Most underrated BA destination

Old Jul 30, 19, 2:59 am
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Most underrated BA destination

I have recently been through Turin and Kiev. Both places I would have described as "why would anyone want to go there" before I actually saw them.

Turin turned out to be an amazing mix of food and some great architecture (admittedly in between a lot of not so great architecture). The city itself has great restaurants, amazing bars, friendly locals and very few tourists. The surrounding area has great vineyards and old palaces as well as beautiful scenery. It is a firm "will go back there".

Kiev surprised me by being a young, quirky, vibrant place. Maybe it's because the winters are harsh, but the summer there is amazing with people out in the streets having a good time. Plus if you ever thought about dark tourism, Chernobyl is definitely a place to see. Only downside is that you better hurry if you want to do it on BA.

Do you know similar places on BA's route map? Places that don't sound very appealing but are actually hidden gems?

Last edited by LCY8737; Jul 30, 19 at 3:29 am
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Old Jul 30, 19, 3:07 am
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I just love Alicante, the City NOT Benidorm. There are some amazing restaurants and bars
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Old Jul 30, 19, 3:12 am
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Turin is lovely. We went to Chamonix last year and the fares to Turin were so much better - £200 each return in CE in July.

I would say that Hamburg is well worth a visit. The lake has real elegance to it, interesting history as a major trading centre, there are more waterways than Amsterdam or Venice - there really is something for everybody. The fish market on a Sunday morning is a fun way either to finish a night out or start a day with live music, good hangover German food, and of course plenty of beer.
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Old Jul 30, 19, 3:41 am
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The Isle of Man does a decent sunset, this is overlooking Peel Castle on the west coast of the Island.

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Old Jul 30, 19, 3:41 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
Places that don't sound very appealing but are actually hidden gems?
Seaton Sluice - only a short'ish taxi ride from NCL. Lovely little harbour leading to a long beach of golden sand.
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Old Jul 30, 19, 3:52 am
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Sofia. Green everywhere, incredible history and architecture. Also great Mediterranean food and superb wines. Plus it's cheap, like the budgie
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Old Jul 30, 19, 4:13 am
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Old Jul 30, 19, 4:24 am
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BOM - beyond the filth, chaos, noise and manic traffic it’s got amazing hotels, incredible food, great bars and clubs plus it’s a shopping paradise. Flight times not so bad and less jet lag than North America, I highly recommend doing a long weekend there.
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Old Jul 30, 19, 4:25 am
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Turin I have personally pushed as short break spot several times in this forum. I really like the cinema museum, which is an outrageous building that was intended to be a synagogue.

Bologna is another one I've pushed, Genius1 has a photo rich thread in the Trip Report forum. It also has fabulous train connections to dozens of smaller Italian cities which makes it an efficient way to get to all sorts of amazing towns and cities.

So some other less obvious ones on BA's network:

Luxemburg for the bus or train to Trier.
Bastia
Catania
Cagliari
Quimper
Zurich - particularly in summer
Ljubljana for Lake Bled (direct bus service from the airport, 4€)
Zagreb
Vienna for Bratislava

Then there is Iberia domestic hub out of MAD and to some extent BCN. There are dozens of great spots which are easy to get to, and efficient with Avios too. So Asturias, Santiago de Compostela (St. James of Compostela), León, Pamplona all spring to mind. I also like San Sebastián, also called Donostia. Sea front below.

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Old Jul 30, 19, 4:36 am
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Only trouble with TRN is that the BA timetable isn't exactly conducive to a weekend break. It's a mid-afternoon flight out on the Thursday or Friday, which means you can neither leave after work nor make a proper day of it.
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Old Jul 30, 19, 4:43 am
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Old Jul 30, 19, 4:50 am
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Further afield, and it's been plugged elsewhere over recent months, Beirut is fabulous, captivating.
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Old Jul 30, 19, 5:14 am
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Muscat - the only place I'd voluntarily choose to go on holiday in the ME
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Old Jul 30, 19, 5:23 am
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Not quite BA now and not sure if Loganair who now fly the route do BA codeshares on this route as part of a longer itinerary, but almost 20 years ago I used to fly to Stornoway to see friends in these BA logo birds and did 3 return flights over a 5 year period

The Outer Hebridies are quite a stunning place and the likes of Luskintyre Beach, little villages and single track roads for miles and miles is quite breathtaking in my humble opinion.


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Old Jul 30, 19, 6:04 am
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I think the question is impossible to answer because underrating is in the eyes of the beholder. For instance, cws very rightly mentions Catania and San Sebastian as wonderful places to visit, but to be honest, in France, Spain or Italy, most people would actually see those as very "obvious" places to visit whilst in the UK they are largely away from main "targets" (the Costas, Ibiza, Rome, the Costa Smeralda, etc). Conversely, bisonrav also very rightly mentions Beirut as a wonderful city, but again, in much of the Arab world, this would be completely obvious as Lebanon (and Morocco very differently) represent models of refinement, openness, and culture to many. Frankly, where I come from, it would amaze many that Hamburg, Newcastle, Sofia or Manchester are great places to visit but there are other quarters where it goes without saying, and similarly many would frown upon Bucarest but in much of Central Europe it is still seen as the historical Paris of the East with some hidden gems under a façade of terrifying Ceaucescu destruction.

To make things even more complicated, "hidden gem" could really mean two things: a place which people don't know about (but that is totally culturally and geographically specific as we tend to know different foreign places in different countries) or places with a "bad reputation" but a lot of great stuff to offer. The thing is most places with a bad reputation have great stuff to offer though the reputation typically comes from somewhere. We already mentioned Beirut and Bucarest, but one could add Johannesburg (yes the dangers are real in some ways, but obviously it also is a fascinating city full of contrast and history and the Apartheid museum alone is worth going), Milan (the comparatively bad weather is no legend and it is "ugly" and hidden in ways but obviously full of charm and culture) or Detroit (ok not BA strictly speaking but possibly the US city with the worst reputation actually has some fabulous sides to it as have other "disliked" equivalents such as Cleveland and Pittsburg), or Mexico and Sao Paulo (Jakarta and Manilla are a somewhat harder case to make but still...).

Frankly, pretty much every city on the BA network is probably worth a visit if approached the right way (well, I'll admit that personally I'm putting the limit at the likes of Lagos and Kuwait City, but then I'm sure some people will say I'm wrong and they have great stuff about them too), prejudices are just that (most people go to even Tel Aviv fearing every day tension and end up enjoying one of the most charming and laid back cities on the planet), and only each of us can identify the unexplored "dark corners" of our ignorance. Let's put it that way: over the years, many of my falling in love with places has occurred at destinations I was not particularly dreaming of visiting in the first instance. Perhaps, it is all about expectations too?
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