The 7 Best Cities In The World According To 429,000 Conde Nast Traveler Readers...
Posted on February 22 2019
Here are the cities that made the cut in the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award results, published in October 2018. We showcase the top seven from the big cities list*, in reverse order…
With its incredibly diverse population, made up of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and expatriate communities, Singapore makes for a truly exciting melting pot of cultures. Many will be familiar with the Instagram-worthy infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, or with Raffles Hotel and its iconic Singapore Sling cocktail, but the city offers so much more than that for those who want to dig a little deeper. It goes without saying that taking time to walk through the three very distinct areas of Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street is a must. The local food centres, called hawker centres, are an incredible experience for foodies – ones to try are Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown or Newton Circus near Orchard Road. You might balk at the pig’s intestine soup, but we can thoroughly recommend Laksa, Chicken Rice, Chili Crab, Fried Carrot Cake and Roti Prata. A word of warning…if you order Carrot Cake in Singapore, don't expect the usual cake as you’ll most likely be served the local turnip dish! The Singapore Zoo and (unique in the world) Singapore Night Safari are definitely worth a visit, as are the Botanical Gardens and Sentosa Island with its myriad of attractions, including the Resorts World Complex. Sentosa also has a couple of great beach bars (although do not choose Singapore as a good beach destination, as you might be disappointed by the oil tanker views…). Orchard Road, with its mall after mall of shopping options, has a definite wow factor and last but not least, Singapore comes alive at night and you can’t go without sampling its multitude of drinking and dining options. The Quays (Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and Robertson Quay) are always buzzing and provide a scenic and easy option along the Singapore River. Emerald Hill off Orchard Road and Arab Street are also fantastic options – as are the bottomless hotel brunches.
Singapore photo credit to Chen Hu / Unsplash.
Sydney is without a doubt Australia’s, and one of the world’s, most stunning cities. Nothing beats getting off a train at Circular Quay station and wandering outside to catch your first glimpse of the famous opera house and bridge. It goes without saying that first-time visitors to the city should see these two landmarks, but to really experience them it’s worth booking a spot to climb the harbour bridge at sunset - watching the city change from day to night below you is something you’ll remember for a long time. Bondi Beach is another must-see, but those looking for a slightly quieter beach should catch the ferry over to Manly – a beach much loved by locals. If you’re in Sydney on a weekend, make sure you head to the iconic open-air Rocks Markets.
Vibrant, glamorous, grungy and utterly delightful, Hamburg is the perfect place to escape for a weekend away. The city’s maritime heritage is everywhere you look, from its sweeping harbour to its old redbrick shipping warehouses, fresh fish bread rolls, circling seagulls and a network of canals that rivals even Venice. First-time visitors should make sure they check out Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Once you enter the building, you’ll be transported up a set of futuristic escalators until you reach the top, where curved glass curtains reminiscent of waves greet you and lead you outside to a balcony with 360-degree views of the city. Another must-visit is the city’s famous fish market, open every Sunday morning. And finally, for those of us that love a little culture, the Kunstmeile (which translates to ‘Art Mile’) offers five renowned art institutions within a short walk of one another in the city centre.
You can expect a city that has harboured Beethoven, Mozart and Klimt to ooze culture and Vienna does not disappoint with its opera house, concert halls and art exhibitions. In addition to its stunning Baroque architecture, Austria’s capital is also filled with riches and grandeur from the past, as can be seen in its majestic imperial palaces like the Imperial Palace of Schönbrunn (enjoy the magnificent gardens and see if you can catch a concert). St Stephen’s Cathedral, the old wheel at the Prater (Vienna’s recreational park) and the Spanish Riding School are definitely worth mentioning as well-known city landmarks. Just make sure you intersperse all the visiting with planned stops at some of the city’s most notable cafés, to fully appreciate the city’s café culture. And if you fancy a spot of dancing…Vienna celebrates Carnival mainly during the months of January and February every year and has over 450 balls you can attend!
Sophisticated, cool and stylish without trying, hipster Melbourne is Australia’s cultural and not to mention coffee capital. There are more than 200 laneways hidden in the city centre – concealing some of the world’s best street art, bars and cafes. Dining out is a favourite pastime of Melburnians, whose favourite meal tends to be a brunch of smashed avo on toast – with a sprinkling of feta and chilli flakes – all washed down with a flat white. But there is much more to Melbourne than its city centre and visitors to Australia’s second biggest city should make sure they check out quirky Fitzroy, before heading to St Kilda to check out the beautiful pier and Luna Park which boasts one of the oldest rollercoasters in the world. Finally, don’t forget to check out Brighton Beach to see the famous colourful beach huts.
Amber is wearing the Cat Turner V-Neck Summer Dress in Navy Blue during her recent trip to Melbourne's Brighton Beach.
When you arrive in Kyoto, it’s easy to imagine that you are stepping back in time to ancient Japan. With temples and shrines lining the streets, the cultural opportunities are endless. Head to one of the kimono shops to be dressed as a geisha for a day, as you stroll through the bamboo forest, or make your way to the temple that is plated in gold, Kinkaku-ji. Wake up early and beat the crowds to hike up the Inari mountain, passing through the thousands of bright orange torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha. If you can, we fully recommend you head to Kyoto during the cherry blossom season to see the walkways and shrines covered in soft pink petals. Another popular time to visit though is in the autumn, to see the bright colours of the leaves. Whenever you chose to visit, Kyoto has some of the best food in the world, with sushi masters, noodle makers and sake breweries for you to try.
Tokyo is a city of opposites. During the day the city works like a machine, perfectly organized and operating smoothly. When night-time rolls around, it’s time for the people of Tokyo to let loose. In Tokyo you’ll find some the most unusual things to do, such as go to a Compliment Café and have the waitresses tell you nice things, go and have your ears cleaned or dress as a cat while someone dressed as a maid serves you ice cream!! Experience getting lost in a crowd of thousands as you try and cross the street at Shibuya crossing, or zip around the streets in a go-kart dressed as a Mario Kart character. The opportunities for the unusual are endless. For those seeking a tamer experience, and an escape from the hustle and bustle, we can thoroughly recommend a visit to the Imperial Palace and the Meiji shrine.
Tokyo photo credit to Alex Knight / Unsplash.
Blog post published by:
- Cat Turner, Founder of Cat Turner, passionate round the world traveller and seasoned expatriate.
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- Amber, our favourite Australian travel blogger, resident in London, who has travelled to 43 countries and is the author of http://www.48hoursineurope.com/
- and Alayna, a Canadian travel blogger who has visited over 40 countries across 5 continents and has recently experienced Japan.
* there is also a small cities list which we have not featured here