Every city has an urban charm. Although many cities are noisy, cramped, and mired with traffic, some have a lot to offer to travelers. As wanderers ourselves, we’ve seen a lot of places around the world, many of them marvellous cities that are far from the metropolitan jam that we use to see on TV. If you just look beyond the typical, you can find these top 10 cities to visit in the world.
Not all of us have the courage to go the unbeaten path. And since many people need to be on the grid all the time, city vacations are a rising trend. Still, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have a less enjoyable time. Below, we listed some of the most beautiful cities around the world where you can plan your next getaway.
From Europe to Asia, Africa, and America, you’ll surely find the right spot to relax:
1. Salzburg, Austria
In Salzburg, fairy tales come to life. This colourful city is a blast from the past, the hometown of Mozart, and The Sound of Music city. The real Von Trapp family lived here once! This storybook city is perfect for those who want a laidback vacation in Europe as well as a romantic getaway.
True enough, Salzburg lives by its musical history, with concert halls and musical gatherings being held all year round. Paired with a stunning skyline and a baroque vibe, Salzburg is a picture-perfect destination with a modern touch.
Moreover, one of the most sought-after events in the city is the Salzburg Festival. It’s a musical celebration held for a few weeks every summer. About 250,000 opera, music, and culture enthusiasts arrive at the city to witness and experience the festivity. During this period, the whole city becomes one big stage. Of course, the pubs and restaurants aren’t one to miss.
Must-see: Altstadt town, Hohensalzburg Castle, St. Peter’s Abbey, Salzburg Cathedral, Leopoldskron Palace, Summer Riding School, Mirabell Palace and Gardens
2. Hoi An, Vietnam
If you’re looking for an Asian city for your vacation, Hoi An is the place to be. This tropical paradise in southern Vietnam is about 17 or so hours away from the capital Hanoi via a sleeper train. But if you can’t deal with the long ride, you can fly from Hanoi to Da Nang. From there, you can ride a bus going to Hoi An for about an hour.
Unlike the bustling Hanoi, Hoi An is a well-preserved, countryside community with a laidback yet delightful vibe. It used to be a major port for the country, but it’s now a known tourist destination. Many tourists head to Hoi An to escape the noise and traffic of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
This old town has grand architecture and a slew of shops where you can find bargain items as souvenirs. But if you want to go the path less traveled, the best destination in Hoi An is the Cam Nam Island. It’s an idyllic and quiet place where you can bike around and enjoy a staycation on a waterfront villa.
Must-see: Hoi An Silk Village, Cocobox Café Farm Shop, Hoi An Night Market, Japanese Bridge, My Son Ruins, Lantern Market
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Another Asian city you must visit is Chiang Mai in the Land of Smiles. This city is located north of Thailand with direct flights from Bangkok that will take around an hour.
Chiang Mai is also called the Rose of the North with its history and stunning architecture. As a city away from the noisy capital, Chiang Mai’s national parks are also a spectacle to behold. The Doi Inthanon National Park is home to many species and is the highest mountain in the entire country.
Also, Chiang Mai is the perfect destination for those who want the right mix of quiet and buzz. In one day, you can be cruising along the Mae Ping River or petting a cute cat at the Cat Café. But if you want a little action, you can head to downtown San Kamphaeng Road or The Canyon.
Chiang Mai never sleeps. In fact, you can go shopping at the Night Bazaar or get a few drinks in a night bar.
Must-see: Doi Suthep, Doi Inthanon National Park, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, Long Neck Karen Tribe, Loi Krathong Festival, Weekend Market
4. Cairo, Egypt
As one of the powerhouse megacities, Cairo has played a massive role in world history. It’s the place of pyramids and warriors, but for tourists, it’s a fun destination like no other.
Need we say more about the Pyramids of Giza? This is one of the ‘obligatory’ destinations if you’re visiting Egypt’s capital. Cairo is always full of vigor and something to discover, but you should know that it’s a city of noise and sheer traffic.
Nevertheless, a Cairo vacation is worth the try. Still, you should plan your visit well as some attractions are reserved for Muslim visitors only.
Overall, Cairo is a beautiful chaos with the charm of the past and the modern touch of the present day. Its dusty lanes were once witnesses to the Romans as they build the Babylon fortress along the Nile.
Also, Cairo has a sultry vibe that you can’t find in other destinations in Africa. It takes pride in its 19th-century grandeur as well as their historic Mamluk and Fatimid monuments.
Must-see: Coptic Cairo, El-Azhar Mosque, Egyptian Museum, Pyramids of Giza, The Citadel, Sultan Hassan Mosque, Bab Zuweila, Ibn Tulun Mosque
5. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
If you’re going to ask us what the most beautiful place in Mexico is, no doubt that it’s San Miguel de Allende. Back in 2008, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also, it was named after a monk Juan de San Miguel and General Ignacio Allende. However, this shouldn’t be confused with the San Miguel town in the island of Cozumel.
A visit to San Miguel de Allende is all about festivals, tours, singing with mariachis, and immersing in the day-to-day lives of the locals. Of course, this sleepy town isn’t short of luxury for those who are willing to splurge.
Also, this city has grand churches and stunning architecture that you can marvel at every day.
One of the hallmarks of the city is the San Miguel Arcangel Parish church. If you want to shop, you shouldn’t miss their papier-mache, metal crafts, and blown glass products. These are the primary commodities in the city.
Overall, strolling along their cobbled streets and wooded courtyards is a relaxing experience. If you want to head to a Mexican beach, the nearest one is an 8-hour drive.
Must-see: Cañada la Virgen, Day of the Dead Party, El Charco del Ingenio, Sanctuary of Atotonilco, el Mirador, Fabrica La Aurora, Instituto Allende, Angela Peralta Theatre
6. Ubud, Indonesia
For those who want to experience the ultimate tropical experience, we suggest that you book a vacation to Ubud. This is located on the island of Bali where majestic ruins, wonders of nature, and all the pleasures of tropical living await.
For us, Ubud is a paradise for every nature-lover. The Tegallalang Rice Terrace is breath-taking and you basically won’t run out of temples, shrines, and monuments to visit. For families who want to visit Indonesia, this is the quintessential destination in Bali.
Be it a beach vacation, staycation, a tour-filled stay, Ubud will be your host. Of course, a visit here won’t be complete without paying respects to their temples and spiritual sites. Anyway, just make sure that you dress appropriately when visiting these places as the locals are particular about the dress code. Avoid shorts, sleeveless tops, and slippers.
Overall, Ubud is the convergence of Thailand’s colourful history and modern tourism. Just make sure that you book your stay ahead since Ubud is a popular destination in Bali.
Must-see: Ubud Monkey Forest, Goa Gajah, Campuhan Ridge, Ubud Art Market, Blanco Renaissance Museum, Bali Bird Park, Tegenungan Waterfall, Bali Agung Show, Bali Zoo, Bautan Village
7. Tokyo, Japan
The home of one of the six Disneylands, Tokyo is one of the wealthiest cities in Asia. It’s a crowded yet orderly city where every visitor will surely find a great place to stay at. Still, even if Tokyo is buzzing with offices and busy locals, you can do more things here than what you actually think.
Far from the electronic billboards, the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden will be your breath of fresh air. You can also head to Yoyogi Park if you want to escape the noise of downtown Tokyo.
Of course, a visit to this city won’t be complete without tasting authentic sushi at Toyosu Fish Market. It’s one of the largest fish markets in the world where the goods are always fresh. Also, try to watch a sumo fight at Ryoguku Kokugikan. Most of all, you should try a karaoke bar.
Aside from the modern image of Tokyo, it’s still home to many historical destinations. Some of which include the Meiji Shrine, Tokyo National Museum, and Nezu Museum.
Must-see: Shibuya Crossing, Ginza Six, Golden Gai, Nakameguro, Oendo-Onsen Monogatari, Hamarikyu Onshi Teien, Mount Mitake, Tokyo Dome, Imperial Palace
8. Florence, Italy
If Paris sounds overrated to you, then Florence is the city to be in Europe. This city is also dubbed as the ‘birthplace of the Renaissance’ where art is culture and history never dies. Florence has an irresistible charm and beauty that almost every street has something to offer.
This place is a treasure chest of art, being the home of world-famous Leonardo Da Vinci, Giovanni Boccaccio, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Filippo Brunelleschi, and more artists.
Moreover, Florence’s cobblestone streets and 15th to 16th-century palazzo will transport you to a whole different generation. It’s easy to be seduced by the architecture, but it’s the food and experience that will make you fall in love.
Florence is the perfect place to splurge on Tuscan cuisines and to taste the best spirits in Italy. From fish bistros to five-star restaurants, there’s always a gastro delight to discover
Must-see: Florence Cathedral, Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi Palace and Gallery, Basilica di San Lorenzo, Piazza della Signoria, Boboli Gardens, Forte di Belvedere
9. Charleston, South Carolina, USA
If you’re not planning to go overseas, Charleston, South Carolina is probably the best city to vacation in the USA. It’s one of America’s most charming cities, which take pride in its southern touch.
One of the best things to do while in Charleston is joining a walking tour. It will give you a better look of the city, plus a local can guide you on the top destinations. This includes the Old Slave Mart Museum and a round of restaurants and shops.
If you got tired of walking, you could hop into a ferry to visit the Fort Sumter on a manmade island of the coast of the city. Once you get hungry, you shouldn’t miss the Lowcountry cuisine in Magnolias. If you want an authentic taste of the south, you should try Cru Café or Fleet Landing.
Must-see: Farmer’s Market, Isle of Palms, Magnolia Cemetery, Patriots Point, Boone Hall Plantation, Waterfront Park, Rainbow Row, The Charleston Museum
10. Galway, Ireland
Heading to the Emerald Isle, the best place to discover is the harbor city of Galway. It’s a place of Irish folk music, galleries, boutiques, cafes, and more laidback destinations.
Also, Galway has the liveliest festivals in Ireland. Try to time your visit to the Galway International Arts Festival or the Galway International Oyster Festival. Make sure that you join the party!
Aside from that, you can experience the pub culture at Tigh Neachtain’s or Murphy’s. And if you want a romantic getaway, the Salthill Promenade is the place to be.
Must-see: Galway City Museum, Galway Weekend Market, Latin Quarter, Eyre Square, Quay Street, Galway Cathedral, Kirwan’s Lane
These top 10 cities to visit in the world are just some of the destinations you can add on your bucket list. And if you’re planning a vacation for your family, a special someone, or a solo trip, you’ll surely find a great city to visit here.