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45 Most Beautiful Cities in the World

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Are you making plans to visit the world’s beautiful places? Try a destination combining natural splendor with the best human creativity for the most uplifting vacation. Luckily, the world is full of beautiful cities offering the complete package.

Beauty comes in many shapes and sizes. What matters, though, is that there’s a feast for the soul and the eye. Along with stunning architecture, glorious parks, and spectacular scenery, you need a sense of a city’s personality. Does the city speak to you?

People who love traveling always search for the next sublime and spellbinding city. For this reason, we’ve compiled the list below of the most beautiful cities in the world. With any luck, you’ll find a city that reaches out to you.

TL;DR

Category City
History & Culture Rome
Nature & Scenery Cape Town
Architecture & Urban Design Singapore
Arts & Nightlife New York City

Most Beautiful Cities in the World

1) Rome, Italy

The Colosseum
Calin Stan / Adobe Stock

Rome is a must for travelers seeking the sublime. The city’s brimming with ancient wonders – the best of ancient Roman, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture and art. Especially stunning is the 1st-century Colosseum, the world’s largest amphitheater. And don’t miss the Pantheon temple or the Roman Forum.  

Other treats in this ancient city include St. Peter’s Basilica and Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel. Both are in Vatican City, which can get busy, so try a skip-the-line Vatican tour

Rome is perfect for honeymooners. Close to the 18th-century Trevi Fountains is Lifestyle Suites Rome. This adult-only accommodation with minibars and room service is an ideal choice. Remember to throw a coin in the fountain for luck!

2) Cape Town, South Africa

Overall aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa
michaeljung / Adobe Stock

Cape Town, South Africa, is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, known for its stunning coastline and dramatic mountain backdrop. Cape Town also has magical beaches, including Clifton Beach and Buffels Bay.

One of the city’s most beautiful places is Table Mountain. The mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers sensational harbor views. Try the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway for a breathtaking ride above the city. And for even more spectacular views of Cape Town, try paragliding.

Another popular attraction is the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. This is bursting with shops, restaurants, and adventure activities. And you get great views from the Victoria and Alfred Hotel by Newmark.

See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Vacations in the U.S.

3) The City of Singapore, Singapore

Singapore city skyline at sunset
Luciano Mortula-LGM / Adobe Stock

Singapore is a city-state located in Southeast Asia. Its striking architecture helps make Singapore City one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The Marina Bay Sands resort is home to three towers linked by the Sands SkyPark roof terrace. You’ll get fantastic views of Singapore’s dazzling modern architecture from here. Next door is the flower-shaped ArtScience Museum.

Known as the “Garden City,” Singapore prides itself on its abundant greenery and pristine streets. The title is well-earned. Gardens by the Bay contains the world’s largest glass greenhouse, the curvy Flower Dome.

And don’t miss the grove of enormous Supertrees – futuristic vertical gardens. For a stunning tropical garden, there’s the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

See Related: Most Photographed Cities in the World

4) New York City, New York

World Trade Center Station architecture with sky-view skylight in NYC
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

New York City is the most significant metropolis city in the world. Visiting is also amazing – you’ll be captivated by the exhilarating NYC buzz.

The city’s most beautiful place is Central Park. As well as gardens and lakes, this wonderful oasis has fountains and monuments galore. A traditional carriage ride is the best way to experience it all. 

Then there’s the New York City skyline. The shimmering reflections in the Hudson River of the One World Trade Center and its skyscraper neighbors are breathtaking.

And seeing the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry is truly soul-stirring. Choose a hotel in Manhattan’s Financial District, such as The Millennium Downtown New York, for great views.

See Related: Most Beautiful Places in America to Vacation

5) Buenos Aires, Argentina

 Aerial view of Buenos Aires city with Obelisk and 9 de julio avenue
diegograndi / Adobe Stock

Buenos Aires’ wealth of 19th-century architecture makes it one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Especially remarkable is the Casa Rosada, the monumental pink-painted presidential building. 

Also impressive are The Plaza de Mayor, the Teatro Colon, and the Cementerio de la Recoleta. It’s best to explore on foot on this city highlights tour, for example, so you don’t miss any treasures.

A world away from the stone splendor is El Caminito, La Boca. This street, lined with colorful buildings, is one of the most picturesque you’ll ever see. And don’t miss the beautiful Floralis Generica, a 75-ft metal flower sculpture that opens and closes with the sun.

See Related: Best Tropical Vacation Spots in the World

6) Paris, France

Ground-up perspective of the Eiffel Tower's intricate iron lattice work
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Is Paris the City of Love? Well, Google Translate thinks French is most used to translate sweet nothings. And the banks of the Seine and Paris’s tree-lined boulevards are perfect for hand-in-hand strolls.

Loved up or not, Paris‘s sights will gladden your heart. There’s so much beautiful architecture, from the Medieval Notre Dame to the silver-domed 21st-century Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Stunning churches, imposing chateaux, gorgeous gardens – the list is endless. Even the train stations look romantic. Don’t miss Sacré-Cœur at Montmartre. From here, you get panoramic views of the city. And nearby is the Wall of Love, where “I Love You” is written in 250 languages. The right spot for a honeymoon, then.

See Related: Hotels in Paris With a View of the Eiffel Tower

7) Rio De Janerio, Brazil

Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro with Christ Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain
IrynaV / Adobe Stock

Thanks to its breathtaking setting, Rio de Janeiro is one of the most stunning cities in South America. Craggy mountains, endless green hills, and beautiful lagoons create a spectacular panorama. 

Especially dramatic is Sugar Loaf Mountain, accessible by cable car. And Rio’s Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are world-famous for their glorious sunsets. For an awesome way to appreciate Rio, try paragliding

Rio’s most beautiful manmade feature is Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain. You can see the statue, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, from all over the city. The best way to reach it is via a cog train. The ride is spectacular, passing through Tijuca National Park.

See Related: Best Digital Nomad Destinations in the World

8) Amsterdam, Netherlands

Historic Amsterdam, Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Amsterdam’s charisma comes from its system of canals, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 60 miles of horseshoe-shaped canals divide the city into 90 islands, linked by hundreds of bridges. 

Alongside many of Amsterdam’s major canals are photogenic townhouses. Take one of the free walking tours to make the most of the city center’s cobblestone streets and tree-lined canals. Or try a canal cruise.

Amsterdam has other lovely sights. There’s the historic architecture of Begijnhof, the city’s oldest surviving courtyard.

Don’t miss the impressive Royal Palace of Amsterdam. And for art lovers, there’s the Van Gogh Museum and the Rembrandt House Museum.

See Related: Best Time to Visit Amsterdam: When Should You Visit?

9) Cambridge, United Kingdom

Beautiful view of college in Cambridge with people punting on river cam
Pawel Pajor / Adobe Stock

One of the world’s most historic cities is Cambridge, England. Situated on the River Cam, Cambridge has a serene beauty. It’s also a dynamic university town with world-class museums and charming pubs.

The most beautiful place in Cambridge is King’s College Chapel. This sensational Gothic building is particularly prized for its fan-vaulted ceiling. The stained glass is also exceptional. And try to hear King’s College Choir – a feast for the ears.

Walk through the picturesque streets to see some wonderful old college buildings. Or stroll across the Bridge of Sighs and get stunning views from the lawns known as The Backs. And why not try punting on the Cam?

See Related: Best Places to Visit in the United Kingdom

10) Washington, D.C.

Twilight view of Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. with tourists
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States of America and one of the most beautiful and historically important cities in the world. Many of its monuments also have a deep emotional significance.

The National Mall area is home to many iconic sights. These include the Capitol, the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. And you’ll get stunning city views from the Lincoln Memorial.

Georgetown, Washington D.C.’s oldest neighborhood, is another beautiful spot. Check out its 18th- and 19th-century buildings. And try to visit D.C. in spring – this is when the city holds its lovely Cherry Blossom Festival.

See Related:  Where to Stay in Washington D.C.

11) Saint Petersburg, Russia

Aerial view of the Savior on Spilled Blood and the channel in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Anton Watman / Shutterstock

Saint Petersburg is a Russian city known for its stunning architecture. This port city, founded in 1703, is the largest on the Baltic Sea. Saint Petersburg’s historic center is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of its most beautiful buildings is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, with its jewel-like cluster of multicolored onion domes. 

And there are so many stunning palaces. Admission is free at Peterhof Palace and Catherine Palace. The Winter Palace also houses the Hermitage Museum, one of the world’s greatest art museums. Try to see the city from the River Neva embankment. Whether you walk or take a boat, wrap up warm. 

See Related: Ways to Find Cheap Flights to Europe

12) Boston, Massachussetts

Boston Skyline and Harbor View
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

One of the United States’ oldest cities, Boston is now a dynamic, modern city. So skyscrapers rub shoulders with historic buildings like the Old Meeting House and The Langham Hotel. You’ll get great views of Boston’s skyline from the harbor.

Boston’s history is closely tied to America’s fight for independence. On the Freedom Trail, you’ll see all the significant sights, including Bunker Hill. Many Freedom Trail tours are available, or you can do it yourself.  

Another lovely feature is the Boston Common, America’s oldest public park. It’s part of the Emerald Necklace with the Boston Public Garden. This is a string of beautiful parks, lakes, and woodland.

See Related: Where to Stay in Boston

13) Barcelona, Spain

Park Güell Barcelona mosaic bench and architecture
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Barcelona, the passionate capital city of Catalonia in Spain, is a tapestry of architectural marvels and cultural vibrancy. This city, where the Mediterranean Sea whispers against sun-kissed beaches, has long captivated hearts with its unique blend of tradition and innovation.

Architecture takes center stage with Antoni Gaudí’s visionary works scattered throughout the city. The Sagrada Família, an icon of modernist architecture, exhibits spires that reach for the heavens, while Park Güell showcases whimsical designs amid the greenery. These masterpieces are silent testimonies to Barcelona’s ability to marry natural beauty with human creativity.

Exploring Barcelona’s art scene affords a peek into the city’s soul with myriad galleries and the famous Picasso Museum, home to the revered artist’s early works. Barcelona’s culture is a lively fiesta of flavors, from tapas bars offering patatas bravas to paella by the beach.

14) Las Vegas, Nevada

The Venetian Las Vegas Exterior
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

If by “beauty” you mean theatrical vitality, look no further than Las Vegas. One of America’s most popular destinations, Las Vegas is known for its casinos, nightlife, and spur-of-the-moment weddings. 

All this glitz creates a sparkling phenomenon so intense that NASA calls the Vegas Strip the brightest spot on Earth. Las Vegas at night is a glittering rainbow, so head out and find somewhere to take in the view. 

The city is just as impressive in the daytime, full of stunning architecture of every imaginable style. In particular, check out the New York Hotel, the Egyptian-themed Luxor Hotel, and the endlessly glamorous Bellagio Hotel.

See Related: Best Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada

15) Tokyo, Japan

Zōjō-ji Temple with the Tokyo Tower in the background
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital, offers a seamless blend of the contemporary and the historic, harmonizing cutting-edge technology and fashion with traditional culture and ancient rituals.

The city’s skyline is a testament to its modernity, with iconic structures like the sleek Roppongi Hills and the imposing Tokyo Tower providing a dazzling sight, especially when illuminated at night.

The city thrives on contrast with plenty of great cultural things to do. Here, one can witness the careful choreography of Shibuya’s scramble crossing, a metaphor for Tokyo’s organized chaos, as easily as the tranquility of a tea ceremony—both quintessential elements of Tokyo’s essence.

The reverence for the past is palpable at the Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo, dating back to 628. Tokyo also boasts serene escapes such as the traditional gardens near Shinjuku, which explode into color with autumn leaves or the soft pink of cherry blossoms in spring.

16) Venice, Italy

Bridge Rialto on Grand canal, Venice
Yasonya / Adobe Stock

The famous Grand Canal, lined with historic palaces, makes Venice, Italy, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There’s also the city’s treasury of gorgeous art and architecture.

Venice’s top attraction is St. Mark’s Basilica, in St. Mark’s Square. This ancient church is famous for its domed roof, gleaming mosaics, and breathtaking jeweled Gold Cloth. Make sure to climb the bell tower for stunning city views.

Another fabulous site is Doge’s Palace, which has interior decoration by Titian and Tintoretto. Don’t miss two beautiful bridges, the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge. And do make time for a gondola ride.

See Related: Things to Do in Italy

17) Sao Paulo, Brazil

Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge in Sao Paulo
f11photo / Adobe Stock

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, is known for its dynamic architecture. It has more skyscrapers than New York. This is where you see some stunning buildings.

There’s the Sao Paulo Art Museum with its bold red piers. And check out the slanting Hotel Unique with its red rooftop pool. For a more historical attraction, there’s the neo-Gothic Sao Paulo Cathedral.

A beautiful place to visit in Sao Paulo is Ibirapuera Park. This world-famous park in the city’s heart has plenty going on – trails, lakes, sculptures, a concert hall, and a museum. And don’t miss the tempting Brazilian delicacies from the street food stalls!

18) Sofia, Bulgaria

Amazing aerial view of National Palace of Culture in the city of Sofia, capital of Bulgaria
Eduard Valentinov / Shutterstock.com

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture. It also benefits from a glorious setting in the foothills of Vitosha Mountain. This gorgeous city is home to many stunning churches. A must-see is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, with its enormous gold-plated dome.

Then there’s Saint Nikolas Russian Church – this time with five gold domes. And don’t miss Boyana Church, famous for its wealth of exquisite frescoes. More Sofia attractions include the Ivan Vazov Theatre, the Banya Bashi Mosque, and the National Art Gallery. For spectacular modern architecture, plus a lovely park, visit the National Palace of Culture.

19) Varna, Bulgaria

Drone bird view of the sea from the sea in Golden Sands, Varna, Bulgaria
Edi / Adobe Stock

Known as the Bulgarian Riviera, the beautiful city of Varna is a seaside resort on the Black Sea Coast. It’s one of Europe’s oldest cities, dating back 6,000 years. With its long history, Varna has a wealth of cultural attractions on show.

Don’t miss the famous treasure trove, the Gold of Varna. You’ll find this in the Varna Archaeological Museum. Another fabulous location is the spectacular Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral.

Varna’s best beaches include Varna Constantine Beach, Sozopol Beach, and Asparuhovo Beach. A little way from the city center is Euxinograd, a lovely 19th-century summer palace and park.

20) Honolulu, Hawaii

Downtown Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii Aerial View
Danita Delimont / Adobe Stock

Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, is Hawaii’s capital and most populous city. The city, the main gateway to Hawaii, is also one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

The most picturesque place in Hawaii is Waikiki Beach. This legendary two-mile-long beach is famous for its turquoise seas and soft blonde sands. It’s also known for endless activities and attractions, perfect for family vacations. 

For the city’s best views, Honolulu Harbor, and Watershed Forest Reserve, climb the historic Aloha Tower. Be sure to check out this retired lighthouse at night when it’s illuminated in various colors.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Waikiki

21) San Diego, California

Downtown City of San Diego, California Cityscape
Dancestrokes / Shutterstock

San Diego in Southern California is famous for its sunny skies. Nicknamed “America’s Finest City,” it’s one of the best cities to visit if you’re looking for a mouthwatering range of attractions. 

There are miles of beautiful beaches and plenty of seaside activities, such as swimming with sea lions and sailing on San Diego Bay. Another lovely spot is Balboa Park. This iconic 1,200-acre park contains formal gardens, theaters, and 17 museums, not to mention the San Diego Zoo.

Check out Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to understand the city’s history. This living history museum presents fascinating aspects of San Diego’s Mexican roots.

See Related: Most Beautiful Beaches in the World

22) San Francisco, California

Downtown San Francisco Skyline, one of the best things to do in California
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its rowhomes, cable cars, and steep streets provide a distinctive vacation destination. To experience some startling hairpin turns, visit Lombard Street.

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, and the Maritime National Park are some of the city’s most awe-inspiring and famous landmarks. Downtown, check out Union Square and Ghirardelli Square for their grand architecture.

Golden Gate Park is San Francisco’s 1,000-acre oasis, containing numerous charming gardens. The Presidio of San Francisco is another lovely place for outdoor fun. You’ll get great views of the Golden Gate Bridge from its wooded hills.

See Related: Where To Stay In San Francisco

23) Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Castle over Old Town roofs with tourists
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, is a fairy tale city nestled in the heart of Europe. Known as “The City of a Hundred Spires,” its skyline is adorned with historic churches and medieval towers, offering a picturesque setting that feels like stepping into a storybook.

The city’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features the majestic Prague Castle, the charming Charles Bridge, and the quaint Old Town Square with its captivating astronomical clock.

Prague enchants visitors with its stunning blend of history, architecture, and cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination on any European itinerary.

24) Vienna, Austria

Mozart Statue in Burggarten Park, Vienna - Iconic landmark with lush gardens and vibrant floral treble clef (source: [Moz](https://imageseo.io/alt-text-seo/))
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Vienna, Austria’s illustrious capital, is a symphony of architectural grandeur and cultural vibrancy, making it a jewel among the world’s most beautiful cities. Its streets are a canvas of historical splendor, from the Baroque magnificence of Schönbrunn Palace to the awe-inspiring Karlskirche, showcasing a blend of Baroque and Byzantine elegance.

Vienna’s rich history is palpable in its well-preserved monuments and lively art scene. Museums brim with artworks spanning centuries, reflecting the city’s deep-rooted appreciation for art and culture.

Amidst this historical landscape, Vienna’s coffee-house culture and green spaces like Donauinsel offer a tranquil retreat, blending urban sophistication with natural beauty.

25) Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Illuminated Dubai skyline and JBR Beach at night with palm trees in silhouette
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Dubai, the dazzling jewel of the United Arab Emirates, offers an extraordinary blend of traditional Arab culture and ultramodern extravagance. From the towering Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Marina, and the expansive Dubai Mall to the luxurious resorts of Palm Jumeirah, each neighborhood unveils a unique aspect of this city.

Despite its reputation for being overrated by some due to its perceived lack of soul and high expenses, Dubai continues to captivate visitors with its architectural marvels, cultural experiences, and seaside relaxation.

The city’s rich history is interwoven with state-of-the-art architecture, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of luxury, adventure, and cultural immersion in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

26) Charleston, South Carolina

Broad St., Charleston, South Carolina
Susanne Pommer / Shutterstock

The wealth of fabulous Greek Revival buildings in the old town makes Charleston picturesque. This historic city is also home to America’s first museum, the Charleston Museum.

One of the city’s most photographed spots is Rainbow Row. This terrace of 13 pastel-painted houses dates back to the 18th century. Another colorful building is the Pink House, Charleston’s oldest stone building. 

Charleston also possesses some lovely beaches. Most stunning is the six-mile-long Folly Beach, the “Edge of America.” You’ll find excellent surfing here – and be prepared for some jaw-dropping sunsets.

See Related: Best Hotels in Charleston, South Carolina

27) Budapest, Hungary

Matthias Church at Fisherman's Bastion
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Budapest, Hungary’s capital city, captivates with its stunning architecture, rich history, and lively cultural scene. Divided by the majestic Danube River, it offers panoramic views from Gellért Hill and houses the iconic Hungarian Parliament Building.

Known for its ruin bars and thriving nightlife, Budapest also boasts some of Europe’s best museums, appealing to travel photography enthusiasts.

Despite its tumultuous past, the city’s beauty and charm remain undiminished, making it a must-visit for those seeking a mix of historical intrigue and modern delights in one of Europe’s most picturesque settings.

28) Kyoto, Japan

View of the Golden Temple, Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Kyoto, Japan’s cultural heart, is renowned for its rich history and stunning beauty. Once the imperial capital, it boasts over 1,600 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Highlights include the mesmerizing Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, the iconic Fushimi Inari Taisha with its vermilion torii gates, and Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion.

Kyoto’s preserved districts, like Gion, offer glimpses into traditional Japanese life. Despite its historical ambiance, Kyoto seamlessly blends the classical with modernity, making it a must-visit for those seeking to experience Japan’s timeless beauty and cultural depth.

29) Anchorage, Alaska

Snow town Anchorage, Alaska, the United States of America
TripWalkers / Shutterstock

Anchorage, in the U.S. state of Alaska, is known for its incredible scenery – check out the views from Point Woronzof Overlook. The sunsets over Mount Susitna, the Sleeping Lady, are very special. And the Northern Lights, best viewed September-April, is heavenly.

One of the city’s most beautiful areas is Far North Bicentennial Park. Here, you can hike, cycle, ski, and maybe spot bears, eagles, and moose. It’s also home to the lovely Alaska Botanical Garden.

Riding the world-famous Alaska Railroad is a perfect way to enjoy the surroundings. Expect breathtaking views of North America’s tallest peak, Mount Denali, Hurricane Gulch, and the Indian River.

30) Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia
Ira Sokolovskaya / Shutterstock

Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in Australia. The city is known for its incredible harborfront, home to the Sydney Opera House. Views of it – and from it – are all breathtaking. 

More superb views are from the city’s tallest building, the Sydney Tower Eye. Other attractions include Sydney Harbour Bridge, Port Jackson Bay, and Hornby Lighthouse.

Not to mention the blue-tongued lizards and red gum trees in Sydney Harbour National Park. Sydney is also famous for its lovely beaches, over 100 of which are in the city. All manner of fun is available, from Bondi’s surfer swells to the kid-friendly Clontarf Reserve beach.

31) Shanghai, China

Shanghai skyline with modern urban skyscrapers, China
dibrova / Adobe Stock

Shanghai, China’s largest city, has a rich history and stunning sights. Its most famous attraction is the Bund. This mile-long waterside promenade provides fabulous views of the city and the Huangpu River.

Check out Nanshi Old Town and Zhujiajiao Water Town to feel old Shanghai. And don’t miss the lotus pools and dragon walls of the lovely 400-year-old Yu Garden. 

Shanghai is also known for its contemporary skylines. The Oriental Pearl Tower, with its quirky ball-and-column design, is even more dramatic when lit up at night. It’s also worth visiting for its sensational views and transparent floor.

32) London, England

Autumn colors at London's Tower Bridge with sun rays and clear blue sky
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

London is an incredible blend of ancient grandeur and modern liveliness, making it one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Its rich tapestry weaves together historic landmarks like the majestic Tower of London and the Gothic splendor of Westminster Abbey with the sleek modernity of the Shard.

There are plenty of amazing things to do in London, including the city’s lush parks, such as Hyde Park, which offers serene escapes, while the River Thames meanders through the city, adding to its picturesque charm.

The city’s cultural diversity is reflected in its eclectic neighborhoods, world-class museums, and art galleries. This dynamic capital offers endless attractions, perfectly balancing its illustrious past and innovative present.

33) Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm old town cityscape from City Hall top, Sweden
Mistervlad / Adobe Stock

Stockholm, Sweden’s largest city, covers 14 islands at the edge of the Baltic Sea. This beautiful city is known for its many historic buildings and its wealth of museums

One especially appealing area is the old town of Gamla Stan, with its brightly-painted houses and cobblestone streets. Here, you’ll also find the Royal Palace and the Nobel Prize Museum. Don’t miss the Gothic Storkyrkan Cathedral and the stunning Riddarholmen church. 

Södermalm Island is also worth a visit. Once a working-class locale, in the past few years, this has morphed into an artsy Bohemian district. It’s also home to Skinnarviksberget, a beautiful spot offering great city views.

See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to Visit

34) Zurich, Switzerland

Aerial view of Zürich city center with river Limmat, Switzerland
JFL Photography / Adobe Stock

Zurich may have a reputation as a global finance center, but what’s less well-known is its incredible scenery. The city is located on the shores of Lake Zurich, with woodland to the east and west and snow-capped mountains to the south. 

A must-visit spot is Munsterhof. Medieval buildings surround this town square within Zurich’s old city walls. Nearby is the Fraumünster church, which has stained glass windows by Marc Chagall. 

Make sure to take a cruise on Lake Zurich. And a train ride to the summit of nearby Uetliberg Mountain will give fabulous city views. 

See Related: Places to Visit in Switzerland

35) Bergen, Norway

Coloful houses and mountain rage in Bergen, Norway
Mark and Anna Photography / Adobe Stock

Bergen is an ancient city located on Norway’s craggy southwest coast. The city is surrounded by stunning scenery, including the country’s longest fjord, Sognefjord. Close by is Fløyen Mountain, accessible by funicular railway

Bergen is most famous for Bryggen Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, brightly colored reconstructed medieval buildings line the harbor. Don’t miss St. Mary’s Church, the oldest building in the area.

Another ancient landmark is Bergen Cathedral – check out the cannonball still stuck in its wall. And Kong Oscars Gate is very photo-friendly. Parts of this street are amongst Bergen’s oldest, though it’s now great for shopping.

See Related: Places to Visit in Norway & Things to Do

36) Edinburgh, Scotland

Ferris wheel and Scott Monument in downtown Edinburgh
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Edinburgh, nicknamed “the Athens of the North,” is built on seven hills in Scotland, UK. Its Old and New Towns are World Heritage Sites. In summer, its epic arts festival makes it one of the most vibrant cities in the world. 

The most beautiful place to visit is the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This magnificent palace is the King’s official Edinburgh home, though it’s also open to the public. You can see fabulous decor, jewels, paintings, and gardens here. 

For the best city views, climb the extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat. And enjoy a walk down the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle.  

37) Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane city skyline and Brisbane river at twilight in Australia
f11photo / Adobe Stock

Brisbane – Aboriginal name Meanjin – is a coastal city in southeast Queensland, Australia. This beautiful city is known for its year-round sunshine and jacaranda-lined streets. Come in October to enjoy the purple blooms.

Brisbane is also known for its beaches, including Australia’s only artificial urban beach. This is Streets Beach, a crystal lagoon surrounded by sparkling sand. Not far away is South Bank Parklands, with its riverside walk, shops, and gardens.

For great natural beaches, try Nudgee, Clontarf, and Margate. Another lovely Brisbane location is the Nepalese Peace Pagoda at Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. And don’t miss the cute koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

38) Santorini, Greece

Whitewashed buildings and blue domes in Imerovigli, Santorini
Maurizio De Mattei / Adobe Stock

Santorini is a beautiful Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It’s famous for the attractive whitewashed houses studding its hillsides. It’s also known for its volcanic origins.

To get close enough to smell the sulfur, take a volcano boat ride from the lovely city of Fira.  Take the cable car from the city to the Old Harbor for spectacular views of the velvety blue ocean. 

Another beautiful town is Oia, perched on the clifftops. Here, you can visit the ruins of Agios Nikolaos Castle or explore the narrow streets and pretty blue-domed churches. Or just kick back and enjoy the wondrous sunsets.

See Related: Where to Stay in Santorini

39) New Orleans, Louisiana

Downtown New Orleans Skyline
Kevin Ruck / Adobe Stock

The beauty of New Orleans and its Mississippi River setting is indisputable. And the city’s blend of French, African, and American cultures provides a unique feast for all the senses.  

New Orleans is full of beautiful places. Historical St. Charles Avenue is famed for its lavish antebellum mansions. Don’t miss picturesque Jackson Square and the majestic St. Louis Cathedral. Close by is old Rampart Street, home of Louis Armstrong Park.

A great way to see the sights of the historic Garden District and French Quarter is by the famous city streetcar. And to see New Orleans at its most thrillingly effervescent, come for Mardi Gras!

40) Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming Welcome Sign
Kim Magaraci / ViaTravelers

Wherever you are in Jackson, Wyoming, you’ll get breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The city, known for its incredible scenery, sits snugly between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges. 

Almost in the heart of the city is the fabulous Snow King Mountain. In winter, there’s skiing and snow tubing and great hiking trails in summer. And don’t miss the National Elk Refuge – maybe take a sleigh ride.

Close by is the world-famous Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This ski resort and adventure capital has the highest vertical drop in the United States. Dare you to try Corbet’s Couloir, America’s scariest slope?

See Related: Best Tours in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

41) Madrid, Spain

Tourists visit the Royal Palace
Lucian Milasan / Adobe Stock

Madrid, Spain’s largest city, is one of the best cities in the world to visit for superlative art and architecture. The city prides itself on preserving as much of its historic heritage as possible. 

One of the most breathtaking sights is the Plaza Mayor, once the center of the old town. Not far away is Cibeles Palace, which looks like a gigantic wedding cake. And don’t miss the world-famous Prado Museum, full of artistic masterpieces.

El Retiro Park is another treasure trove. As well as gardens and a boating lake, there’s the beautiful Palacio de Cristal and the adorable Casita del Pescador cottage.

42) Florence, Italy

Closeup of Brunelleschi's dome, Florence, Italy
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is often called Italy’s most beautiful city. The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence welcomes 50 million visitors yearly to wonder at its artistic treasures. 

The first stop has to be the Piazza del Duomo, home to the iconic red-domed Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. Here you’ll also find Giotto’s bell tower. The reward for climbing its 414 steps is a fascinating view of the patchwork of tiled roofs.

The next stop must be the Uffizi Gallery. Here you’ll see some of the most famous paintings of all time. The 16th-century building itself is a wonder, like so many in Florence

See Related: Where to Stay in Florence

43) Recife, Brazil

Aerial photo with drone of the city of Olinda and Recife in Pernambuco Brazil
Lucas / Abode Stock

Recife is a beautiful beachside city near South America’s most easterly tip. It’s sometimes called the “Venice of Brazil” because of its many waterways and bridges.

The most beautiful place to visit is Recife Antigo, the old town, with its tree-lined streets and brightly painted buildings. Try to visit Ground Zero Square on a Sunday when there’s often live music. Nearby are the beautiful Caixa Cultural Museum and the gorgeous restored Palace of Commerce.

The most popular beach is at Boa Viagem, near Recife airport. The water’s warm in the shallows created by the reef barrier. Don’t go beyond it, though – there are sharks.

44) Seattle, Washington

Panoramic view of Seattle cityscape at sunset
Sergii Figurnyi / Adobe Stock

The fabulous backdrop of mountains, bays, and evergreen forests makes Seattle one of the most beautiful cities in the world. To get the best views of all this splendor, climb the city’s iconic Space Needle observation tower.   

One fun – and free – Seattle attraction is the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Here, you can watch the boats, stroll through the lovely gardens, and, if you’re lucky, see salmon climbing the fish ladder.

Another beautiful place to visit is the Chihuly Glass Museum, filled with astonishing blown-glass sculptures. And it may not sound promising, but Gas Works Park has a lovely boating lake and gorgeous city views.

45) Vancouver, Canada

Beautiful view of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
MF / Adobe Stock

Filmmakers love Vancouver. Its coastal setting and awe-inspiring mountain backdrop have given the city starring roles in the X-Men, Twilight, and Star Trek movies, to name just a few.

The city is also known for its many beautiful parks on Canada’s west coast. Stanley Park is Vancouver’s largest, with a beach, a rose garden, and a fantastic sea wall trail. There’s also a collection of First Nation totem poles, British Columbia’s most visited attraction.

Another beautiful spot is Canada Place, on the waterfront in Downtown Vancouver. You’ll recognize this by the 90-ft white sails on its roof, symbolizing the city’s seafaring soul. It’s a great place to shop, eat, and people-watch.

FAQ

What are the key factors that make a city beautiful?

A breathtaking setting – mountains, lakes, or coastline – often makes a city beautiful. Look out for superlative feats of art, architecture, and engineering. And a sense of meaningful history adds a real wow factor.

What hidden gems in the most beautiful cities that tourists often miss?

A city’s old town usually holds the most hidden gems. A stroll down age-old narrow streets will often reveal unexpectedly quaint and moving locales.

And while it’s easy to admire a stunning building and then move on, don’t forget to explore inside. Places of worship, for example, are often home to an outpouring of beautiful art.

What are the most famous landmarks in the most beautiful cities?

Major public buildings and principal places of worship are often among a city’s most beautiful landmarks. Spectacular skyscrapers, impressive bridges, and famous monuments are also must-see spots. Try to see a city at night, when many landmarks are beautifully illuminated.

What are some common mistakes tourists make when visiting the most beautiful cities?

It’s handy and fun to take tours by bus, taxi, or tuk-tuk. If you don’t get out and walk, you risk missing some of a city’s less obvious delights. Try, too, to avoid the busiest seasons and times. If a place feels too crowded, it’s hard to fall in love with it.

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