05 December

City Travels #Truly hot in the city

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There are few things more exciting than exploring a foreign city, taking in the sights, sounds, flavours and culture. However, many cities like London, New York, Barcelona, Rome and even Reykjavik in Iceland have become so popular among tourists that it’s almost impossible to get around with all the people clamouring to see the famous sights. But there are some foreign destinations that are favourites among tourists, yet aren’t overrun by crowds.

Here’s a look at four of these well-known, yet uncrowded overseas holiday destinations:

Bilbao, Spain

Located in the north of Spain, the city of Bilbao is a great example of old-meets-new with its downtown skyscrapers and surrounding green mountains. Arguably the city’s biggest attraction is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by famous architect Frank Gehry, and considered to be one of the greatest buildings of our time. While the museum houses a treasure trove of famous contemporary and modern art, the building’s spectacular curved lines and titanium facade is the magnet that draws tourists. Despite the upsurge in tourism that the popularity of the ‘Googen’, as it’s affectionately known, has created, Spain’s main tourist hubs centre around Madrid and Barcelona, keeping the number of tourists visiting Bilbao relatively small in comparison. In fact, more people visit Cape Town every year than Bilbao! Over the years the city has developed into a prominent creative hub, known for its design, art galleries and lively foodie culture. If art, creativity and food is your thing, then set your sights on this gem in the heart of Spain’s Basque Country.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fancy a tango? Buenos Aires is not only the capital of Argentina, but also the birthplace of the tango, and no visit is complete without seeing this sensual dance performed in one of the city’s ‘milongas’. Needless to say, Buenos Aires is also famous for its lively night life. However, it’s not all just song and dance in Buenos Aires, the city is a well-known cultural and creative hub, known for its architecture, colourful neighbourhoods, and abundance of elaborate street art. Food is also central to the appeal of this bustling South American city, with delicious meals influenced by the city’s Spanish and Italian roots, as well as giving South Africans a serious run for their money when it comes to braaiing a great steak. Buenos Aires is an exciting city with lots to do and see, and while everyone flocks to Rio, perhaps it’s time you put on your dancing shoes and head over to Buenos Aires instead.

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Stockholm, Sweden

Built over 14 islands on a Baltic Sea archipelago, Stockholm is the quintessential Scandinavian city – a seamless blend of historic and modern architecture, vast green forests, the region’s famously crisp design culture everywhere you look, stylishly good-looking people, and ABBA. From the cobbled streets and colourful buildings of historic Gamla Stan (old town) to the fashionably trendy downtown, interestingly diverse neighbourhoods, great parks and pristine forests, it’s easy to fall in love with Stockholm. The city is connected by more than 50 bridges and its compact size makes it great to explore on foot, and while the Swedes aren’t really known for their friendliness, there’s a very welcoming atmosphere in the city. Whether you’re a fan of great fashion and design, a history buff, an ardent foodie, or just looking for a stroll through a leafy forest, Stockholm will fill all your heart’s desires. And despite its famously snowy winters, clear skies and warm days will greet you in summer in this Scandinavian gem.

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*Images courtesy Pinterest

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