As you may have probably figured out by now, I kinda like travelling. Towards the latter part of last year I ticked off my 30th country and it got me thinking of all of the amazing places I’ve been lucky enough to visit and which ones left a particularly lasting impression. I love a good list (as you may have figured out from just about every blog post on The Runaway Diaries) so I was initially going to write down a list of my top 5 favourite cities to visit when I realised something; I couldn’t. It was impossible to condense all of the incredible and diverse cities into a measly list of 5! Instead I decided that although I still felt like I was choosing children, 10 seemed more do-able. So here goes nothing!
10. Jaipur, India
Jaipur is everything that you imagine India to be and more; chaotic, colourful and unpredictable. Between the spice markets, elephants actually walking down the street (seriously, they walked down the street!) and the beautiful views from temples high on the hills, Jaipur had it all.
9. Marrakech, Morocco
I thought I had seen colour when I went to India. I was wrong. Marrakech, though equally as mental as India (and I mean that in the best way possible) was a complete assault to the senses. Colour, spices, street performers and hecklers adorn every street corner of this insane yet exciting city. Would I spend more than a week here? No, but it’s most definitely worth the visit.
8. Paris, France
It’s probably comes as no surprise that this iconic city made it into my top 10. The romance and beauty of Paris is unlike anywhere else and I’m a huge fan of anywhere that encourages you to sit at cafes all day sipping coffee, eating bread and cheese and people watching till your hearts content.
7. St Petersburg, Russia
Being a sucker for history, it was no surprise to me when I fell in love with St. Petersburg. Dripping in gold and adorned in exquisite art, the palaces and Russian Orthodox Churches are truly something to marvel at. I would return to this fascinating city in a heartbeat!
6. Berlin, Germany
After hearing rave reviews about Berlin, I have to admit I was slightly confused as to what all the fuss was about. The buildings were modern and it lacked the beauty of many other European cities I had visited. However as soon as you scratch beneath the surface of Berlin, you’ll find it’s edgy, alternative and not to mention extremely interesting.
5. Santorini, Greece
Oh. Sweet. Baby. Jesus. This place was literally heaven on Earth. The blue sea contrasted with the whitewashed buildings on the cliff face made this place the stuff dreams are made of (and the perfect honeymoon location!). I couldn’t fault it even if I tried. Watch this space for a blog post all about Santorini coming soon!
4. Amsterdam, Holland
Before you all jump to conclusions about Amsterdam being all about the red light district and coffee shops (“coffee” shops), think again. Amsterdam with it’s canals and narrow, charming streets is my favourite place to walk around and get completely lost. It also helps that Amsterdam was one of the only cities in Europe where I managed to get a decent coffee, and by coffee, I actually mean coffee.
3. New York, U.S.A
New York isn’t one of the worlds most iconic cities for nothing. In the city that never sleeps, there is always something to do come rain or shine. The buzz of the city is palpable and half the beauty of NYC is that you never know where the day will take you.
2. London, United Kingdom
Seeing as it’s been my home for over a year now, I feel it’s only appropriate to pay homage to this incredible city. Admittedly, it took me a long time to fall in love with London but I got there eventually and thats’s what counts. London is the opposite of chilled but what it lacks in relaxation it more than makes up for in excitement. Between the gigs, markets, nightlife, stunning parks and constant stream of events in London, you’ll never have a dull moment.
1. Queenstown, New Zealand
No city I’ve ever been to has compared to the beauty of Queenstown (and I’ve been to some pretty spectacular places!). Although relatively small in comparison to some of the other cities that made this list, the natural beauty of this quaint city is truly a sight to behold. If you’re a fan of adventure sports, Queenstown is the place for you with sky diving, bungee jumping, paragliding and white water rafting (to name a few) all on the menu. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand, do yourself a favour and pay Queenstown a visit. You won’t regret it.
What are your favourite cities? Let me know in the comments below.