The most and least overrated capitals to visit in Europe – A travel guide

This list is an opinion piece and I love to travel. So much that I have been to several other countries in Europe and had varying experiences. I try to have little to no expectations when I visit these locations.

Determining if a place is overrated is based on how it meets my expectations, especially considering how much the location is in the media. Let’s be honest, it is difficult in this day and age to go to a new country with zero expectations. These places either exceeded them or did not. I will talk about how they exceeded vs. not but you can let me know in the comments what you think.

The least overrated

  1. Vilnius, Lithuania. I decided to visit this place on a whim, it was never on my bucket list. The story is that I watched House Hunters International looking for some inspiration on where to go on my next holiday. A few episodes in and they landed in Vilnius, I ended up buying my ticket before the episode was over. The only thing I knew before my trip was that it was part of the USSR. So, I did expect some Soviet-era architecture. What did blow me away was the affordability of this city. I visited for a week and I spent only $150.00 USD on food, housing, transport. My main complaint was the difficulty to travel using rail, buses, etc. I tried to travel outside of the city to visit some other sites and it was a nightmare, so I ended up staying in the capital.
  2. Dublin, Ireland. I came to Ireland initially for a field school. Dublin has a lot of life and excitement. Everyone I met was friendly and I even met some locals who took me some great restaurants. Unfortunately, many of these places are closed permanently. I stayed at a hostel while here. A benefit of a hostel is that they usually have some sort of breakfast or host a tour around the city.
  3. London, United Kingdom. I have visited London several times, as I used to live in the U.K., but I love this city. I have stayed either with friends or in hostels. However, since I lived nearby I did avoid staying overnight because it is expensive. Although, every time I visited I did stop for Lebanese food, which is always fantastic.
  4. Madrid, Spain. I hear a lot of people say that Madrid is boring and Barcelona is more exciting. However, I am not a fan of crowds, which is why I am not keen on visiting Barcelona. I found Madrid to have the right amount of culture and delicious food without feeling too touristy. I did not feel like Madrid majorly caters to tourists as some other cities do.
  5. Tallinn, Estonia. There is a ferry available between Stockholm and Tallinn that is a day-trip. The majority of the trip is on the boat and then 8 hours on the ground. My main complaint is on the food scene, which I found overpriced and not great. I could not find a decently priced good pub with Estonian food, which was unfortunate. However, the Old Town and its medieval wall are still standing and it is glorious. Seeing all that history and walking all the cobbled streets made up for it. The city’s medieval qualities remain well-preserved and it was not that crowded which is great.

The most overrated

  1. Paris, France.
  2. Berlin, Germany
  3. Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  5. Helsinki, Finland

Do not get me wrong I enjoyed my time in all these cities but I do not like crowds and hordes of tourists as I am walking around. Also, the issue is that many of these cities have been portrayed in film or the media and the expectations are high. Then when they do not meet the expectations it just brings the whole trip down. I will say one thing I liked about those on the most-overrated list is that it is very easy to travel around the country.

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