Capitals That Are Not Really Worth Visiting

Vinicius Costa

New member
Not sure it’s just me, but there’s been a few times I visited capitals in different countries and they had very few redeemable qualities about them… not representative of the wider country | not the prettiest, most exciting city around | just an administrative centre, or just plainly boring.

I can name 4 that stand out in that respect, that I feel are somewhat if not completely skippable:

Podgorica, Montenegro

Brasilia, Brazil

Bucharest, Romania

Pristina, Kosovo

What are some of yours?
 
I'm going to throw Phnom Penh into the mix here. Cambodia is a beautiful country, full of amazing experiences and friendly people, but the capital did not give a great impression of the country when I visited. I found the main sights to be minimal and the city is incredibly chaotic (especially on the roads). I just never really felt comfortable there despite having a decent amount of experience in SE Asia. I'd be interested to know what others think? Did I just have a one-off bad experience?
 
Okay I absolutely love this thread - sometimes I think the capitals are the worst places! :oops:
I am not a fan of:
- Berlin, Germany
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Quito, Ecuador
- Ottawa, Canada
(and by not a fan, I just mean there are way better cities in each country I would rather visit than the capital!)
 
Okay I absolutely love this thread - sometimes I think the capitals are the worst places! :oops:
I am not a fan of:
- Berlin, Germany
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Quito, Ecuador
- Ottawa, Canada
(and by not a fan, I just mean there are way better cities in each country I would rather visit than the capital!)
Seeing Berlin there was a surprise for me?? I’ve been to Germany three times now but never the capital - heading there next week - but have always heard great things.

I guess I’ll just have to go and see it for myself, but I suspect I won’t be too thrilled about the oppressive modernism indeed 😅
 
I'm going to throw Phnom Penh into the mix here. Cambodia is a beautiful country, full of amazing experiences and friendly people, but the capital did not give a great impression of the country when I visited. I found the main sights to be minimal and the city is incredibly chaotic (especially on the roads). I just never really felt comfortable there despite having a decent amount of experience in SE Asia. I'd be interested to know what others think? Did I just have a one-off bad experience?
Haven’t been Cambodia myself but to be fair this sounds like an accurate description of an underdeveloped sprawling Southeast Asian city hahahaha
 
I would add Guatemala City, Guatemala and San Jose, Costa Rica to this list. Both are countries where the real beauty is in nature (beaches, mountains, lakes, volcanoes, jungles, etc.) and the capital cities don't have much going on.
 
I would add Guatemala City, Guatemala and San Jose, Costa Rica to this list. Both are countries where the real beauty is in nature (beaches, mountains, lakes, volcanoes, jungles, etc.) and the capital cities don't have much going on.
I haven’t been to Guatemala myself but yeah I can see how the (very modern) capital wouldn’t be a highlight, especially with all the nature and lots of other gorgeous colonial cities that are far more picturesque and quaint to pick from
 
I haven’t been to Guatemala myself but yeah I can see how the (very modern) capital wouldn’t be a highlight, especially with all the nature and lots of other gorgeous colonial cities that are far more picturesque and quaint to pick from
Exactly! Antigua, Guatemala is just one hour from the capital and it's probably the prettiest colonial town I've been to (and why it's so popular with tourists.)
 
This is such an interesting thread, great to read all your insights on Central and South America too, a part of the world I'v not yet ventured into.

I'll throw my hat into the ring with South Africa which has not one but three capital cities and only one I'd recommend visiting. In South Africa Cape Town, Pretoria and Bloemfontein are each capital cities in their own right. Pretoria is OK but unless you're super interested in specific elements of history I'd give it a miss, similarly with Bloemfontein, its a functional place with little appeal but Cape Town is as cool as everyone says it is. For digital nomads staying a little longer I'd say stay in areas like Muizenberg to get more of a community feel and be a little outside the business area with easy access to great food, iconic beaches and all the must do attractions.
 
Not sure it’s just me, but there’s been a few times I visited capitals in different countries and they had very few redeemable qualities about them… not representative of the wider country | not the prettiest, most exciting city around | just an administrative centre, or just plainly boring.

I can name 4 that stand out in that respect, that I feel are somewhat if not completely skippable:

Podgorica, Montenegro

Brasilia, Brazil

Bucharest, Romania

Pristina, Kosovo

What are some of yours?
I agree on these that I have been to on the list, but why not Bucharest? I was planning to go this summer
 
I found Sofia, Bulgaria to be pretty boring. I didn't think the cathedral was as great as Instagram makes it out to be. Overall, I just had trouble getting a sense of what makes that city tick...but I was also grumpy after an overnight bus from Istanbul lol. Could just be me.
 
I agree on these that I have been to on the list, but why not Bucharest? I was planning to go this summer
Hey, I’m just not a fan of modernism usually… Bucharest is the typical Eastern European metropolis that looks very grey, very modern, you know, not an abundance of stunning Belle époque buildings around, or truly relevant landmarks that pre-date the 20th century.

It’s nice enough for 1-2 days, but I wouldn’t stay longer unless it’s for visiting more museums or seeing brutalist architecture.

The wider Romania is BEAUTIFUL though, one of my favourite countries in Eastern Europe.

I very much preferred Brasov, Timisoara, Sighisoara, Sibiu over Bucharest…
 
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