The “IT” Cities you have to visit once in your life

Rio de Janeiro
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I’m often asked where my favourite cities are in the world and more often than not, I give a different answer every time. But the facts and figures speak the truth – there are some cities that are on everyone’s “to travel” list and hardly any of them surprise me! To create this list of “IT” cities, I gathered data of the world’s most visited cities last year, as well as compiling my own personal data from right here on the blog, to uncover the most searched terms we see on World of Wanderlust and the most popular “IT” cities have finally been named…. here’s the top 15 (because it was too hard to pick just ten)!



Lets begin with an obvious choice (and for good reason), the city of London continues to top the list of the world’s most visited cities, with nearly 19 million visitors last year alone. If you’re a first timer to the British capital, make sure you complete this London Bucket List and don’t forget there are some great day trips outside of London!

Emma in Paris - Photographed by: Brooke Saward


It should also come at no surprise that the city of love and lights makes the list, as Paris holds such a fond place in the hearts of many (myself included). With a Paris contributor who eats her way around Paris, you’ll find plenty of great articles on Paris here on the blog. Or you can shortcut your way straight to my favourites; The best sweets in Paris; How to be a Parisian; and the Paris Bucket list! 


Hong Kong

Hong Kong was the very first city I ever visited outside of Australia and after 6 or 7 visits, I’m still completely head over heels in love with this city. If you plan on visiting for a day or two only, here’s our guide to a Hong Kong Stopover. If you have more time (which I’d strongly recommend), here’s where to find the Best Dim Sum in Hong Kong.


New York

There is undeniably no other city in the world quite as chaotically charming as New York City. I don’t know how it is managed, but amidst the chaos and madness of New York there is so much intrigue with every step you take. Each neighbourhood breathes its own life in to the city, resulting in a huge melting pot in a city that feels like a whole world in itself. Before you go, see all of our guides to New York City!

Shangri-La Dubai


When I first visited Dubai some years ago I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. Everything I had read and seen in documentaries before arriving was fairly contradicting, and when I arrived I realised that is because Dubai is moving so fast that the rest of the world struggles to keep up! With such a strong different in cultural norms and laws, it is important to read this article as a first time visitor to Dubai.



Istanbul is hands down one of my favourite cities in the entire world, so I was hardly surprised when I found that it was one of the most searched cities from World of Wanderlust readers! If you’re venturing to Turkey for the first time you’re bound to head straight for Istanbul, so here are 5 sites you absolutely must see in Istanbul

marina bay sands singapore


As an Australian I am almost always stopping over in Asia and the Middle East en route to the Northern Hemisphere and Singapore has quickly become one of my favourite stopover cities. Singapore is a city you should eat your way around (the kinda city I like), so here are the most weirdly wonderful restaurants to try in Singapore. But if you’re only stopping over, be sure to make it a day visit at the very least as there is so much to see and enjoy during a Singapore stopover!



Although I have only visited briefly on two short visits, Bangkok is such a fun and exciting city that absolutely must be experienced at least once in your lifetime! Thai people are so lovely with smiles that extend across their entire face, so it is hard not to enjoy the capital! Plus the food is amazing and Bangkok has incredible shopping for visitors. See here for a quick guide to Bangkok if you’re visiting for the first time.

Tokyo Skyline


Tokyo is such an intriguing city that is hard to ignore when considering the world’s most coveted cities to visit! The Japanese capital is quirky, with so much to uncover beyond the typical attractions most capital cities offer. Don’t miss the chance to visit a cat cafe or be served lunch by a robot! And trust me… that is just scratching the surface of all the quirky charm on offer in Tokyo!

barcelona tapas tour


One city I know I didn’t have enough time in first time round is Barcelona, Spain. I instantly fell in love with the colourful and quirky Gaudi architecture, though I could have really done with an extra few days (on top of my four) to explore it in greater depth. A Barcelona Tapas Tour is an absolute must to appreciate the food culture here in Catalonia so be sure to book yourself in!



As one of the world’s most photographic cities, Amsterdam simply cannot go missed on a whirlwind trip to Europe. If you luck out and visit the city during tulip season you’ll be met with an array of colours at the flower market – a beautiful site if ever there were one. But truly any time of year is great to visit Amsterdam and its tree-lined canals. To make sure you see and do everything, be sure to check off this Amsterdam bucket list!



Ahhh Rome, the eternal city. How would a list of the world’s “IT” cities ever be complete without it!? I’m a huge fan of Rome, having visited with my dad when I was seventeen as our first European city on our Euro adventure. To see, do and eat everything in Rome – here’s our Rome bucket list!



The Russian capital completely and utterly fascinates me. Although I prefer St Petersburg to visit, I thought I’d better be fair and cover the most visited of the two. Moscow is full of history and intrigue, with some incredible displays of architecture (just head straight to the Red Square and you’ll see what I mean). My only regret is that I didn’t have long enough to enjoy the museums and public buildings, so I’ll be sure to return one day soon!



As the international gateway to Australia, Sydney is incredibly popular among foreign visitors – and for good reason! This city by the sea has a lot to offer and enjoys relatively good weather year round (though the odd shower or storm can sometimes creep up on you!) If you don’t have long, you can still do in Sydney in 48 hours if you know where to go in advance!

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

My favourite city in South America was hands down Rio de Janeiro (or simply ‘Rio’) in Brazil. This city is absolutely huge and can be overwhelming at first, but to make sure you see it all read this list of everything you must not miss in Rio de Janeiro!


Over to you! Where are your favourite cities in the world?

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    Cheap Accommodation
    April 21, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    I feel really inspired after reading your post. Tokyo is no. one in my travel list.

    March 29, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I love all these cities!! Althought I have only visited London, because I spent a week’s vacations in England. I wish I could be on vacation in all these cities.

    Lourdes Aguilar Benitez
    March 29, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Wow! I still have not travelled out of Spain. I would like to visit Paris, it is my dream, though all places that appear are amazing. Barcelona is a city that I visited and I was charmed with it. I would repeat that trip!

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    March 25, 2016 at 4:30 am


    Miles of Happiness - Marie
    March 22, 2016 at 10:43 am

    The list is pretty cool (love lists!). So, for the next few years, I’ve still got to visit Moscow, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Istanbul and Dubai. I’m sooo busy! 🙂

    March 19, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    it’s only 3 more to tick out in this list ! 🙂
    St Petersburg is incredible, when you’ll go next time – visit Petergof – a small next to it, where all the Russian tsars used to live – it is fantastic and unrealistically impressive !

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    March 19, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Another vote for Cape Town – you can’t please everyone I know, but Cape Town is in my top three.

    I don’t know if it’s because they are so close by (I’m UK based) – but Amsterdam and Paris were a bit ‘meh’ for me.

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    March 17, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Athens/Oia in Santorini = a must.

    March 16, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Still have to work on that list allthough I got the chance to see some of these cities ! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing.
    Kenza from

    March 16, 2016 at 6:06 am

    I think so too, Robynne 🙂

    March 16, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Wow…you truly have been all around the world and seen the greatest places on earth. It all looks so beautiful and you continue to inspire those like me to get out and travel.

    March 16, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Heyy Brooke! Where is Prague on the list? I thought you really liked it, and when it comes to me.. I looove Prague.

    March 16, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Nice list!
    I Have Been to Paris and Rome.

    I would like to go to New York.

    March 16, 2016 at 1:46 am

    And Berlin 😀

    March 15, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Missing Lisbon and Buenos Aires! But I have been to London, Paris, Bangkok and Rome of your list…still a lot to go 😉

    March 15, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Nice list! I feel like Chicago should be there too.

    March 15, 2016 at 10:50 am

    I would love to add Cartagena to this list! Amazing city and so much fun!

    March 15, 2016 at 7:40 am

    I really want to go to Istanbul and New York! I went to Dubai last year and it was aammmaaazzzinnng! I really want to go back there!
    Aleeha xXx

    March 15, 2016 at 4:14 am

    I have been to 3 of these cities but I want to go to all of them.

    March 15, 2016 at 3:36 am

    Great list and amazing photos! 10/15’s not bad, only 5 more to go 🙂

    March 15, 2016 at 2:46 am

    Great list!!! Most of them on my bucket list! Still a long way to go…! (Have only been to 3:-) Rome was just too charming for me:-) Can’t wait to see NY this year!!!;-) CT is also a must see… it’s just splendid!

    Laura Mareno
    March 15, 2016 at 2:10 am

    I have only visited 3 of them!! This has to change! haha hopefully I’ll be visiting Amsterdam next summer! great list! 😀

    March 15, 2016 at 1:57 am

    I was a little bit disappointed by New York TBH. But what about San Francisco, Shanghai and Dublin?

    March 14, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Such a cool post. I have already been to 8 and will visit 4 this year, hopefully the others are checked soon too! 🙂

    the travelogue (by Anna & Vanessa)
    March 14, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    That’s a great list with a lot of cool cities. Well, we would say that NYC must be our #1, followed by Paris and Lisbon!! But there’s still so much to see and next stop will be TOKYO in 5 days! Can’t wait and we’ve read on Instagram that you’re going as well. Exciting!! <3
    Love, Anna & Vanessa

    March 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    So many amazing cities, so little time! I can’t wait to cross off every single city on this list! 🙂

    March 14, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Great list, but I would have loved to see Buenos Aires in it!

    Gabi @ Books & Trips
    March 14, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I saw 6 out of these 15 – still a long way to go! So many cities, so little time 🙂 Great list!

    March 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    So glad Istanbul made the list, it’s one of the most amazing cities I’ve ever been to. London and Paris are also favourites, would love to live in each one day. Still need to get to Tokyo though!

    March 14, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    You need to add CAPE TOWN to your list 🙂

    March 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve been to 8 of them! Pretty dang proud of myself. My favorite one would either be Paris, London or Amsterdam. A bit cliché but that’s alright.

    • Brooke Saward
      March 14, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Clichés are so underrated anyway! I think my fave will always be Paris <3

    March 14, 2016 at 11:59 am

    What a fantastic list! I’ve been to a few but so many to cross of the list still!

    March 14, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Great Post but however Istanbul isn’t the Turkish capital ^^

    March 14, 2016 at 9:34 am

    I’m from London and it is honestly one of the best places (I’m not bias I promise!). Tokyo is also amazing and I’d love to visit New York and Dubai. Great post 🙂

    Catherine xx

    March 14, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I can cross of 6 already, almost 7. Yes!

    March 14, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I’ve only been to five of them, so thank you for the inspiration. I miss traveling 🙁

    March 14, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Really cool list! Need to come back to ones and explore the others 🙂