World's Best Cities and Travel Destinations
 
Unique places, often important in history - sights to experience at least once in a lifetime

List of 50 cities by Van Sloan, Princeton grad. In rankings, Sloan focuses on the quality of an area - including culture, accommodations, and additional places of interest nearby. He has traveled to all 50 locations and has photo albums of all of them (plus many other cities) at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com

 
 

1. *Paris, France - Sainte-Chapelle and the Louvre. * means that this country was once the leading civilization in the world (1672 - 1814 for France, the glory years for Versailles). See List of leading civilizations

Van Sloan has several photo albums of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 8/2013 Paris albums

 

 

2.**Istanbul, Turkey - Hagia Sophia and Golden Horn harbor

(** means that this country/area was TWICE the leading civilization in the world (467-589AD and 976-1071AD). The Hagia Sophia church was completed in 537AD. See maps of the changing size of the area ruled by Istanbul )

Van Sloan has photo albums of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 6/2013 albums
 

 

3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Christ statue

Van Sloan has photo albums of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 7/2012 albums

 

 

4. Hong Kong **(China) - Victoria peak walk loop

Van Sloan has a photo album of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 10/2010 album

 

 

5. *Venice, Italy - gondola ride

Van Sloan has a photo album of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 10/2009 album

Venice was first in the Italian Renaissance, then passed the lead to nearby Florence and Rome - EACH a world leading civilization at least once. See list of world's leading civilizations )

 

 

6. Ubud, Bali - river rafting (In the photo, Van is on the right.)

Van Sloan has photo albums of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 7/2006 albums

 

 

7. Yellowstone Park (Wyoming USA)- Unique Old Faithful geyser area, waterfalls. Van Sloan has a photo album of this area - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 9/2013 album. This place is recommended mostly for its natural scenery. Similar recommendations are Grindlewald for snow capped mountains (number 18 here) Sorrento for dramatic coastlines (number 19) Las Vegas for the nearby Grand Canyon (number 21) and Santorini isle (number 48).

 

 

8. **Granada/ the Alhambra, Spain - sidetrip to Marbella (Spain and Islamic caliphate)

Van Sloan has a photo album of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 6/2005 album

 

 

9. Bangkok, Thailand - Emerald Buddha temple

Van Sloan has a photo album of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 7/2006 album

 

 

10. **Lijiang, China and nearby Tiger Leaping Gorge - listed as one of the world's top 10 walks at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2024466/Top-walks-world-Pembrokeshire-Coastal-Path-honoured-alongside-Inca-Trail-Kilimanjaro.html

Van Sloan has a photo album of this city - at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com see 10/2010 album

 

 

 

Next 40 Best Cities in the World As in the above 10, the focus is on local culture plus the enjoyment of visiting the city or area. The suggested site is just one of many ways to experience that culture. Van Sloan has traveled to all of the above 10 spots, plus all of the next 40 best spots below.

WARNINGS are placed below on Luxor and Athens because of 2015 instabilities that could affect tourists

@ For Sloan's latest photos on all of these cities (and other places visited) see http://vansloan.shutterfly.com. Look there for the album month and year shown below. Sloan's second album there of INDEX and FAVORITE PHOTOS shows where there are prior albums of some of these cities:

11. **Rome, Italy - Sistine chapel @ 5/2014

12. *New York City, USA - Metropolitan museum @ 11/2011

13. **London, England - British Museum @ 6/2016

14. *Prague, Czech Republic - city views from castle. @ 5/2009 Prague was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, a world leadership center.

15. *San Francisco, USA - cable car ride, Monterey Bay sidetrip @ 10/2013

16. **Luxor, Egypt - Karnak, side trip to Giza pyramids @ 1/2010 WARNING

17. Sorrento/ Capri, Italy - seafront views. Side trips to Pompeii and the Amalfi drive @ 5/2014

18. Grindelwald, Switzerland - trains to Wengen and Lauterbrunnen valley @ 7/2014

19. Jerusalem, Israel - temple mount @ 10/2009

20. Las Vegas plus Grand Canyon, USA @ 5/2012

 

21. St. Petersburg, Russia - Hermitage museum, sidetrips to Peter and Catherine's palaces @ 6/2011

22. Sydney, Australia - harbor ferries trips @ 1/2006

23 *Amsterdam, Holland - Rembrandt and Van Gogh museums @ 7/2013

24. Tallinn, Estonia - medieval old town and walls @ 7/2011

25. Monaco and the French Riviera - village of Eze @ 6/2014

26. *Salzburg, Austria - view from castle, sidetrip to Kitzbuhel @ 10/2009

27. *Washington DC, USA - museums on the Mall @ 11/2011 for several photo albums

28. Cape Town, South Africa - Atlantic beaches @ 12/2011

29. *Udaipur, India - restaurant meals overlooking the lake @ 1/2011, 1/2013

30. *Florence, Italy - view over city, Uffizi gallery @ 6/2014

 

31. Tokyo/ Narita temples, Japan - Shinjuku area @ 10/2008 (NOT Kyoto - town is too ugly - see another person's well-written reactions to Kyoto.) I don't understand why Conde Nast Travel + Leisure readers rank Kyoto so highly as a city. The temples are great, but the city is ugly, as even the mayor of Kyoto has acknowledged.

32. Cuzco, Peru/ Machu Picchu @ 7/2009

33. *Amboise, France - Loire Valley chateaus @8/2011 for several photo albums

34. *Athens - Parthenon, side trip to Paros @ 5/2013 WARNING: Sloan in 2015 had his suitcase and wallet stolen, in 2 separate incidents.

35. Marrakesh, Morocco - side trip to Essaouira 12/2015

36. *Seville, Spain - tour the Alcazar palace and Cathedral @ 10/2007

37. *Budapest, Hungary - walks along the Danube @ 7/2015

38. Stockholm, Sweden - boat trip to Drottingholm palace @ 6/2011

39. Brugge, Belgium - canal boat ride @ 7/2013

40. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - walk beaches to Conchas Chinas @ 2/2013

 

41. Vancouver, Canada - waterfront view of mountains @ 10/2013

42. Lisbon, Portugal - view from castle, side trips to Cascais and Sintra @ 9/2007

43. Mosel/ Rhine rivers, Germany (Cologne area) - Eltz castle @ 5/2009

44. Copenhagen, Denmark - activity at colorful Nyhavn port @ 7/2011

45. Opatija, Croatia - seafront walk to Volosko @ 9/2009

46. Sedona, Arizona - Oak Creek flowing by Cathedral Rock @ 5/2012

47. Krakow, Poland - woodland circuit of town walls @ 9/2009

48. Honolulu, USA - ride the waves at the Royal Hawaiian beach @ 12/2013

49. Bath, England - Pump house overlooking Roman baths @ 6/2016

50. Cartagena, Colombia - walk the ramparts and colorful downtown @ 6/2008

* means that this city or country was once the leading civilization in the world. See List of leading civilizations )

** means that this city or country was TWICE the leading civilization in the world. See List of leading civilizations ) The countries that were once leading civilizations that do not appear on the above top 50 list: Iraq (Middle ages and Ancient), Iran, Lebanon.

@ means that this city has a photo album at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com

37 countries are represented in Sloan's above Best 50 list. Each country has just one site, except for USA (7 sites), Italy (4 cities), and these with 2 cities: China, England, France, and Spain

Many of the above Best Cities are in Europe. Ten make ideal stops on a popular loop trip: London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Salzburg, Venice, Florence, Rome, Monaco, Grindelwald, Paris. (None of the touristy Italian cities listed are typical of their country. Try Verona for a such a place.)

 

 

A similar list is at the useful Tripadvisor site - at www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice (includes comments and photos of each city)

Top 25 Destinations in the World - Travelers' Choice

2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 rank

1.........3........6........1. London, United Kingdom .

7.........1........3........2. Istanbul, Turkey .

6.........6........1........3. Marrakech, Morocco .

4.........7........9........4. Paris, France .

9.........9........2........5. Siem Reap, Cambodia .

16.......5........5.........6. Prague, Czech Republic .

3.........2........7........7. Rome, Italy .

#.........8........4........8. Hanoi, Vietnam .

2........12.......11........9. New York City, New York .

#.........#.......15.......10. Ubud, Indonesia .

8........15.......13.......11. Barcelona, Spain .

#.........#........#........12. Lisbon, Portugal .

#........18.......24.......13. Dubai, United Arab Emirates .

#........17.......17.......14. St. Petersburg, Russia .

#........20.......18.......15. Bangkok, Thailand .

#.........#........#.........16. Amsterdam, Netherlands .

13......14........8........17. Buenos Aires, Argentina .

#.........#.......23........18. Hong Kong, China .

#.........#........#.........19. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

#.........#........#.........23. Kathmandu, Nepal .

14.......23.......25.......24. Sydney, Australia .

#........21.......21........25. Budapest, Hungary .

Other cities below 25 in 2016

5 .......25........#. San Francisco, California .

10........11.......#. Berlin, Germany .

11........18.......#. Chicago, Illinois .

12........13.......#. Florence, Italy .

15.........4.......#. Beijing, China .

17.........#.......#. Las Vegas, Nevada .

18.........#.......#. Bora Bora, French Polynesia .

19........10.......#. Shanghai, China .

20.........#.......#. Honolulu, Hawaii .

21.........#.......#. Los Angeles, California .

22.........#.......#. New Orleans, Louisiana .

24........24........#. Chiang Mai, Thailand .

25.........#........#. Dublin, Ireland .

#..........#.......12. Zermatt, Switzerland .

#..........#.......14. Goreme, Turkey .

#..........#.......20. Athens, Greece .

#..........#.......22. Queenstown, New Zealand .

# means not in the top 25 that year

Another list of the world’s best is the Viator Travel Awards, based on votes by travelers (from http://travelblog.viator.com/top-50-travel-destinations )

Their top 10 in 2011: New York City, London, Paris, Las Vegas, Rome, Sydney, Barcelona, Venice, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro

Their top 10 in 2010: Paris, Las Vegas, Rome, New York City, London, Florence, Tokyo, Sydney, San Francisco, Melbourne

Travel + Leisure magazine does an annual reader survey of World's Best. This is the list for 2015 (with 5 prior years rankings):

TOP 10 CITIES

2015.2014.2013.2012.2011.2010.rank....city

1..........1........5........9.......--.......--.......Kyoto

2..........2........7.......--.......--........--.......Charleston, South Carolina

3..........4........3........2........2........3......Siem Reap, Cambodia

4..........3.......--.......--........--.......--........Florence

5..........5........6........6........3........5.......Rome

6..........1........1........1........1........--.......Bangkok

7.........--........--.......--........--........--.......Krakow, Poland

8..........8........--......--.........9........--.......Barcelona

9..........4........4........6........--.......--.......Cape Town

10..........--........--.....--........--.......--.......Jerusalem

--..........2........3........5.........--......--.......Istanbul

--..........7.......--........--.........--......--.......Seville

--......... 9.......--........--.........--......--.......Mexico City

--.........10.......--........--........--......--...... New Orleans

--.........--........9.......10.......10.......--......Paris

--.........--........10......--........--........2.......Chiang Mai, Thailand

cities showing a -- ranked above 10 that year by Travel + Leisure

The T+L list is no longer like Van's best list. I feel they rate Kyoto, Florence, Barcelona, and Mexico City too highly, and ignore the universal favorite of Paris.

In islands, Bali kept its #2 ranking from 2011 to 2012 by T+L readers. Other islands in the top 5 come and go. Galapagos was #1 in 2010, but down to #10 in 2011. Santorini was #1 in 2011 and in 2014. 3 Hawaiian islands were ahead of Bali in 2014.

T+L Top 10 Cities Overall in 2009 and 2008

 2009 Rank  2008 Name of City Rank in 2010
1 - Udaipur, India over 10
2 3 Cape Town over 10
3 1 Bangkok #1
4 2 Buenos Aires #7
- - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico #4
5 - Chiang Mai , Thailand #2
6 5 Florence #3
7 - Luang Prabang , Laos over 10
8 8 New York #10
9 7 Rome #5
10 10 San Francisco over 10
11 4 Sydney #6
12 - Jaipur
13 - Oaxaca #8
- - Barcelona #9
14 9 Istanbul
15 - Fez
16 6 Cuzco
17 - Jerusalem
18 - Siem Reap
19 - Quebec City
20 - Kyoto


The scores for a city are strongly influenced by the quality of its top hotels. When a fancy new hotel is built, a city sometimes gets a spike in its scores, making a chageable list with some popular cities of the moment for wealthy travelers. Cusco in 2008 is an example.

In their top islands list, Bali was number 1 in 2007, number 2 in 2008, and back to number 1 in 2009.

Other unique cities in the United States: Santa Fe, Newport, New Orleans, Charleston. For attractive USA cities more typical of their regions, try Providence, Memphis, Madison, and Salt Lake City.

USA places best in season- Spring: Monterey Peninsula (for flowers), Yosemite (waterfalls) Summer: Maine coast, Fall: Vermont, Winter: southern Florida

Most comfortable countries For those who like travel but think that many of the above places are too exotic: If your primary language is English, you should enjoy these ten countries, listed in an order of increasing challenge: United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom (Britain), Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland (But as an Australian said to Sloan in Phuket, Thailand: "Why spend all that money to travel to the USA, which isn't that different from Australia?" Neither he nor I had then been to each other's country. We both agreed that Thailand was definitely different from home.

Most enjoyable countries in regions of the world - balanced lifestyle, good climate, sense of history, quality services, fun/ relaxation. Good examples for other countries in their area. (These are Sloan's thoughts)

1. Italy

2. Australia

3. Turkey

4. Mexico

5. Botswana

 

Cities for intense and varied cultures

1. Paris (Christian and Rights of Man values)

2. Kyoto (Buddhist)

3. Marrakesh, Morocco (Muslim)

4. Ubud, Bali (Hindu)elow

5. Mexico City (Spanish Catholic and Aztec)

 

CList of the 100 most visited cities in the world - from http://blog.euromonitor.com/2015/01/top-100-city-destinations-ranking.html

Sloan has visited the * cities below - and most of these have his photo albums at www.vansloan.shutterfly.com

City Country Ranking Arrivals 2013 (‘000) 2013/2012 % Growth

*Hong Kong Hong Kong 1 25,587.3 7.6

Singapore Singapore 2 22,455.4 5.4

*Bangkok Thailand 3 17,467.8 10.4

*London United Kingdom 4 16,784.1 8.6

*Paris France 5 15,200.0 4.6

*Macau Macau 6 14,268.5 5.1

*New York City USA 7 11,850.4 2.0

*Shenzhen China 8 11,702.5 -3.0

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 9 11,182.4 5.0

*Antalya Turkey 10 11,120.7 8.0

*Istanbul Turkey 11 10,486.3 11.8

*Dubai United Arab Emirates 12 10,458.3 6.9

*Seoul South Korea 13 8,619.0 3.1

*Rome Italy 14 8,608.3 2.2

*Phuket Thailand 15 8,035.0 11.3

Guangzhou China 16 7,630.1 -3.0

Mecca Saudi Arabia 17 7,512.1 9.6

Pattaya Thailand 18 6,986.2 6.4

*Taipei Taiwan 19 6,692.4 2.0

*Miami USA 20 6,275.1 4.1

*Prague Czech Republic 21 6,208.5 1.8

Shanghai China 22 6,089.7 -6.5

*Las Vegas USA 23 6,046.9 -0.8

Milan Italy 24 5,873.9 1.8

*Barcelona Spain 25 5,524.6 1.2

Moscow Russia 26 5,438.9 8.0

*Amsterdam Netherlands 27 5,204.1 1.2

*Vienna Austria 28 5,187.6 4.5

*Venice Italy 29 5,159.6 2.7

*Los Angeles USA 30 5,073.7 1.1

*Lima Peru 31 4,900.8 27.1

*Tokyo Japan 32 4,594.5 22.5

Johannesburg South Africa 33 4,512.2 3.3

Beijing China 34 4,502.5 -10.1

Sofia Bulgaria 35 4,448.5 7.8

*Orlando USA 36 4,379.2 3.0

Berlin Germany 37 4,312.5 4.9

*Budapest Hungary 38 4,222.0 7.5

Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam 39 4,197.7 7.0

*Florence Italy 40 4,186.1 2.0

*Madrid Spain 41 4,006.4 -2.6

Warsaw Poland 42 3,987.0 8.9

Doha Qatar 43 3,773.0 21.2

Nairobi Kenya 44 3,755.7 9.3

*Delhi India 45 3,672.2 27.3

Mumbai India 46 3,643.9 22.4

Chennai India 47 3,581.2 1.3

*Mexico City Mexico 48 3,441.6 10.1

*Dublin Ireland 49 3,398.3 9.7

*San Francisco USA 50 3,252.7 2.0

Hangzhou China 51 3,158.9 -4.6

*Denpasar Indonesia 52 3,125.3 8.9

*St. Petersburg Russia 53 3,103.0 7.0

Mugla Turkey 54 3,062.7 2.5

*Brussels Belgium 55 2,990.0 3.5

Burgas Bulgaria 56 2,940.3 9.3

*Munich Germany 57 2,894.6 5.0

Zhuhai China 58 2,886.5 -3.0

*Sydney Australia 59 2,853.0 6.5

Edirne Turkey 60 2,840.5 5.3

Toronto Canada 61 2,785.2 -1.2

*Lisbon Portugal 62 2,785.2 5.7

*Cancún Mexico 63 2,761.4 5.7

Buenos Aires Argentina 64 2,693.1 -6.6

*Cairo Egypt 65 2,625.0 -25.0

Punta Cana Dominican Republic 66 2,591.0 7.5

Suzhou China 67 2,587.4 3.8

Djerba Tunisia 68 2,538.4 3.8

*Agra India 69 2,483.2 5.5

*Kraków Poland 70 2,450.0 8.9

Bucharest Romania 71 2,439.7 3.8

Siem Reap Cambodia 72 2,411.1 16.9

*Jaipur India 73 2,403.0 2.5

*Honolulu USA 74 2,369.7 3.1

Manama Bahrain 75 2,349.0 15.4

East Province Saudi Arabia 76 2,338.4 8.5

Hanoi Vietnam 77 2,309.1 15.0

Andorra la Vella Andorra 78 2,287.5 2.2

*Nice France 79 2,272.7 2.3

*Zurich Switzerland 80 2,259.1 23.6

Jakarta Indonesia 81 2,194.2 7.7

Manila Philippines 82 2,188.3 10.0

Chiang Mai Thailand 83 2,127.0 6.9

*Marrakech Morocco 84 2,119.1 5.2

*Sharm el Sheikh Egypt 85 2,046.0 -7.0

*Marne-La-Vallée France 86 1,995.7 -3.2

*Frankfurt Germany 87 1,963.1 4.7

Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 88 1,951.4 19.4

*Vancouver Canada 89 1,951.2 2.0 Guilin China 90 1,942.7 6.5

Melbourne Australia 91 1,929.0 8.4

*Rio de Janeiro Brazil 92 1,917.9 10.0

Riyadh Saudi Arabia 93 1,899.4 9.2

Amman Jordan 94 1,872.5 -2.3

*Sousse Tunisia 95 1,844.2 3.8

Kiev Ukraine 96 1,818.0 -3.0

Sharjah United Arab Emirates 97 1,801.1 6.5

Jeju South Korea 98 1,779.2 46.3

*Krabi Thailand 99 1,772.2 16.5

Artvin Turkey 100 1,732.7 26.9

Research World Heritage links When planning to visit another country, check out http://whc.unesco.org/en/list to learn about the UN World Heritage sites there. Often they are worthwhile, interesting places to see. Click on the individual site links to read more about them.

Good Food adds to the desirability of a place. Go to: World's Top 10 Most Tasty Cuisines - with photos. French, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Spanish, Greek, Lebanese. It is interesting that all but Thailand and Mexico were once the world's leading civilizations. (But a top cuisine is not a feature of the most recent top countries: United States and Britain.)

A similar top 10 Cuisines of the World (by travel expert Hillman. His top 100 world sights discussed below). Chinese French Italian Indian Japanese Moroccan Spanish Thai Turkish Indonesian

Historical novels and related movies help us understand different cultures and times. Go to: 21 fine novels/ movies from Ancient Egypt to World War II.

Operas can give insights into leading or near-leading civilizations. Even if these operas do not reflect exact history, their music and lyrics have become symbols with that culture: Ancent Egypt - Aida by Verdi; China - traditional Beijing opera; Italy - Tosca by Puccini; Spain - Carmen by Bizet; France - La boheme by Puccini; Germany - Die Meistersinger by Wagner; Japan - Madame Butterfly by Puccini; Russia - Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky; Austrian Empire - The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart (or the movie Amadeus); Britain - HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan; United States - South Pacific by Rogers and Hammerstein.

 

Most Famous (and where to experience them best)

Artistic icons:

Painting - DaVinci’s Mona Lisa - Paris

Sculpture - Michelangelo’s David - Florence

Building - Shah Jahan’s Taj Mahal - Agra, India

Structure - Eiffel’s Tower - Paris

Music - Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony - Vienna

Ballet - Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker - St. Petersburg, Russia

Opera - Puccini’s Madame Butterfly - Nagasaki, Japan

Movie - Coppola’s The Godfather - Staten Island, New York City

Story - Homer’s Iliad - Troy, Turkey

Poem - Dante’s Inferno - Naples, Italy (sulfur gas vents)

Speech - Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount - near Tiberias, Israel

Scientific discoveries:

Math and Engineering - Archimedes' hydrostatics, compound pulleys - Siracusa, Sicily

Geometry - Euclid’s textbook Elements - Alexandria, Egypt

Measurement - Galileo’s experiments - Pisa’s leaning tower, Italy

Basic Physics - Newton’s laws of motion - Cambridge’s Trinity College, England

Chemistry - Mendeleev’s periodic table of the elements - St. Petersburg, Russia

Biology - Darwin’s Origin of Species - Galapagos Islands

Modern Physics - Einstein’s theory of relativity - Bern, Switzerland

 

6 Most Influential People in World History

1. Constantine – Forced the huge Roman Empire to move its capital from Rome to what is now Istanbul

2. Peter the Great – Forced the largest country in the world to move its capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg and to adopt Western styles

3. Louis XIV – Forced all he nobles of France to move to Versailles where he developed the most influential capital and styles in Europe

4. Qin Shi Huang – The first emperor of China who established the lasting concept of a unified China

5. Gutenberg – His invention of movable type allowed knowledge to be spread rapidly, fostering the Renaissance and Reformation, and the rise of modern Europe.

6. Jesus – His washing the feet of his disciples set the radical precedent that leaders should be servants of the people, a concept that many countries even today struggle to achieve.

Popular Destinations in the World (from http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/) 1.Paris 2.London 3.Rome 4.New York City 5.Barcelona 6.Amsterdam 7.Bangkok 8.Las Vegas 9.Istanbul 10.Singapore 11.New Orleans 12.Venice 13.San Francisco 14.Kuala Lumpur 15.Chicago 16.Orlando 17.Toronto 18.Dublin 19.Los Angeles 20.Beijing 21.Dubai 22.Sydney 23.Madrid 24.Buenos Aires 25.Berlin 26.Vancouver 27.Vienna 28.Seoul 29.Boston 30.Budapest 31.Montreal 32.Florence 33.Key West 34.Prague 35.Brussels 36.Copenhagen 37.Stockholm 38.Manila 39.Phuket 40.Ho Chi Minh City 41.San Diego 42.Rio de Janeiro 43.Tokyo 44.Cancún 45.Melbourne 46.Munich 47.Cairo 48.Sharm El Sheikh 49.Shanghai 50.Milan

2014 list Popular Destinations in the World Paris Bangkok Amsterdam New York City London Singapore Rome Kuala Lumpur Barcelona New Orleans Las Vegas Istanbul Tokyo San Francisco Copenhagen Venice Budapest Dubai Dublin Sydney Chicago Vienna Seoul Berlin Brussels Prague Los Angeles Stockholm Ho Chi Minh City Goa Beijing Lisbon Mumbai Florence Boston Athens Brugge Buenos Aires Key West Munich Toronto Vancouver Madrid Marrakesh Orlando Cairo Montreal Lahore Milan Moscow

World City Survey

In 2010 the London based consultant firm Knight Frank LLP together with the Citibank published a survey of world cities.[35] The Wealth Report 2010, which includes the World City Survey, assesses four parameters — economic activity, political power, knowledge and influence and quality of life. The list aimed to rank the world's 40 most influential cities. New York tops the list in Ecomomic activity, political power and knowledge and Paris tops it in quality of life. London and Paris get the same aggregate ranking of 149, making them de facto world's 2nd and 3rd most prominent cities. In 2011, the list was updated, and the top 20 cities ranked are:

Rank City Best category

1 New York Economic activity

2 London Economic activity

3 Paris Quality of life

4 Tokyo Economic activity

5 Brussels Political power

6 Los Angeles Knowledge and influence

7 Singapore Economic activity

8 Beijing Political power

9 Toronto Quality of life

10 Berlin Quality of life

11 Chicago Knowledge and influence

12 Washington, D.C. Political power

13 Seoul Economic activity

14 Frankfurt Quality of life

15 Sydney Knowledge and influence

16 San Francisco Knowledge and influence

17 Hong Kong Economic activity

18 Shanghai Economic activity

19 Mexico City Political power

20 Bangkok Political power

For another person's opinion on best places in the world, see http://hillmanwonders.com - with his links to descriptions/ recommendations on each world wonder. Hillman's list focuses on specific sites like the Taj Mahal. My recommendations differ because I focus on the quality of the area - including culture, accommodations, and additional places of interest nearby. A number of Sloan's WOW places below do not receive gold from Hillman (his top 100), including Tallinn, Sydney (How can Hillman prefer Ayers Rock?), Amsterdam, Monaco, Stockholm, Udaipur, Tokyo/ Narita, Cologne/ Rhine river, and Cape Town.

Or see: (Sloan's top 30 list seems a blend of Hillman's sites and Geographic's 50 cities. Smaller cities with spectacular sights nearby (like Cuzco) are not on National Geographic's list. Sloan has been to all but 12 of these top 50 cities.)

Places of a Lifetime

In October 1999 National Geographic Traveler showcased 50 of the world's top destinations, places that every curious traveler should visit in a lifetime. Now we're expanding our Places of a Lifetime franchise online, with personal essays on top destinations and the addition of a wealth of timely service information, from insiders' tips on the best places to stay and eat, to great books and music, to recommended walking tours. In our online Places of a Lifetime you'll find both inspiration and practical travel tips. Enjoy!

Go to: Van's favorite spots in world - for each season

Go to: Van Sloan's resume page (to see what else gets his interest)