03.30.2018

Eight Totally Underrated Cities

They are off the beaten track, rarely mentioned by travel magazines, and often missing from our bucket list. And yet they definitely deserve to be explored

  • Eight Totally Underrated Cities
  • Eight Totally Underrated Cities
  • Eight Totally Underrated Cities
  • Eight Totally Underrated Cities
  • Eight Totally Underrated Cities
  • Eight Totally Underrated Cities
  • Eight Totally Underrated Cities
  • Eight Totally Underrated Cities

Have you ever thought about how many beautiful cities you have been missing so far simply because you’ve never even considered visiting them? Hiding in the shade of the big world capitals and sheltered by their being off the radar, these ‘minor’ destinations may not be top-of-mind but they are often full of surprises. From Europe to the United States and Japan, here are a few detours worth taking from your next travels.
 
Nantes, France
The Capital of Western Loire, Nantes turned from a port and an industrial city into a cultural hub which attracts tourists and talents from all over the world, just like the l’Île de Nantes, a long island on the Loire that went from being an industrial district to becoming a civic and art space. The Bouffay district, around the castle, is yet another example: a maze of medieval streets full of small shops and bistros often welcoming creative intrusions from contemporary artists. Between July and August, Le Voyage festival helps visitors discover the city and its highlights, from the cathedral of Saint Paul et Pierre to the Museum of Fine Arts, featuring works by Picasso, Chagall, Kandinsky, and Monet.
 
Lübeck, Germany
The "Venice of the Baltic" is a city of water along the Trave river and 20 kilometers away from the sea. Accessing from Holstenstor, the ancient medieval gate that marks the entrance to the city, you will cross a maze of winding streets that open onto small squares surrounded by sloped roof houses. Lübeck's belonging to the Hanseatic League, the group of Baltic cities that dominated the trades in Northern Europe between the 14th and 16th centuries, has left marks everywhere. With its typical red brick architecture, the Buddenbrook Haus in memory of Thomas Mann and the delicious marzipan sweets, Lübeck is the ideal city for a slow weekend.
 
Portland, USA
This vibrant Oregon city is mostly known as the home of hipsters and indie-folk music. Yet Portland is also a comaratively quiet and pedestrian-friendly town that you can explore by taking long walks, crossing the movable bridges over the Willamette River under a constant drizzle, listening to dozens of different languages ​​and trying food from all over the world sold by the food trucks that dot the center. A multicultural college town, Portland offers tons of craft breweries, bicycles everywhere, a lively Chinatown and former industrial buldings converted into art galleries, creative hubs, and smart economy startups.
 
Sapporo, Japan
Hokkaido is the northernmost island of Japan and its landscape, by nature and climate, is close to that of the European Alps or the Sierra Nevada. Sapporo is one of its largest and most vibrant cities, featuring a vast urban park and the popular Snow Festival in February, which fills the city with ice and snow sculptures. As for food and drinks, the local beer of the same name is the perfect complement to some exceptional ramen from the Susukino neighborhood or seafood from the fish market.
 
Tavira, Portugal
Algarve, the most renowned destination in Portugal, has recently become the target of thousands of tourists, especially from Northern Europe. Yet there is a small town that has managed to retain its century-old charm: Tavira. A few kilometers from Faro, it has a typically Moorish plant, with a narrow streets and small squares, and it offers the unspoilt nature of its beaches sheltered by the Ria Formosa Natural Park, as well as the ancient beauty of the 37 churches that dot it.
 
Vicenza, Italy
Among widely recognized gems such as Venice, Verona and Padua there is a Venetian city that is distinguished by a sober and composed beauty: Vicenza, the town that was (re)designed by architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) with consistent magnificency, from the aristocratic palaces to the villas on the Riviera dei Colli Berici onthe southern border of the city. Among its gems are the beautiful Basilica, a Unesco heritage, and the Loggia del Capitaniato, home of the local legislative and judicial power at the time of Venetian rule. The Olympic Theater is the ultimate example of the architectural matrix of the city: designed by Palladio, it has an incredible trompe-l’oeil onstage scenery - the oldest surviving stage set still in existence - designed in 1585 by Vincenzo Scamozzi and replicating long streets receding to a distant horizon.
 
Ghent, Belgium
Ghent is one of the most vibrant cities of the East Flanders. A city of water at the confluence of rivers Lys and Schelda, for centuries it has been a major trading port, and this heritage is still visible in its ancient architecture. The pleasant contrast between the thousands of students from all over the world who come here to study at the local university and the old-time grandeur of its noble palaces and Gothic cathedrals gives the impression of a place suspended in time and yet dynamic.
 
Segovia, Spain
The symbol of Segovia is the Roman aqueduct built in the first century AD that, with its 30 meters of height and 800 of length, for centuries has been carrying water into the city from the heights of the Sierra that surrounds it. The marks left by the Romans are enriched with Medieval walls, Romanesque churches, Gothic cathedrals and the much more recent mines, making this city an example of a melting pot in the heart of the Castilla Y Leon region, north-west of Madrid, along the course of river Eresma and the route of the Camino de Santiago.
 

Author : The Slowear Journal

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