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The 10 Best Cities in the World to Visit in 2024/25

Updated: Jun 27

Here is a list of the 10 cities that I think are the best in the world. Obviously, this is completely subjective as everyone's personal travel experiences are different - and I have also not been to every city in the world (yet!)


There are certain cities that I have not enjoyed at all, like Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, and Las Vegas. No hate, they just weren't for me.


There are some cities that I love, and the things I am looking for are good food, cool vibes, street art and unique things to do.


The things I am not that interested in are architecture and shopping, so while places like Dubai are top choices for some, they have not been considered for this list of The 10 Best Cities of the World to Visit in 2024/25.


So here goes...



 


The 10 Best Cities in the World to Visit in 2024/25



This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may get a commission if you make a purchase through this website, at no cost to you. I only link to products I use and love.


1. Medellín, Colombia


There's only one place that could knock NYC off the top spot, and that's the one-of-a-kind, drop-dead-gorgeous artist's hub of Medellín.


Medellín stole our hearts from the get-go, and it's one of the reasons we have chosen to one day call Colombia our home. The beautiful city spreads outwards from a bowl-shaped valley in the region of Antioquia, in the northwest of Colombia in the Andes mountains.


Being in the hills, the climate in Medellín is pretty amazing - it’s basically spring all year round with temperatures not venturing too far outside an average of 23-25C every single day.


The people of Medellín and surrounds call themselves Paisas, they have a very strong cultural identity and they love their home. Until recently and for various reasons Medellín was not a safe place to visit, and in the early 90's especially it was dubbed the most dangerous city on earth.


Times are now changing, and the relatively fresh and new tourism industry marks an era of peace and positivity for Colombia, so I assure you, you will be VERY WELCOME to Medellín. There is tonnes to do, which you can read more about in my city guide to Medellín.



the rooftops of comuna 13 in medellin
The rooftops of Comuna 13 in Medellín

 

Not sure what to pack for your next backpacking adventure? Check out my article:



 


2. New York City, USA


Surprise, surprise, New York made it to the (almost) top of the list of the best cities in the world to visit in 2024. I feel like everyone who goes to New York City ends up having the time of their life, and my experience was no different!


I visited NYC by myself, staying in the cheapest hostel I could find in Brooklyn.


On my first day in the Big Apple, I forced myself to put on my big girl pants and go and make conversation with other travellers in the kitchen area.


What transpired from that decision was maybe the best week of my life!


After getting talking to a few people we formed a group of 6, all from different countries, and with a map of the city we hit the subway and started exploring. Each day was a new adventure, seeing a different part of the city, eating new foods, ticking off bucket list attractions, and finishing the night partying in an amazing venue we would just happen to stumble across.


The highlights reel includes eating chicken and waffles in Harlem, wandering into an amazing open-mic night after some wine tasting in Greenwich Village, strolling in the sunshine in Central Park, taking the ferry to Staten Island, drinking beers at the top of the Rockerfella Centre, accidentally stumbling into a naked punk gig in Williamsburg - drinking endless fireball shots and watching a baseball game at Yankee Stadium!


I'll never, ever forget walking across Brooklyn Bridge in the dazzling sunshine and reaching into a bag of juicy mangoes I had just bought from a street stand.


Yellow Mango, Purple Nails, Brooklyn Bridge.


Some moments stay ingrained forever!



Brooklyn Bridge at sunset
The NY Skyline

 


3. Havana, Cuba


Havana is very deserving of a top spot among the best cities in the world to visit in 2024, regardless of how upset the US government may feel about this.


I visited Havana on a solo trip and I completely fell in love with the city. It's famous for the brightly coloured classic cars that line the streets, but there is so much more to Havana than that!


In a country that has been cut off from the world for a long time, Havana feels like it evolved differently from everywhere else. For a start, with so few resources, the Cuban people have been extremely creative - which can be seen in the beautiful markets, art installations and galleries, my favourite being the Fábrica de Arte.


They are not only creative stylistically, but also with business endeavours in a mostly state-controlled economy. You can see an example of this in their 'Paladres', which are pop-up restaurants run from people's homes.


The streets of Havana are full of life - as with a lack of access to technology, socialising and playing outside are still the norm, perhaps akin to the pre-internet times in other countries. When wandering the streets I couldn't help but feel that nature had retaken control of some parts of the city, with trees forcing themselves up through crumbling buildings.


The music follows you everywhere in Havana - whether it's a boom box on a street corner, a live band, or an underground jazz club. The layout of the city is perfect for walking and getting lost and then discovering another pocket of charm, or maybe stumbling across a street stall selling ginormous mojitos while people dance spontaneously in the street.


I know I stipulated before that food is my main priority when exploring a city, but I'll forgive Havana for lacking in this department, because never before have I felt so intrigued and charmed by a place than there. Read my post on Havana to find out more!



A family on a colourful Havana street
The streets of Havana

 


4. Athens, Greece


Athens is a new addition to this list of the best 10 cities in the world to visit in 2024/25. I was always under the impression Athens was a crowded, dirty and unfriendly place, but I was so wrong about this.


On the surface, Athens looks gritty. But once you begin to explore you realise that the entire city itself is an unpolished work of art. Grafitti plasters every spare surface, and there are tonnes of edgy and unique neighbourhoods oozing with counter-culture vibes.


Athens has an amazing food and drink scene, open green spaces, and not even to mention the dazzling acropolis towering over the city. The city is stuffed with world-class museums and affordable accommodations for visitors, overflowing with rich culture, and generally just a fun place to be.


Not only that, but for practical considerations, the city is super walkable, and cyclable, and there is a cheap and efficient metro for those slightly further away places. I loved Athens - and it definitely takes the cake as the most interesting and best European City in 2024/25.



The Acropolis and Athens
The Acropolis and Athens


 


5. Bristol, UK


There's no way I can make a list of the best cities in the world to visit in 2024 without including my beloved city of Bristol. Not only is the art scene, especially graffiti art, unrivalled (hello, it's where Banksy's from) but never before I have met so many characters in one place. Everyone is super nice, albeit a bit off-beat, in the best possible way!


Bristol has perfected the balance of being high-end and down-to-earth all at once, and as a people, they are always on the right side of any political movements. Folks here just care about the things that matter - like the environment, and not about the things that don't, like walking down the street smoking a joint.


The food scene in Bristol is quirky and always evolving - from fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurants to humble Ethiopian eateries and vegan junk food, the city has it all.


Bristol has tonnes of cool neighbourhoods to explore, from the always colourful Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft to the upmarket corners of Clifton and its iconic suspension bridge. If you're interested in history, art and a free-thinking culture, I think you'd feel very much at home in Bristol. There is nowhere else in the UK I would consider living!



The colourful houses of Bristol's harbourside
The colourful houses of Bristol's harbourside

 


6. Cape Town, South Africa


Number 6 on this list of the 10 best cities in the world is Cape Town! Cape Town really knows how to impress. It is a sparkling coastal city jam-packed with things to do and surrounded by some of South Africa's most beautiful landscapes.


The city is fringed by glorious beaches, and at the heart sits the iconic Table Mountain, which is laced with well-marked walking trails and a hiker's dream.


Cape Town is a soulful and multicultural city, and you'll find Europeanesque coffee shops side by side with traditional African restaurants selling pap and stew. South Africa has a turbulent history and you see marks of this on every street - the people of Cape Town certainly have a story to tell.


I was blown away by Cape Town, and spent 10 days exploring everything from snorkelling with seals, visiting cannabis dispensaries, taking a day trip to Robben Island, taking in the colours of the Bo Kaap neighbourhood, going for a tipple in specialist natural wine bars, and so many gorgeous hiking trails.


From Cape Town, the world-famous Garden Route Road Trip is also at your fingertips.



Cape Town in all her glory!
Cape Town in all her glory!

 


7. Mexico City, Mexico


Mexico City may be the prettiest city I ever saw, and it frequently comes towards the top in the rankings for the World's best cities. It may come as a surprise to some, but Mexico City is immaculate! There is an army of gardeners and street cleaners that storm the city at the crack of dawn, so by the time you have your morning coffee, the plants have been pruned and the dust swept away so that CDMX (Ciudad de México) rivals any Japanese city in cleanliness.


When I visited Mexico City I was surprised to find the streets lined with leafy trees, tropical flowers and colourful buildings, most of which are plastered with amazing artwork.


What I was not surprised about though, is that the food and drink scene in Mexico City is world-class - that is something I expected, and I was not disappointed! From old-school cantinas to the 'World's 50 Best' and Michelin stars, there's something for every occasion and budget.


Mexico City's 22 million residents are served by the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, a 225.9 km (140 mi) metro system, which is the largest in Latin America, and it's only 5 pesos a ride (20p). Public transport in Mexico City is cheap, efficient and safe.


If you're still not sure if it's worth stopping in Mexico City, then here are more reasons why you should definitely spend at least a few days here!


  • The historic centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Spanish built Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan - the old Aztec capital, in the 16th century, and it's very easy on the eye.


  • Sitting high in the sky at 2240m, the altitude of Mexico City means that it doesn't get as stiflingly humid as other parts of the country (I am looking at you, Tulum!)


  • If I haven't sent the message home already, THE FOOD IS GREAT. The culinary scene in Mexico City could rival London, with many fine dining establishments fit for any wealthy tourist or Chilango. That being said, much of the best food in Mexico City is found on the street in an array of simple pushcarts that crowd the pavements.


  • Art is all around you! More and more these days city residents see legal street art as a way to beautify their previously gritty neighbourhoods and foster a sense of community. To see the best of this; the street art tour from street art Chilango comes highly recommended.


  • With a museum on every corner, it’s no surprise Mexico City was named the best city in the world for culture in 2023.



Mexico City is dreamy!
Mexico City is dreamy!

 


8. Bangkok, Thailand


Number 8 on this list of the 10 best cities in the world is Bangkok! I feel like I may be super-biased in Thailand's favour generally, as what's not to like? Awesome food, the most beautiful beaches in the world (yes, I said it) and a million other reasons to love it.


Bangkok was a complete surprise! I only chose to stay there, rather than heading straight to the Trang Islands, because they were hosting their first-ever Cannabis cup since decriminalising weed (Yes Thailand!)


Bangkok is a collision of modern and rustic, high-tech and shabby, where skyscrapers and street food stalls sit side by side. And damn, the food is good! Thai food varies from region to region, and you can find a taste of everything in Bangkok. The principal flavours of Salt, Sweet, Sour, and Spicy come together with fresh fruits and vegetables and a whole lot of pork.


When visiting Bangkok most people head to the lively Khao San Road, normally to buy a Chang T-shirt, eat a scorpion on a stick and people-watch. Honestly, I didn't even bother going! To see the real day-to-day Bangkok, I would go everywhere BUT there.


That being said it's super easy to navigate the city - as the Skytrain is cheap and very simple to use, and you can zip from suburb to suburb exploring what the individual neighbourhoods have to offer. There are a lot of ex-pats in Bangkok, and the locals are generally friendly, and playful, and speak great English. As far as cities in Asia go, I would say Bangkok is super easy to explore and just very, very cool.


Neon signs in a Bangkok street
Bangkok at night

 


9. Kolkata (Calcutta)


Indian cities are not for the weak. Prepare to have your senses assaulted as you try to navigate the chaos of some of the most crowded and polluted cities in the world. Some Indian cities I hated, like New Delhi, where I just could not catch a break. Some Indian cities I liked, like Mumbai, which are so full of charisma that you can overlook the crazy.


Now there is one Indian city I love, and that is Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. Bengalis have a very rich culture and have greatly influenced the fields of art and literature, and they are known for their warm hospitality and oh-so-delicious food.


Kolkata used to be the capital of India itself under the British Raj, as well as home to the controversial Mother Teresa. It's a fascinating city and one of the last places you can experience a ride in a hand-pulled rickshaw, as well as drink chai (tea) from a clay cup and smash it on the ground afterwards.


Even though Kolkata is bursting with old-world charm, it is nowadays also regarded by many as the cultural and literary capital of India, and it's this blend of modern and traditional that makes Kolkata so damn interesting.


Kolkata is also the gateway to the Sundarbans, which is the biggest coastal mangrove forest in the world, otherwise known as The Tide Country. Find out more about visiting Kolkata and the Sundarbans in my travel guide here.



Kolkata
Kolkata

 


10. Madrid, Spain


Number 10 on this list of the 10 best cities in the world is Madrid! While most people flock to Barcelona whilst doing their European tours, in my opinion, Madrid is where it's at. I have toured all over Spain quite a few times, and Madrid was easily my favourite city,


Madridileños can often be heard complaining about their city's long winters and very hot summers, describing it as ''9 months of winter and 3 of hell!" - as Madrid sits in the centre of Spain on a plateau, the weather can be extreme. However, there are some sweet spots during the year where visitors can hop from tapas bar to tapas bar, hitting up some of the world's best cocktail bars in between.


The essence of Madrid however is found in its little neighbourhoods, and you'll need a few days at least to pound the pavements and find these pockets of art and charm.


Madrid is really for everyone, whether you love football, flamenco, history, or ham - this city is bursting with fun and flavour.



Beautiful Madrid
Beautiful Madrid

 


Honourable Mentions for Best Cities in the World to Visit in 2024/25



FOOD: Osaka, Japan

ART: Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico

ATMOSPHERE: New Orleans, USA

UP & COMING: Nairobi, Kenya

MOST INTERESTING: Baghdad, Iraq



 


Next on the bucket list to visit...


  1. Accra, Ghana

  2. Cork, Ireland

  3. Lima, Peru

  4. Peshawar, Pakistan

  5. Porto, Portugal



 


Is there a city that I have missed?! Let me know in the comments...


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Happy Travels

xxx



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I Dream of Mangoes is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. That being said, I only link to products I use and love.

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