If mountain ranges, great lakes and dense forests are the most shining examples of natural beauty, then cities are the pinnacles of human ingenuity and creativity. Within their sprawling streets is an unparalleled variety of flavours, sounds and sights to discover. It is these small pockets of culture that, collectively, shape a city’s identity. Here are 5 of the best off the beaten track cities, carefully selected by TravelLocal – you are sure to fall in love with them all!
Although not as big and metropolitan as its counterpart Casablanca, the frenetic energy of Fez results in an unrivalled cacophony of sights and sounds.
The city’s pride in its history has meant that much of the old Medina remains as it was in the Medieval era. It has remained so unchanged, in fact, that cars cannot access the medina, making it the largest vehicle free urban area in the world. Despite this, the old part of the city seems to operate at a faster pace than major world cities like London, New York or Tokyo. Horse-drawn carts, rickshaws and crowds of people hurry down a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and streets. The frantic pace can make it easy to lose your bearings, but the promise of a friendly face, a quaint square, or a display of artisan crafts around every corner keeps the charm of the city alive.
You would be hard pushed to find a city in a more picturesque setting than La Paz, Bolivia. Nestled in the high mountains of Altiplano, La Paz is the highest capital city on earth at an altitude of 3,650m. Its mountainous location means spectacular views are on offer from most points in the city.
Visible from almost everywhere in La Paz is an ever-present giant; the triple peaked mountain of Illimani. This looming mountain is the second highest peak in Bolivia, providing an impressive backdrop to the goings on within the city. In recent years La Paz has seen an explosion of creativity, with the opening of new restaurants, art galleries and music venues.
When imagining a spontaneous break with someone special, it’s understandable for your mind to jump to Paris, Venice or Barcelona. But with its opulent architecture, incredible food scene and thriving nightlife, Buenos Aires easily rivals its European counterparts as one of the best cities for a romantic getaway.
Something not be missed when visiting the city is to try your hand at one of Argentina’s most famous exports, the Tango. This dance is well famed for its intimate energy and classes are widely available. A romantic and vibrant city, buzzing with that quintessential Latin American energy, Buenos Aires is sure to find a place in your heart.
Once a vital stop on the Silk Road, Samarkand is an ancient city shaped by the long passage of time and the ever changing cultures of its ruling people. You will find definite influences from the Middle and Far East in this captivating Central Asian gem.
Samarkand’s city skyline is vibrant and diverse; scattered with the roofs and minarets of mosques coloured a vibrant turquoise. It is a truly stunning sight to behold as the light of the rising sun catches the towers of the Registan, three of the finest examples of Muslim architecture in the world. The three madrasahs (Islamic Schools) are set around a square at the very heart of Samarkand, intricately designed and rich in colour.
The westerly most city in the Old World, Dakar is one of the finest and overlooked cities on the Atlantic Ocean. What makes it special, not only amongst African cities but across the globe, is Dakar’s voice. The city’s love for music has gone on to permeate much of Senegal and has made it a must-visit destination for music-lovers. You will not have to wander far to find a friendly bar or club, alive with the familiar sounds of reggae, hip hop and afrofunk. However,if you are looking to find the true sound of Dakar, then you must listen out for the energetic Mbalax music pouring out of venues into the streets.
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