The Internet is full of wonderful, picturesque images of la Sagrada Familia, the Freedom Tower and the Eiffel Tower.
The Internet is full of wonderful, picturesque images of la Sagrada Familia, the Freedom Tower and the Eiffel Tower. We’ve all seen the Venice gondolas, the Berlin Wall and Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia.
What we fail to pay attention to, however, are lesser known cities and we miss out on a lot. As an experienced traveler, I’m giving you my 8 reasons to explore lesser known cities.
1. It’s much cheaper to go off the beaten path
This one’s very logical - the less demand there is for something, the cheaper it is.
If you decide not to go to Paris but see Bourdeau instead, you’ll find many more accommodation options and restaurants at cheaper prices. That’s mostly because business owners don’t have expenses as large as those in Paris, such as rent and utilities.
The money you save on your basic travel expenses can go into upgrading your photography gear or prolonging your trip.
2. Your pictures will be unique
I’m sure you’ve seen thousands of people trying to hold the leaning tower of Pizza, but how many Taormina sunsets have you seen on Instagram? That’s right, not that many, because less people bother to go all the way out to Sicily and climb their way up to Taormina.
Going for less known areas makes your trip more special. Soon, you’ll have people asking you for advice as though you’re a travel guru.
3. You’ll pick up the local language
Most popular locations, from Barcelona to Bali speak English, because of the big tourist demand.
If you go to Java Island instead of Bali, on the other hand, you’ll inevitably end up picking up a few local words because locals aren’t as exposed to foreign tourists as the Balinese are.
4. No more being squished in a crowd
This one is a total game-changer. Can you really enjoy seeing the Great Wall of China if you’re in the middle of a massive crowd? I didn’t think so.
Pick a less known location with good monuments like Valletta in Malta, for example. That way you’ll get a chance to breathe and move at your own pace while enjoying the location.
5. Less of a wait for museum entries
Because the crowd will be in the big city! I’ve found from experience that museum tickets tend to be cheaper as well, so it’s a win-win.
6. You’ll eat more authentic food
If you go to Sofia, Bulgaria, you’ll see McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, catering to tourists. Head 40 kilometers north to Botevgrad, and you’ll be having homemade banitsa instead.
You’ll be delightfully surprised by the new flavors you try and gain a better understanding of local culture.
7. Your street smarts will come in handy
Because lesser known locations typically rely on locals knowing their way around and don’t put out as many signs. For example, when you ask for directions in Malta, you’ll hear something like: “go straight until you see the big tree, then turn right.”
You’ll find yourself out of your comfort zone and quickly learn to act out your questions if you don’t speak the local language and quickly learn to adapt to the environment.
Bali was a huge lesson for me, where I had to ride a scooter everywhere and every time I ran out of gas on the road, I had to explain to the store owner nearby what I needed. Go on an adventure and see how you do.
8. You can keep it your little secret
I hate to break it to you, but if you think that Barcelona’s Carrer del Bisbe is your spot, you’re mistaken. Chances are that the “hidden gems” you find have been found by thousands of people before you and will be dubbed as “secret spots” by a thousand after you.
Going to a smaller city like Tirana or Ohrid will truly claim some spots as your secret, because chances are that none of your friends will go out of their way to see them.