Word-of-mouth travel advice isn’t guaranteed to be good, a recent Reddit thread points out.

Brussels, Belgium | Sir Francis Canker Photography/Moment/Getty Images

Oftentimes, the absolute best travel recommendations don’t come from blogs, guidebooks, or even TikTok travel influencers. They come from people you talk to, shared bits of information in hostel lobbies and in airport security lines, from mutual friends or your parents’ well traveled neighbor.

But as often as those tidbits of advice can be extremely informative, sometimes those travel tips can just be outright wrong. At least, wrong for you. On the r/travel Reddit community, one user recently posed the question: “What’s a city everyone told you not to go to that you ended up loving?”

The answers were varied and extensive, identifying many travel destinations that don’t always get a fair shake.

“For inside the USA I have to say Baltimore. Everyone told me I’d be wasting my time visiting, but I took the Amtrak train up one day and loved it. Great museums, great food, cool history, nice waterfront, and some pretty cool architecture,” the original poster shared. “For outside the USA I’m gonna go with Belfast. So many [people] told me not to visit, and I ended up loving the city and the people.”

Here are a few of the other cities that were most frequently mentioned as favorite destinations that caught travelers by surprise according to the viral Reddit thread:

Kaunas, Lithuania
“So many people had not heard of it or said there would be nothing to do there etc. I went last year and I’ve actually booked to go again this year! It’s a lovely city, on the smaller side, but I enjoyed it so much. I’m very excited to go back.” – @lily_cat_lilac

“I was told it was too touristy and crowded. It might be touristy and crowded but God was Venice beautiful and the food was incredible.” – @tehserg

“Venice after dark when most tourists have left is such a vibe. So spooky and full of character.” – @beer_me_please

“I just got back from Venice and was honestly so sad to leave! I had the best food experiences there, loved walking around at night, and we did a glass sculpture class with a local artist in his tiny studio that was magic. So many people told us negative things about it but I’m glad we ignored all of that noise and went anyway.” – @MoveMeToMars

“Athens far exceeded expectations. Greece in general is underrated.” – @Duval_Lavud

“Was told it was dirty, gross, full of crime, dogs everywhere. We had low expectations BC the news at that time also made it seem like the entire city was burning due to protests. Didn’t see a single protest and honestly I thought it was such a vibe. History galore. We went to a bathhouse that was so unique. The food, omg. Everyone was friendly, the cute tiny churches were really cool to check out.” – @humanbeing1979

“Everyone told me it was actually dirty and gross and I’d be disappointed, but I still adored every second of my trip to Paris! The art, the history, the language, the food and cafes—it was all a dream!” – @zingingcutie35

“I feel like I’ve seen a lot of ‘de-influencing Paris’ posts lately. I went this summer and I absolutely loved it.” – @damn_fine_coffee_224

“The mixture of Germanic and Romance languages/cultures, the EU museums and institutions, the ornate architecture, and the fact that it seemed…authentic…made it well worth the day trip from London.” – @LeBorisien

“The beer is some of the best in the world, and the food was much better than I expected. I’ll have to go back as I only had two nights there.” – @jtbc

A takeaway from these Reddit reviews? There’s truly no replacement for experiencing a city firsthand. And, if you’ve got the right perspective, nearly anywhere can offer something to enjoy. With big cities especially, the negative reviews from others might have more to do with other travelers’ own ability to enjoy themselves, not what the city has to offer.

Looking for more travel inspo?

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.