What makes the perfect city? Is it good infrastructure, friendly locals or a capable government? Guess again — it’s definitely how good it looks on Instagram, and now experts have revealed the most beautiful cities in the world.
Travel agency Flight Network pitched the question to more than a thousand travel writers, bloggers and agents from all over the world. The collaboration produced an irrefutable list of the 50 most beautiful cities in the world.[related_articles]79088,76027,79327[/related_articles]
From the fairytale-like pink city of Kaipur to the Game of Thrones backdrop of Dubrovnik, the official list covers the globe — one Australian city even makes the top 10! You can check out the full list here, but be warned — you’ll be putting in your annual leave before you know it, passport gripped tightly in hand. We’ve done you a solid and narrowed it down to the best of the best.
Here are the 10 most beautiful cities in the world:
#1 Paris, France
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Okay, no surprises here. Of course the city of love is the most beautiful urban spot in the world. But it’s not just the Eiffel Tower that scored Paris the top spot (although it definitely helped). The city has some of the best-preserved monuments in the world, like, I don’t know, the Palace of Versailles and the Arc de Triomphe.
Not to mention all the masterpieces kept safe inside the Louvre — any city where you can see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo is bound to be totally gorgeous.
#2 New York, United States
Each one of the five boroughs in New York helped the city secure the number two spot on this list. Manhattan has Central Park and the Empire State Building. Brooklyn has Coney Island and the famous New York hot dog. The Bronx has the world-famous Bronx Zoo, Queens has museums, and Staten Island has wildlife refuges, botanical gardens and seemingly-endless stretches of beaches.
“You could visit hundreds of times and still discover new things on every trip,” said David Jagger from The Telegraph & Argus.
#3 London, England
London was praised for its rich history and gorgeous sites like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park. And there’s no better way to get a good look at the number three city than from up in the air in the London Eye.
Don’t be surprised to find celebrities in the posh neighbourhoods either — everyone wants a piece of this beautiful city!
#4 Venice, Italy
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Another no-brainer, Venice is unique from all the other beautiful cities thanks to its canals and the ornate bridges that cross them. Take in the sights on a gondola ride, or wander through St. Mark’s Square — there’s no wrong way to explore Venice, whether you’re on the water, on land or have a wine in hand.
Visitors to Venice have to pay an entrance fee, but €3 (AU$4.74) is a small price to pay to enter one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Neala McCarten from OffbeatTravel put it best when she said: “I sailed into the Venetian lagoon sipping white wine and thought my heart would burst from the beauty that surrounded me.”
#5 Vancouver, Canada
Soaring snow-capped mountains reach down to a bustling city centre in Vancouver, a place where modern development meets Mother Nature in a way we don’t hate. Granville Island has all kinds of live entertainment and a fabulous street art scene.
If you’re in the mood for a day spent by the water, you can’t go past English Bay Beach, where fierce volleyball games are played out. Every New Year’s Day, thousands of people dive into the icy cold water for the traditional Polar Bear Swim.
#6 Barcelona, Spain
“Art and architecture in every corner!!!” screams Christian Lengua from the local newspaper Publimetro, and we’re inclined to believe his three exclamation marks. Some of the most breathtaking buildings in the world can be found in Barcelona, most of them designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí.[related_articles]75970,73855,66576[/related_articles]
He’s responsible for the La Sagrada Familia basilica, Park Güell public park, and Casa Batlló, one of his masterpieces. Even if you don’t know his work, you won’t be able to miss it when you’re walking through the streets of this city — his buildings are unlike anything else in the world, making Barcelona a must-have on your bucket list.
#7 Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is truly a nature-lover’s dream, offering up an abundance of hiking trails, mountain bike tracks and beaches hidden along a rugged coastline. But the most well-known attraction here is Bo-Kaap, the historic neighbourhood known for its brightly painted houses.
#8 San Francisco, United States
It’s not unusual for San Fran to feature in lists like this as the other representative of the United States (right behind New York, of course). Visitors looking for a perfect Instagram shot flock to the Golden Gate Bridge and to the top of the city’s steep streets. But head to Fisherman’s Wharf to see the famous colony of sea lions who rocked up here in the ’80s and have refused to leave ever since.
“The weather is about as perfect as weather can get — never too hot nor too cold,” said Noelle Salmi from Matador Network.
#9 Sydney, Australia
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Melbourne might be the world’s second most liveable city, but Sydney’s got it beat for raw beauty. The Aussie city scored big points for the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens and Bondi Beach. We humbly agree, although we reckon some of these beaches are also deserving of a spot on the list.
#10 Rome, Italy
A list of the most beautiful cities in the world simply wouldn’t be complete without the city where you can find the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. Rome is a fascinating mix of old and new, where you’ll find ancient sites smack bang in the middle of modern city streets.
(Lead image: f11photo / Shutterstock)
Alana is the staff writer on AWOL who thinks the best way to travel is by taking spontaneous detours and stopping at every local bakery to try the cakes. She writes a lot about Australian TV, Big Things, cursed food, and theme parks. You can follow her on Instagram @alana.dotcom. It’s mostly dogs she meets along the way.