Oh, the decisions, decisions about where to go on that vacation! The list keeps narrowing down to the familiar old names, but how about something offbeat, against the curve, and a little more exciting. Forget about Iceland, that’s already old hat. New Zealand? Nah, it’s been done. We are talking about places that will gain popularity in the next few years, and that you will have ticked off as “been there, done that.” The following lesser-known cities have great nightlife, cuisine, exciting culture, history, and grandeur. Check them out.
1) Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos has one of Africa’s liveliest creative scenes, with a throbbing mass of culture, art, fashion and cuisine that’s a real melting pot of the continent. As the capital of Nigeria. Lagos has an incredible highlife music scene with many Afrobeat stars performing and touring all year round. Visit ART X Lagos, October Fashion Week, and go to Nok for authentic street food. The Carleton Ngozi is one of the best spots for excellent African cuisine.
2) Lyon, France
You could say that Lyon is where France initially elevated food into an art form. The city as well as being beautiful and chic still caters to shoppers and gourmands of all budgets, although it’s the haute cuisine that stands out. It focuses on local traditions and produces, and the “boutons” (the more traditional restaurants) are among the best spots to enjoy the more rustic cuisine washed down by the best French wines.
3) Copenhagen, Denmark
Architecture, chic cafes, scenic beauty abound here. You could argue that the Danish capital became a food capital thanks to just one restaurant — Noma often praised as the world’s best. But that assessment would not be fair. Noma exists because Copenhagen offers so much more not just for refined taste buds and offers an impressive range of restaurants catering to every taste. It’s also the center of the Nordic food resurgence, and there’s a thriving café culture.
4) Budapest, Hungary
Split in two by the Danube River, Budapest is the result of the merging of three cities. Buda is the hill with the royal palace and an old town filled with baroque and gothic monuments looking over the mostly-19th century Pest, crossed by broad avenues lined with elegant neo-renaissance buildings. Admire its setting and remarkable architecture (including the stunning Parliament Building) from the monumental Chain Bridge. Then, step into the old town for some of the most romantic lanes you’ll ever stroll through.
5) Florence, Italy
Florence is synonymous with the Italian Renaissance, known for the artistic heritage in its palaces and museum collections. And, the in and out beauty of its palazzi’s walls, it is the city as a whole that impresses the most. See it from Piazzale Michelangelo, a 19th-century terrace overlooking the entire city, and you’ll be looking at one of the most storybook-perfect cityscapes. Few other places in the world will leave you as awestruck.
6) São Paulo, Brazil
The world’s largest Latin metropolis is a seriously hot food city. It’s long been a center of outstanding cuisines. But its reputation is growing and gone international. It was the mass immigration of the late-1800s that provided all the ingredients for the fusion of flavors (Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, et al.) that created the diverse, high-quality cuisine in the city today. Stunning architecture and thriving bars and clubs will mean every night is party night.
7) Gyeongju (Kyongju) – South Korea
Standing since the prehistorical time, Gyeongju was the capital of the Asian Shilla dynasty for 1000 years. They erected historic structures from temples to palaces and fortresses, some of which are standing today and are immensely alluring. The beautiful Bulhuksa temple of the 8th century is one example of such timeless antiquated structures you won’t miss visiting. The city has even received the UNESCO World Heritage Site status.