18 cities you should visit at least once in your lifetime

Is it the crowds of people, the buzzing of cars and boats, or the amazing architecture that makes urban travel so attractive? Or perhaps the amount of activities and entertainment you can find around?

If you’re into city exploring as much as I am, you’re definitely going to enjoy discovering these cities, and most probably wish to explore those you haven’t already. Or, why not, find new excitements in the ones you’ve already visited.

London, United Kingdom

London Sunset

Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the Thames river in London: Pablo Fernández, Flickr

Probably the grooviest city on Earth, capital of it’s last global empire, a cool blend of conservative and liberal culture. It is the capital of the theaters, galleries and museums that treasure heritage of the whole world. London is also home to unique double-decker buses, Austin cabs and the oldest operating and most complex metro network. Don’t miss the Houses of Parliament with the Big Ben, the British Museum, Westminster abbey, London Eye, the Tower bridge or the Tower.

Barcelona, Spain

Panoramic view of downtown Barcelona

Panoramic view of downtown Barcelona and the harbor from Montjuic, by reSabi Media

I’m not sure if it’s the Mediterranean climate, the city’s architecture and legacy or the people, but there’s something very inspiring about Barcelona. Gaudi’s masterpieces, the Gothic town, the legacy of Picasso, Miro and Dali, and the neighboring summer resorts bring millions of visitors to this city every year. Barcelona’s must see sights are the Sagrada Familia, Montjuic, Parc Guell and the Barri Gotic. A bit less famous but really worth visiting is the Ciutadela park, with it’s secession style castle and triumphal arch.

Vienna, Austria

Belvedere palace in Vienna

Belvedere palace in Vienna, via Wikipedia

Once the capital of the mighty Hapsburg empire, Vienna is today the cultural capital of Central Europe. Vienna is famous for it’s baroque and roccoco palaces and spectacular royal gardens, as well as the blue Danube. There’s plenty attractions for architecture and art lovers, among others the Schönbrunn and Belvedere palaces, St. Stephen’s cathedral, the Danube Tower, the Secession building or the former Gasometers converted into residential buildings. There’s also Prater amusement park, and a very long recreation lake going parallel with the Danube.

More on Wien.info

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, view from Charles bridge, via Wikipedia

Also known as the golden city, Prague is becoming more and more popular thanks to it’s romantic medieval city core, the bridges over the Vltava river and the magnificent castle. Prague is also known for the best beer.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest

Budapest is charming even in the crappiest weather, by reSabi Media

There’s so many sights along the Danube in Budapest, each more spectacular than the other. Don’t miss the magnificent Parliament, the Buda castle, Chain Bridge, Fishermens’ bastion, or the Matthias church.

Learn more about Budapest here.

Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade and Big War island seen from Zemun

Belgrade and Big War island seen from Zemun, by reSabi Media

The Serbian capital is slowly regaining it’s place on Europe’s travel map thanks to it’s unique spirit, the ancient citadel Kalemegdan overlooking the union of the Sava and Danube rivers, the crazy nightlife and it’s unique architectural and cultural contrasts. Among the top attractions of Belgrade is the impressive legacy from Tito’s Yugoslavia, the museum of Nikola Tesla and one of the finest river beaches in Europe. Belgrade is also one of the oldest capitals in the world with over 7000 years of history.

Learn more about Belgrade here.

Rome, Italy

Piazza San Pietro

Panorama of Rome and the St. Peter’s basilica: Pablo Fernández, Flickr

The romantic capital of Italy is also known as “the eternal city”. It was the biggest and most advanced metropolis of the world two thousand years ago. It’s power remained through the middle ages since it’s been the residence of the Pope and capital to the Roman Christian world. Today many monuments remain from those times, such as the Pantheon, Colosseum, the Forum – one of the largest archaeological sites with many attractions, and the palace of Nero, the basilica of St. Peter and Vatican, the Sistine chapel. There are many other attractions in Rome, such as the famous Fontana di Trevi, the Spanish steps or the bridges over Tiberius river.

Athens, Greece

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

Athens panorama and the Acropolis by Pixinn, via Wikipedia

The Greek capital is famous for its acropolis with the Parthenon and other ancient monuments, but its also a busy Eastern Mediterranean metropolis.

Cairo, Egypt

View from Cairo Tower

View from Cairo Tower, via Wikipedia

Cairo is one of the largest and most famous metropolises in Africa, but is mostly famous for it’s pyramids, the Nile and the Egyptian museum. A creepy attraction of Cairo is also the city of the Dead, where people live among the deceased.

Los Angeles, California (USA)

Los Angeles skyline and mountains

Los Angeles skyline and mountains, via Wikipedia

This city has appeared countless times in TV series and in movies, no wonder, since it’s the center of film industry. L.A. occupies a large valley and the surrounding mountain slopes. It’s actually a megalopolis composed of independent but interconnected cities and towns. Some of it’s most popular attractions are the Santa Monica pier, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Disneyland.

San Francisco, California (USA)

Downtown San Francisco

Downtown San Francisco, via Wikipedia

San Francisco is famous both for it’s bridges and for it’s blend of cultural influences, unique in America. It has also been the site of many films and series, especially sitcoms. Together with the surrounding area it is the world center of the IT business. The best known landmarks of San Francisco are the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, Alcatraz Island, the Ferry terminal, the Coit Tower and TransAmerica Pyramid.

Tokyo, Japan

Skyscrapers of Shinjuku Tokyo and mount Fuji

Skyscrapers of Shinjuku, Tokyo and mount Fuji, via Wikipedia

The capital of Japan is estimated to be the biggest city on earth. It’s shear size as well as the curious Japanese culture that combines the cutting edge of technology with the thousands of years old tradition make Tokyo a destination you should visit at least once in your lifetime.

Madrid, Spain

Panorama of downtown Madrid

Panorama of downtown Madrid, by reSabi Media

Madrid may not be the most popular Spanish city, but is the largest, and probably most interesting. It’s medieval core is flanked by the royal palace and the colossal Almudena cathedral, and is full of tiny plazas to enjoy your afternoon at. Madrid is also home to Santiago Bernabeu, one of the most famous football stadiums in the world, and the impressive Atocha station with it’s indoor botanical garden, featured in one of our previous articles.

Moscow, Russia

Red Square, Moscow

Red Square, Moscow, via Wikipedia

Moscow is the largest city in Europe with more than 10 million inhabitants. There are too many things to see there for one list, but I’ll name just a few of the most famous: St. Basil’s cathedral, the Kremlin, Red Square, Lomonosov university, Bolshoi theatre, Ostankino tower, etc.

Stockholm, Sweden

Kornhamnstorg, Stockholm

Kornhamnstorg, Stockholm, via Wikipedia

The Swedish capital is the pearl of the Baltic sea, located on islands and canals between the sea and lake Malarn. Stockholm‘s colorful old town, baroque palaces, countless boats and cruiser ships give this northern city a unique look and feel. Don’t miss the national parliament, the Royal palace, Vasa nautical museum, or the Swedish village.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney from the Harbour Bridge with the Queen Mary 2 docked

Sydney Opera and skyline from the Harbour Bridge with the Queen Mary 2 docked, via Wikipedia

Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and one of the most exotic metropolises in the world. It is also one of the largest in territory. The Sydney zoo is one of the most famous in the world. Beware of poisonous spiders, though.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai Burj al Arab and Burj Khalifa

Dubai Burj al Arab and Burj Khalifa (far in background), by Pete the painter, Flickr

Often called the playground of the architects, Dubai is the largest construction site in the world, with about 10% of all construction work taking place in this city. In the last 30 years, they’ve built the tallest tower – Burj Khalifa, the Palm and World islands, as well as the famous Burj Al Arab 7 star hotel.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro: seier+seier, Flickr

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city of Brazil and third in South America. It is the world capital of carnivals, football and samba. The most popular attractions of Rio are the Copacabana beach, Christ the Redeemer statue, and the largest football stadium in the world – Maracana. This year Rio will host the FIFA World cup, and in 2016 the Olympic games.