Everyone knows about London, New York, Paris, Rome, Los Angeles, Sydney and even Hong Kong as great places to get away for a city break. Only trouble is, if everyone knows about them, it could be a bit crowded, a bit touristy and a bit clichéd.
In attempt to broaden horizons a bit and think outside the box, this countdown of five cities you never considered visiting might just inflame your imagination in a way you never considered.
Durban, South Africa –
Easily recognisable for its super long sandy beach with many skyscrapers almost on the shoreline, Durban is a growing metropolis situated in the best named South African province of the lot: KwaZulu-Natal Province. It was recognised in 2015 as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities which means it may not be a best kept secret for long. Durban boasts a thriving and flourishing social scene with amazing restaurants serving up some quintessentially South African food and fun. It’s also growing in popularity for arcades and casinos if that floats your boat. At its core though, Durban is still an outdoors first city, with the beaches and parks the main attraction. Relative to other major cities worldwide, Durban is a relatively cheap option. The expense comes from the flight to and from the southernmost country of Africa.
Frontier offer some outstanding South Africa Volunteering Projects.
Taipei, Taiwan –
Taiwan’s capital, like the country at large really, is only just starting to become a destination. Vietnam, China, Japan and Thailand mostly dominate the tourism of South East Asia but hopefully Taiwan can elbow its way into that group. If it does, Taipei will be at the heart. Boasting rich history and architecture thanks to many years of belonging to various countries, empires and dynasties, Taipei is as off the beaten track for a major Asian city as you can get. On one hand you have a typically advanced Asian city with great food, markets and nightlife, on the other a friendly and low key city with a personal and slower paced feel. If you’re looking to travel extensively in South East Asia, Taipei definitely has to be high up the list these days.
Krakow, Poland –
Sat on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, Krakow dates back to the 7th century. Steeped in Polish history, it has been a main hub of Polish academia, culture, art and economics for centuries. Krakow managed to escape much destruction in the Second World War and, as a result, still holds some of the finest architecture in undiscovered Europe. If you’re the art and music type, Krakow is right up your street as the home of one of the most prominent eastern European opera and classical music companies. Some of the theatres of Krakow wouldn’t look out of place as a palace for a royal family member, the architecture is that grand. This hidden gem certainly has to be on your radar for cities you didn’t think to consider.
Montevideo, Uruguay –
This South American capital isn’t given its just praise, thanks to the very near location of another major South American city which steals many prospective visitors to the continent. Perhaps you’ve heard of Buenos Aires? Well, the two capitals are situated at either end of the same natural indent as each other, but only one really has the global trekking spotlight. Montevideo is the southernmost capital of all the Americas where it supports a rich history of Spanish, British and Portuguese influences. This city screams history so if you’re one for lapping up the culture via the past, it’s an ideal stop. In typical South American fashion, you can expect a diverse tapestry of cuisine in Montevideo as well as the kind of nightlife that rivals anywhere else on the continent.
If Uruguay is on your radar, check out some Frontier South America Projects.
Calgary, Canada –
An unsung hero of the growing popularity in Canadian cities as destinations, Calgary is probably most famous for hosting the Winter Olympics and for being central to Canada’s cattle industry for much of its life. Close proximity to the Canadian Rockies means that Calgary is a great starting platform for the outdoors type. Calgary is basic and unflashy, but definitely has a certain charisma because of it. There’s a simple pleasure in things that are just done right. Transport links in and around the city are second to none so getting in and out of the back country couldn’t be easier. This closeness with the Rockies spills over into the city too, which is different among major metropolitan areas for its lush green areas of open space. Typical for a nation that still lives closely and responsibly with nature, Calgary is a prominent hub for backpackers.
Have a look here for Frontier Canada Projects.
One of the big benefits to choosing somewhere like these locations, is that their relative anonymity makes them generally on the cheaper side of city breaks compared to your Londons and New Yorks. There’s no way that cities this great coming at this price is a bad thing. In fact, that could be a deciding factor. For all the individual upside that each city has, going somewhere like these that’s just a little bit obscure also comes with its own mystery and romance.
By Guy Bezant - Online Journalism Intern
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