10 Underrated Cities to Add to Your Travel List

by Eileen Sosa
An airplane traveling through a sunset and clouds.

Our closely connected world has plenty of famous travel locations, but what about the lesser-known ones? If you’re on the lookout for a more obscure vacation destination, you’re in luck! Here’s the scoop on ten underrated cities to add to your bucket list!

1. Narai-juku, Japan

Narai was once a wealthy town in the Kiso Valley during the Edo period and referred to as “Narai of a Thousand Houses.” Visit the enchanting temple-like structures and take in the history surrounding you. Travel to Narai to relax in their traditional inns with Japanese beer and cuisines. Also, take a stroll down the city’s central road and observe some of the Edo period houses that Narai is famous for. Without a doubt, this historic city is full of countless wonders. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time when you travel to this destination!

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2. Sokcho-si, South Korea

Sokcho is a city in Gangwon-do province, South Korea in proximity to Seoraksan National Park. Sokcho is more known for its fishing than being a tourist hub. Nevertheless, travel to Sokcho for some fresh raw fish and breathe in the salty sea air. If you are a fan of the K-drama Autumn in My Heart don’t forget to visit the vintage seafood eatery Abai Shikdang. Also, make sure to schedule your visit during New Year’s Eve to watch the first sunrise either alone or with those you traveled with.

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3. Huancayo, Peru

If you ever travel to Peru make sure to visit Huancayo! Huancayo is the capital city of the Junín region in central Peru, which belongs to the Quechua region. For many, Huancayo will be their first experience with Peru’s highlands, sitting at around 10,650 feet in altitude. Be prepared for the high altitude. In addition, Huancayo has some of Peru’s finest dining. And it has Andes treks and extreme mountain biking.

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4. Ísafjörður, Iceland

Ísafjörður is the largest town in the Westfjords peninsula. The city began to grow due to the fishing community because of salt fish production. This town is the perfect place for travelers. Ísafjörður has hiking trails in the hills along with skiing in the winter, and in the summer there are boat rides for hikers. In addition to all the adventures, the outdoors will bring be on the lookout for cafes and restaurants!

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5. Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is a port city on the River Clyde in Scotland’s western Lowlands. Today, the city is a cultural hub, featuring everything from opera to churches to museums. It is also the home of many music venues, clubs, and a nightlife like no other. Take a chance and visit this incredibly diverse city and explore the countless opportunities it holds!

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6. Bergen, Norway

This international trading center is the second-largest city in Norway and is nestled between the North Sea and seven majestic mountains, giving the city the nickname “the city of seven mountains.” Initially founded at the end of the Viking age over a thousand years ago, Bergen is now one of the leaders in aquaculture and subsea technology. The city functions as a hub for shipping and is a central port of call for cruise ships. Bergen also has a large student population which adds to their nightlife. With easy access to nature, you are minutes away from serenity. So, make sure to visit this city if you are ever in Norway.

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7. San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastián is a resort town nestled in the mountains on the Bay of Biscay. This charming city is one of the leading European cities. Visit for its elegant architecture, white-sand beaches, and lively festivals. In fact, San Sebastian’s mild temperatures make their beaches perfect travel destinations at any time of year. Therefore, a visit to this intriguing city is a must addition to the next item on your bucket list!

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8. Lisbon, Portugal

This major global city is a prime tourist destination that many never have the chance to visit. Innovations in entertainment, arts, finance, media, and trade are made in this progressive city every day. Few are aware that Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe, and one of the oldest in the world, making it a historical destination like no other. Everyone from Julius Caesar to the hosts of the 2007 MTV Music Awards has visited this renowned city. Take a trip to Lisbon and discover Belém, where Portuguese explorers like Vasco de Gama set sail in the 15th century, and Parque das Nações, a futuristic district that puts a modern twist on Gothic architecture. Lisbon has something for everyone, so make sure to add a trip to this marvelous city to your bucket list!

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9. Antigua, Guatemala

Once the capital of the kingdom of Guatemala, Antigua is home to hundreds of Spanish Baroque-inspired structures dating back to the 16th century. This quaint city is much safer and tourist-oriented than the much larger Guatemala City, but still possesses the authentic city feel. Surrounded by three large volcanoes, Antigua is the perfect combination of city life, historic preservation, and the tranquility of the surrounding nature. Bargain with local artists in the market and score intricate handmade products that you won’t find anywhere else. With everything from colonial monuments to scrumptious Guatemalan cuisine to ziplining through the mountains, Antigua is the perfect destination for anyone looking to explore.

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10. Mumbai, India

Capital of the Indian state Maharashtra, Mumbai is a bustling island in the Arabian Sea. It is believed that the island has been inhabited since the South Asian Stone Age before our species was even fully evolved. However, you would never know the ancient roots of this tropical city from the look of it. Mumbai is a metropolitan masterpiece, featuring stunning skyscrapers and advanced shipping, recycling, and technology industry. Dozens of amusement parks, beaches, malls, historic forts, and museums reside on the island, making it an engaging destination for visitors. Explore the lively night scene downtown, try out one of the renowned restaurants, or discover an ancient Hindu temple during your stay in this dynamic city!

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Although it’s always fun to visit Paris or Rome, these packed destinations lack a certain charm that some less widely known cities feature. When planning your next getaway, think outside the box and plan a visit to one of these delightful cities. Who knows, you may even find your new favorite spot!

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