The Most Beautiful Cities in the World to See in Your Lifetime

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Forested national parks, idyllic seaside towns, and remote country roads all have their charms, but when it comes to global travel, there’s just something especially magical and inspiring about a beautiful and bustling city. But with so many pretty metropolises around the world, where to begin? Offering endless cultural adventures of the historical, culinary, and entertainment varieties and beyond, as well as spectacular sights and skylines, these cities are must-adds to your travel bucket lists. Admittedly, the list of breathtaking cities goes on and on, and it’s impossible to capture their spirits in just one image, but we went ahead and highlighted 25 of the most beautiful cities in the world to give you a starting place as you plan your globe-trotting tour (or, just to satisfy your wanderlust virtually—for now). Fairytale vibes await you.

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Lisbon, Portugal

This pastel-colored city on the Iberian sea is full of visual wonders. Set against the backdrop of hills with sweeping ocean views and colorful tiled buildings on every street, Lisbon is one of those places that fill you with hope and inspiration on even a simple neighborhood walk.

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New York City

The New York City skyline never fails to stun, no matter how many times you see it. Skyscrapers, rivers, bridges, parks, brownstones, it really has all the making for unforgettable views everywhere you look. And it goes without the saying, but looks aside, New York City has literally anything and everything a city could ever offer!

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Muscat, Oman

Bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, and the Arabian Peninsula, the coastal country of Oman is full of beautiful places to see and visit. As far as cities go, start in the capital, Muscat. Just one look at the gorgeous skyline gives you a glimpse into the fascinating history and unique geography, as it’s marked by Portuguese forts, a bustling harbor, and a backdrop of dramatic mountains.

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Venice, Italy

Whether it feels like you have the place to yourself or it’s cramped with tourists, Venice is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s also one of the most romantic places imaginable—you’ll get lulled to sleep by the water lapping against the buildings. Wander around the canals, go to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and the many art museums, and ride a water taxi or bus.

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Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is the perfect city destination for anyone who also loves the outdoors. You can hike to sweeping views and go wine tasting, and so much more!

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Budapest, Hungary

This Eastern European gem is full of romantic cafés, scenic views, and endless cultural opportunities. Take a stroll along the Danube (which splits the two cities, Buda and Pest), soak in geothermal baths, and visit Fisherman’s Bastion, a beautiful neo-Gothic building and lookout point.

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Jaipur, India

From this mesmerizing coral structure known as Hawa Mahal (it’s constructed of red sandstone, and its name, Hawa Mahal, translates to “palace of winds) to the Chad Baori (an ancient stepwell), there is so much to see and do in Jaipur, Rajasthan, especially for the color-loving maximalist.

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San Miguel de Allende

With colorfully painted buildings lining into the hilly landscape and some of the best food, art festivals, and artisanal shopping in the world, San Miguel de Allende is easily one of the most cities on the globe. You’ll especially love it if you’re a fan of baroque Spanish architecture, colorful blooms, and warm weather.

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Edinburgh, Scotland

Between all the medieval architecture, charming (and often foggy!) cobblestone streets, and lively traditional pubs, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Edinburgh. Get lost wandering through the windy roads in Scotland for a nostalgic adventure.

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Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is situated on the Adriatic Sea and boasts both vacation vibes and city adventure. From crystal clear waters and secluded beaches to incredible local wine and an endlessly rich cultural history, there’s so much to experience in this bustling city.

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Bagan, Myanmar

Dating back to the 9th century, Bagan is a world heritage site and one of the oldest cities on the planet. While you’re there, take a hot air balloon tour—floating high above the well-preserved ancient Buddhist temples and pagodas is truly magical.

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Paris, France

From the Seine to the pastel sunsets behind the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées all lit up at night. Paris truly has something for everyone, whether you love literature, art, architecture, food, nightlife, shopping, or simply walking around and exploring new cities.

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Marrakech, Morocco

If you’re looking for an adventure, add the Red City to your list. The bustling North African mecca includes over a dozen souks plus palaces, world-class gardens, design-centric raids, and the Atlas mountain range.

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Quebec, City

For a taste of European splendor without crossing the pond, head to French-peaking Quebec City. You can feel the history while exploring the narrow streets dotted with stone buildings in the city center, which dates back to 1608. Though it’s quite cold, it’s particularly cold in the winter when blanketed in snow.

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Spectacular ocean views, countless cultural events and experiences, and a lush tropical landscape set this Brazilian metropolis apart. If you love the outdoors, bumming on the beach, exploring local design landmarks, and eating, then you’ll definitely want to add Rio to your bucket list.

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Sydney, Australia

If you’re planning an adventure down under, you can’t miss Sydney, Australia. The dramatic views of Sydney’s harbor, made even more stunning by the single arch steel bridge up against the famous Opera House, showcase the city’s sleek architecture but did you know it’s also a surfer’s paradise as well as a hub for design and style?

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San Francisco , California

Hike up and down the many steep hills of this beautiful California locale and you’ll find yourself wondering how anyone ever managed to build a city here. But then you’ll reach sweeping views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and twinkling lights all around you and you’ll be thankful that someone managed to do so. Plus, the food scene is unbeatable!

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has more than one hundred kilometers of canals winding through it, which is just one of the things that makes it a majestic place. It’s also a mecca for art, culture, and fun.

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Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia’s bustling capital city since the French protectorate, Phnom Penh is right along the Mekong River and the Tonlé Sap River. Aside from being a breathtaking destination with endless activities and historical sites to learn about, it’s also fun to explore the many diverse neighborhoods and try all three delicious foods.

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Cartegena, Colombia

Cartagena is on the Caribbean coast, so you can expect breathtaking sights and panoramas everywhere you go. Well-preserved colonial gems line the streets of the Old Town, and bougainvillea drapes all the charming balconies.

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Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is full of architectural delight thanks to the city’s Gothic quarter as well as the many Antoni Gaudí landmarks, including La Sagrada Familia, Parque Guell, and Casa Battló. And then there’s the surrounding backdrop of palm trees and white sand beaches that make it all the more beautiful. Not to mention, the world-renowned nightlife! So, basically, this Catalan city is like a playground for grown-ups.

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Kyoto, Japan

The Daigo-Ji Temple in Kyoto attracts crowds during the cherry blossom season, but it’s a striking city to visit all year round. Tour all the historic buildings (one pagoda dates all the way back to 951) and then venture into the striking bamboo forest.

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London, England

London is a fun city to visit any time of year, but also one of the most liveable cities in the world. IT has so much more to offer than just beautiful sights. Aside from being super liveable thanks to an incredibly efficient public transportation system, there’s also street style and design inspiration on tap, some of the coolest museums, and most delicious restaurants in the world.

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Havana, Cuba

With history and visual delights everywhere you look, Cuba’s capital city is endlessly inspiring, especially for anyone with a soft spot for nostalgia.

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Prague, Czech Republic

If you like visiting cities that make you feel like you’re traveling to a more magical realm and time, then you must plan a trip to Prague. As one of the most iconic and oldest cities in Europe, there are countless scenic views to admire.

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