25 Cities you must visit once in your lifetime

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Quite often I am asked whether I’m a ‘city girl’ or a ‘country girl’…. truth is, I think I’m a bit of both. Sometimes there’s nothing like a countryside escape – wide open space, clean air, friendly locals… but after a while I tend to crave a city escape. Here are my picks for the top cities you must visit once in your lifetime!

Don’t see your favourite city on the list? Leave a comment below to let me know your favourite city in the world and why you think it should be visited!


25. Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg is home to the Sound of Music, the mozartkugel, and is a traveller’s favourite in Austria.


24. Venice, Italy

Ahhh, Venice. The city of canals that is built on water and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Save this one for your one true love, it’s a magic spot to share with that special someone.

Shangri-La Dubai

23. Dubai, UAE

Dubai has literally popped up out of nowhere with the world’s biggest and best of almost everything – the tallest building in the world, the world’s most luxurious hotel, you name it… Dubai has it or has it being built. Be sure to venture beyond the city to the nearby desert for a more authentic insight into Emirati culture.


22. Charleston, USA

Charleston has been dubbed to behold the friendliest people in the USA – and it’s true! This Southern city in South Carolina is one of the best places to visit if you want to encounter Southern hospitality.


21. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a fairytale city that literally looks as if it belongs in a picture book.


20. Krakow, Poland

Krakow is a fascinating city with so much history and charm to offer visitors. Don’t miss a day trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps to understand the sheer terror that once swept through this country and others during WWII.


19. Beirut, Lebanon

Lebanon is renowned for having the best club scene in the region and is an up and coming hot spot for travellers looking to venture off the beaten path.


18. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular destinations. There’s plenty to see and do in the city and beyond should you wish to visit more of Portugal.

Four Seasons Sydney

17. Sydney, Australia

Sydney is renowned around the world for being ‘THE’ New Years Eve party destination – why? It’s the first city to bring in the New Year! Everyone in the Northern Hemisphere wakes up while the Aussies bring in the New Year so it has long been a dream destination for people around the world.


16. Bangkok, Thailand

Busy, crazy, chaotic… this is Bangkok. If you’re claustrophobic or like your personal space, Bangkok may not be the place for you. But for everyone else this is one of Asia’s most enticing cities to visit.


15. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is liberal, fun, free, and completely uncensored.


14. Copenhagen, Denmark

The Danes are a very polite bunch so don’t expect outrageous partying, outgoing locals, or anything ‘out of the ordinary’. However Copenhagen itself is a beautiful city to visit at least once in your lifetime.


13. Rome, Italy

Ahhh, the eternal city. There’s no place like Rome and of course when in Rome, do as the Romans do.


12. Istanbul, Turkey

Partly in Europe and partly in Asia, Istanbul is an exciting blend of cultures where East meets West. There’s so much history here it is almost unmissable and should certainly be on your agenda.

Berlin Cathedral

11. Berlin, Germany

Germany’s capital has more history than you can comprehend even after spending weeks in the city. It’s a great place to base yourself as well as you are essentially in the centre of Europe.


10. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague has quickly become a popular spot for travellers from all over the world and one look explains why. This is one of Europe’s most interesting cities that has really opened up to mass tourism.

south africa

9. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is renowned around the world for being one of the most beautiful cities to visit, thanks to it’s city-meets-the-sea appeal.


8. Florence, Italy

The capital of Tuscany is also the capital of gelato – more than enough reason to visit!

rio de janeiro

7. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Mass crowds descended on Rio for the World Cup in 2014 and as such it has quickly become a hot spot to visit. Be sure to venture elsewhere in the continent as South America truly has so much to offer.

Marrakech Morocco

6. Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech is the perfect excuse to dabble in something a little different – there’s so much culture and tradition to immerse yourself in that it is impossible to say you are a seasoned traveller without visiting this super unique city!

st petersburg

5. St Petersburg, Russia

St Petersburg is by far my favourite city in Russia. There’s the history of the Tsars and once being the capital of Russia, as well as some very friendly locals to ease your way into travelling through Russia.

budapest hungary

4. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is undeniably one of Europe’s most underrated cities – if not the most underrated. One visit here and you will soon understand why – as well as already be planning your return!


3. London, UK

There’s no other city quite like London – and it should go without saying that you simply must visit once in your lifetime. After visiting all the tourist hot spots, be sure to venture off into the neighbourhoods to completely rediscover the city!

paris food france

2. Paris, France

Paris…. a girl’s dream. The croissants, crepes, baguettes… yes, this is Paris. You will be in love.

new york

1. New York, New York, USA

Β And there’s nothing quite like the big apple! Sure, it is busy and crazy and jampacked with tourists – but it is still the city where dreams are made – where anything is possible – where you can be anyone you wish. It is simply….. New York.

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    Maxime Paris
    December 2, 2015 at 10:31 am

    My favorite are : Paris, Beirut, Budapest and Lisbon !

    October 6, 2015 at 4:27 am

    NY, Paris and London- the best cities! 4th place for Barcelona πŸ˜‰ thanks for the article. good job!

    September 27, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    Sadly, I think Budapest is off my list due to recent current events. I’m surprised that Seville or Barcelona aren’t on the list, tho. Great cities, as is Tel Aviv – fab vibe!

    August 13, 2015 at 6:11 am

    This list is just one person’s opinion. These cities were most likely chosen because she fell in love with them for what ever reason.
    The mix of cities will depend on whether you’re an old or young traveller, male/female, or you’re travelling as a family…
    Just my opinion.

  • 25 Cities you must visit once in your lifetime ...
    July 24, 2015 at 2:53 am

    […] There are some cities you should visit and others that can be skipped… but here are the top cities you must visit once in your lifetime to fully experience the world.  […]

    June 21, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Nice places but i geuss You ‘ve never been to Athens , Greece. Athens is one of the few ancient cities in the world where the cutting edge, the hip, and the modern can suddenly coexist so harmoniously with the classical , complementing each other to near perfection.
    You must visit Athens at least once in your lifetime!!

    Truth Speaka
    June 12, 2015 at 6:29 am

    NYC NY, thats pathetic and sad, by far it should be Tokyo Japan, way better, much cleaner, way more diversity in culture and the people are actually nice and not stuck up arrogant people.

    April 20, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    i think you should add Hong Village china. Hong Village is at the foot of the Yellow Mountains and its very beautiful. its just my thought .

    April 7, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I guess you were never been on Jerusalem or Tel Aviv

    March 18, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Johannesburg (better known as Joburg among South Africans). This is a bustling city with thee most friendly inhabitants. During the day there is so much to do: Top Of Africa view of the city, Gold Reef City theme Park and many more. At night you can party all night in the sprawling suburbs. Go clubbing and dance your legs away in Mellville just a throw away from the city centre.
    Oh and remember, for an African city, it is quite large, Joburg is the biggest city in the world not build to a river, sea or lake.
    Truly a great African City.
    Hola Jozi!!!

    @Erasmus People
    November 25, 2014 at 3:30 am

    What an amazing blog πŸ˜€ maybe Budapest would be a great Erasmus destination πŸ˜‰ Don’t you think so?!

    Best holiday destinations
    November 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Ya sure. its a great list for traveling. thanks for sharing.

    Teri San
    November 11, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    TOKYO TOKYO TOKYO!!!It was my first trip ever abroad and it was quite brainstorming!!!It is really amazing. Expensive though, but definitely must be seen once in a lifetime!!

    August 23, 2014 at 8:04 am

    so happy Istanbul made the list! I just came back from there last week and I think it tops my favorite cities so far!

    August 19, 2014 at 5:05 am

    Only 3 cities for the entirety of the Americas? Something tells me you’ve only seen the “highlights” in this part of the world. Time to book a flight.

    San Francisco, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City should be close, I’d think.

    Ohh, and I’m sure you know big cities are perhaps the most boring part of any country to visit.

    August 17, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Of course NYC! I also think that Beijing is a city you must visit once in your life. It offers the Great Wall, Forbidden City, the 798 Art District, and so much more!

    August 14, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    I’ve been in Prague this summer and i’ve loved it! I also love Budapest and Ljulbjana (in Slovenia). My favourite city is Budapest, but the most beautiful city is Prague, but there are to many people

    August 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    New York is definitely always a favourite!! Would love to venture out to a few more of those beautiful European cities on this list! πŸ™‚ x

    August 13, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    So glad Budapest is on there, I totally agree, SO underrated!
    I think you missed San Francisco though, so much interesting stuff there!!

    August 13, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Awesome cities, have been to some and really loved them! But I want to add one that I haven’t read anyone mentioning: Mexico City! It’s fun and exciting. It has areas with the charm and elegance of classic Europe, while other areas that are so modern, you barely find anything like that anywhere else! And then there’s the traditional Mexico, full of culture and history, It’s so big, so diverse – you can find anything you can think of! One day, you can go climb the Teotihuacan pyramids, and the next day, watch a movie in 4D in one of the most comfortable movie theaters there are. And the people are lovely and just want you to feel like at home. Plus, you can enjoy some of the aspects of fancy lifestyle for a much lower costs than in other big cities. It’s a shame so many people avoid Mexico City, it should be a must for any traveler! πŸ™‚

    August 13, 2014 at 2:17 am

    I think Barcelona is the only city really missing – it is the perfect mixture of beach life, partying and culture. And i love Hong Kong too

    August 12, 2014 at 1:43 am

    I would add Barcelona, Edingburgh, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Mexico DF, San Francisco, Prague, Budapest, Seville,… but it wouldn’t be a 25 cities list anymore πŸ™‚

    Good job!

    Abi S
    August 11, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Love the photos! I would LOVE to go to Venice it looks like such a gorgeous place! St Petersburg also looks great! Abi πŸ™‚

    Lucy @ Skeeter and Scout
    August 11, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Salzburg and Graz in Austria. Paris, London, New York, Florence, Rome, Szombathely (Hungary), Sydney and Budapest are my definite must see cities

    Lucy x

    August 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Have to agree with Prague, such a beautiful stunning city. It’s architecture is amazing. And of course New York! X

    August 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I see many others have commented the bit about NZ being the first to see the new day.. When you get time you definitely should go to the South Island! Fox Glacier etc is amazing.
    You are doing an amazing job, I love checking your blog every other day to see what you’ve been up to – you are such an inspiration!

    I personally loved Kolkata, India. Not for everyone of course but something completely different from the luxuries of the West.

    I’m not sure I understand your fascination with America, guess that’s just personal opinion tho!

    Safe travels!

    August 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Have to agree with all who said Stockholm and San Francisco. I also love Barcelona (tapas and Gaudi). Totally agree about Budapest, Prague, London, Rome, Venice, Florence, Berlin and Paris πŸ™‚ I personally preferred Fes over Marrakech.

    August 10, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Such a simple and lovely blogpost! Definitely keeping this list handy for my future travel plans.

    Have you travelled to other parts of Asia other than Thailand?

    August 10, 2014 at 7:45 am

    “The Danes are a very polite bunch so don’t expect outrageous partying, outgoing locals, or anything β€˜out of the ordinary’. However Denmark is a beautiful city to visit at least once in your lifetime.”

    As a Dane I would like to say that Denmark is a country, not a city! πŸ˜‰
    But yes, you should all come, it’s pretty damn awesome here!

    August 10, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Not sure that you could say Sydney is the first city to bring in the New Year unless you’re going to completely write off New Zealand as existing…
    Love the rest of the post though!

    Helena Ferreira
    August 10, 2014 at 5:39 am

    They are all awesome, but you definitely need to visit Porto in Portugal is a perfect mix of history with gastronomy with culture with leisure. It’s a MUST GIRL !

    August 10, 2014 at 4:04 am

    All of these cities (apart from London as I go there a lot) are on my bucket list!! Great list, I would love to see them all. :)xx

    Department of Wandering
    August 10, 2014 at 2:15 am

    Glad to see Berlin (my adopted city) is in there! There’s no place quite like it in the world.

    As an Aussie, though, I have to say that Melbourne’s incredible coffee, culture, art and food beats Sydney hands down!

    Great post, Brooke.

    August 10, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Great list! As I live in the Netherlands I visited Amsterdam a few times already, I’ve also been to Paris, London, Budapest and Berlin. A city I would like to add to this list is Edinburg in Scotland and Gothenburg in Sweden I usually prefer nature over cities, but those where two of the most amazing cities I visited so far!

    August 10, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Hello, I love your list and your pics. Have you been to Stockholm, Sweden for its Nordic style and Melbourne, Australia for its coffee?

    Madeline Fedmont
    August 9, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Love your list! I would also add Hong Kong to your list:)

    August 9, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Love this list! And now I have many more cities to visit. In the bit if European traveling I’ve done, I found Oxford, UK, and Athens, Greece to be surprisingly wonderful as well.

    Meg Welch
    August 9, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Two not on your list – Fort Worth, Texas. Much friendlier than Charleston, plus cowboy charm. Best time to visit is during rodeo season. And Montevideo, Uruguay – any time between New Year’s and early March is the best. It’s got beach, beauty, and a family Carnaval flavor.

    Debbi Shahabian
    August 9, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Excited to see my new “home” made the list!! Orig from San Diego, California – met my Lebanese Armenian hubby there, and traveled back to his birthplace of Beirut, Lebanon for a vacation. I fell in love, and asked him to bring me back here to retire! It’s two years later now….and am more in love than I expected; the people, the culture, the food and especially the sense of family being their #1 priority too!! A tad too old for the nightlife, haha…..

    August 9, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I’m so happy you like Budapest! I’m from Hungary and I live in a smaller town near the capital. I think Budapest is so beautiful, especially at night.

    August 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Stockholm is fantastic, especially in the summer. Another favorite of mine if definitely Hong Kong, it’s such a clash between west and east, fantastic city

    Thomas Parsons
    August 9, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Wow! I love this list so much, and could check off a few! Glad to see London (my home town!) on there and Berlin too, as the history fascinates a history/geography geek like myself!!

    Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog
    August 9, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Good list! Pleased to say I’ve visited a number of those, although still plenty on there that are on my list. (Next up out of these: New York! Flights booked and excitement setting in…) Interested to see Dubai on your list. I know there’s a lot of hype about it, but personally, I wasn’t a fan. Maybe that’s just down to personal taste though – I found it all pretty showy, shallow and exploitative. Though I can see why everyone gets bowled over – it’s very impressive in terms of architecture and engineering, and the luxury lifestyle. And I did enjoy my trip out to the desert, and looking round the old souks. It’s just the rest of it – left me kind of… cold.

    But I love how Salzburg is your number 1! Went there on a choir tour once, and unfortunately only really had an afternoon to look round, during which it rained constantly, and so hard that we couldn’t venture outside without looking like drowned rats. So didn’t see nearly as much as I wanted. Desperate to go back!

    I know what you mean about being a city girl and a country girl – I think I’m definitely both as well. I love vibrant bustling places, but I also love calm and tranquility. (I live in the Lake District; I’m also in love with London.) Oh and also – I love your array of big floppy hats! πŸ™‚

    August 9, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    those are awesome cities to go to. New York is on top on my list

    August 9, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Inspiring! And several cities we also like! Our favorite used to be Kiev actually, but that was before all bad things happened there… The city we live in (Stockholm) is also nice, especially in summer!

    August 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Have you been to Stockholm?? Otherwise you should really go there! Lots of beautiful buildings, old town, and there are water almost everywhere hahah πŸ™‚

    August 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    POLAND <3 My country

    Best holiday destinations
    August 9, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Nice list of destinations. thanks for sharing nice views.

    August 9, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    New Zealand always misses these lists with you. Recommend you travel there sometime. It’s beautiful.

    (Also NZ sees the New Year in before Sydney – Gisbourne holds a great festival for those inclined (and sees sun first in NZ))

    Veronique Price
    August 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I have to agree with Michelle on San Francisco, it is such an incredibly charming and individual city and is my favourite city in the USA.
    I would love to add Bergen, Norway as well. Nestled into the mountains and surrounding fjords, it is an absolute gem… vibrantly stunning in every way.
    Super stoked to have been to 13 of these cities already! Can’t wait to visit the others – most of the them are on my bucket list!
    Yet another wonderful post Brooke πŸ™‚
    I cannot thank you enough for inspiring me (a 17 year old Melbournian) to not conform to society’s expectation of what I should do with my life, and to follow my dreams.

    August 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I thought New Zealand was the first to see the New years, by about 2 hours? It just doesn’t have as big New years parties (theirs not enough people!) And also worthy of a comment is Halong bay, Auckland and Hong Kong πŸ™‚

    August 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Awesome list and awesome pictures:)

    August 9, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Shame you only put ONE Asian city in here, compared to the fourteen Europe cities you listed. What about Kyoto? Angkor Wat? Singapore? Mumbai? TOKYO?

    • worldofwanderlust
      August 9, 2014 at 11:29 am

      I haven’t been to any of those cities other than Singapore and I wouldn’t say that is a city you have to visit in your life time – I’m happy with the choices that are here πŸ™‚

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    August 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Tokyo, where I am living currently. Huge appeal – culture and tradition runs alongside modern thoughts and western influences. It’s busy and crowded and unlike anywhere else you will ever visit! And of course Kyoto, which is out of this world beautiful and maintains much of the rhythm of life from decades ago.

    Also Melbourne, Australia where I lived for three years is by far my favourite Australian city (I’m an Aussie) for the art scene, nightlife, dining options, festivals and events. Plus you can get away to nature – Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula!

    And San Francisco is my favourite American city. One of the most beautiful cities in the world!

    I’m surprised Hong Kong didn’t make your list? Also Shanghai and Beijing are worth a visit, too!

    August 9, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Totally agree with NYC at #1! The Big Apple is hard to beat.

    Also worthy of mention are San Francisco, Auckland, and Hanoi πŸ™‚

    Great post!


    August 9, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Definitely Stockholm is missing! As a person who travels a lot I must say that the Swedish capital has captured my heart. So lively, so natural, so beautiful.
    Check out my blog to read more about my love for this city (and other places around the world):

    CPO Experts
    August 9, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Good written! But I think those are stay top of the list all time πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Betty J. Ogburn
    August 9, 2014 at 9:55 am

    …Dublin, Republic of Ireland–Everything that London has to offer–concert halls, theatres, museums, an amazing pub scene, you name it–but with locals that speak with that charming Irish lilt, :-)…

    Andy Cao
    August 9, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Edinburgh, Scotland – A really charming, quaint city with awesome architecture and lots of history. Quintessentially Scottish.

    Sevilla, Spain – Lots of Moorish influence from North Africa, including the Alcazar. Catch the Torre del Oro (Gold Tower) by the river at sunset, it’s really beautiful. Plus, the Flamenco dancing is amazing!

    Madrid, Spain – Just a really cool city. I would compare it to London. Art lovers should visit the big three museums, the Prado, the Thyssen, and the Reina Sofia.

    Nice, France and Monte Carlo, Monaco – The French Riveria is as scenic as it gets, with the Mediterranean Sea against a mountainous landscape. Nice is nice, haha, and Monte Carlo is the cleanest city I’ve ever seen. Also, there is a village called Eze atop a hill that will transport you back centuries. Small cobbled, uneven streets with charming houses and flowers everywhere.