While it’s easier to flock to the more well-known destinations, some explorers yearn for the gems that lie in wait for restless hearts and aching eyes to uncover them. Here are 5 of the World's Most Underrated Cities.
This gorgeous European city is the gateway to the Norwegian fjords. Because of the surrounding mountains, it’s the ideal destination for nature lovers and cruise enthusiasts. Bergen’s laid-back atmosphere and small town charm are not only appreciated by visiting folks, but thoroughly enjoyed by locals as well.
Head to Edvard Grieg Museum to get to know more about Norway's most famous composer. If picturesque alleyways and harbor buildings are more your thing, head to the old quarter of Bryggen — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And if that’s not enough, catch scenic views of the city on top of Floien Mountain and eat to your heart’s content at the Bergen Fish Market. While it rains 275 days in a year, they have their locals’ sunny dispositions to make up for it.
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While Essaouira may not be everyone’s first choice, it was certainly Jimi Hendrix’s in the summer of 1969. Nowadays, most people visit because this walled city was used as a set for Game of Thrones Season 3. While it’s easy to see why tourists flock Marrakech and Fez, Essaouira is able to hold its own as well.
This Moroccan gem is filled to the brim with a contagious laidback atmosphere, history, and nature. However, despite its fame, Essaouira remains peaceful. Its streets are lined with smiling locals and delicious Moroccan food stalls. It also has camels and tree-climbing goats! Essaouira is also home to a lovely stretch of beach and strong winds, which is why surfers catching big waves and riding colored kites are nothing new here.
Queens, New York
Image from commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Long_Island_City_New_York_May_2015_panorama_3.jpg
Queens is technically a part of New York City but with a population of 2.3 million people, it practically qualifies as a city itself. There are over 170 languages and dialects spoken in the borough, which makes it one of the most diverse places in America. While it lacks the glamor of Manhattan, being there is like going around the world without ever leaving.
For a sub-continental vibe – complete with the gold jewelry, saris, and South Asian restaurants – go to Jackson Heights. If you’re a fan of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships and have a knack for all things Chinese and Jamaican, check out Flushing. Visit the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden for a relaxed atmosphere complete with cold Czech beer, mouthwatering food, and live music. Don’t forget to head to the Museum of the Moving Image to know more about how media evolved through the years.
Despite the recent economic crisis, Porto is able to bounce back beautifully. While it’s often overlooked for Lisbon, one can’t deny that there is a unique vibe in Porto that one won’t be able to find anywhere else in Portugal.
Along the banks of the Douro River is where you will find one of Porto’s most beautiful highlights — the multi-colored Ribeira district. Once you set foot on Porto’s soils, you are greeted with a colorful mix of places to visit. From the unmissable Museu Serralves art museum to one of their many hidden bars, you can see why people fall in love with the place.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Image from Puerto Rico Tourism Company Condado
San Juan is quite an eclectic mix of old and new. Sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spanish colonial buildings on the cobbled streets of Old San Juan are juxtaposed to the chic new hotels, boutiques, nightspots, art galleries, and dance venues scattered everywhere else. It is also home to stunning bioluminescent bays and the El Yunque Rainforest. While high above the sea stands the majestic El Morro Fortress.
Check out the Museo de Arte for amazing work done by Puerto Rican artists as well as a theater and a two-hectare garden. For a slice of San Juan’s sleek and rich nightlife, head to the San Juan Water Beach Club Hotel and immerse yourself in its calming blue-lit rooms and minimalist décor. If live salsa orchestras are your thing, the Nyuorican Café is the place to be. When all is said and done, cap the night with Tantra’s tasty Latino–Hindu dishes.
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