Our 10 Favorite Cities Around the World
Cities have never been our preferred places to visit or spend tons of time, but in retrospect, certain cities we would love to go back to all over again. Urbanites across the globe agree on a few things about their built environment, they want great architecture, food, activities, parks, open space, and transportation. We may be in the “century of the city”, but the most integral factor, which is included in all of the points above, is clearly a city’s people. They will ultimately set the tone for when you explore our top ten favorite cities below…
Our 10 Favorite Cities
Favorite Cities #10 – Chiang Mai, Thailand
Nestled into a valley of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai can be a sanctuary, where many stay much longer than they had anticipated. The city is laid-back and international but the landscapes and temples celebrate a traditional culture ideal for travelers, hipsters, nature lovers, and city connoisseurs.
Favorite Cities #9 – Cape Town, South Africa
Surf the Atlantic, climb mountains, indulge in wine tours and still find time to relax on the beach (with or without penguins). Cape Town continues to reinvent itself as one of the most livable cities in the world.
Favorite Cities #8 – Bangkok, Thailand
Shiny Buddhist temples next to slick skyscrapers where long-tail boats race the automobile. The sweet and spicy food—served on the street or from the top of high-rise towers—Bangkok is addicting, affordable, and delicious.
Favorite Cities #7 – Mandalay, Myanmar
Mandalay is the economic center of northern Myanmar and considered the center of Burmese culture. We feel lucky to have visited Myanmar in 2014 before it has rocketed to the top of must-go-now lists everywhere as travelers try to get in before the country is overrun with development. A metropolis of Buddhism, we have not found a friendlier city in our travelers.
Favorite Cities #6 – Athens, Greece
Worshiped by gods, Athens is a city with the most magical history in the world. A city where democracy was born and you can stroll through one of the most famous archaeological monuments in the world.
Favorite Cities #5 – Hanoi, Vietnam
The 1,000-year-old capital, considered one of the most affordable cities to visit is one of the best values for your money. A low-rise city of lakes, peaceful parks, and outstanding cuisine, the city is a pleasant experience of exploring an often understood culture. A cruise through nearby Halong Bay will be unforgettable.
Favorite Cities #4 – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
One the “happiest” cities in the world, famous for its Carnival festival, Rio’s gorgeous natural surroundings lend themselves to endless outdoor activities. Even away from the samba and the soccer, Rio’s parks, beaches, gardens, and cultural sites kept everyday exiting and pleasant.
Favorite Cities #3 – Beijing, China
Rich in history, both ancient and modern, Beijing is home to an assortment of premier sites, most famously the Great Wall of China. Must sees, also include the Forbidden City, the largest ancient imperial palace complex in the world; the Temple of Heaven, an awesome site of imperial worship; and the Summer Palace, a lovely imperial garden. There is also Tian’anmen Square where the People’s Republic of China was inaugurated by Chairman Mao and sure to be the site of many future events as China takes its next steps as a World power.
Favorite Cities #2 – Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a vibrant city, straddling Europe and Asia as well as Christianity and Islam for thousands of years. The reality is that it’s very easy to travel, locals don’t try to hassle you or rip you off. The city is beautiful, cheap, and full of life, cool bars, delicious food, and great sites. Most of all, its and great place to witness where east meets west and get to know someone from a different background.
Favorite Cities #1 – Washington DC, USA
The Smithsonian doesn’t rob you of 24 bucks to experience history. It’s centrally located to a bunch of great places: Philadelphia, New York, Ocean City, Richmond, Baltimore and you can drive an hour one way and reach the mountains, an hour another way to the beach, and an hour yet another way to the farmlands and country roads of Maryland. Again, I may be a little bias here, but based on livability, sprawl, green space, natural assets, cultural assets, connectivity, isolation, and pollution, it tops the list in the US and is on par with any city world wide.