12 Global Cities That Significantly Exceeded Traveler’s Expectations

Many travelers’ reasons for visiting certain cities are influenced almost entirely by what they’ve read or been told about them. As a result, they have natural expectations about what they should be experiencing when they visit these places. However, some cities don’t meet expectations; they exceed them! Recently, experienced travelers met in an online discussion to reveal the towns that outperformed all presuppositions.

1. Madrid, Spain

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Visitors often target cities like historic Barcelona or seaside Valencia when visiting Spain. I admit I was apprehensive when I decided to forgo those cities in favor of Madrid, but it turned out to be the best decision I ever made while traveling. Countless tourists agree; there’s an energy and comfort found in Madrid that can’t be found anywhere else in Spain. It’s a large city that is immensely walkable, and the locals are exceedingly friendly.

2. Hanoi, Vietnam

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Vietnam’s capital city isn’t among many travelers’ must-visit lists. Like many destinations on this list, Hanoi garnered a reputation from foreigners that didn’t turn out to be true. One person puts it all into perspective. “Ahead of my visit, I was told it was dirty and polluted, but I could wander around that city for the rest of my life,” confesses one traveler. It’s true: Hanoi is naturally beautiful and has some of the best cuisine in the world!

3. Palermo, Italy

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I’ll never forget my anticipation before visiting Palermo, the largest city in Sicily. My expectations were through the roof; I couldn’t wait to experience the culture, history, and cuisine the city was known for. Palermo remains the one city that consistently impressed me in every aspect! It took a lot to overshadow Italian cities like Rome and Venice, but Palermo easily accomplished that; it was that good.

4. Chicago, Illinois

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Count Chicago as one of the many large U.S. cities with a reputation for being unsafe. However, first-time visitors to the Windy City all report the same thing: The parts worth visiting aren’t dangerous at all! “Chicago is a very modern city that is surprisingly clean,” explains one man. “It has some of the best restaurants in the country. Great nightlife. Spectacular lakefront with public beaches. The media makes it out to be a war zone, but the many times I’ve visited, I’ve never once felt unsafe, even late at night.”

5. Split, Croatia

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When most people visit Croatia, they usually make a beeline for Dubrovnik, a historic city made famous for being the set of the hit TV show Game of Thrones. Its sister city, Split, isn’t held in nearly the same reverence by travelers, but that didn’t matter to me. Split is a fantastic city tailor-made for Western travelers who want to experience the history of Europe without feeling culture shock. I felt more comfortable in Split than anywhere else in Europe.

6. Detroit, Michigan

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Every American has heard the same things over the years regarding The Motor City: Detroit is dirty, old, and filled with dilapidated and abandoned homes. Don’t believe everything you hear! “I had an iconic weekend there recently, and I attended multiple sporting events and saw a few concerts,” reports one man. “I stayed downtown and loved it. Parts of the city seemed to be revitalizing, other parts not, but no different from most cities.”

7. Mexico City, Mexico

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When I moved to San Diego, my father gave me one piece of advice. He told me, “Stay out of Mexico.” Unfortunately, the nation is seen as dangerous by many Americans. As I found out firsthand, however, cities like Mexico City are not only safe to visit but are places rich in culture and tradition. Mexico City is one of my favorite places to visit! Sorry for not taking your advice, Dad!

8. Medellin, Columbia

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I’ll forgive you if “illicit drugs” is the first thought going through your mind when you think of this Colombian town. While it was true at one point, the city has made great strides in shedding its unsavory history. “Its reputation is so tied into Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel, but it has transformed since the ’90s,” reveals one traveler. “Now, it is a glowing jewel of a city with one of the best transit infrastructures in South America. There are beautiful parks, tons of street art, outdoor gymnasiums, cafes that spill onto the street, and amazing architecture.”

9. New York City, New York

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Unsurprisingly, many people hesitate to visit the Big Apple due to its sheer scope. People confess they are predisposed to believe they will feel insignificant in a city as large as New York! Fortunately, for many, that’s not the case. Most travelers are amazed by the city’s energy and can’t help but be caught up in the spirit of New York! It’s one of the most popular cities to visit for a reason.

10. San Francisco, California

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According to the mainstream media, San Francisco is virtually uninhabitable in 2023. However, the city is an excellent example of why you shouldn’t trust what you hear! “The news portrays it to be a wasteland and zombie land, but if you avoid the obvious areas, it’s an absolutely beautiful city,” admits one frequent visitor. “Amazing parks, active lifestyle, clean public transit that has recently been updated, generally great weather, access to the ocean, and a close drive to ski hills during ski season.” Let’s not forget about its proximity to wine country!

11. Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Many people have high hopes when visiting Amsterdam, and for good reasons: Amsterdam is popular with travelers, from the stunning architecture to the abundance of bicycles to the fantastic nightlife. Amazingly, visitors confess Amsterdam is even better than advertised, blowing away their already-lofty expectations. Even the tourist attractions are unforgettable: One trip to the Anne Frank House made me re-think how I feel about traditional “tourist traps.”

12. Athens, Greece

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Major European cities are sometimes considered places to avoid due to rising crime and a tendency to make visitors uncomfortable. Athens is often cited as a “stay-away” city, but many people think otherwise! “I’ve never met a city full of so many friendly and welcoming locals!” expresses one woman. “I’d been warned of it all. I was told everyone would try and scam you, and people are rude to tourists, but I did not find that. Athens positively blew me away, and I desperately wished I could stay longer.”

10 Destinations That Have Been Ruined By Rich People

shutterstock 2100523387 1 scaled Photo Credit: Shutterstock As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the influence of wealth and privilege can be seen in all corners of the globe. While the economic benefits of tourism and investment are undeniable, some destinations have undergone significant transformations at the hands of the wealthy and affluent. Once cherished for authenticity, these places have been molded into exclusive playgrounds for the wealthy elite.

10 Most Underrated Cities in America

shutterstock 651937891 scaled Photo Credit: Shutterstock When it comes to exploring the United States, some cities receive all the spotlight, while others remain hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. These underrated cities often offer a wealth of charm, culture, and natural beauty, yet they tend to be overlooked by travelers seeking more popular destinations. 10 Most Underrated Cities in America

10 Clichés About Countries That Are Totally False

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Have you ever heard clichés about countries that seemed too far-fetched to be true? It’s time to debunk these misconceptions and explore the reality behind them. Countries often become victims of stereotypes, with generalized assumptions overshadowing the rich tapestry of their cultures and traditions.

10 Biggest Culture Shocks People Have Gotten While Traveling

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Traveling to new and unfamiliar places can be an exciting adventure but often comes with surprises. One of the most fascinating aspects of exploring different cultures is experiencing the culture shocks that come along the way. Culture shocks occur when we encounter unfamiliar customs, behaviors, and ways of life that differ from our own. From food etiquette to social norms and religious practices, these cultural differences can be eye-opening and sometimes bewildering.

10 Cities That Are Completely Overrated

shutterstock 84828886 scaled e1686421369327 Image Credit: Shutterstock Exploring new cities can be an exciting and enriching experience, with the promise of discovering vibrant cultures, iconic landmarks, and unique local flavors. However, not all cities live up to the hype surrounding them. Behind the glossy postcards and Instagram filters lies a reality that often falls short of expectations. 10 Cities That Are Completely Overrated      

Source: Reddit.

This article was published and syndicated by The Cents of Money. 

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