5 Underrated Cities to Visit This Year
By: Kendra Wolfman
Whether you’re planning your next vacation or simply need a dose of wanderlust, we’ve gathered five stunning cities that deserve a spot on your bucket list.
Shanghai is rich with Chinese culture, breathtaking modern and historic architecture, and of course shopping! There is so much to do in Shanghai but my top three highlights included: walking in the Bund, exploring the City of God Temple of Shanghai, and visiting the Propaganda Museum.
The Bund is a walkway near the water with views of Shanghai’s skyscrapers and access in and out of stores. At night, the buildings near the Bund are lit up in different colors that create a beautiful skyline.
The City of God Temple is an old temple where three Chinese figures are honored as Gods in their city. The temple has beautiful gardens where you can walk around and take aesthetically pleasing pictures for the gram!
The Propaganda Museum was the coolest experience I had in Shanghai. The museum is small and a bit difficult to find if you don’t know where you are going, but it contains amazing artifacts. The museum holds propaganda from the communist era of Mao and beyond. I found this especially fascinating since I studied Mao in my high school history class; I was able to see original prints of the propaganda used during this period, that we had looked at in class. It was one of the most thought-provoking museums I have ever visited, and I still think about it from time to time.
If you’re looking for an exciting afternoon excursion, then Burano is the place for you! Burano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, a short boat ride away from the mainland.
The island is known for the bright-colored houses of the fishermen, which are said to be painted this way so the fishermen would be able to find their way home in the fog. Although the island is not very big, there is so much to explore.
Besides wandering around and admiring the different colored houses, there are many cute shops to explore. Most of the clothing shops sell lace clothing crafted by the women of the island. Not too into shopping? Stop into one of the many trattorias for homemade pizza, fresh pasta, or an Aperol spritz. Burano is a unique destination with plenty of Insta-worthy photo ops around every corner.
Big Major Cay, Bahamas
A vacation in the Bahamas is one of the best places for a Caribbean getaway. With endless miles of relaxing beaches, a trip to Nassau could be the place for you to recharge. If you’re looking for excitement, however, located a couple of hours from the main island sits Big Major Cay.
If you’re not familiar with the Bahamas or the tourism the country offers, Big Major Cay is home to the swimming pigs. Many companies on the island offer boat excursions to Big Major Cay that are full-day adventures. Make sure to check out The Bahamas Tourism for more details on this excursion. Participants can feed the Bahamian iguanas, swim with the pigs, and visit Staniel Cay for lunch.
I visited the swimming pigs a few years ago and it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. I got to hold baby pigs, swim alongside some of the bigger pigs, and feed the iguanas. It was an unreal experience but if you choose to see the pigs, make sure they don’t mistake you for a snack—they’ve been known to bite!
Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands located in the Aegean sea. The island is adorned with beautiful blue and white houses, and flowers everywhere. The walk to the main part of Santorini, Thíra, is long and mostly uphill but the views along the way are breathtaking. On the walk to Thíra, tourists can pop in and out of shops or stop at a restaurant for a Greek frappe (a coffee drink) or some pita with tzatziki (or even rest if you’re too tired to keep going).
One of the best excursions I partook in while in Santorini was swimming in the hot spring. You can either book an organized boat tour or hire a boat to take you to the springs, but if you’re in Santorini you NEED to check the hot springs out. It feels like you’re swimming in a hot tub – perfect for those who find the ocean too cold to swim in normally! If you go, be sure to pack a swimming outfit you don’t mind getting dirty, if you swim too close to the hot spring the mud can stain your clothes!
In my opinion, Brussels is one of the most underrated cities in Europe. Brussels is home to some of the most beautiful architecture (similar to that of Paris) with nearly everything in the city accessible by foot.
I recommend checking out the Royal Palace of Brussels, it’s an amazing spot to take some pictures or simply relax on the benches across from the Palace and take in the view. Across from the park, there are food trucks to purchase authentic Belgian waffles as well as a park to walk through if you feel like exploring.
There are many shops to explore, art stores to discover and lots of yummy food to eat! If you’re looking for an activity to do during the day I recommend participating in a chocolate-making course. I took a chocolate-making course while I was in Brussels that was not only delicious but also exciting! At the end of the course, we were able to take the yummy chocolate creations we made home to eat.
Where are you planning on traveling to next? Leave your travel bucket list below!