The 50 Most Beautiful Cities in the World

Conde’ Nast Traveler

50 Most Beautiful Cities in the World

How many of these cities are on YOUR bucket list? I have added ALL of these to mine!

To book your trip to these beautiful cities, please visit:
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1/ 50

Venice, Italy

Here’s a general rule to abide by in Venice: If you don’t get lost, you’re not doing it right. Even visitors with a GPS-like sense of direction will likely be bested by the meandering streets of the city. There’s no better way to explore the lovely maze than in a haze of mild confusion. —Katherine LaGrave

2/ 50

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 Shangri-La, where hilly, verdant islands surround a concrete jungle. —Laura Dannen Redman

3/ 50

Istanbul, Turkey

A historic crossroads of culture and design, Istanbul’s landscape provides a prominent display of its two conquering empires. Travelers needn’t look farther than the Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia for the aesthetics central to both: the Byzantine dome and colored mosaics, and the Ottoman minarets and Islamic calligraphy. —Benita Hussain

4/ 50

New York, NY

New York’s beauty is multi-sensory: It’s the sight of historic architecture, from the Flatiron Building to One World Trade Center, dwarfing the 8.4 million humans below; the feel of the grass beneath your feet in the great green oases of Central and Prospect Park; the smell of roasted nuts on street corners; the sound of jazz pouring out of Smalls in the Greenwich Village. It’s the art of the Frick and the Met, MoMA and the Museum of the Moving Image; and the beautiful, diverse people walking the city streets with heads held high. —L.D.R.

5/ 50

London, U.K.

London 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. Art and literature seem to seep out of the city’s walls—and in recent years, London has glammed up even more, with contemporary art galleries and boutique retailers adding some glimmer to formerly seedy areas. —CNT Editors


6/ 50

Chefchaouen, Morocco

Tucked high in Morocco’s Rif Mountains, the all-blue town of Chefchaouen is a calming respite from the overwhelming frenzy of Marrakech and Fez. The Jewish refugees from Europe who lived there during the 1930s first painted the city (either to symbolize heaven or as a mosquito repellent, depending on who you ask), and now the town is known as “The Blue Pearl.” The town still keeps the tradition alive: Each year, the houses are washed with new coats of paint. —Lucy Laucht


7/ 50

Paris, France

We’re trying not to play favorites, but really, is there a city more dramatic than Paris? It’s a place where romance and history play side by side, cafes line cobblestone streets, beautiful people stroll the Seine at all hours, and every neighborhood seems to have its own iconic landmark, be it Notre Dame, Sacre-Coeur, or the Eiffel Tower. —CNT Editors

8/ 50

Cape Town, South Africa

The whole world witnessed Cape Town’s beauty first hand during the 2010 World Cup: its penguin-populated, white-sand beaches within a few short miles of majestic Table Mountain, and rolling wine lands just outside the city center. Coastal highways compare to the finest in the world, from the Amalfi Coast to the Pacific Coast Highway, and the gardens—notably Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens—are rich with king protea, a crowned flower that seems to (rightly) rule the floral kingdom. —L.D.R.

9/ 50

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Dutch capital’s central Canal District was crowned a World Heritage Site in 2010, helping draw the gaze away from the red lights and the smoke houses and onto one of Europe’s most gorgeous cultural epicenters. Add windmills, cycling, cheese, storied facades, and Van Goghs to the city’s storied charm. —CNT Editors

10/ 50

St. Petersburg, Russia

Fyodor Dostoyevsky called his adopted metropolis “the most intentional and abstract city in the world.” Built in a short, fevered period of time based on one man’s—Peter the Great’s—vision, Russia’s second-largest city is a sort of work of art in and of itself, evoking comparisons to Florence, Italy. —Jenna Scherer

11/ 50

Beirut, Lebanon

Even when faced with terror and destruction, Beirut is beautiful, charming, and strong. The Lebanese capital has astonishing art, architecture, food, and hotels—in fact, we think it’s one of the great cities of the world. —CNT Editors

12/ 50

Kyoto, Japan

Take a step back in time in Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital, where you can visit 10th-century temples and pass young geishas in the street. One of the most well-preserved cities in Japan, Kyoto has approximately 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, each more likely to entrance than the next. —K.L.

13/ 50

Queenstown, New Zealand

Did you know that New Zealand has no native predators? It’s a land of birdsong (and the occasional rat, introduced by the Europeans). But head all the way south to Queenstown, dubbed the adrenaline-junkie capital of the world, and you’ll find more than a few ways to look danger in the eye, while also checking out some of the most stunning views in the world. —L.D.R.

14/ 50

Barcelona, Spain

Taking cues from modern Gothic and oriental techniques, the early-19th-century Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí wanted to create organic, urban spaces in the city he loved. A walk around Barcelona leads you through the largest concentration of his signature ceramic and stained-glass mosaics, as well as his undulating stonework and ironwork, which include Park Güell (pictured) and culminate in his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Família. —B.H.

15/ 50


The received wisdom that used to prevail about Singapore—that it’s boring, staid, definitively uncool and inauthentic—becomes less true every month. Small, independent restaurants are opening across town, and important galleries and some enterprising retailers are planting flags here. Best of all, taxis and Ubers are cheap and plentiful, the city is compact, and its infrastructure is close to flawless—meaning you can navigate easily and pack a lot in. —Maria Shollenbarger

16/ 50

Havana, Cuba

Since regulations prohibiting travel to Cuba were relaxed in January 2015, U.S. travelers have never been more eager to visit the colorful streets of Havana—a study in contradictions, pastels, and primary colors, rich and poor, the past and the future. (The recent onslaught of beautiful Airbnb properties doesn’t hurt either.) —L.D.R. and Barbara Peterson

17/ 50

Florence, Italy

You can ditch any old notions you may have of Florence as a frozen-in-amber monument to its various monuments; not only did the Renaissance capital shake off that fusty reputation a few years ago, it’s now arguably Italy’s most vibrant city. New museums and restaurants abound, all without making a dent in Florence’s timeless, heart-lifting beauty (which, really, is still the best reason to come here). —M.S.

18/ 50

Sydney, Australia

It’s almost not fair how pretty Sydney is. Australia’s biggest city benefits from a waterfront culture, with locals hopping ferries to commute home—or play—on Bondi, Manly, and Redleaf beaches, and the dramatic Sydney Opera House standing sentry in the harbor. Whatever the season, get spectacular views of the city from Sydney Tower’s glass viewing platform. —L.D.R. & K.L.

19/ 50

Salzburg, Austria

Made famous by Mozart (and the Von Trapps), classic Salzburg sits divided by the Salzach River: Its pedestrian Old City lines its left bank, and the 19th-century comprises the right. A walk through the Altstadt (“Old Town”) is a trip into the past—streets lined with immaculately preserved buildings dating from the medieval and Baroque periods. —K.L.

20/ 50

Abu Dhabi, UAE

From mega-malls to artificial ski slopes to crystal-strewn hotels, Abu Dhabi—the wealthiest of the seven tiny oil-rich states that make up the United Arab Emirates—embraces the latest extravagances for travelers. Even the holy sites in the city rival the world’s most luxurious palaces, most notably the majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque (pictured). —Whitney Robinson

21/ 50

Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal’s history of intricate tilework—from its ceilings to floors, homes, and hallways—means you can’t walk down a street in Lisbon without spotting something beautiful. —Lilit Marcus

22/ 50

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Christ the Redeemer watches over the sweeping city, where a pulsing, vibrant city seems to dance down to the sea and mellow as it floats off on a stand-up paddle board. —Caitlin Morton

23/ 50

Jaipur, India

Rajasthan’s capital, aka the Pink City, isn’t the kind of city to hide its true colors. It’s been called flamboyant, and a site of pilgrimage for anyone even vaguely interested in shopping and, more importantly, discovering India’s inimitable material culture. India is almost unique in the world for the number and diversity of things that it still makes by hand—artisanry is a fact of daily life here, rather than an exception to it. —Hanya Yanagihara

24/ 50

Lucerne, Switzerland

With its bridges, turreted buildings, and picturesque Old Town, Lucerne is storybook Swiss. Nestled on the shores of Lake Lucerne, the city is also a popular departure point for the Swiss Alps, which are visible from the town. Make it a point to walk the city’s famed Kapellbrücke, the oldest covered bridge in Europe. —K.L.

25/ 50

Shanghai, China

Arguably China’s most exciting city, Shanghai pulses with the thrum of innovation. The city’s skyline-defining landmarks, like the Oriental Pearl Tower and SWFC Observatory, are the best places to take in sweeping, panoramic views, but the real beauty lies in more traditional pleasures: strolling the Bund, exploring the colonial architecture in the old French Concession (pictured), and savoring a traditional Chinese tea tasting. —A.F.S.

26/ 50

San Francisco, CA

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. We can’t resist the Painted Ladies, the zigzagging streets, and the Golden Gate fading into the mist. —CNT Editors

27/ 50

Rome, Italy

They called it urbs kaput mundi—the city at the center of the world. And while this gorgeous tumble of ancient and Renaissance buildings may have ceded that title centuries ago, it’s still endlessly fascinating. Its tastemakers retrofit their own inimitable takes on being Roman into its glorious, timeless maze. All you need to do to find beauty, inspiration, and something seriously delicious to eat is walk out the door of your hotel. —M.S.

28/ 50

Stockholm, Sweden

With its charming historic alleyways and a multitude of islands that lead many to dub it “the Venice of the north,” Stockholm is one of the world’s most beautiful capitals. (It’s also the cultural, political, media, and economic center of Sweden.) —K.L.

29/ 50

Bruges, Belgium

Characterized by cobblestone streets and canals, much of Bruges’s immaculately preserved old city was built between the 12th and 15th centuries: As a result, it’s not hard to feel like you’re in a medieval fairy-tale here. Visit the Church of Our Lady for a viewing of Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, or sit at a café and take in the views of the Markt, a historic square in the city center. —K.L.

30/ 50

Cartagena, Colombia

Summery weather sticks around 12 months of the year in Cartagena, making a quick jaunt there—to admire the colonial architecture, stroll through the shady parks and plazas, and dine at ceviche restaurants like El Boliche or La Cevichería—a great idea at any time. —Andrew Sessa

31/ 50

Budapest, Hungary

With some of the best Art Nouveau architecture in Europe, scenic Budapest has no bad angles. Széchenyi Chain Bridge offers magnificent views of the Danube River—especially at night. Moreover, it’s the only capital city in the world that’s rife with healing, thermal waters (hence its nickname, “The City of Baths”). —K.L.

32/ 50

Valparaiso, Chile

Valparaiso, a Unesco World Heritage site, is a multicolored beauty on the Chilean coast. It’s arguably the country’s most scenic city, with lollipop-colored homes staggered along the 22 hills that rise from the Pacific Coast. Irreverent street art adds a touch of modern to the brilliant 19th-century buildings. —Chaney Kwak

33/ 50

Prague, Czech Republic

Picturesque Prague beats with a bohemian heart: The bevy of museums and architectural marvels are a testament to the city’s artistic and intellectual foundations. Get off the well-trod path at any number of historic pubs (try U Zlatého Tygra or U Jelínků) or head up to Petřín Hill for incredible views of the city. —K.L.

34/ 50

Edinburgh, Scotland

Beloved for its endless green hills and fascinating history, Edinburgh is a distinctive capital in Western Europe. Where else can you find a medieval Old Town, extinct volcano, and regal castle in one city? —K.L.

35/ 50

Busan, South Korea

If Seoul is Korea’s New York, Busan might be its Los Angeles–Miami hybrid. It’s renowned in East Asia for its miles of wide sandy beaches, seaside vistas, and busy quayside scene. —M.S.

36/ 50

Vancouver, Canada

Seaport Vancouver has a competitive and creative arts scene, rugged natural beauty, and no shortage of things to do. During your next visit, we recommend taking a cable car up Grouse Mountain the minute you arrive—there’s no better way to soak in the views of the mountainous metropolis. —K.L.

37/ 50

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City is, by most counts, the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere (they don’t call it El Monstruo for nothing). Yet in the morning, when sunlight glints off those colonial mansions, it can reveal a startling intimacy beneath the grandeur and sprawl. To know the real city is to appreciate its mural-covered museums, colorful crafts markets, and game-changing art and design scenes. —Julia Cooke

37/ 50

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City is, by most counts, the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere (they don’t call it El Monstruo for nothing). Yet in the morning, when sunlight glints off those colonial mansions, it can reveal a startling intimacy beneath the grandeur and sprawl. To know the real city is to appreciate its mural-covered museums, colorful crafts markets, and game-changing art and design scenes. —Julia Cooke

38/ 50

Charleston, SC

With its beautiful gardens, vibrantly painted Georgian houses along Rainbow Row, and carriages clacking across cobblestone streets, Charleston remains one of the country’s most picturesque cities. —K.L.

39/ 50

Jerusalem, Israel

Long a place of religious pilgrimage for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, Jerusalem is now drawing a different sort of pilgrim: the global traveler. In addition to its significant sacred and religious sights, the city boasts modern architecture, a cutting-edge light-rail transit network, and a growing number of notable restaurants. —K.L.

40/ 50

Dubrovnik, Croatia

There are few places that better capture the grand soul of maritime Old Europe than Croatia, particularly Dubrovnik. The city currently plays 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 sternly lovely old town of Stari Grad, whose convents, palaces, and fountains were cut from the same lightly colored stone. —CNT Editors

41/ 50

Riga, Latvia

Riga has all of the cosmopolitan dynamism and charm of cities like Paris and Barcelona—without the crowds or attitude. Visit the Jugendstil district, home to about 800 brilliantly preserved Art Nouveau buildings, and don’t miss the National Library, by Latvian-American architect Gunnar Birkerts. The building—which resembles a glass-and-steel mountain ridge along the city’s Daugava River—just opened in 2014. —CNT Editors

42/ 50

Quito, Ecuador

Quito’s Old Town is both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a bit of Florence, Italy, with spectacularly gilded churches and cobbled streets. —L.D.R.

43/ 50

Quebec City, Canada

Hilltop Quebec City is a town for all seasons. Explore Quebec City’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed Old Town, brush up on your military history at the citadel atop Cap Diamant, and head to the Quartier Petit-Champlain for pedestrian-only streets and artisan boutiques. Reserve a room at the historic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, and dine in the hotel at the property’s 1608 Wine and Cheese Bar, which specializes in Quebec cheeses. K.L.

44/ 50

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America, but perhaps that comparison should work the other way around. BA’s wildly varied styles—from stately Recoleta homes trimmed in what looks like white cake icing to brightly painted tin buildings in La Boca—defies easy categorization. Design lovers should plan visits to the over-the-top Recoleta cemetery (best known as the final resting place of Eva “Evita” Peron) and El Ateneo, a plush red-carpeted theater that has been turned into a bookstore. —L.M.

45/ 50

Luang Prabang, Laos

A former royal capital nestled in a valley, Luang Prabang was in 1995 designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and for good reason. Despite being a tiny town surrounded by mountains, Luang Prabang draws more visitors than any other destination in Laos for its temples, palaces, and natural beauty. And if it feels like there’s something in the air, there just might be: the ancient town is a center for Buddhist learning and spirituality.

46/ 50

Vienna, Austria

Artistic, exquisite, and largely shaped by its musical and intellectual foundations, Austria’s capital and largest city is packed with culture. Make time to get a figurative taste of royalty at Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ former summer residence, and get an actual taste of Sachertorte, a chocolate cake that is one of the city’s culinary specialties. Just be sure to ask for it mit schlaag—with cream. —K.L.

47/ 50

Isfahan, Iran

Once one of the largest cities in the world, Isfahan had such serious cosmopolitan clout in the 16th century that it inspired the phrase Isfahan nesf-e jahan, or “Isfahan is half the world.” Today, it’s is one of the country’s largest metropolises, and has wide, tree-lined boulevards, significant Islamic architecture, and hidden Persian gardens, all perfect for exploring.

48/ 50

Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. isn’t all work and no play—in fact, it’s done good work of late to shake its reputation as a buttoned-up bore. In addition to having the greatest range of historic monuments and iconic buildings in the country, D.C. has quietly developed a reputation for its craft brewing, food halls (try Capitol Hill’s Eastern Market), and sprawling outdoor spaces. Come cherry blossom season, D.C. is the place to be. –K.L.

49/ 50

Seville, Spain

The capital of Spain’s Andalusia region, Seville blends modernity and history as easily as its famed flamenco dancers tap their feet: from its Old Town (the third-largest in Europe) to its world-renowned tapas scene. Seville is pretty enough to be in pictures—and it is, now that Game of Thrones has made the city a central shot location for its fifth and subsequent seasons. Several locations in Andalusia got screen time, but the crown jewel of them all is the Alcázar of Seville (pictured), the lavish royal palace at the center of the city and the biggest tourist attraction.

50/ 50

Muscat, Oman

Oman has some of the most spectacular landscapes you’ll see anywhere, from beaches that rival those in Brazil or Hawaii, to epic windswept deserts, to the fantastically craggy, gulch-filled Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar Range, which, at nearly 10,000 feet at its peak, is one of the Middle East’s highest. Meanwhile, Muscat, Oman’s port capital, is hemmed in by mountains and desert on the Gulf of Oman, where 21st-century shopping malls share space with 16th-century Portuguese forts and gleaming mosques.—CNT Editors

To book your trip to these beautiful cities, please Odetta Rodriguez – Independent Travel Agent – Inteletravel

Author: 100countriestravel

I was introduced to traveling as a young girl by my mother. Although we never traveled outside of California, those experiences kept me longing for more travel experiences and to share them with my children. I am fortunate to have taken my mother and children on a 10 day vacation to Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas in addition to other destinations as well. Now that my children are grown, I am determined to see and learn from as many countries as I can. I love group travel and am committed to planning and attending many fun and educational trips with members of this club.

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