Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Shutterstock

Revealed: the most underrated (and overrated) city breaks

A study reveals the cities with the best attractions and the fewest visitors

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

There’s nothing quite like jetting off to a slightly off-piste city and realising that it’s an absolute bloomin’ gem. And, equally, there are few things as disappointing as going to a trendy city and realising all the hype is just hot air. But that’s travel, we suppose. Finding out whether you think a place is overrated or underrated is all part of the fun.

But if you’d like to take some of that serendipity out of the process, a study by luggage storage company Bounce has come up with a ranking of the world’s most underrated city breaks. The study looked at destinations and ranked them based on the amount of stuff there is to do, how much of that stuff is rated five stars – and the number of yearly international visitors.

If a city has loads of top-rated stuff but doesn’t get many visitors? Well, Bounce reckons it’s underrated.

Top of Bounce’s study is Rhodes in Greece, largely thanks to its bucketload of Unesco World Heritage sites and well-preserved medieval centre. Despite being doused in sunshine and offering a trove of historical stuff, Rhodes only gets a couple of million visitors per year.

Tied for second are Marrakech in Morocco, which soars ahead thanks to its impressive number of five-star ratings, and the Portuguese city of Porto, which (despite a tourism boom in recent years) still gets surprisingly few visitors – only about 2.49 million or so – per year.

Interestingly, however, Bounce’s study didn’t just look at underrated cities. It also assessed destinations that get tons of visitors but don’t get many five-star reviews, thereby also revealing the world’s most overrated city breaks.

Top of the overrated pile is Paris, which suffers in the ranking thanks to comparatively few – just 19 percent – of its many attractions being rated five stars. The French capital is followed by New York and London, which falter for similar reasons.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the more attractions and visitors a city has, the more likely you are to get disgruntled reviews. People, huh?

In any case, here is Bounce’s list of the top ten most underrated city breaks in the world.

  1. Rhodes, Greece
  2. Marrakech, Morocco
  3. Porto, Portugal
  4. Heraklion, Greece
  5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  6. Krakow, Poland
  7. Lima, Peru
  8. Honolulu, USA
  9. Hurghada, Egypt
  10. Nice, France

And here is the list of the study’s most overrated destinations.

  1. Paris, France
  2. New York, USA
  3. London, UK
  4. Istanbul, Turkey
  5. Milan, Italy
  6. Vienna, Austria
  7. Los Angeles, USA
  8. Antalya, Turkey
  9. Rome, Italy
  10. Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’d like to find out more, you can read Bounce’s full study here.

Did you see that these are the greenest cities in Europe in 2022?

Plus: the new rules to know before visiting Europe’s beaches this summer.

You may also like
You may also like