The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.

Time To Explore: "Poor Relations" That Are Actually Hidden Gems

By 23:27:00

We all hear occasionally about a place that is so amazing you just have to go there. Then when you do, you’ve already heard so much about it and seen so many pictures and videos that it feels less special. Everyone has their own example of a city that left them cold despite the hype. London? Paris? New York? Each of them has disappointed people in their thousands.

A part of the reason for this is quite simple. The more visitors that come into a city the less it retains its unique character - the things that make it special. You go abroad to soak up the culture of the place you’re in, but it feels like you might as well be watching it on a big screen.

In truth, to get that authentic feeling you don’t need to change your plans that much. By all means you should visit the countries you hear so much about, but just give the big tourist destinations a miss and get a more authentic experience.

France: Paris Is Passe - Nantes Is Not!

In truth, Paris is perfectly nice (Nice is nice too), but it has been built up by decades of hype into something it just can’t live up to. Whereas over in the west of France, unheralded, lies the true gem of Nantes. In many ways, places don’t get much more French than this.

A particular highlight is the Machines Of The Isle Of Nantes - a menagerie of mechanical animals including a 12-metre tall elephant which carries almost fifty people at a time for a 45-minute ride. A word of advice? Try this and the magnificent Sea Worlds Carousel before you visit the wonderful Gauttier-Debotte chocolatier. Your stomach will thank you.

Australia: Sydney’s Superb, But Perth Is Perfect

While Sydney gets most of the hype and Canberra is the capital, other parts of Australia can go unfairly unnoticed. Among those, Perth is one that really deserves more attention than it gets.


Round about half way through the walk around King’s Park (one of the world’s largest city parks, you’ll fall in love with the views. The sporty theme that runs through the streets will have you crying out for West Coast Eagles tickets and a chance to experience the madness of Aussie Rules football. Take a walk and sample the pub life down by Fremantle Harbour, and you’ll want to move here.

The UK: London’s Lovely, Edinburgh Is Epic

It may be heresy to say it, but once you’ve seen the major sights of London it can feel like the box is ticked. Unless you have unlimited funds, even a weekend of shopping can melt most credit cards - it’s not a cheap trip!

400 or so miles further North, you’ll find the Scottish capital Edinburgh. Not only is it kinder on your wallet, it’s easier on the eye too. A focal point is the Castle, of course, but Edinburgh is so compact that you can walk to most places. The iconic Royal Mile can take up a full day if you have it to spare, but the view from Arthur’s Seat is the one part of Edinburgh you cannot miss. With museums and eateries (and drinkeries!) to suit all tastes, Scotland’s jewel is a trip you’ll never forget.

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