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These 10 cities outshine their capitals
Posted on 16/12/2018


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Skip the touristic capitals and head to some of these equally iconic cities around the world.

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  • 1. Milan, Italy
    1. Milan, Italy

    Unlike Italy's capital, Rome, Milan isn't known for its architecture or grandeur. But what Milan lacks in beauty, it definitely makes up for in design and style as one of the world's four fashion capitals.

    Why go back in time and spend your trip wrapped up in the disorganization of Rome when you can visit the future? Despite being a younger city, Milan still offers lavish landmarks including Sforza Castle and Teatro alla Scala, just minus the chaos you hope to leave at home while on vacation. In essence, Milan offers a more modern take on Italian culture.

  • 2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Having missed out on capital city status to Brasília in the '60s, Rio de Janeiro has since put itself on the map hosting both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Instantly, people around the globe fell head over heels in love with Brazil's vibrant culture, perfectly summarized by the bustling city of Rio.

    Live like a local as you wander through the colorful streets of the city's neighborhoods. Visit the bohemian Santa Teresa by day, and by night get lost in the sexy samba of Lapa. However, it's not all hustle and bustle. Explore the city's nature with a visit to Tijuca National Park, or spend a day relaxing on the sandy shores of Copacabana Beach.

  • 3. Dubrovnik, Croatia
    3. Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Although Zagreb is the official capital of Croatia, the medieval city of Dubrovnik definitely puts up a good fight. Positioned perfectly on the edge of the Adriatic Sea, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a beautiful pedestrian-only old town.

    Wander through a maze of cobblestone streets to discover a host of monasteries, baroque churches and Renaissance fountains, all surrounded by the city's stone walls dating back to the 11th century. Zagreb may be the capital of Croatia, but Dubrovnik is definitely its capital of culture.

  • 4. Vancouver, Canada
    4. Vancouver, Canada

    Lagging behind both Toronto and Montreal in population size, Vancouver is often overlooked, which is a shame. It has more than enough to offer curious travelers. From its cosmopolitan galleries and ornate Orpheum to the surrounding North Shore Mountains and Pacific coastline, Vancouver has everything Toronto has and more. Whether you visit during the winter or summer, choosing Vancouver as your vacation destination will not disappoint.

  • 5. Gothenburg, Sweden
    5. Gothenburg, Sweden

    Unlike the trendy capital city of Stockholm, Sweden's Gothenburg is often missing from travel itineraries. But why? This Scandinavian seaside city is over 10 percent cheaper than Stockholm, and with hotels and restaurants at wallet-friendly prices, you won't be strapped for cash when it's time to explore.

    Get lost in Gothenburg's wealth of art and music, from the Gothenburg Museum of Art and its colorful street art to the city's numerous Jazz bars. Looking to see more? Take a picturesque boat tour through the canals and along the Göta älv. It's the perfect way to see the city's port, dockyards and museum ships.


Capital cities such as Paris, London, and Tokyo typically attract more attention than their neighbors. This leaves many picture-perfect cities forgotten or at the tail end of everyone's itinerary. But many of these secondary cities may actually be more worthy of a visit, and some are quite a bit bigger than their countries' seats of government. Here's our list of 10 cities that shine brighter than their capitals.

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