The British painter Francis Bacon said: “Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder”. The writer Émile Zola even added that what matters is the state of mind and the moment of life in which one is contemplated. These are somewhat subjective criteria to define which cities are beautiful and which are not. In order to avoid controversy, most travelers take into account factors other than their experience, such as the size of the city, its architecture, its green spaces, its cultural, historical and artistic heritage and a varied gastronomy.
The so-called Venice of the North with its canals and more than 300 bridges is home to the lavish palaces of the Tsarist Empire. This former capital of Russia, whose streets and squares are among the bloodiest pages of its history, is an open-air museum that is blanketed by snow in the winter months. The bright colors of its cathedrals, palaces and buildings shine through on their own.
The former capital of Japan combines the charm of a classic city, where residents still wear kimono, with more modern neighborhoods. It is one of the few cities not bombed during World War II, leaving its architecture and heritage virtually intact. Located on the island of Honshu, Kyoto is Japan’s cultural and film metropolis. Here we find more than 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines, old imperial villas, film studios and more than 200 gardens, considered the most beautiful in the country for the diversity of their flora. The university is also one of the most important in Japan, so that atmosphere is not lacking either.
This city was one of the cities that suffered the most from the Balkan War, which resulted in it being heavily bombed. Despite the wounds, this European city has managed to recover the ancient beauty that characterizes it. The “Pearl of the Adriatic” is an ancient city notable for its importance in art and science, with a great wall listed as a World Heritage Site. In the city center, we find an ocher city with a special atmosphere that combines tradition and art. Streets trampled by knights, fishermen, plunderers, kings or merchants. Today, many of the old craftsmen’s houses have been converted into galleries, workshops or small shops. The beauty of this city has inspired series such as Game of Thrones, which has used it as a stage throughout the different seasons.
A must-see destination for your trip to South Africa, it is probably one of the most multicultural cities that has best integrated its European heritage with its African character. Their main attraction is the colorfulness of their picturesque houses. Like its surroundings, it is surrounded by an almost untouched nature, where once we find big hills and lush vegetation, like beaches with crystal clear waters with colonies of penguins (Simon’s Town), or an island of seals (Hout Bay). Some of the best vineyards in the country are also in the area.
The canal city par excellence consists of more than 100 small islands connected by more than 400 bridges. Its main charm lies in the fact that it is a pedestrian city, since the only traffic allowed is the boat traffic that passes through the canals. This has earned Venice the title of one of the most romantic and extraordinary cities in Europe. Many artists have left their mark here and founded a center. Its Renaissance architecture is one of its main distinguishing features, as is St. Mark’s Square, home to some of Italy’s most popular cafes and restaurants. It was also an important nucleus for Italian music.