Underwhelming Cities

No matter where I travel, I'm always super excited to explore a new city and sample everything it has to offer. Unfortunately, not every city has lived up to my expectations. Whether it's because they're less exciting than I expected, lack a certain something or are simply just too cool for me, here are four cities that left me feeling underwhelmed.
Underwhelming European Cities
Reichstag motto Dem Deutschen Volke
I started learning German when I was 12 and I was pretty good at it. I dreamed of visiting Germany and practising my skills, but it took 15 years until I actually managed it. I'd been deliberating over the best city to visit for a long, long time and had decided the capital was probably my best bet. Berlin has a very cool vibe and, unfortunately, I'm not very cool. With a lot of street art, bohemian cafes and an urban atmosphere, I can totally see why other people love it so much but it's not for me. I haven't written off Germany completely though- I have two trips coming up in the next month! 

Read about my Berlin visit here

Hotel Astoria Vienna
When I got back from Vienna, I told my brother that I wasn't a fan and he replied "So it really does mean nothing to you". It's been 7 months and I still get that bloody song stuck in my head every time I mention the city. Cheers, Jamie! Vienna is a beautiful city filled with history and culture. Most of it is compact, so it's easy to walk around and the public transport is incredibly efficient. What's not to like? Unfortunately, it's just missing something for me. It's busy, smoky and lacks atmosphere but there's something about it that always drags me back. You better believe I spend the whole time moaning about how much I hate Vienna but still I make plans to return! 

Read about my Vienna visits here and here
Sunny Day Amsterdam
A disclaimer: I went to Amsterdam for a second time earlier this year and I absolutely loved it. I think it's because I went with low expectations after an underwhelming first visit so I was pleasantly surprised. When I first went in 2011, I was expecting a fairly hedonistic, edgy city, perfect for a weekend away with my friend. It turned out to be a lot tamer than I expected. Now, I love a bit of high-brow culture but it wasn't what I went to Amsterdam for. Admittedly, I didn't go for the drugs and prostitutes either but a happy medium would have been perfect. Knowing all this, I was prepared for this year's visit and had a whale of a time. It's all in how high I set my expectations.

Read about my Amsterdam visit here

Oxford Architecture
Admittedly, this one may have been our own fault. When Helen and I visited Oxford, we didn't think to actually find out things to do in advance. Instead, we just turned up and walked around. I guess we ended up in the wrong part of town because it was just like any other high street, albeit one filled with posh people. Yeah, there was the odd pretty building but there are loads of towns in the UK that have that element. Perhaps we just weren't posh enough to appreciate it! 

Read about my Oxford visit here

On the flip side, there are some cities that have taken me by surprise with how much I've loved them (*cough*Salzburg) and I'll be sharing these ones with you soon. In the meantime, though, where should I not visit next?

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  1. I really want to visit Berlin and Oxford but perhaps not in the near future! I was a little disappointed with Stockholm, although we didn't do much research - it was just like any other city x

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness x

  2. When I went to Rome it felt a bit underwhelming - I had been to Florence a couple of days beforehand and LOVED it, but Rome for me just felt like any other capital city just with different landmarks! I was only there for a short time though so I think I need to return and have a proper look round before I make a final decision on it. Going to Kraków last year made me realise that you shouldn't always go to the capital of a country you haven't been to begite because some of the smaller cities are just as vibrant and even more beautiful! xxx

  3. I loved Berlin (I've been twice) I went to Amsterdam a few times but with my parents when I was younger so I couldn't properly experience it! The one city which I wasn't impressed with was Paris!

  4. I think there are definitely some cities that are so hyped by the people who visit because OMG TRAVEL!!! HOLIDAY!!!! EXCITEMENT!!! that they sort of get swept up in the whole ~experience~ rather than just experiencing the city and hyping it for it's actual brilliance. I love cities a great deal but totally get the underwhelm that happens (:

    Fii | little miss fii | uk fashion & lifestyle

  5. I would recommend Berlin during their Christmas Markets, I went December last year and it was fabulous. This may be the same for all German Christmas Markets but me and my sister loved it.

    I think Cambridge can be somewhat similar to Oxford in the finding the right side of the city for interesting points.

    Very interesting post, good to see a different point of view on travelling to cities.

  6. I found Amsterdam to be a little dissappointing. Mainly because I think the drinking/drugs holiday culture of the brits overshadows some of the more beautiful parts of the city. I took a short train journey to Leiden and found that to be a much nicer city x

  7. I'm going to Berlin next summer with my college and I can't wait! I love the types of things you describe, so hopefully it'll be a good trip for me.

    Jemima x

  8. I've visited Oxford and Amsterdam and been underwhelmed by both, but I adore Berlin! I think it depends on why you've gone to Berlin - I visited solo this summer to mainly soak up all the historical stuff, and because I was so drawn in by this aspect, I found it great x

  9. I loved Berlin. Amsterdam was a little underwhelming, but lovely!


  10. I would highly recommend going back to Vienna about now.... the Christmas markets add a little something and it goes from just another European city to a gorgeous prettily lit Christmas wonderland... a lot of these places are probably similarly improved by Christmas ;)


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