From Sapporo to Taroudant, here are 11 underrated cities you didn’t realise should be on your radar
David Attenborough said that “the world is full of wonders” – and he isn’t wrong.
There are so many incredible cities to visit, sites to see, and delicacies to try. But with what seem like limitless options, it’s easy to miss some key places off your bucket list.
As travel has taken a slight reset, we think your travel list needs reviving too. So here are 11 cities which may have gone under your radar.
11. Sapporo, Japan
Surrounded by ski resorts that put Europe to shame, Sapporo is an often-overlooked city in Japan’s north island, Hokkaido.
Beautiful all year round, Sapporo has the hustle 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 the Historic Village of Hokkaido, the Sapporo Beer Factory, and neighbouring towns Otaru and Jozankai (home of the Onsen).
Back in the city, dine on king crab from the Nijo Crab Market or Raman from any traditional Ramen House; trust me, they are all excellent quality.
At night, get to know Japan’s LGBTIQ community and head to Susukino, Sapporo’s version of London’s Soho district.
10. Istria, Croatia
Technically a county, Istria is on the Adriatic coast and far from the often-overcrowded Dubrovnik.
This area of Croatia is perfect for road-trip lovers and those who appreciate ancient architecture.
Rovinj and Pula are two of the bigger coastal towns where many visitors prefer to stay. Further north, the villages Motovun and Grožnjan offer quiet escapes and unparalleled views.
Dine on fresh seafood at the breathtaking Villa Stefanija’s, Stefanija’s Kitchen or sample the truffle delicacies at Restaurante Zigante in Livade.
For those in love with Croatia, living there just got more appealing.
9. Cornwall, England
The UK is not synonymous with beautiful beaches and gorgeous weather. But after the G7 meeting in 2021, the world got a look at what this country can offer.
Again, a county, not a city, Cornwall is one of the UK most treasured spots.
When visiting, swap the standard hotel room for unique, quirky rentals and glamping options – there are plenty available on Airbnb.
Newquay is perfect for families, while St. Ives is more peaceful and a slower pace.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a day trip to Minack Theatre, an open air theatre perched on the cliffs high above the Atlantic ocean.
8. Kotor, Montenegro
Travel to Montenegro has been on the up in recent years, and it’s clear to see why.
The entire country has something to offer. But top of everyone’s bucket list should be Kotor.
This coastal town is situated between limestone mountains and is a maze of medieval streets, museums, and palaces.
Cobbled squares are laden with coffee shops, bars, and live music making it the ideal place for all ages and interests.
7. Taroudant, Morocco
Labelled the ‘Grandmother of Marrakesh,’ Taroudant is a more intimate fortified town in the southeast of Morocco.
For those who have visited Marrakesh, Taroudant offers the same atmosphere but with a more authentic feel. The souks are just as distracting and the tagine just as tasty – maybe even more so!
It is a must for those who love to travel ‘off the beaten track.’ The locals are friendly and helpful, and for female travellers, there is noticeably less harassment.
6. Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is a truly undervalued city with incredible music, art, and food scenes.
Neighbourhoods like Gastown and Main Street are filled with independent boutiques, restaurants and bars that you wish were international chains.
For those who love Asian food, Vancouver’s Chinatown is the third-largest in North America, and the dim sum is believed to be the most authentic outside of Asia.
For anyone looking for a fun week away, Vancouver is undoubtedly worth the trip.
5. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is a city that just has something about it. It’s effortlessly cool and oddly welcoming.
Signs, announcements and public transport are in Korean and English, making the city easy to navigate. The subway system itself is straightforward and convenient.
For shopping, explore the underground markets in Gangnam (yes, it is a real place) and stock up on skincare at SkinFood.
For traditional sightseeing, head to Gyeongbokgung Palace and the area of Insa-dong.
For something more unique, book a trip to the Korea Demilitarized Zone, a strip of land between the North and South Korean border.
Before leaving, make sure you stock up on kkul-tarae, a dessert made from woven honey. You can have any filling you like – I recommend peanut butter – and it’s freezable.
4. Perth, Australia
When thinking about a trip to Australia, the most common options are Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. But on the southwest coast, Perth is holding its own.
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 in the Gold Coast, particularly Cottesloe, Mettams, and Leighton.
The coffee scene rivals Melbourne, and there’s equally as much to do as there is in Sydney.
Plus, it is less expensive and less crowded.
3. Utrecht, Netherlands
The city of Utrecht is 35 kilometres south of Amsterdam and never fails to impress.
Utrecht is just as pretty as Amsterdam and much more authentic. It embodies the European culture of roof terraces and coffee shops, and is a true indication of Dutch day-to-day life.
Despite being a city, it feels more like a village and was once voted the fourth happiest place in the world by BBC Travel.
For the city’s best view, head to La Place café at the top of the V&D department store.
2. Ghent, Belgium
For such a small country, Belgium has a lot to offer. Between Antwerp, Brussels, and Brugges, Ghent often gets left out.
But as Belgium’s oldest city in the country, Ghent was once the most important Port in Europe.
It’s a city rich in history, architecture, and frites with mayonnaise.
Explore the Castle of the Counts and St Bavo’s Cathedral. And on Fridays, have a stroll around Vrijdagmarkt, a food, drink, and goods market that has been held every Friday since the 12th Century.
1. Ronda, Andalusia Spain
The whole region of Andalucia is something to behold, but Ronda is the standout.
As the largest of the White towns, Ronda is built on top of the El Tajo gorge. It is famous for its ‘New Bridge,’ wine-making, bullfighting, and rich history.
Being in Spain, tapas is still the popular choice but expect seafood you never knew existed and lots of game meat.
For photographers, Ronda is the perfect subject – it seems the golden hour was created just for her.