1. Montreal, Canada
Montreal built many venues for the 1976 Olympics, the most famous being the Olympic Stadium, or “Big O.” The spaceship design and giant inclined tower divided opinion when it first landed in Montreal, and the cash-sucking stadium still garners criticism today. If you’re out taking photos of the weird structure, check out the Botanical Gardens across the street too (where some athletics events were held). Of course, Montreal’s appeal stands apart from the Big O-institutions like The Old Port and Mount Royal have made it one of the must-visit Olympic cities.
2. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo started off badly when the Olympic flag was raised upside down at the opening ceremonies, but went on to be a success. Unfortunately, any goodwill the city received during the Olympics was all but erased during the Bosnian War. But now, Sarajevo is back on its feet, making it one of Europe’s forgotten delights and one of the must-visit Olympic cities. The city’s amazing history is just one of its attractions-Islam, Catholicism, Judaism and Eastern Orthodoxy have mingled there for centuries. Sarajevo will now host the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2017 as well!
3. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo‘s first games in 1964 were a coming-out party for Japan-a public removal of the post-war gloom that had dogged the country for decades. 50 years later, they’ve been chosen to host again. Beleaguered by the devastating 2009 tsunami and recent economic turmoil, Japan is hoping that the 2020 games will prove that Tokyo is still one of the world’s must-visit Olympic cities. Now would be a good time to experience Tokyo’s tech-meets-history vibe, though, before the crowds descend on the country for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and then the games in 2020.