The world is full of beautiful places with gorgeous landscapes and stunning architecture. From the old-world gems of Europe to modern metropolises in North America, these are the top places to visit in the world.
is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, with history (Westminster Abbey) and models of modernity (London Eye, The Gherkin) mingling on the Thames. The city has a theatre scene that attracts the world's best acting talent in addition to also having some very cool bars and restaurants. England is one of the few remaining countries that has a royal family and you can visit Queen's home, Buckingham Palace. It is one of the world's few remaining royal working places and it opens its doors to the public every summer. The city is a place that is rich in culture and history and it boasts some of the world's best museums and galleries in the world and most of them are free! If you consider yourself to be a nature lover and spending time outside is more your thing then check out one of the many calm and peaceful outdoor places such as Hyde Park and Richmond Park.
Prague, The Czech Republic
The Czech capital has enough striking architecture, hilltop views, and charming markets to fill a dozen travel itineraries. This capital city definitely deserves a visit so if it isn't yet on your must-see list then you need to put it on right now. A trip to Prague would be cheap and cheerful because here you would definitely save money as it's one of the cheapest capitals in Europe. Prague has fascinating architecture and Prague Castle is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest castle complex in the world, covering an impressive 70,000 square meters. The city also hosts events all year round and it's a very popular destination with festival goers. Naplavka, Prague's river boardwalk area, comes alive during the summer months attracting tons of festivals and other live events.
Rome captivates travelers in ways few cities can, it has it all. Food, art, culture, architecture, beautiful parks and history. The entire city of Rome is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is home to one of the most famous fountains in the world, the Trevi Fountain, the colosseum (also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre) and Castel Sant'Angelo. Rome is also the ultimate hub for foodies and Spaghetti alla carbonara was invented there.
Paris is a place where romance and history play side by side. Cafés line cobblestone streets, beautiful people stroll along the Seine at all hours, and every neighborhood seems to have its own iconic landmark, be it the Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, Eiffel Tower, or The Louvre, The Champs-Élysées ? Who wouldn't be charmed by this amazing city? Paris is built on romance and people come from all other the world for a nice romantic getaway, to pop the question to their other half or for a sweet honeymoon. It's not just the romance that attracts people to this city. French food is amazing and in Paris you can eat like you've never eaten before. Be sure to start the day with a warm and fresh croissant and a French coffee and to finish the day off with a glass of fine French wine and some tasty cheese.
Budapest is an extremely cheap city. Everything from food to accommodation to flights is all reasonable and affordable. The city boasts a beautiful skyline and an awesome nightlife. With a history dating back to the Roman era Budapest contains many relaxing thermal-temperature baths. Thermal baths are a common place in this back-packer friendly city and many claim that they have both relaxation and medical benefits. Walk the Széchenyi Chain Bridge at night for unforgettable views of the Hungarian Parliament shining over the Danube River.
There are many good things about Madrid. Firstly, the weather is good all-year-round, making it the perfect place to sight-see. The city isn't too big so it's fairly easy to visit things by foot. The city offers many different cultural activities so you will never be stuck with nothing to do. From the fantastic permanent collections of the Prado Museum to the music venues and from the Reina Sofia Museum to flamenco dancing events, Madrid has it all!
Washington DC, America
This beautiful city is home to many notable world museums and it is one of the most visited cities in the USA. Learn more about American history in this capital and take an Old Town Trolley tour. Foreigners enjoy visiting the White House, the Arlington National cemetery, the Lincoln memorial or Washington monument.
Berlin is beautiful, magnificent and exciting. If you consider yourself to be a history geek then Berlin has to be your next holiday destination. This city has experienced a lot of historical development and has a unique history. Berlin has some of the most gorgeous and impressive sights and landmarks that you will ever see. Bradenburg gate, Berlin cathedral, the East side gallery and the Berlin wall are just some of the city's amazing monuments. Berlin has a huge, active and crazy nightlife so you'll not get bored while you are in the evening. The city will definitely intrigue you so make sure you take the time to go and visit it as soon as possible.
Visiting Japan's imperial capital is like taking a step back in time. Some 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines are ready to entrance visitors, and you might even spot a geisha while strolling the city's leafy, craft shop-lined streets. This city is considered to be one of the world's capitals of dining and it boasts 160,000 restaurants. Be sure to try some real authentic Japanese sushi, Yakitori and Okonomiyaki. The largest electronics store is in a section of Tokyo known for being the center of gadget, video game and anime culture in the city. Tokyo Disneyland, the Imperial Palace and the Tokyo Skytree are also very popular with tourists.
Cairo is the largest metropolis in the Arab World and it attracts millions of tourist every year. A visit to Cairo will plunge you deeper into Arab culture. Full-day tours to Giza Pyramids Memphis and Sakkara are available everywhere in Cairo. Take the opportunity to step back in time and visit one of many historical pyramids that this place has to offer. The Nile River is also a must-see site when visiting this remarkable city. The world's longest river stretches approximately 4,000 miles long. Be amazed by the local culture, food and incredible pyramidse.
You are bound to feel welcome in this popular capital city where the locals are said to be friendly and positive. If you want to be guaranteed a nice, warm and sunny holiday then Jakarta is the place for you. Jakarta has a warm tropical temperatures average around 28 to 30. Some recommendations are the Ritz Carlton Mega Kuningan and the Hermitage.
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You know Amsterdam's famous central canal, rightly dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Add to that swathes of green spaces, storied red-brick facades, and museums filled with Van Gogh paintings, and you have yourself one of Europe's most gorgeous cultural destinations.
You can't talk about Barcelona without mentioning Antoni Gaudí, the Catalan architect who left his mark all over the city. A walk around town leads you through his undulating stonework and ironwork, which include Park Güell and culminate in his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Família. It's not just about colorful mosaics, though: From the mountains to the beach, the historic to the contemporary, sunny Barcelona pretty much has it all.
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Beijing gives visitors a lot to take in—the streets seem that much wider than elsewhere, the population that much denser, at first glance. Even its UNESCO-listed cultural sites sound daunting: the Forbidden City, the Great Wall. That's why we love it though—it's a true feast for the eyes (it also has some of the best dumplings you’ll ever eat).
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Beirut's seaside glamour rivals that of any European riviera, with posh beach clubs and rooftop bars, palm tree-lined promenades, and hidden courtyards filled with bougainvillea. But here, glossy high-rises are juxtaposed against centuries-old mosques and souks, giving the city a timeless appeal you won't find anywhere else.
No trip to Norway is complete without a stop in Bergen, the country's second-most populated city. The postcard-perfect town has all the makings of an idyllic Nordic village: ascenic harbor, colorful rows of wooden houses, and sweeping views of the surrounding fjords and mountain group (known as the Seven Mountains).
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With its cobblestone streets and peaceful, tree-lined canals, it's not hard to see Bruges as one big fairytale setting come to life. Much of the city's charm lies in its immaculately preserved old city, built between the 12th and 15th centuries; grab a seat at a cafe near the Markt (the historic center square), and plan to linger for the better part of a day.
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is often called the "Paris of South America," but we think this city is in a class all its own. Design lovers should plan at least one visit to Recoleta Cemetery, then explore the wildly varied architectural styles around every corner—from neoclassical mansions to the brightly painted buildings in La Boca. And let's face it: Everything seems more beautiful to a soundtrack of sizzling asado and flowing Malbec.
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Cape Town, South Africa
Mountains, coastlines, beaches filled with penguins: Cape Town pretty much has it all. Each day in the Mother City will make you fall in love with some new sight, be it the king protea-filled Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens or the rainbow-bright row houses of Bo-Kaap. In fact, you can start sightseeing before your plane even lands: That first glimpse of Table Mountain from the sky makes quite the impression.
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This immaculately preserved 16th-century city on the Caribbean coast should be on any Colombian itinerary. Make sure to visit the impossibly pretty, UNESCO-listed Old Town, complete with cobbled streets and colonial architecture, as well as the high-rise-heavy neighborhood of Bocagrande, and street art haven of Getsemaní.
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Tucked high in Morocco’s Rif Mountains, this 15th-century, famously blue fortress town remains a popular draw for tourists. Pick any spot in Chefchaouen’s medina, and you're bound to find a jaw-dropping view of its dreamy sky blue buildings (which get a new coat of paint every year) or the surrounding mountains. For a view over the whole town, make the 20-minute hike up to the Grande Mosquée.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Long the cultural redoubt for Bangkok-based expats and art enthusiasts, Chiang Mai has evolved into a must-do on the Southeast Asia circuit. There is the proliferation of amazing hotels; the rich aesthetics of trading-outpost history mix with the scents of espresso and super-hot curries along the lanes of Wat Gate; and the 30-minute hike through the forest to the Wat Palad temple complex is an absolute must, with its lush foliage, bejeweled buddhas—and an amazing view of the city below.
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Despite its reputation for churning out cutting-edge restaurants and hotels, Copenhagen has an ageless charm that makes you want to keep going back. The whimsical, 1800s-era Tivoli Gardens puts all other amusement parks to shame, while the bohemian commune of Christiania is a hazy, verdant dreamland. And in case you were wondering, yes: The waterfront houses of Nyhavn really are that pretty.
Typically used as a home base for trekking to Machu Picchu, Cusco has a beauty all its own. From the airport, head straight to the Plaza de Armas—the scenic and cultural heart of town. The 15 minute cab ride will take you past lively avenues, buzzing with frenzied foot traffic and artisan street vendors. Get yourself acclimated to the valley's 10,000 foot elevation by slowly making your way to the iconic Cristo Blanco statue overlooking the town. The 30 minute climb is gentle, and offers a sweeping view across the horizon.
If Dubai is too much for you to handle, then Doha may be more your cup of tea. Founded on a turquoise bay in the 1820s, this former fishing village is lined with Emerald City-esque skyscrapers, the colorful Souq Waqif, and the I. M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art. (Get ready to see more of the city as Qatar gears up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.)
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There are few places that better capture the grand soul of maritime Old Europe than Dubrovnik. The city played King's Landing in Game of Thrones, and was formerly the capital of the Maritime Republic of Ragusa, rival to Italy's Venice and Amalfi. Dubrovnik's crown jewel is the lovely old town of Stari Grad, whose convents, palaces, and fountains were cut from the same lightly colored stone.
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Beloved for its endless green hills and fascinating history, Edinburgh looks great in all seasons. Aside from its beautiful Gothic buildings, cobblestoned Royal Mile, and 12th-century castle keeping watch on a hilltop, it also happens to have an extinct volcano within its parameters.
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Italy has no shortage of beautiful cities, but Florence remains unrivaled in history, art, and architecture. You'll find traces of Renaissance aesthetics all over town, like the striking Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo) and Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. Meanwhile, Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi remain essential photo backdrops.
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Cuba has been one of our favorite travel destinations for the past few years, and its capital is back on our radars, thanks to Virgin Voyages' announcement that Havana would be the first stop on its maiden voyage. From the pastel architecture of Old Havana to the rich green moss of Metropolitan Park, the city is as colorful as it is energetic.
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Hanoi is a perfect microcosm for the region of Southeast Asia—timeless, graceful, and unfathomably delicious, all in a compact and (relatively) manageable city. Hanoi’s embrace of the past has endeared it to Western visitors, who tend to favor it among Asian capital cities, thanks to its incense-shrouded temples, traditional shop houses, and elegant French Quarter villas. Even as it grows increasingly sleek and luxe, it remains the most romantic city in the Far East—one every traveler needs to visit.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is impressive from many angles—beneath the towering skyscrapers, or from a ferry crossing Victoria Harbour—but you can see its finest side from the air. As your flight approaches the city, it feels like the mist parts and reveals a modern paradise, where hilly islands surround a concrete jungle. We'd argue, it's one of the best skylines out there.
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Istanbul continues to draw us in, whether it's through the frenetic opulence of the Grand Bazaar or the old-meets-new aesthetic of Karaköy. But the architecture still shines brightest here, with the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia featuring prominent displays of both Byzantine and Ottoman styles: Think massive domes, colored mosaics, minarets, and Islamic calligraphy.
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Rajasthan's capital, a.k.a. the Pink City, isn't the kind of place to hide its true colors. The city’s maharaja, Sawai Ram Singh II, ordered the buildings to be painted an orangey-pink color in 1876 for a royal visit from Prince Albert and Queen Victoria; many buildings in the city’s old town remain painted this color today.
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Luang Prabang, Laos
It may not have the temples of Siem Reap or the ancient ruins of Bagan, but Luang Prabang might just be Southeast Asia's ideal small city. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why that is, but you might chalk it up to the daily, early-morning processions of 200 saffron-robed monks, or the bright explosions of orchids sprouting out of the trees. And is it just us, or does the sky seem just a little bit bluer here?
Oman has some of the most spectacular landscapes, from beaches to fantastically craggy mountain ranges. Meanwhile, Muscat, Oman’s port capital, is hemmed in by mountains and deserts on the Gulf of Oman, where 21st-century shopping malls share space with 16th-century Portuguese forts and gleaming mosques.
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New York, New York
New York's beauty is multi-sensory: It's the historic architecture, from the Flatiron Building to One World Trade Center. It's the feel of grass beneath your feet (and the smell of roasted nuts) in Central Park. It's the art of the Met, MoMa, and Frick. But most of all, it's the sight of a diverse set of effortlessly fashionable people walking the city streets with heads held high.
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If you’re upset that Lisbon didn’t make the list, it may be time for you to consider Porto: Portugal's second city is having a serious moment. Oenophiles have been in on the secret for years, but creative types have been flocking to Porto lately, thanks to the city's stunning architecture (yes, there are lots of tiles) and public art. Don't miss the ornate Lello bookshop, which reportedly inspired J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, and Leça da Palmeira’s Piscinas de Marés (Tidal Pools), a concrete swimming complex juxtaposed against Porto's famous beaches and granite coastline.
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Québec City, Canada
For a real taste of Canada’s European past, look no further than Quebec City. The city has an enviable position on a hill by a cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, which only makes its ancient architecture even more spectacular. For that once-in-a-lifetime shot, head to the opposite end of the river and watch the sunset paint the Old Town in shades of pinks and purple.
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Queenstown, New Zealand
The adrenaline capital of the world is just a stone's throw away from some of the country's most incredible natural wonders, from milky-blue Lake Wakatipu to the so-called "big three" mountains (the Remarkables, Cecil Peak, and Walter Peak). If you'd rather not take in the vistas from a bungee-jumping harness, cozy up at Matakauri Lodge's courtyard or large infinity pool—both viable viewing platforms.
Quito's Old Town could almost be mistaken for Florence, with its spectacularly gilded churches and cobbled streets. However, Ecuador's capital has the geological advantage here—namely, its position under two snow-capped volcanoes (both active) in the Andes mountains. Climb the dizzyingly high central tower of Basílica del Voto Nacional to see the city's buildings and mountains in one sweeping view.
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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio has some of the loveliest stretches of sand in the world, from Copacabana to Ipanema, and its cobbled city streets are filled with the sounds of samba day and night. The Christ the Redeemer statue watches over all of it—even the tropical rainforest that sites within the city's bounds.
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St Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg may have been immortalized by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, but the city is well worth exploring beyond the pages of a book. Palace Square provides front-row viewing of both the Building of the General Staff and Winter Palace, the latter of which may be Russia's finest example of Baroque architecture. Also worth a visit is the five-domed Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, as well as the city's many spectacular Orthodox churches.
San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate Bridge is just the beginning. San Francisco’s world-class museums and cultural institutions rival any city of fewer than a million people. The adventurous spirit that made San Francisco what it is today thrives in the new restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries sprinkled throughout what is, arguably, the most beautiful city in the U.S.
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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Many consider colonial-era San Miguel de Allende one of Mexico’s prettiest cities, and it’s no wonder. Here, you’ll find leafy courtyards, narrow cobblestone streets, and a historic town center from which the Gothic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel’s pink towers rise high above the main plaza.
Seoul, South Korea
Bundle up the video game-glow of Tokyo, the food scene of Singapore, and the English-speaking streets of Hong Kong, stretch that out over a sprawl of skyscrapers and village-style neighborhoods, and then cram in a ton of fantastic shopping—and you get Seoul. Within the modern city lie serene pockets of palaces and temples that recall the important history of the Korean peninsula stretching back 700 years. And we certainly can’t complain about that impeccably clean subway system.
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From its Old Town (the third-largest in Europe) to its world-renowned tapas scene, Seville blends modernity and history as easily as its famed flamenco dancers tap their feet. Game of Thrones made the Andalusian capital a central shot location for its fifth and subsequent seasons, putting places like lavish Alcázar of Seville on the pop culture map.
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Singapore is a superlative city, with elaborate temples, extraordinary gardens, and world-class architecture (check out the candy-colored houses on Koon Seng Road). The beauty here is both natural and man-made, with travelers seeking out the city's tropical jungle in the Botanic Garden and the wild, technicolor Gardens by the Bay. As an added bonus, you can reach everything via some of the cleanest streets and subways we've ever seen.
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It's almost not fair how pretty Sydney is. Australia’s biggest city benefits from a waterfront culture, with locals hopping on ferries to commute home—or play—on Bondi, Manly, and Coogee beaches, with the dramatic Sydney Opera House stands sentry in the harbor.
Tallinn practically overflows with storybook charm, thanks to colorful buildings, turreted castles, and a lovely location on the Baltic Sea. The city has one of the best-preserved historical centers in Europe, with many of its medieval churches and merchant houses falling under UNESCO protection. The views of the city center from Toompea Castle are beautiful no matter the season—in fact, they make those cold, Baltic winters downright bearable.
Valletta has a lot to offer, particularly, its Baroque architecture. The Phoenicia Hotel in front of Valletta’s City Gate offers stunning views of the city and harbors, along with one of the best hotel breakfasts around. Take a guided tour through the private rooms of Casa Rocca Piccola, a 400-year-old Baroque palace, for a glimpse into how Valletta’s noble families once lived.
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There's nowhere on Earth quite like Venice: Its canals, labyrinth of car-free cobblestone streets, and hidden passageways are perfect for wandering. Hail a water taxi or gondola to wind through the city and, if you have time, get out of the historic center and head for the outer islands.
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Artistic and exquisite, it's no surprise that Vienna was voted one of the best cities in the world in this year's Readers' Choice Awards. Between visiting the opera and sampling Sachertorte, be sure to pay a visit to Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburgs and Vienna's most popular tourist attraction. The palace's Baroque architecture and spectacular gardens are worth bumping elbows with a few fellow tourists.
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You may think of Zurich as a cold business city, but we suggest visiting in the summer to see the city in all its glory. Zurich’s transformation from a busy, cold Germanic city to a carefree Italian one happens in early June, when, at once, the grays turn pastel and restaurants set tables out along the zigzagged streets. The best part: It’s not overrun with tourists like Venice, Barcelona, or its Swiss neighbor Lucerne, just 32 miles southwest. Make sure to spend some time at Sechseläutenplatz, a spacious town square located between Bellevue and the Zurich Opera House. This pretty, open square hosts the city's spring festival .