As humans, we do our best to enjoy this crazy thing we call life. That might mean spending lots of time with your friends, taking an outrageous amount of photos, or traveling the world. Over the years, with the growing rage of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, we grow more and more exposed to gorgeous cities — some, we’ve never even heard of.
With restrictions slowly easing up around the world, cities are slowly becoming more accessible again.
So we’re here to answer that age-old question: What is the most beautiful city in the world?
Here, I’ve ranked 50 of the most beautiful cities in the world that should be on your radar. Although if you do travel, please don’t forget to still be mindful of some basic hygiene rules.
(Please do note that I am honestly quite conflicted with my rankings. No city is the same, and beauty is subjective. What might be number 1 for me, might only be number 5 for you.)
50. Vigan, Philippines
When people think of the Philippines, the first thing that comes to their mind is Manila. However, there’s one hidden gem that’s bound to take you back hundreds of years — Vigan. It is one of the Philippines’ oldest and most unique cities. This gorgeous Spanish colonial town is lined with heritage houses, cobblestone streets, and kalesas (two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage). I’m sure you won’t run out of things to do there.
49. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is definitely one city you should have on your bucket list. Although it is not as famous as Johannesburg, it has as much to offer. I recommend you check out the Kirstenbosch. Like any other country, it’s normal to be anxious about your safety. When there, be sure to keep an eye on your valuables and stick to big tourist spots rather than small towns. If you’re driving, make sure to keep windows shut and doors locked when you step out.
48. Moscow, Russia
Although it doesn’t seem like a famous tourist destination, Moscow has a lot to offer to tourists willing to take on the challenge. Since it is far too cold during winter, the best time to visit Moscow would be in early spring. But before you take that trip, there are some things you should know about first that are sure to save you from any unforeseen circumstances.
47. Paris, France
I know you probably expected Paris to be higher on this list, but hear me out. As much as Paris is portrayed as the City of Lights, it’s not everything it’s cut out to be. In fact, there’s even a syndrome about it called Paris Syndrome! Nonetheless, Paris is still a city filled with hidden gems that will make your trip worth it. After all, it is also called the City of Love.
46. Havana, Cuba
If you’re looking to have that Caribbean experience, Havana is one place you should visit! One of the greatest things you’ll experience in Cuba is learning how to take life one day at a time. You’ll see kids running around the street without a care in the world and locals just coming together to sit down and spend the afternoon. At night, you’ll hear different kinds of music coming from all corners of the city. I’m sure once you leave, you’ll be aching to return.
45. Marrakesh, Morocco
Western media is powerful enough to change our perception about certain places, and Morocco definitely is no exception to that. People mistake Morocco for a dangerous city that targets innocent tourists, but it’s actually a misconception. Although there are challenges you will face, you shouldn’t miss out on this bustling city.
44. Cairo, Egypt
Before you step on Egyptian land, you must carry some patience with you. Cairo can be loud, polluted, and congested. However, the city also has a charming vibrance to it that will make you forget everything I ever said in the first place. Plus, no British museum can ever beat the artifacts you can find in an Egyptian museum!
43. San Francisco, United States
In San Francisco, you’ll find all kinds of people and all kinds of communities, from hippies to tech moguls, and everything else in between. Although San Francisco can be quite pricey, who’s to say you can’t explore a city on a budget? However, crime is pretty common here, so it is wise to take extra precautionary measures at all costs.
42. Shanghai, China
It’s a known fact that China is a very large city with a massive population. Shanghai is no exception to that, which is why you should visit! Not to worry, though, because it’s got the longest metro system in the world, making travel for tourists and residents alike much easier! You’re bound to have a great time with all the activities you can do here!
41. Cusco, Peru
Cusco is a world-famous city, so it’s no surprise that it’s on this list. There’s so much beauty in the country, it’s sure to make you go, “I can’t believe how good this life is.” Though if you ever decide to go, please read up first on their history and culture so you don’t end up offending locals.
40. Athens, Greece
Like a Greek myth nerd, Athens has always been a dream for me. Plus, have you tried Greek food? They’re to die for! If you’re as big of a fan, I’d say three days isn’t even enough to check out all the temples and taste the huge variety of Greek food there. Quick tip: Since Athens is flocked with tourists, you may want to check out neighborhoods that are not as crowded but still safe. It’s usually in small districts that you’ll experience what the locals do.
39. Zürich, Switzerland
It’s a common misconception that the capital of Switzerland is Zürich, but it’s actually not. Bern is the capital city, but Zürich is the largest and the global center for banking and finance. Although Zürich is one of the most expensive cities, that doesn’t mean there aren’t activities you can enjoy for free!
38. Riga, Latvia
Countries like Latvia for instance get a bad rep due to Western media, but if you gave this city a shot, it may take you by surprise. Riga is an architectural treasure with over 500 buildings that showcase different architectural styles — perfect for architecture lovers! If you want to truly feel like a local, head over to Riga’s Central Market and see the huge variety of fresh produce you can buy.
37. Bruges, Belgium
Belgium is a country known for its chocolate, beer, and waffles. However, there’s so much more than that, especially in Bruges! This is one city you wouldn’t mind exploring without a map. Use the Belfry tower as reference in case you’re worried about wandering too far. The best time to visit Bruges would be autumn or winter as there are fewer people, but if the crowd doesn’t bother you, summer and spring in Bruges are to die for. As for how long you should stay, that’s up to you. It’s easy to explore the city in a day, but you can slow it down and take your time, too.
36. New York City, United States
Ah, yes, the city that never sleeps. New York has everything you could ever need on holiday — a huge selection of food, gorgeous museums, and a wild evening out! If you’ve got lots of time to spare, try checking out these activities for a perfect, unforgettable Big Apple experience.
35. Hong Kong City, Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, you’ll never run out of food to try and places to go! From small night markets to sprawling buildings, it’s a sight you won’t ever get tired of. I recommend going sometime during late fall until winter as it gets unbearably hot and humid during the summer. Plus, hurricanes (or typhoons from that side of the world) are more common in summer.
34. London, England
London is one of the most famous cities in the world that is full of diversity of all sorts. What’s so great about this city is that you can experience what it felt like back in the day and also have a taste of modern-day London. If you’re on a budget, there are free activities you can do, too! Be sure to get an Oyster Card when taking public transport because that is essential.
33. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is many things — it’s loud, crowded, colorful, and overwhelming, but it’s also unforgettable. Depending on how many days you plan on spending, there are so many places you can go see and eat. Like Hong Kong, it’s best to visit Bangkok from November to February to avoid the humidity and scorching heat.
32. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Did you know the tallest building in the world is found in Dubai? That’s right! The Burj Khalifa has a total height of 829.8m (2,722 ft)! It has both vast beaches and dunes, so you won’t run out of things to try out. However, Dubai has a Muslim culture, so I recommend reading some do’s and don’ts first to avoid insulting their culture or worse, breaking the law.
31. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Pulsating with life, energy, diverse food, and culture, Ho Chi Minh, formerly Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest city. Walking around the city, you’ll see many dated Western buildings going all the way back to the French colonial rule, like a slowly fading memory you can’t seem to forget. The mix of the past and future is bound to leave its mark on you.
30. Odesa, Ukraine
Although Odesa is not Ukraine’s capital city, it still does have its significance. The most ideal time to visit is sometime between June and September when the weather is much warmer. Plus, there’s so much going on during these months, you’d hate missing it! Odesa is right by the beach, too, so you can always go for a dip in the summer or check out the many bars and restaurants lining the area.
29. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a country rich in culture and history. The most notable building is the Hagia Sophia. Back during the Byzantine era, it was a center for religious, political, and artistic life. Today, the streets are bustling with heavy traffic and countless shop sellers convincing you to have a look and maybe even make a purchase. You don’t have to worry too much about transport since there are buses, trams, and metros around the city. The city is very walkable, too!
28. Brisbane, Australia
In previous years, Brisbane really wasn’t on anyone’s radar. However, thanks to developments and increased tourism, more and more people are starting to appreciate Brisbane for the gem it actually is. It has subtropical weather, so you’re guaranteed to enjoy the weather no matter when you visit. I recommend visiting Lone Park Koala Sanctuary, the world’s oldest and largest koala sanctuary.
27. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Although Kuala Lumpur is relatively expensive compared to other Malaysian cities, it has everything you could ever want when on holiday — food, shopping, culture, and nightlife! There are private tours you could do that take the stress of planning away, but if you prefer to do your own thing, there are also travel guides you can check out online.
26. Chicago, United States
Chicago is the United States’ third largest city and is most famous for the big “Bean” you can find in Millenial Park. It’s also got more than 60 museums and countless places to eat! I can assure you, you won’t run out of things to do in Chicago!
25. Berlin, Germany
As the Germans say, Berlin is its own country. This German capital is a city full of history, vibrance, and life. If you’re looking to experience a crazy night out, this is the city to be. Also, it would be a crime to not have some craft beer while you’re at one of the beer capitals in the world.
24. Taipei, Taiwan
You can spend months exploring Taipei, but it still won’t be enough to see everything the city has to offer. However, a week is also good enough if you want to have a taste of what this Taiwanese capital has to offer. Fun fact: the colors on the Taipei 101 Tower are used to tell you what day it is! Red means it’s Monday, orange is Tuesday, yellow means Wednesday, green means Thursday, blue means it’s Friday, indigo means Saturday, and violet means Sunday.
23. Palermo, Italy
Situated on the beautiful island of Sicily, is the city of Palermo. It has some Arabic roots, so don’t be surprised to see markets that remind you of Arab markets. Italy is famous for its food, which is why you should definitely try local, authentic dishes. Before you travel, I recommend reading up on all there is to know about Palermo.
22. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Personally, Amsterdam is one of my most favorite cities that I’ve been to, and for good reason. It’s home to the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. Also, the city is very walkable, it’s easy to get lost wandering around and discovering more things to do. Though I have to warn you, they can be quite aggressive about their bike lanes, so be sure you don’t walk on that part. Or, if you want a chill moment, head over to Vondelpark and people-watch; you’ll be surprised at what you’ll see.
21. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is Japan’s capital and the kind of city you’ll want to visit year-round simply because you’ll never run out of things to do. The best time to visit Tokyo would be September-November as it is cooler and less crowded. However, if you’re after cherry blossoms, the best time to visit is March to May. If festivals are what you’re after, late July to August is perfect. December to February and May to July are the best times if you want to avoid large crowds and check out the winter lights. Tip: Read up on their customs and manners to avoid insulting anyone.
20. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague may not be at the top of everybody’s travel list, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on your list at all. It’s important to note that some Czechs aren’t fond of tourists. Luckily, there are always some tips that will help you blend in with the locals. However, I do suggest checking out the Astronomical Clock, the world’s oldest functioning clock.
19. Quito, Ecuador
For many, Quito is nothing but a stopover on the way to the Galapagos Islands. But given everything this city has to offer, it’s worth spending an extra 3 nights here. Here you can find the “Mitad del Mundo” or “Middle of the World,” a monument to depict the division between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Recent tech has discovered that the actual equator lies further up north, though. Nonetheless, it’s still a good place to check out for that I’m-standing-in-two-places-at-once photo. Note that since it’s at about 2,850m above sea level, you might experience altitude sickness.
18. Toronto, Canada
Toronto may not be Canada’s capital city, but it sure is the financial and commercial center. Plus, it’s one of the biggest multicultural hubs around the world, so you know there’s a huge variety of activities to do. The best time to visit Toronto would be anytime between May -November. Winter in Canada is quite brutal with sub-zero temperatures and sometimes knee-deep snow.
17. Sydney, Australia
Sydney is a famous city for two reasons: Finding Nemo and the Sydney Opera House. Since Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s important to note that their seasons are the opposite. The warmest months are between December and February, where it’s summer in Australia. If you want to avoid crowds and don’t mind cooler temperatures, visit Sydney sometime between September to November and do things perfect for spring weather.
16. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe and is home to numerous UNESCO heritage sites. This city tries to be modern while still sticking to traditions that make them who they are, and you can clearly see splashes of this in their architecture, food, and daily life.
15. Singapore, Singapore
If you asked travelers to describe Singapore, you might hear “expensive” pop up more than once, and it’s true. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t travel to Singapore on a budget. Singapore is quite strict when it comes to cleanliness and order, so don’t litter, smoke in public, or chew gum if you want to avoid getting fined.
14. Perth, Australia
Before, people used to not pay Perth any attention. However, its stunning transformation in recent years has turned it into one of the top tourist destinations in Australia. While Perth is an absolute beauty with lots of fun activities to do and places to eat, you will be spending many hours on a plane with a high chance of jetlag. So, I recommend taking the first day easy or preparing your body for the time change days before your flight.
13. Rome, Italy
It can’t be argued that Rome is a beautiful city, but we also can’t deny that it’s extremely packed with tourists all year round. Personally, I believe the best way to experience a city is to hang around less touristy districts and eat at more local restaurants. However, you can’t say you’ve been to Rome if you haven’t been to some of the most famous spots. Tip: Italians can be quite judgy about the kind of pasta you have and when you drink coffee, so read up on some do’s and don’ts before you go.
12. Seoul, South Korea
One of the best things I love about South Korea is the food. If your goal is to see the cherry blossoms, the best time to visit Seoul would be sometime around early April, when the flowers are in full bloom. But if your goal is to enjoy the food, you can visit any time of year! You’d be surprised at how delicious street food is. Don’t forget to try out soju, too!
11. Kyoto, Japan
You won’t know how truly beautiful Japan is not until you’ve been to Kyoto. It’s the best city to go to if you want to have a feel of what true Japan is like. Kyoto is relatively small, too, and has a great transport system, so you won’t have trouble getting around at all. Out of all the cities on this list, this is the one place you can wander around and still see so much no matter where your feet take you. Of course, Japan is an entirely different culture, so don’t forget to read some crucial do’s and don’ts.
10. Cartagena, Colombia
If you visit Cartagena, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say Hispanic countries and the like are pulsating with life. Maybe it’s got something to do with the culture, or maybe people are just generally happier and friendlier on that side of the planet. The best way to explore Cartagena is to walk around and interact with the locals.
9. Alicante, Spain
Alicante is a city located in the southeast of Spain, close to Valencia. The best thing about this gorgeous place is that the sun pretty much shines all year round. However, I wouldn’t go there during August as it can get as hot as 104° F. Thanks to their climate, you pretty much have enough time to go out and explore Alicante.
8. Dubrovnik, Crotia
As gorgeous as Dubrovnik is, it’s one of the many cities around the world buckling under the serious effects of over-tourism. If you’ve seen “Game of Thrones,” then you most likely understand why. While there are many activities you can do, I honestly have mixed thoughts about going there. It is beautiful, but I don’t want to contribute to the problem.
7. Quebec, Canada
If you’re looking for a European destination without having to go to Europe, Quebec is the perfect city for that! For people looking for the Winter Wonderland vibe, February is the best time to go because of Carnaval de Quebec season. But, if you want to avoid the cold and want to visit for another month instead, there are still so many things you can do and see in this historic city.
6. Edinburgh, Scotland
The thing I love the most about Edinburgh is its unique architectural design. It’s got cobblestone streets and Gothic landmarks, making you feel as if you’re in a Harry Potter movie. For bookworms, you’ll be pleased to know about the existence of the Edinburgh International Book Festival — the largest celebration of the written word in the world!
5. Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg is a French city bordering Germany and is the official seat of the European Parliament. It’s perfect for a weekend trip since the city is quite compact you can pretty much see most of it within a day or two if you want to keep it light.
4. Bologna, Italy
Located just north of Italy, Bologna is a city you wouldn’t want to miss! Italy is famous for its cuisine, but Bologna specifically takes the cake on this one. If you’re there just for the food, you’re in the right place! Of course, if you want to explore the city, too, there are also some activities and spots you can check out.
3. Florence, Italy
Florence, or Firenze, is the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany. If Bologna is famous for its cuisine, then Florence is famous for its design and architecture. If you’ve only got a weekend to spare, you’re just in luck! Florence is small enough that it’s possible to visit sights and enjoy good food for just a weekend.
2. Valencia, Spain
Located just on the Mediterranean coast, Valencia is the 3rd largest Spanish city after Madrid and Barcelona. It’s also home to my personal favorite, the paella. Because of its ideal location, there are so many things you can do. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the food and the sights!
1. Zakynthos, Greece
Look at that water, isn’t it gorgeous?! Seriously, though, what’s not to love about Greece? The islands are gorgeous and the food tastes remarkable. What else could you ask for? Zakynthos is the largest of the Ionian islands and is filled with activities to do if you don’t always feel like lounging under the sun.
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