The Top 5 Best Cities in the World To Visit

These are the top 5 best cities in the world, according to Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards!

The Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards for 2022 have dropped. You know what that means, right? It’s time to start planning vacations to all the best places in the world!

The world is a massive place full of so many things to see. When I’m trying to plan my next trip, it can seem overwhelming trying to figure out where to go next. After all, I really just want to go everywhere. How on earth do you pick a destination?

That’s why I like checking out the annual rankings from Travel + Leisure. The ratings aren’t just from the magazine itself, but from surveys done by their readers. That means that the opinions and ratings are done by all the travel enthusiasts who are out there experiencing these places throughout the year. They rate locations, hotels, resorts, cruises, and more from around the globe. From there, answers are compiled, scores are averaged, and the best of the best are found! Here’s the methodology behind their rankings.

While Travel + Leisure compiles these results into numerous lists – more than 115, to be clear – I like to start with the classic “Best Cities in the World.” When you don’t know where to travel next, it’s a great place to start!

To come up with the rankings for the cities around the globe, each city was rated on things to see and do, the culture, cuisine (always my favorite part of traveling!), shopping, friendliness to visitors, and the overall value for travelers.

So if you’re dreaming of your next big getaway, these are the top cities to consider, according to Travel + Leisure readers.

5. Istanbul, Turkey

View of the water and Istanbul, Turkey
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This wonderful city is the largest in Turkey and serves as the country’s cultural and economic hub. It is uniquely situated across two continents, straddling Europe and Asia. Here, you’ll find the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It encompasses 61 streets filled with more than 4,000 shops.

Because Istanbul has always been a hub and a melting pot of cultures, you must experience Turkish food. And you absolutely can’t visit Istanbul without seeing the Hagia Sophia Mosque. What started as a Byzantine church in the 6th century has since been an Ottoman mosque, a museum, and now it’s a mosque again. It features 30 million gold tiles through the interior.

Related: Istanbul also made our list for the world’s greatest skylines.

4. Florence, Italy

aerial view of Florence with close up of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) i
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I am not one bit surprised to see Florence, Italy ranked among the best cities in the world. This Italian city is home to some of the most beautiful Renaissance art, architecture, and monuments. There are just so many artistic treasures here.

The architecture alone makes it one of the world’s most beautiful cities! You will want to spend some time just wandering around and taking in the sights. As the birthplace of High Renaissance art, you can’t miss visiting at least several of the museums located here. Tuscan cuisine is amazing, so don’t leave Florence without taking a food tour of the city.

3. Ubud, Indonesia

temple in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
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The beauty of Ubud is unrivaled. Situated in the uplands of Bali, Indonesia, Ubud is the heart of Bali’s spiritual life and traditional crafts. Explore ancient temples and majestic royal palaces set amid lush jungle and green hillsides. The surrounding tranquil nature is breathtaking.

At the Puri Saren Palace you can see traditional Balinese dance performances, and don’t miss seeing the iconic rice terraces. Or, visit the village’s lively market to purchase artisanal crafts and take advantage of the booming wellness scene with yoga schools and meditation centers. There is also the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, where you can get up close and personal with more than 1,000 Balinese monkeys.

2. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Beautiful streets and colorful facades of San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico
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San Miguel de Allende is a charmingly colorful city known for its baroque Spanish architecture and the cobblestone streets in its historic center. You certainly can’t miss the dramatic pink stone neo-Gothic church in the center of it all.

The town’s main plaza hosts various music concerts and other cultural activities. You’ll also find a variety of restaurants, specialty shops, art galleries, and plenty of street food to try! San Miguel de Allende is so delightful, in fact, that some people never want to leave. A good chunk of the population is made up of expats.

1. Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico
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Sitting at the top of the list is Oaxaca, Mexico. This is actually not the first time this city has snagged number 1, taking the top spot back in 2020, too. It isn’t surprising, though, considering this capital city is full of art, historical architecture, artisanal culture, and a local cuisine that leaves visitors raving.

Oaxaca is particularly known for its moles and mezcals, lively markets, and local staples like grasshopper tacos. Stroll through the Textile Museum or Oaxaca’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Only 20 minutes away sits an impressive pre-Colombian archaeological site, Zona Arqueológica de Monte Albán, considered one of the most important in Latin America.

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