article by Mark Pygas
The expert travelers at Trip Advisor came together to compile their list of the best rated cities in the world to visit. I suddenly have a lot of plane tickets to purchase. This post originally appeared on Distractify
25. San Francisco, California (US)
The bay city is a giant melting pot of culture, blending major Asian influences with American tradition. The Golden Gate Bridge is a landmark known the world over, and one would be amiss if they failed to drop in on Alcatraz, the famed island prison.
24. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Located in the mountainous northern portion of Thailand, Chiang Mai was once capital of the former Kingdom of Lanna for over four hundred years! The city is marked by creative buildings and temples.
23. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon lies on the Atlantic, not far from the Mediterranean Sea, providing a moderate Mediterranean climate. The city predates even that of Rome, ruled by various peoples for well over a millennia. Make sure to visit São Jorge Castle for a breathtaking view of the sea, and a historical tour of Moorish control.
22. Sydney, Australia
Don’t forget to take a journey down under to the sprawling city of Sydney. This port city known for its iconic opera house, is surrounded by natural beauty in addition to its cultural significance. Enjoy the many state parks, the harmonious harbor, and a nightlife that will keep you going till dawn.
21. Budapest, Hungary
This beautiful city in central Europe has its fair share of scars from its tumultuous past in the World Wars, but a rich history and culture shines through all the same. Enjoy all that the city has to offer including natural hot springs, the regal Danube River, and the classic European architecture.
20. Bangkok, Thailand
This thriving city in southeast Asia is a must see in your lifetime. From ornate Buddhist temples, to a thriving nightlife, Bangkok has plenty to offer, and is more affordable than you might realize.
19. Capetown, South Africa
This beautiful city lies between the Atlantic on one side and majestic mountains on the other. This cape city has long been a crossroads of cultures, blending African tradition with European influence. Take in the beautiful beaches, or go inland to explore the bush; you are in for a treat either way!
18. Chicago, Illinois (US)
The Windy City has plenty to offer, from professional sporting events, the Navy Pier, and beautiful Lake Michigan. If you are into shopping, the Magnificent Mile will wet your whistle with ease. This midwest city is a must visit!
17. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Unlike many cities on this list, Dubai has little history. In fact, it was only a tribal village until the 1970s! Today it is a leader in modern architecture and convenience. The city sports multiple artificial islands and resort areas with pristine beaches and amenities. You will also want to visit the world famous Dubai Mall during your visit.
16. St. Petersburg, Russia
In a country that spans two continents, St. Petersburg is very European in its look and feel. From neoclassical architecture major to the Baltic Sea port, this city has a lot to offer in terms of culture. St. Petersburg is unique in that it is the world’s northernmost city with a population greater than one million people, and is the cultural center of all of Russia.
15. Barcelona, Spain
A beautiful city along the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is a great place to soak up some rays at some of the world’s best beaches. You will also want to take a stroll down Las Ramblas, the cities famous tree-lined walking street.
14. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Though some will call this European-influenced city the “Paris of South America,” this city is rich in its own latin history. A rich seaport in the southern hemisphere, Buenos Aires is home to friendly people, beautiful buildings, and an exciting night life!
13. Florence, Italy
You will feel as if you have stepped back in time walking the beautiful streets of Florence. The epitome of the Italian Renaissance, Florence’s supply of museums, galleries, and exquisite cathedrals will certainly pique your inner travel bug.
12. New York City
NYC covers very little land, and yet sports the largest city population in the country making it the most densely populated city in the US. There are nearly 800 languages represented in the city, making the most linguistically diverse city in the world! If you are looking to experience the world on but can’t afford to go overseas, the city that never sleeps has everything you could need.
11. Berlin, Germany
A city that has seen its fair share of conflict, Berlin has also seen plenty of rich history as well. Once split in two by the Cold War, this now thriving city has plenty to offer in the realm of history.
10. Shanghai, China
Beijing may hold the title of capital, but Shanghai has long been the population and financial center of China. Shanghai has the largest city population in the world! You won’t want to miss the Yu Garden or the beautiful port during your stay.
9. Siem Reap, Cambodia
The city has plenty to offer for a visitor that is interested in Chinese-style architecture and culture. More importantly, the ancient ruins of Angkor, including the world renown Angkor Wat, lie nearby. Angkor Wat believed to be the largest single religious monument in the world, a site to wonder at for sure.
8. Hanoi, Vietnam
A city that was heavily influenced by French Imperialism, Hanoi is an interesting blend of East and West. The city remained the capital of North Vietnam and became the unified capital upon the reunification of the country after the Vietnam Conflict against the US and other anti-communist allies. Despite multiple wars over the centuries, Hanoi itself has remained primarily intact and undisturbed, providing plenty of history and culture of a people with stores of history.
7. Paris, France
Paris has long been heralded as a centre for refinement and culture. The city houses some of the finest works of art from around the world in the famous Louvre, showcasing culture and sophistication. The city is also a haven for fashion and fine food and wine. You will need at least a month to explore everything that this fine city as to offer.
6. Marrakech, Morocco
Southernmost of the four Imperial Cities of Morocco, Marrakech once played home to the nations capital. No longer the capital, Marrakech is still a huge cultural influence in the area. The city lies at the foot of the Atlas mountains, separating it from the arid desert beyond.
5. Prague, Czech Republic
Once a great influence on medieval Europe, the city remains a gem of architecture and culture. Modern Prague is nothing to write off either, as the city is quickly growing into a leading cultural city, blending both old and new influences in an exciting way.
4. Beijing, China
The Eastern world was largely separated from the Western world for many centuries. As much, China as a whole, and the great city of Beijing, grew unimpeded by Western influence for centuries. A city that can date its history back over three thousand years is bound to be rich in history, and Beijing does not disappoint. This mega city provides both modern conveniences, but glimpses into past grandeur with the Forbidden Palace and nearby sections of the Great Wall.
3. London, England (UK)
It was once said that the sun never set on the British Empire, as it had influences in every corner of the world. London has always been at the center of that imperialism and even today boasts over 300 languages. With a history that dates back two millennia, London has become a world renown financial center, and known for its influence on arts and entertainment.
2. Rome, Italy
This one is kind of a two-fer as the city-state of the Holy See (Vatican City) lies within its borders. Rome was the birthplace of western civilization, having influence that spanned over two thousand years! Rome was not built in a day, and you won’t be able to experience it in that amount of time either, so give yourself plenty of time to explore it all from the Colosseum to the amazing Italian cuisine. There is something for everybody!
1. Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey has long been the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and Istanbul is the center of it all, the bridge between two worlds. This is as evident in the naming confusion of the city, a drama that lasted for multiple centuries, with many still referring to the city as Constantinople. History was lived and made here. You won’t want to miss the beautiful architecture, delicious food, or diverging cultural experience. Don’t forget to experience the world-famous Turkish baths while you are there!