I know that I may cop some heat for this post, as people’s opinions are always different and it is hard to write something like this without offending anyone. It is all only relative to the countries to which I have travelled. I still have a lot more of the world to see, so this list will probably change a lot over time. But for now, here are my lists of the most overrated and underrated cities I have visited.
Most overrated cities
1. Los Angeles, United States
Whenever I think of overrated cities, Los Angeles is always the first place to pop to mind. I have spoken to so many people who agree with this. Admittedly, I have not been there in 12 years, but I am in no hurry to go back. California is such a beautiful state and LA is such a poor representation of that. Any notions of Hollywood glitz and glamour are quickly shattered upon visiting it. I think it is one of those places that you have to go to say you have been there, but that is about it.
2. Melbourne, Australia
I know that a lot of people will not agree with this, but I honestly just do not understand the fuss about Melbourne. There is something disingenuous about it. I feel like it tries too hard. In fact, I have previously written a whole blog about how I much prefer Sydney over Melbourne. I have spoken to a few overseas travellers who have also been underwhelmed by it. And it has horrendous weather, which I experienced firsthand a couple of years ago. A sweltering 47°C one day and then a chilly 20°C the next… That is enough to turn me off a city.
3. Vila, Vanuatu
Visiting Vila for a day on a cruise was enough to make me not want to ever go back to Vanuatu. It was reasonably pretty, but nothing exceptional. Vanuatu has been rated as the ‘happiest place on earth’. However, the locals I met did not reflect this. They were not friendly. I know that most people travel to Vanuatu to stay in resorts. However, I really do not understand the point of this. There are so many other places to travel that have beautiful resorts, are even more beautiful beyond the resorts and are still affordable – like the love of my life, Hawaii!
4. Calgary, Canada
I know Calgary probably does not rate that highly anyway, but in terms of the most boring city I have ever visited, it takes the cake. It gave that impression from the second we caught a cab from the airport and drove towards the city. I only spent half a day there and that was enough. There was just simply nothing to see and no atmosphere in the city whatsoever. To be fair, we arrived just before Christmas, so a lot of people had probably left the city, but I do not think that can completely account for how boring it seemed. When it comes to taking photos on holidays, I usually go overboard – but I only took one single photo in Calgary. I think that says enough.
Most underrated cities
1. Brisbane, Australia
Of course Brisbane has to be at the top of my list! I am so in love with my hometown. The more I travel overseas, the more I appreciate it. Brisbane slowly seems to be garnering more attention from travellers, but I still do not think it is enough. Brisbane has so much to offer – great weather, fantastic dining options, fun nightlife, an inner city beach, a growing arts scene, ample parklands and close proximity to popular places like the Gold Coast. And it’s relatively safe. Biased? Perhaps, but many of my international friends have come to Brisbane and fallen in love with it too. Ha, Brisbane Marketing, when are you going to hire me?
2. Charleston, United States
Without a doubt, I think Charleston is the most underrated place I have ever visited in the United States. I cannot rave about it enough. It is incredibly charming. The magic of Charleston really needs to be experienced in person to be believed. I could not stop smiling as I walked around.
3. Antibes, France
The French Riviera gets a lot of attention, particularly the towns of Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo – which are all amazing and are deserving of the spotlight. However, there is a town that is not as famous, but is situated perfectly between these towns and definitely warrants a visit. Antibes is where I stayed during my magical summer in the south of France a few years ago. I appreciate that it may be well-known amongst Europeans, but as an Australian, I had never heard of it until going there. I adored it. It is easy to see why it has been popular with many world-renown artists, including Picasso. It has beautiful coastline, quaint buildings and a rich history. Within the commune of Antibes is Juan-les-Pins, which is a vibrant beach town. I had the pleasure of seeing Norah Jones perform at Jazz à Juan. It was simply incredible. I think Antibes should be added to more French Riviera itineraries.
4. Atlanta, United States
Atlanta is often considered ‘the capital of the South’, but as a foreigner, I had never heard much about it and did not know anyone that had been there. That was until I lived in South Carolina. I then visited Atlanta, because it was only four hours away. And I was pleasantly surprised. Atlanta is amazing. There is so much to see and do. It is especially great for children, as there are lots of kid-friendly attractions. I recently recommended it to friends who were travelling to the United States and they loved it too!
What are some of the most overrated and underrated cities you have visited?