Today I’m sharing the next 20 cities, from Jerusalem to Mysore.
I hope you’ll find some inspiration for planning your future travel!
Jerusalem is the most interesting city I have ever visited, which is what makes it a perfect city break. A holy city for Christians, Jews and Muslims, it is packed with cultural sites. In the walled Old City, explore the narrow streets filled with market stalls. You’ll see pilgrims tracing the Stations of the Cross, finishing at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the location of Jesus’ tomb. Watch how the different Christian sects share space for their rituals. Nearby, at the Western Wall – the remains of the Second Temple – devout Jews pray, the men separate from the women. Right above the Western Wall looms the Dome of the Rock, a spectacular example of Islamic architecture marking the third holiest spot in the world for Muslims.
Besides all of this religious expression, there are dozens of archeological sites both in and outside the Old City: try the Tower of David Museum and the City of David, which is even older than the Old City. Shop in the chic neighborhoods outside the walls, eat at the very hip First Station, and sample the night life after hours in the Mahane Yehuda market area. Your only regret will be that you didn’t get to see everything!
Colourful Kochi perches happily on the Keralan coast of India. One of the main reasons we love it as a city break is that it’s just an overnight sleeper train ride away from our home in Bangalore.
But it’s the incredible contrasting history that keeps us going back. The old town of Fort Kochi showcases a rich colonial past (a mesh of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British empire builders) with quiet lanes and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere; a welcomed break to the chaotic, bustling main cities you may have experienced elsewhere in India.
This is where you can relax and enjoy staying at one of the numerous and very reasonable priced heritage hotels. Plus, in the space of a few square miles you’ll see fisherman working Chinese fishing nets, Kathakali performances, spice markets and vibrant street art by local students keeping the history alive.
If you’re in need of some beach time, Cherai beach is just a 1 hour tuk-tuk drive north. And even if you’re not a cricket fan, try to catch an international match at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium; the atmosphere is electrifying!
They say that there are two kinds of people – one who love Kolkata and the other who hasn’t visited Kolkata. Kolkata is a paradox – a mix of the old and new, the passionate and placid. But Kolkata is a city with a soul. With her exquisite charm and mouth-watering food, Kolkata makes for an ideal city break.
Kolkata is an eclectic mixture of the past and the present. At one end, you have century old architectures and heritage buildings, while on the other, there are swanky malls. The street food of Kolkata is simply delectable. Kolkata has food for all. Also famous for its sweet dishes, Kolkata boasts of Rosogolla and Sandesh (both are sweets made from milk). Kolkata is a city that is passionate about art and culture. And it is a city with a soul. You can simply stop someone at the road and have a friendly chat with him. And who can ever not get impressed by the grand celebration of Durga Puja in Kolkata?
Experiences definitely not to be missed in Kolkata: The Howrah Bridge – it is the largest cantilever bridge in India; Don’t miss the colonial charm of Dalhousie Square and do visit the Victoria Memorial; Try the street food in Kolkata, but a word of caution, the food is a bit spicy; Take a boat ride on the River Hooghly from the Princep Ghat; Visit the famous Kali Temple at Kalighat, plus Dakshineswar & Belur Math; Visit Mother Teresa’s House, though it is not a traditional tourist point.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
There’s so many things that make Kuala Lumpur a great city to visit.
One is its marvellous architecture, where you can see modern skyscrapers such as the Petronas Towers and at the same time intricately designed old shrines and temples.
Second, it has a unique multicultural heritage. Unlike other cities where Westernization completely took over, it has retained its Indian, Malay and Chinese origins. You can see it in tourist attractions such as the small chinatowns and India Brickfields, as well as its cuisine. Most people would agree that Malaysian cuisine is good and cheap – in particular the rotis, rice meals (nasi lemak, nasi goreng, nasi kandar, etc.) and the various street foods that can be bought in street-side stalls or night markets such as Jalan Alor.
Lastly, the locals are generally friendly and polite, a lot of times even chatty. A lot of them smile at you in elevator rides. With these, it’s no doubt that Kuala Lumpur is a great city break destination in the Southeast Asia.
Katherine Cortes blogs at Tara Lets Anywhere.
It’s safe to say that I’ve fallen hard for the whole of Japan, all of it that I’ve seen anyway. Having dreamed of visiting for decades, we finally made it five years ago and loved it so much we went back 12 months later, and again a couple of years after that.
But Kyoto is the city that turned a one-off holiday romance into an enduring love affair and 18 nights so far are not nearly enough!
A huge part of my fascination is in Kyoto’s history and culture. Also known as the city of 1000 temples, some travellers warn you against ‘templing out’, but each temple and shrine is quite distinct, from the tiny octopus-themed Takoyakushi-do temple, to Yasui Konpira-gu shrine, where hopefuls can crawl through a stone to break a poor love match or forge a new one, to Fushimi Inari’s caterpillars of vermilion torii gates crawling up the hillside, to the ornate detail of Kinkakuji’s golden pavilion.
As the former capital, there are impressive historical sights such as Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle, as well as the traditional old districts of Gion and Higashiyama, where low-rise wooden machiya create a special charm. Of course, as one of the country’s largest cities, there is much of modern Japan to be found here too, starting with the impressive Kyoto station many visitors arrive into — a vast conglomeration of mainline and metro stations, hotels, department stores and restaurants.
Kyoto is culturally very rich, not only the birth place of geisha traditions (known here as geiko), but of many artisan crafts and arts. Whether it’s individually forged and finished knives, hand-printed furoshiki, pottery and lacquerware, woodblock prints, or elaborately detailed kimono… being able to find, observe and buy from traditional artists is a thrill and a privilege.
If I’ve left it till last, that’s because Kyoto’s cuisine is such a big topic it deserves a post of its own! From the simplest chilled soba noodles, to freshly-made sushi, steaming bowls of ramen, crisply-fried tonkatsu, charcoal-grilled yakitori skewers, meat-coma yakiniku barbeques through to exquisitely-presented multi-course kaiseki feasts, Kyoto is a foodie’s dream destination.
León, in Nicaragua, is a beautiful colonial town that shouldn’t be missed. It’s super hot all year long, but there are beaches a short drive away and the food is incredibly good and inexpensive. It’s one of the most budget-friendly places we’ve ever been to – and definitely of the most affordable places in the Americas.
We fell in love with the colourful buildings with their beautiful wide and tall doors! The White Cathedral is dreamy and a perfect place to watch the sunset from above – although it’s not cheap, it really is a must!
Don’t miss the bean soup from La Cucaracha and the delicious lemon and coconut fruit juice available everywhere.
The best thing in León, though, is its super friendly and welcoming people. They were always willing to help with a smile.
Although some Portuguese people see Lisbon as ‘the big city’, for a capital city life in Lisbon ambles rather than rushes. And, that’s what you want from a city break. I’ve come home from far too many city breaks tired and, ironically, in need of another break. In many big cities, it’s easy to spend half the time trying to get from the airport into the city and the other half on public transport trying to see everything.
No so in Lisbon. Hop on the metro and you’re in the city centre in half an hour. Once you’ve dropped your bags off, you can spend the rest of your city break walking: Lisbon is a compact city and, although the hills can be tough, it’s fairly easy to get around on foot. Then there’s the weather. With more than 300 days of sunshine, there’s a very good chance it’ll be sunny.
Did I mention the pasteis de nata – or as some people call them, Portuguese custard tarts? A key part of any trip to Lisbon is going from pastelaria to pastelaria to see which one makes the best pasteis de nata. I don’t think city breaks get much better than that!
Ljubljana has all the ingredients for the perfect city break; relaxed vibe, beautiful old town, great cafes and bars and really affordable prices. The Slovenian capital will wow you from the moment you set foot there and leave you wanting to explore more of this fabulous little country.
Ljubljana has seen a surge in popularity in recent years and has firmly established a place on the European tourist trail. It has a great mix of student, arty vibes and intriguing history all rolled into one compact city centre. Everywhere is easily walkable and you’re spoilt for choice with cafes and bars on every corner. The street food market every Friday is the perfect place to sample food from local restaurants among crowds of locals and tourists. Make sure to visit the castle, Metelkova street art district and Tivoli Park.
A great way to get out into nature but staying within the city is to take a walk to the church in Roznik hill. It’s a beautiful walk through Tivoli Park and there is a great local restaurant at the top. The church is really sweet and along the way you can see great views down to the city.
My favourite city will probably always be London! No matter how many places I travel to, I still want to come back to London because I will never run out of new things to do and see there.
London is a great destination because it is multicultural, full of history, vibrant and exciting. There is always a new show, exhibit, bar or restaurant opening; as well as the old faithful beautiful places like the museums, shops and parks. Walking around among famous buildings you have seen in film or television is slightly surreal, but also makes London feel incredibly familiar. I love venturing to the best places for views over this stunning city, as well as getting close to nature among its hundreds of parks and open spaces.
The best part about London is that there are things to entice everyone, no matter what their interests. I love exploring the mix of old and new in this city, and I will always return to London again and again!
Los Angeles, California, USA
Los Angeles is one of those cities that you can visit over and over again. The popular Southern California city has so much to offer for new and even returning visitors. The people, the food, and even the landscape of Los Angeles are all diverse. Head to the San Gabriel Mountains to hike one of the many trails or relax on the beach in Santa Monica. Grab a bowl of ramen in Little Tokyo or go on the hunt for the best Mexican tacos in Los Angeles. Don’t miss Griffith Observatory during sunset, the DTLA Art Walk, The Getty, Venice Canals, and way too many more to list. From pop-up museums to the latest dessert trend, there is always something new to check out in the City of Angels. With such a wide range of things to do, see, and eat, Los Angeles makes for the perfect city break destination.
Lviv,Ukraine is one of my favorite destinations for the city break. I can’t count how many times I’ve already been there, only this year I visited Lviv twice! There are so many things I love about the city: the beautiful architecture, the charming cobbled streets, the outstanding number of cafes (did you know that Lviv has the biggest in Europe number of cafes per inhabitant?) or amazing restaurants, incredible interiors hidden for you to find them and the history you can encounter on every step! Despite so many visits every time I keep discovering new things in Lviv: my recent one was the Ethnography Museum with the staircase so beautiful my jaw literally has dropped. On top of that Ukraine is these days one of the cheapest countries in Europe so the getaway to Lviv won’t break your wallet!
My all-time favourite city break is definitely Malaga. After living in Malaga for half a year, I go back at least twice a year. At the beginning Malaga was mostly known for having Spain’s busiest airport from which you could easily reach popular holiday resorts in Torremolinos or Marbella.
But Malaga, birth town of Pablo Picasso, has undergone a fundamental change in the last years. It hosts prestigious museums like the Centre Pompidou and the Collection of Saint Petersburg, Russian Museum. Malaga is famous for its sweet wine which is obviously always joined by the finest Iberian ham. The most typical dish from Malaga is espetos: skewered sardines grilled over the open fire.
Probably Malaga’s best feature is its warm temperature all year round and its setting next to the Mediterranean sea. Malagueta is the city beach and it is surrounded by chiringuitos serving paellas and the freshest seafood. Malaga is pure bliss all year round.
There’s a reason why the recent bombing in Manchester received global interest, and it wasn’t because of the bomb itself. Mancunians didn’t shy away from the city in fear, they grouped together and sang. They scattered the city with handmade hearts encouraging people to take them away, they gathered in their thousands and went about their day to day life as normal. Because that is what Manchester does.
There is a reason the worker bee is a symbol of this incredible city and a reason why the New York Times named it as one of their ‘places to visit’. The people are friendly, the football known worldwide and the architecture stunning. The bend of old and new buildings is breath-taking with John Rylands Library a traditional landmark next to the glass façade of Spinningfields, home of the business district in the city.
Whilst none of the restaurants have earned a Michelin star, there is exceptional dining and you will find cuisine from around the world. Chinatown is the third largest in Europe, the Student Union is the largest in the UK and the gay scene is known worldwide.You will never be short of something to see or do.
Exotic. Wild. Interesting. These are just some of the words used to describe Marrakech. You can’t not be overwhelmed and excited by the sights and sounds of this beautiful African city.
With the ever-increasing availability of low-cost airlines and the possibility of experiencing a completely different country and culture in a matter of two hours, Marrakech stands out for me as a favourite.
There’s no better way to discover the city than by wandering through and getting lost in the souks of Jemaa el-Fnaa, the old city. Don’t miss the Moorish minaret of 12th century Koutoubia mosque, along with the Majorelle gardens and the Bahia Palace.
Another favourite aspect of mine is the accessibility of fresh juice, dates, pastries and mint tea throughout the city. These serve as the perfect cohort to keep you going through all that wandering.
I do love a turnaround story so maybe that is why I fell in love with Medellin. It has gone from being the most dangerous city in the world to one of the most innovative cities in the world. This city has worked very hard to re-position itself as an exciting, cutting edge town and it delivers.
Medellin has used art to turn derelict squares into tourism Instagram opportunities (don’t miss the Square of Lights) and street art to turn once dangerous spaces into outdoor art galleries (add Communa 13 to your don’t miss list).
The energy in Medellin is palpable. For a city of 4 million people it has big city NYC / London energy. It has a pulse and an air of excitement, a city where things are happening and more is going to happen. The food is brilliant, it is cheap, the people are so friendly, the fruit is to die for (don’t miss mango slices with lemon and salt), the flowers are extraordinary (try to go in August for Feria de Las Flores) and it’s easy to get to. Get there before everyone else does!
Mexico City is one of my favourite destinations for a city break. Whenever I’m headed to one of Mexico’s beach destinations such as Puerto Escondido or one of its pueblos mágicos such as San Miguel de Allende, I will often opt to connect through Mexico City so I’ll have an opportunity to spend a few days exploring its art galleries, fascinating architecture and incredible cuisine.
Must-stops to eat include the newly-reopened Pujol, Dulce Patria featuring the inspired creations of Chef Martha Ortiz and El Cardenal for its traditional breakfast.
There are tons of sights to explore in Mexico City’s Historic Centre. But for something completely different, one of my favourite things to do is head beyond the downtown core to the floating gardens of Xochimilco. This network of canals dates back to the time of the Aztecs, when the ancient civilization engaged in agriculture producing crops on chinampas, pocket-sized farms floating on the shallow lakes beds of the Valley of Mexico. Today, visitors can glide through the canals floating on a trajinera, Xochimilco’s colourful gondola-type boats, enjoying mariachi music along with elotes (grilled corn on the cob) slathered with chile. It’s like one big floating fiesta.
Our favorite city is Montreal. Falling in love with Montreal was a wonderful accident. We first visited for the romance of a city with an old world European feel. Walking through Old Montreal certainly delivered that with the wonderful boutique shops and fabulous restaurants that really made us think we were in Europe.
What makes Montreal so special is the extra things that we weren’t expecting to find. First was the amazing variety of culture and FOOD. Latin, Portuguese, Asian, French and so much more choices of food that will appeal to any taste. They even have places that bring chocolate into every part of the meal, not just dessert. For even more unique experience, stop by Montreal’s cat café to enjoy a coffee and some of the cutest cats around. You may even be in time for the show. Yes, the cats perform tricks.
Montreal has some amazing art to see. There are museums and galleries all over the city. Montreal takes it to the next level of art displays. The city itself is the most beautiful canvas where some of the most talented arts create street art murals on buildings all over the city. Montreal hosts a street art festival that is not to be missed and made us want to come back again and again.
Moscow is a city I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, and as soon as I finally made it there I fell in love.
First of all, I find it beautiful – there’s certain kind of an elegance not only in the most famous sights like St.Basil’s, the Kremlin and the Red Square, but also in the stunning metro stations and in the crumbling Soviet buildings – memory of a time when Moscow was the centre of half the world.
There are plenty of things to do in Moscow – we spent an entire day riding the metro and marvelling at the luxurious stations, and another looking for the best examples of Brutalist architecture in the city. Architecture lovers should definitely check out the area around the Museum of Cosmonautics, which is full of Communist statues and memorials – the memorial to the Conquerors of Space is one of the most spectacular monuments we’ve ever seen!
Moscow also has many parks – Gorky Park is the best known, but we also liked visiting Patriarch’s Ponds, where the opening scene of the Master and Margarita (my favourite book) was set. I can’t wait to visit Moscow again, in winter next time!
Mumbai, the city of dreams, the land of opportunity, the city that never sleeps, the city of seven islands, Alpha City and so on. Mumbai goes by many names and each represents a different facet of this mysterious city. The word ‘Mumbai’ resonates a chaotic symphony in our minds. It takes a little while to hear it and see it dancing in its own rhythm.
Mumbai is built on seven islands that were once inhabited by fishing communities. Previously known as Bombay, Mumbai is one of the most populous and biggest cities of India.
Mumbai’s culture is a blend of traditional festivals, food, music, and theatres and a diverse range of cultures, religions, and cuisines coexist here. The city offers a cosmopolitan wide range of lifestyles with a variety of food, entertainment, and night life which can be compared to any other world capital. People come here for experiences. Local trains, auto rickshaw, Ganapati and the street food Vada Pav. If you haven’t experienced these, your visit to Mumbai is considered incomplete.
Well connected with the rest of the world, the very fact that I can commute alone in a taxi past midnight in this Bollywood city, makes me love it.
The quickest gateway from Bangalore, India, stands with sobriety the royal city of Mysore.
Famous for the sarees, woven with Gold thread, in ‘silkier’ silk fabric, the quintessential sweetmeat, Mysore paak (gram flour romancing with pure Desi ghee) and the majestic Royal Palace. The city lights up all the more during Diwali, the annual celebration of India to welcome the triumph of good over evil.
While in Mysore, do not forget to visit the old Railway Museum; visit early in the morning to avoid crowd and soak in the grandeur of the royal legacy. The queen had a coach dedicated to herself!
The Royal Palace itself is a treat to the eyes; visit before 5 pm since after that the ticket counter closes, denying entry. You can stay on to watch the light and sound show though. A quick drive from there shall take you to the River Kaveri, lifeline of Karnataka. Mysore is well connected with Bangalore by road and by rail line.