We all know those places that look a million bucks on Instagram or a Google image search, but have been amplified by talented photo editors, and are less impressive when you actually arrive.
Maybe these places really ARE this beautiful, but have fallen victim to over-tourism by the time you get there, and are instead intense jostles for a photo (Venice, cough).
But not everywhere is like this and in some cases, it actually goes the OTHER way – places that are far better when you are there in-person, which can be tough to convey the beauty of to people when you arrive home.
Here’s five places that look far better IRL than on the Gram:
This writer once misunderstood an online bus ticket system, affording 24 hours to kill in Belgrade. Best mistake ever.
Initial impressions were not encouraging. It was cold, and blocks of bleakly designed Yugoslav buildings gave the city a depressing mood.
But things picked up; joining forces with some Germans and an Australian, I devoured Pljeskavica (a spicy combination of meats served with relish) and beers at a café, found some cheap books at a cool bookstore before winding up amongst the frenzy of Rajko Mitić Stadium, where former European Champions Red Star Belgrade were playing.
After the football (2-1 to Red Star) we visited another (actual) fortress in the form of the Kalemagedon: a crumbling castle where American indie-rock giants Interpol were playing a gig. There are few places in the world where you can watch a quality international act play at a 2000-year-old fortress.
With time winding down until my 6am bus, we made sure to investigate every inch of the very, very lively DJ scene on the Danube’s riverfront.
Yes, I missed the bus.
It might seem sacrilegious to throw shade on your hometown, but let’s face it: Melbourne doesn’t have Sydney’s beauty or the balmy beach tan of Perth. Even tree and church-lined Adelaide has a sort of quaint charm if you go by a Google image search.
Sure, the Yarra River is disgusting with probably a few dead bodies, but the city it flows through has its own sort of charm.
Grungy and fancy suburbs that sit next to each other teem with café-laden streets that hum with people catching up for a coffee, complaining about the weather. The cultural hotpot of people that have somehow landed here has brought an eclectically diverse and delicious mix of food to the city.
Despite being at the bottom of the world, the city attracts world class events transcending art, music and sport. No-one has ever been short of things to do in Melbourne.
This is a city that didn’t invent laneways, but acts like it did, taking more pride in narrow dirty alleys than anywhere else, highlighting them rather than trying to cover them up. This might be the best thing about Melbourne: it acts like it’s a cool place, therefore it is a cool place.
This one is on a bit of a different tangent to the rest but here’s the thing: the town of Esperance on the south-west coast of Australia is actually so beautiful that images other people have taken really don’t do it justice.
Like sure, it does look stunning. Bt it probably won’t look as nice in real life, you tell yourself, and prepare to settle for a little less.
The pristine white sand and crystal clear, turquoise waters are real, genuinely taking the breath away when you arrive for the first time.
Perhaps two full days of driving across the Nullarbor that it takes to reach it probably enhances things, but there’s no doubting Esperance gives weight to the theory that West is Best.
When you think about it, drinking in an old, dark, dingy space with stained-glass windows could be a pretty difficult sell before you mention it’s an Irish pub.
A proper Irish pub session will start with a pint next to a warm fire, and a few tall stories. Soon there’ll be Guinness being passed over heads, and before long you’ll be dancing a proper jig with someone with a ridiculously spelt name like Aoife or Oisin, to a catchy old tune you’ve never heard but feel you’ve heard 100 times before.
All this craic doesn’t really translate to social media, and a good thing at that; get lost likes to think the magic of a lock-in is something you have to experience for yourself.
Check out get lost’s recent guide to Dublin for all the best craic in the Irish capital.