When visiting a new country one of the best ways to see it’s heart is by visiting it’s capital city, the capital city is usually the most populous, the most diverse and the most celebrating of the nations culture. London, Paris, Bangkok, Rome and Abu Dhabi are just some of the World’s most visited capitals and whilst they do deserve this status, it should be known that there are so many more capital cities that should be held in just as high regard. Here are, in my view, the World’s most underrated capitals.
Mexico City or DF as it’s locally known has, in the last decade, seen a seismic shift in it’s tourism culture, it’s infrastructure and more importantly it’s reputation. Once considered a dangerous and polluted city the Mexican government have invested heavily in this city and the results have turned it into a modern, exciting and forward-thinking capital that simply must be visited. The city houses over 150 museums, more than any city in the World and is filled with beautiful parks and an array of intricate and colourful architecture. The streets are where to go for some of the best local food which is sold from small tents that adorn almost every pavement and sell a large selection of Mexican cuisine. The nightlife in districts such as Condesa and Roma is excellent and regardless of whether you want a night of partying, dancing salsa or relaxing with a few drinks, it’s all available for you here. Excellent transport, friendly locals, plenty to do and see, simply put Mexico City should be at the top of your ‘places to visit’ list this year.
Far too often cities such as Berlin, London and Madrid steal the headlines for top cities in Europe and many of the continents’ best capitals are overlooked, Budapest is one of them. Hungary’s capital lies on the sprawling River Danube which slices right between the districts of Buda and Pest and with it’s iconic chain bridge and a skyline that can rival the best cities in the World. This city is perfect if you’re travelling on a budget as it is relatively inexpensive and many of the best things to see are free of charge. Points of interest in the city are; the Fisherman’s Bastion, a fortress that offer amazing panoramic views of the city; St Stephen’s Basilica, a huge church which often hosts open air concerts; another must-visit place in Budapest is the Széchenyi thermal baths, the largest in Europe and a beautiful place to relax in the fresh thermal springs. Budapest has so much to do and see and it has a really relaxed feel to it for a capital city, if you are travelling Europe this year then make sure you head to this city.
One of Europe’s other overlooked capital cities is Edinburgh, the Scottish city has been voted the UK’s favourite city for 10 years in a row and it’s easy to see why. Edinburgh is centred around is enormous and iconic castle and the huge Calton Hill that sits right in the middle of the city and really feels like you are in the countryside and not a capital city. Edinburgh has so much to do, from museums to castles, ancient buildings, ghost walks and they absolutely love a festival here hosting 4 or 5 every year. Edinburgh has more restaurants per head than anywhere else in the UK and the options are really diverse, the drinking culture is deeply entrenched here and they absolutely love their whisky’s. The Royal Mile which is the street that leads down from the castle has more than 20 whisky shops and you can even go on the whisky trail which will teach you about the production and history of Scotland’s favourite drink. With so much to see and do in Edinburgh there is no reason that you shouldn’t have it as your destination next time you head to the UK.