Traveler's Test

7 cities to get lost on purpose

7 cities to get lost on purpose

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We challenge you: Get lost on purpose (yes, control freaks too!)

There are cities around the world where you’d love to get lost again and again and again. Control freaks might find the idea unbearable but think twice, how can getting lost do you any harm if you can get a taxi back to your hotel at any time?

In the cities on the list belowgetting lost” actually means “finding” – finding people, places and experiences otherwise hidden away from your tourist eyes.

Challenge alternatives:

  • If with friends/spouses: get lost separately and try to find each other after 5 hours (if you find a place your friend would love, stay there and wait for him or her to come). Or just get lost separately (a good option for long-time partners who need some fresh time alone!).
  • By public transportation: get on a local bus and get off at a random stop.
  • Try to get lost in your own hometown – it might be hard but then you should just try harder.

Istanbul, Turkey

The moment you find yourself away from the main tourist areas, you will be able to enjoy genuine Turkish hospitality. Life is good in the City on the Bosphorus while sipping strong and sweet tea and enjoying the sun in a side street cafe.

Unexpected discovery in Istanbul

Venice, Italy

There’s no use of bringing a map with you in Venice, this city just can’t stand maps and will do its best to get you lost. Everything even a street away from Canale Grande is a labyrinth where you can only enter but never get back to your starting point. Feel free to enjoy the colorful, sometimes decrepit buildings along the canals, hunt for passing gondolas and stop for wine at the first bar.

P.S. You know they call the wine “shade” (ombra) in Venice, right?

Chiang Mai, Thailand

It’s not such a big city but if you dare to get lost, you will come across your best discoveries in a Thai city full of expats. An English bookshop? The food stall with the best pad thai? A friendly monk to chat about life?

© Maria Angelova/

Atlanta, USA

While many US cities use a quadrant street system with streets heading north-south or east-west, Atlanta can be confusing as many of the streets follow the natural relief. Leave your map in Downtown Atlanta and let the city surprise you (A historic cemetery? A skywalk? A popular eatary?).

Tokyo, Japan 

In Tokyo and other Japanese cities the numbers of the streets and buildings have nothing to do with their location but rather with the time of their construction. Thus, the first building that appears on the street will be #1, while next to it might be #113. You don’t have to do anything special to get lost there.

Perth, Australia 

Perth will invite you to get lost in its maze of creative bars and it might not be so easy to find your way after the third beer… Where were you actually going?

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The best places to get lost in Rio are the art quarters of Santa Teresa and Lapa in the city center. Climb the steep streets but don’t search for the best view – it will reveal itself unexpectedly. Shop around for unique souvenirs by local artists and get lots of water. 

Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro