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50 Most Beautiful Cities in the World

Are you making plans to visit the world’s beautiful places? For the most uplifting vacation, try a destination that combines natural splendor with the very best of human creativity. 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 as well as for 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.


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 – 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. From here, you’ll get fantastic views of Singapore’s dazzling modern architecture. 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

Statue of Liberty and skyline of New York City
Sergii Figurnyi / Shutterstock

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. For great views, choose a hotel in Manhattan’s Financial District, for example, The Millennium Downtown New York.

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, for example, on this city highlights tour, 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

Eiffel Tower and Sunset Scenery
MarinadeArt / Adobe Stock

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: 20 Best Hotels in Paris With View of 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 cog train. The ride is spectacular, passing through Tijuca National Park.

See Related: 16 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 up into 90 islands, linked by hundreds of bridges. 

Alongside many of Amsterdam’s major canals are photogenic townhouses. To make the most of the city center’s cobblestone streets and tree-lined canals, take one of the free walking tours available. 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 crammed 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: 28 Best Places to Visit in the United Kingdom

10) Washington, D.C.

Capitol building in Washington DC
f11photo / Adobe Stock

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.: 12 Best Areas & Places

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. At Peterhof Palace and Catherine Palace, admission is free. 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: 16 Ways to Find Cheap Flights to Europe

12) Boston, Massachussetts

Boston Harbor sunset view
SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

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. There are many Freedom Trail tours available or you can do it yourself.  

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

See Related: Where to Stay in Boston: 11 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

13) Salt Lake City, Utah

Aerial view of Salt Lake City, Utah
f11photo / Adobe Stock

Salt Lake City is the capital of the state of Utah. Founded in 1847, the city boomed after the discovery of silver in the Oquirrh Mountains. This magnificent mountain setting makes Salt Lake City one of the most beautiful in the world.

Salt Lake City is also home to striking architecture. Head to Temple Square to see Salt Lake Temple and the Assembly Hall, both bristling with spires. There’s also the impressive domed Tabernacle.

To enjoy the beauty of the natural world, drive up nearby Big Cottonwood Canyon. This is especially lovely in the fall. You can hear the streams trickling down the hillside if you’re quiet.

See Related: 10 Best Hotels in Salt Lake City for Families

14) Las Vegas, Nevada

Aerial view of Las Vegas Strip
vichie81 / Shutterstock

If by “beauty” you mean theatrical exuberance, 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: 15 Best Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada

15) Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore skyline on sunny day
checubus / Adobe Stock

Forty miles northwest of Washington, D.C., is the city of Baltimore. Despite its half-a-million population, you often hear about its village vibe. 

This is especially true of Fells Point, with its cobblestones and charming streets of rowhouses. You can see where Baltimore got its nickname “Charm City.”  Baltimore’s harbor view area has some stunning art museums. A must-see is the American Visionary Art Museum. The building itself is a quirky joy.

And don’t miss the beautiful Inner Harbor. Here you can see the old ships, take a water taxi, or get panoramic views from the Top of the World Observation Level.

See Related: 27 Best Weekend Getaways in the USA

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 the Doge’s Palace, with its 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: 20 Fun & Best Things to Do in Venice, 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 to 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 heart of the city 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 /

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. And 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 a range of colors.

See Related: 17 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.

And to get a sense of the city’s history, check out Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. 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

Famous Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco at night, USA
ventdusud / Shutterstock

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its rowhomes, cable cars, and steep streets also provide a very 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: 14 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

23) Natchez, Mississippi

Memorial in the Town Natchez, Mississippi
Ulf / Adobe Stock

Natchez is a historic city located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. This lovely city oozes Southern charm and is most famous for its beautiful pre-Civil War era mansions. Here the imaginations of the wealthy ran riot, and elegant columns adorn building after building.

Head first to Natchez On-Top-of-the-Hill Historic District. Here you’ll find many National Historic Landmark-designated Greek-Revival sites. Wonderful examples include Rosalie Mansion, Melrose, and the luxurious Stanton Hall.

One of the most beautiful buildings is the First Presbyterian Church of Natchez. And don’t miss Longwood, also known as Nutt’s Folly. This octagonal mansion is topped with an exotic onion-shaped dome.  

24) Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia, USA riverfront skyline
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Savannah, Georgia, is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Downtown, you’ll find both Savannah Historic District and the Savannah Victorian Historic District.

The impressive architecture includes the beautiful Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Don’t miss the Mickve Israel synagogue, one of the oldest in the United States. And for a sweet visual treat, check out the Gingerbread House on Bull Street. 

A lovely place to visit is Forsyth Park. You can stroll among the azaleas and enjoy the fragrant Garden for the Blind. Nearby are more lovely buildings, including Granite Hall and Mansion on Forsythia Park, now a hotel.

See Related: 19 Most Haunted Hotels in the US

25) Denver, Colorado

Denver Skyline at Sunset
f11photo / Shutterstock

Denver, Colorado, is blessed with a beautiful setting. Known as the “Mile High City,” it’s one mile above sea level, nestled against snowcapped mountains. 

This proximity to the Rocky Mountains means a Denver vacation can include exciting treks into the hills. The most stunning spot is Red Rocks Park, with its amphitheater built into the sandstone. This has to be one of the world’s most beautiful music venues.

Denver is home to some other lovely parks. There’s City Park with its lakes, museums, and Spanish-style boathouse. And don’t miss Civic Center Park, bookended by two beautiful Greek-style government buildings.

See Related: 10 Best Breweries in Denver to Visit Today

26) Charleston, South Carolina

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

What makes Charleston such a picturesque city is the wealth of fabulous Greek Revival buildings in the old town. 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 must-see 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: 15 Best Hotels in Charleston, South Carolina

27) Orlando, Florida

Orlando Skyline
lunamarina / Adobe Stock

Fabulous Orlando is one of the world’s most visited cities. There’s plenty to see and do – well, this is the Theme Park Capital of the World. What makes Orlando special is that here, fantasy becomes reality. 

The most beautiful place to visit in Orlando has to be Walt Disney World. This legendary attraction is full of better-than-real-life sights. There’s the fairytale pizzazz of Cinderella Castle, and the rustic charm of Tom Sawyer Island.  

And don’t miss the old-school dazzle of Prince Charming Regal Carousel, especially when it’s lit up at night. Top tip: if you stay at the Disney Resort, you can get in early to the parks.

See Related: 20 Best Restaurants in Disney Springs

28) Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Cityscape and Sunset
Kevin Ruck / Adobe Stock

Memphis, in southwest Tennessee, is known as the Home of the Blues and is a must for lovers of beautiful music. Here you’ll find the Beale Street Historic District, renowned for its association with some of blues music’s all-time greats. 

The city’s most famous attraction is Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion, with iconic music-note gates. Here you’ll see the Tiki-inspired Jungle Room, the 15-foot sofa, and other eye-popping decors. 

There are other great attractions in Memphis. These include the Memphis Riverfront and the Mississippi River Walk Park. And no trip to Memphis is complete without a visit to the Victorian Village and the National Civil Rights Museum.

See Related: 49 Fun & Best Things to Do in Memphis, Tennessee

29) Burlington, Vermont

Burlington Street Lights
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Burlington, Vermont, is one of the world’s most picturesque cities. Its charm comes from the natural beauty of its Lake Champlain setting, next to the Adirondack Mountains.

This beautiful environment promises a wealth of activities, including hiking, skiing, and every sort of water sport. And try to catch the spectacular fall colors

A beautiful spot in downtown Burlington is Church Street. Here you’ll find the historic First Unitarian Universalist Church and the grand City Hall. 

And head up to Vermont University, one of the oldest in the United States. Among the outstanding Victorian architecture is the Fleming Museum of Art. You’ll also get fabulous views of the lake.

See Related: 17 Fun & Best Things to Do in Burlington, Vermont

30) 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, aka 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, and ski, and maybe spot bears, eagles, and moose. It’s also home to the lovely Alaska Botanical Garden.

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

31) Ann Arbor, Michigan

Aerial View of a large State University in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Jacob / Adobe Stock

Beautiful Ann Arbor regularly ranks as a top place to live in the U.S. It’s not just for the plentiful green spaces that earn it the nickname “Tree Town.” The quality of life is good, and there’s a comforting feeling of safety

It also helps that when you go to the movies, you do it in style. Make sure to visit the Michigan Theater movie palace. In the lobby, you’ll find a feast of ornate decoration, including a stunning vaulted ceiling. 

Another beautiful spot is the Huron River Water Trail. Riverside parks, where you can rent boats in summer, line the trail. For some exciting cascades, try Argo park.

See Related: 24 Things to Do in Michigan & Best Places to Visit

32) 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. 

There are more superb views 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’s also famous for its lovely beaches, over 100 of them. There’s all manner of fun available, from Bondi’s surfer swells to the kid-friendly Clontarf Reserve beach.

33) Shanghai, China

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

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

To get a feeling of old Shanghai, check out Nanshi Old Town and Zhujiajiao Water Town. 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.

34) Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Clear ocean water in Bora Bora, French Polynesia
BlueOrange Studio / Shutterstock

Dreamy Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful islands on Earth. Its main center, Vaitape, is almost too idyllic to be called a city. Lush vegetation, crystal clear waters, and pristine beaches make it easy to see why this place is nicknamed “Romance Central.” 

Most Bora Bora resorts feature overwater bungalows, and activities revolve around the beach, the lagoon, and the coral reef. The beautiful lagoon is abundant in fish, and there are corals with all the colors of the rainbow. 

Bora Bora’s highest point is the majestic Mount Otemanu, whose valleys are often covered in hibiscus flowers. If you want to hike, try Mount Pahia. 

See Related: 21 Best Things to Do in Bora Bora & Places to Visit

35) 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, 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: 20 Best & Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to Visit

36) 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. This town square within Zurich’s old city walls is surrounded by medieval buildings. Nearby is the Fraumünster church with its 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 views of the city. 

See Related: Best Places to Visit in Switzerland & Things to do

37) 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: 19 Best Places to Visit in Norway & Things to Do

38) Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Aerial View
f11photo / Adobe Stock

Edinburgh, nicknamed “the Athens of the North,” is a city 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. Here you can see fabulous decor, jewels, paintings, and gardens. 

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

39) Atlanta, Georgia

Panoramic View of Atlanta, Georgia Skyline
RodClementPhotography / Shutterstock

Atlanta, the capital of the state of Georgia, is a city in the southeastern United States. It’s a place of great historical significance, including Civil War connections. It’s also home to some stunning parks, including the 1996 Olympic Park.

Don’t miss The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, where visitors can walk the “Freedom Road.”

Piedmont Park is a beautiful waterfront park and home to Atlanta’s Botanical Gardens. Make sure to stop by Midtown Reflection for great city skyline views.

For a unique experience, visit the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Another magical attraction is Georgia Aquarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums.

40) 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.

41) 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.  For spectacular views of the velvety blue ocean, take the cable car from the city to the Old Harbor. 

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: 8 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

42) 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. And 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!

43) 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 there are 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 try Corbet’s Couloir, America’s scariest slope?

See Related: 11 Best Tours in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

44) Madison, Wisconsin

Madison skyline and Wisconsin State Capitol.
Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutter Stock

Harmony between nature and architecture is what makes Madison, Wisconsin, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Thoughtful city planning keeps its skyline balanced and its central streets relatively clear. 

This means its most stunning feature, the State Capitol, is set off to perfect advantage. The magnificent domed building sits between lakes Mendota and Monona, close to the beautiful James Madison Park.

At the north end of Lake Monona is Olbrich Botanical Gardens, home to a wonderful plant collection as well as a golden temple. And don’t miss Monona Terrace, a lakefront community center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

See Related: 35 Best Restaurants in Madison, Wisconsin

45) 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, stuffed 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.

46) Florence, Italy

Panorama of Florence and Saint Mary of the Flower in Florence
Sergey Novikov / Shutterstock

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 an entrancing 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, Italy: 10 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

47) 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.

48) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia skyline at night with the Schuylkill river
andreykr / Adobe Stock

Philadelphia, on the Delaware River, is a historic city famous for its role in the American Revolution. Its most iconic object is the Liberty Bell, a powerful symbol of democracy, independence, and freedom.

The bell now resides in Independence National Historical Park. Here you’ll find Independence Hall and other impressive and historically significant buildings. Close by is the charming Elfreth’s Alley, perhaps the oldest street in the United States.  

Philadelphia has so many beautiful parks it’s hard to pick a favorite. For a lovely city center oasis, visit Franklin Square. It’s home to Philly’s only old-time carousel and the oldest fountain in the United States.

49) 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.

50) 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.

On Canada’s west coast, the city is also known for its many beautiful parks. 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.


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 momentous history adds a real wow factor.

What are some 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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