10 of the Ugliest Cities in the World According to Travelers

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Beauty is often subjective, and what one person finds charming, another might deem unattractive. Travelers, with their diverse perspectives and cultural backgrounds, can offer unique insights into the aesthetics of different cities. While some places are universally celebrated for their picturesque landscapes and architectural marvels, others might be considered less conventionally attractive. Let’s take a closer look at 10 cities around the world that have been labeled as “ugly” by some travelers.

  1. Brasília, Brazil: A Modernist Mirage

Brasília, the capital of Brazil, is often criticized for its stark modernist architecture. Planned and developed in the 1950s, the city’s rigid urban design may not appeal to those who favor more organic and historic cityscapes.

  1. Chernobyl, Ukraine: Beauty Amidst Tragedy

Chernobyl, forever marked by the catastrophic nuclear disaster of 1986, is a city frozen in time. While the haunting ruins and abandoned buildings have a certain eerie allure, the scars of the past may contribute to its reputation as an unattractive destination.

  1. Detroit, USA: The Motor City’s Decline

Once a thriving hub of industry, Detroit has faced economic challenges leading to urban decay. While efforts are underway to revitalize the city, some travelers may still find its abandoned buildings and struggling neighborhoods off-putting.

  1. Kolkata, India: A Tale of Contrasts

Kolkata, with its rich cultural heritage, can be a sensory overload for some visitors. The city’s vibrant chaos, a blend of historical structures and bustling markets, may be overwhelming to those seeking more organized and polished urban environments.

  1. Nairobi, Kenya: The City in Transition

Nairobi’s rapid urbanization has left parts of the city struggling with infrastructure challenges. Travelers might find the contrast between wealth and poverty, alongside traffic congestion, to be less visually appealing compared to other destinations.

  1. Moscow, Russia: Soviet Splendor or Drabness?

While Moscow boasts grandiose Soviet-era architecture, some travelers argue that the city’s monumental structures can appear imposing and lack the charm found in more traditional European cities.

  1. Johannesburg, South Africa: The City of Contradictions

Johannesburg, a city of contrasts, showcases both opulence and poverty. The socio-economic disparities and safety concerns may overshadow the city’s potential beauty for some travelers.

  1. Ankara, Turkey: A Capital with Minimalist Appeal

As the capital of Turkey, Ankara is often overshadowed by the more visually striking Istanbul. With its modernist architecture and less elaborate history, Ankara may not captivate travelers seeking the charm of a more historic setting.

  1. Kiev, Ukraine: Navigating the Post-Soviet Landscape

Kiev, like Moscow, bears the marks of its Soviet past. Some travelers argue that the city’s transition to a post-Soviet identity has left it caught between eras, resulting in a less cohesive urban aesthetic.

  1. Medan, Indonesia: Chaotic Urbanity

Medan, a bustling city in Indonesia, is known for its chaotic traffic, crowded streets, and a mix of architectural styles. While it holds cultural and culinary treasures, the city’s lack of urban planning might be off-putting to some travelers.


It’s essential to approach discussions about the aesthetics of cities with an open mind. What one person finds unattractive, another might see as a unique and authentic experience. Each city has its own story to tell, and the perceived “ugliness” may be an integral part of its charm for those willing to dig deeper into its history and culture. Travel, after all, is about broadening perspectives and embracing the diversity that makes each city, regardless of its outward appearance, truly remarkable.

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