
The café scene rivals Melbourne, and there’s just as much to do as there is in Sydney. Plus, it’s cheaper and less crowded.
3. For European culture: Utrecht, Netherlands
The city of Utrecht lies 35 kilometers south of Amsterdam and never fails to impress.
Utrecht is as pretty as amsterdam and much more authentic. It embodies European rooftop terrace and café culture and is a true indication of Dutch daily life.
Although it is a city, it is more like a village and has already been voted fourth happiest place in the world by BBC Travel.
For the best view in town, head to La Place cafe at the top of the V&D department store.
2. For castles and culture: Ghent, Belgium
For such a small country, Belgium has a lot to offer. Between Antwerp, Brussels and Bruges, Ghent is often overlooked.
But as the oldest Belgian city in the country, Ghent was once Europe’s most important port. It’s a city rich in history, architecture and mayonnaise fries.
Explore it Castle of the Counts and Saint Bavo’s Cathedral. And on Fridays, stroll around Vrijdagmarkt, a food, drink and wares market that has been held every Friday since the 12th century.
1. For wine and rich history: Ronda, Andalusia, Spain
The whole region of Andalucia is something to see, but Ronda is the star.
As the largest of the White Towns, Ronda is built on top of the El Tajo Gorge. It is famous for its “New Bridge”, winemakingbullfighting and rich history.
Being in Spain, tapas are still the popular choice, but expect seafood you never knew existed and lots of game meat. For photographersRonda is the perfect subject – it seems the golden hour was created just for her.