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19 Incredible Cities Around the World You Have To Visit Once

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Have you ever longed to visit incredible cities around the world? You’re not alone. I’ve always wanted to travel to exciting places with stories to tell. 

That said, there are so many cities around the world that interest me and that I’d love to go back to. Whether you are looking for Hanoi’s vibrant streets or Kyoto’s relaxed gardens, this list has a destination waiting to steal your heart.

1. Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona, Spain, is one of the most incredible cities to visit. It is a lively city in northeast Spain along the Mediterranean Sea coast and the 2nd largest city in the country.

The city is known for its rich culture, food, history, and tourist attractions. It houses some of the world’s most famous and innovative architecture, such as Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.

2. Berlin, Germany

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Berlin is a beautiful city in Germany that is surrounded by nature. It has hundreds of gardens and parks to explore on foot or on a guided bike tour. That said, there are many other things you can do in Berlin.

For instance, if you want to work on your tan, you can sunbathe in Görlitzer Park, the largest park in the Kreuzberg district. It has sunbathing lawns, playgrounds, and sports fields. Berlin also has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and the Museumsinsel (Museum Island).

3. Cape Town, Africa

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Another stunning city you shouldn’t miss is Cape Town in Africa. You may have heard of the famous Table Mountains and the adorable penguins at Boulders Beach, but these are only a few reasons to visit. Cape Town has much to offer, from excellent wine and food to great weather and scenery.

Cape Town is more affordable than cities in the U.S. If you’re adventurous, you can hike Table Mountain or visit Robben Island (where Mandela was imprisoned). You can also visit Bo-Kaap, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and Zeitz MOCAA for Instagram-worthy pictures.

4. Florence, Italy

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Florence is one of the most charming cities in Italy. It’s a place to immerse yourself in art, architecture, and history. It’s dubbed as the birthplace of the Renaissance and is home to the works of famous artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. 

Here, you can find the renowned Uffizi Gallery and beautiful attractions like the Ponte Vecchio and the Boboli Gardens. It also has some impeccable street art and incredible food (can’t go wrong in Italy). Go on short day trips in the countryside to taste wine, explore medieval hilltop towns, or take a cooking class. 

5. Paris, France

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Known as the “City of Love,” it’s self-explanatory why you must visit Paris once in your life. Besides the famous Eiffel Tower, Paris has much to offer, especially if you’re into art.

You can visit the world-renowned Louvre Museum to see famous paintings like the Mona Lisa. The Louvre Museum is a spectacle, with a pyramid structure you might have seen in the movie Da Vinci Code.

You can also see the famous Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the beautiful Sacré-Cœur Basilica. To shop, you can go to Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Boulevard Haussmann, and Saint-Ouen Flea Market.

6. Shanghai, China

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Dubbed the “Paris of the East,” Shanghai is a sought-after destination for many. It’s a picture of glitz and glamor with its skyrise buildings and luxurious shopping malls. The city is also full of variety when it comes to food—you can go cheap or luxurious, depending on your budget.

Though known as an expensive city, you can find places around the corner for cheap food. If you have the budget, you can also dine at an incredibly high-end Michelin restaurant like Ultraviolet. The city is also full of affordable clubs and bars like Perry’s, Helen’s, or Window’s, where you can get buzzed with friends.

7. Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Dubbed the “Rose of the North,” the beautiful city of Chiang Mai is the perfect place to relax without the 9-5 hustle. Visit the Doi Suthep Temple, chill around Lake Huay Tung Tao in one of its small wooden huts, or visit the Chiang Mai Flower Market. The city also has some of the most piping hot curries and incredible food influences that you can all find at the Chiang Mai night market.

For sightseeing, visit Doi Suthep and the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs. You can also experience the lively nightlife in Chiang Mai on Nimmanhaemin Road, where you can find many clubs and bars like the Warm-Up Cafe. Shop at The Weekend Market for handcrafted goods and street food stalls.

8. Chefchaouen, Morocco

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Known as the “Blue Pearl of Morocco,” Chefchaouen’s light blue streets and buildings will grab your attention. Situated in the Northern part of Morocco, its spectacular panoramic views make it a picture-perfect place. 

You can wander its blue streets, take pictures, watch the sun rise and set, or hike up the Rif Mountains. You can also shop in the Medina for colorful wool garments, woven baskets, and blankets. Moreover, you can visit the Kasbah Museum, a Moroccan fort, and the Plaza Uta El-Hammam (the main square of Chefchaouen).

9. Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Exploring the famous walls in the old town of Dubrovnik is a must-do activity. The views from the top are breathtaking and worth the climb. Nowadays, thanks to Game of Thrones, tourists come here to see Kings Landing, Qarth, or the gardens of the Red Keep in reality.

You can walk on the limestone walls along the top or climb the tower stairs. From there, you can see churches and monasteries with fascinating history on every corner. You can also visit the movie-like set of the Old Town, Dubrovnik Cathedral, Lovrijenac Fort, and St. John Fortress (Tvrđava Svetog Ivana).

10. Cusco, Peru

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Cusco, Peru, is a dream destination for every photo enthusiast. While Cusco has always been a magnet for the Inca and other Andean natives, the 20th-century discovery of Machu Picchu made Cusco a household name.

Today, it is the central spot and starting point to explore Machu Picchu and various Inca ruins throughout the Sacred Valley. The city stands on a 7,970-foot (2,430-meter) mountain ridge and is generally mild throughout the year. You can also visit the Maras Salt Mines and Moray Ruins or stargaze at the Cusco Planetarium.

11. Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest is a cosmopolitan city that also is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is built on an underground cave system which is the reason why there are so many thermal baths in the city. 

You can also visit the remnants of the Roman city of Aquincum and the Buda Castle. Apart from the pastel buildings, the seventh district hosts nightlife with street food pods and concealed clubs.

12. Bergen, Norway

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Bergen is a lovely city known as the heart of the fjords. It is home to brightly colored wooden houses and sky-high mountains with a panoramic view. 

If you enjoy seafood, Bergen serves fresh mussels and delicious scallops with crawfish that come directly from the water. In addition, visit the Hanseatic Museum and Schøtstuene, Fløibanen funicular, and the Hardangerfjord, where towering rock walls overlook apple orchards and strawberry farms.

13. Edinburgh, Scotland

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Edinburgh is a stunning place with green fields that stretch for miles. Whether you visit the gigantic Edinburgh Castle or walk around an extinct volcano and admire the magnificent view from the top of Arthur’s Seat, you will have an incredible time here. 

There are many gothic buildings and green areas in the city which make this a fantastic place to get fresh air and relax. You can also visit the beautiful Lauriston Castle and Gardens, the Scott Monument, or Camera Obscura & the World of Illusions.

14. Kyoto, Japan

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Kyoto is an embodiment of traditional Japanese culture. It is the home of authentic crafts, historic temples, and teahouses on narrow streets. Nijo Castle is beautiful to explore, but don’t forget the Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine, the Golden Pavilion, and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

The local cuisine is appealing and tasty. Besides the food scene, the city has a mix of contemporary shopping areas and conventional boutiques, like the popular Shijo Street and the region around JR Kyoto Station. 

15. Hanoi, Vietnam

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With beautiful architecture, Hanoi is a wonderful place for people who want to explore Vietnamese culture. Historic site after historic site, from the Ngoc Son Temple to the Temple of Literature, will leave you in awe. 

You can also visit the Bach Ma Temple, the city’s oldest temple, and the Lotte Observation Deck on the 65th floor to enjoy scenic city views.

16. Québec City, Canada

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Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in Canada, founded by European settlers. The city features cobblestone buildings and streets that give it a vintage feel. You can visit the Place Royale for Instagram-worthy selfies or Fairmont Le Château Frontenac for some luxury.

In addition to those sites, explore the Quartier Petit Champlain, picnic at the Plains of Abraham, or marvel at the grand Montmorency Falls. After that, you can stroll along Dufferin Terrace and appreciate the sunset view.

17. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Rio de Janeiro is renowned for its friendly locals, Jardim Botânico, and most of all, the 124-foot-high (38 meters) Christ the Redeemer statue. If you’re adventurous and athletic, you can hike to Two Brothers Peak on a trail that is 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) long and 1,073 feet (327 meters) in elevation.

You can also samba the night away at Pedra do Sal every Monday. After, head to the main square to resume the samba party. It’s a city where you can experience a more authentic side of Brazil.

18. Beijing, China

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Beijing, China’s capital city, is a beautiful blend of culture and modernity. The Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven Park, and the Summer Palace all showcase architecture that offers insight into Chinese cultural roots.

Places like Bird’s Nest and Water Cube in Olympic Park offer views of their more modern surroundings. Food such as jiaozi (dumplings) and Tuckahoe pie (a traditional sweet honey snack) will satisfy the food lover in you during your visit.

19. Porto, Portugal

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One of Europe’s tourist hotspots, Porto is known for its magnificent colored houses and Cais da Ribeira, surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and shops on every corner. If you’re a book lover, come to Livraria Lello and wander into the endless bookshop.

Besides those places, you can also explore Palácio da Bolsa and see its eclectic interiors and neoclassical design. You can also visit Foz do Douro, a place close to Porto where the river meets the ocean. Here, you can find a long promenade with pines, palms, and a beautiful pergola, where you can watch the water splash on the shore.

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Budget travel in Europe is possible and can be richly rewarding. Without straining your wallet, it offers a deeper understanding of the continent’s diverse cultures, landscapes, and histories. The key to exploring Europe affordably lies in choosing destinations that combine low living costs with abundant attractions, prioritizing experiences over luxury, and knowing a few tricks to stretch your euros further. Let’s have a look at 14 affordable European countries for budget travelers! 

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