The most beautiful city in the world – as voted by you

author photo
Lottie Gross

Have you ever visited a city and simply fallen in love? We're sure you have - but which one? We asked our Twitter and Facebook followers to vote for the most beautiful city in the world. From the old-world gems of Europe to modern metropolises in North America, these are the places that came top in the poll. Have a different opinion? Let us know on social!

14. Vancouver, Canada

Starting the countdown is Vancouver, and there's little wonder why this city has made the cut. With an unrivalled setting between water and the mountains, there may not be a more stunning city in Canada. Find out more about Vancouver

Where to stay

Best for downtown: L'Hermitage Hotel

Best for bay and mountain views: The Westin Bayshore Vancouver

What to do

Best for nature enthusiasts: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Best for views: Sea Vancouver Waterfront Sightseeing Adventure

13. Sydney, Australia

A sparkling harbour, beautiful beaches and impressive landmarks galore are responsible for Sydney’s place in our beautiful cities poll. Its charm is further amplified by leafy suburbs like Surry Hills and picturesque coastal paths, such as the one that leads from Bondi to Coogee. Find out more about Sydney

Where to stay

Best for views of Sydney Opera House: InterContinental Sydney

Best for style on a budget: Veriu Central

What to do

Best for the whole family: Sydney Attraction Pass including the Tower Eye, Acquarium and many more

Best for foodies: Hunter Valley - Wine, cheese and chocolate tasting tour

12. Seville, Spain

Lord Byron once said of Seville, it 'is a pleasant city, famous for oranges and women.' But there’s more to this place than its eponymous orange – Seville’s elegant architecture makes it one of the most beautiful cities in the world, as our reader Kelsey MacAulay agreed on Twitter. Find out more about Seville

Where to stay

Best for boutique style on a budget: Hotel Boutique Casa de Colon

Best for views of the cathedral: EME Catedral Hotel

What to do

Best for the cultural experience: Guided tour of Alcázar with priority access

Best for evening entertainment: Flamenco Show and Gastronomy Experience

Tailor-made trips

Best for the total immersion in Andalucia: Andalucia Explored

Best for a weekend getaway: A culinary experience in Seville

11. San Sebastián, Spain

In 11th place is another Spanish city, San Sebastián. This spot has never been a key important port or industrial centre for Spain, but the coastal city has been a summer playground for the royal family since the mid 1800s. Set in a wonderfully curved bay, with a golden sand beach lapped by the azure waters of the Bay of Biscay, it’s a beautiful place all year round – not to mention the now world-famous foodie scene. Find out more about San Sebastian

Where to stay

Best for a little luxury: Maria Cristina a Luxury Collection Hotel San Sebastian

Best on a budget: A Room In The City

What to do

Best for an outdoor adventure: Basque Country e-bike tour

Best for foodies: Gourmet Pintxo Tour

Tailor-made trips

Best for exploring Northern Spain: The cities, mountains and beaches of Northern Spain

continued below

10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Perhaps it’s the coastal location and famous Copacabana beach that draw people to Rio, or maybe it's the imposing Art Deco statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain (book your cable car tickets here and save yourself the hassle). Either way, from the ocean to the forested Parque Nacional da Tijuca, there’s no denying that this Brazilian metropolis has natural and manmade beauty aplenty. Find out more about Rio de Janeiro

Where to stay

Best on a budget for Copacabana beach views: Orla Copacabana Hotel

Best for a little luxury: Belmond Copacabana Palace

What to do

Best for the family: Sugarloaf Cable Car ticket

Best for a day trip outside the city: Boat trip to Angra dos Reis

Tailor-made trips

Best for exploring water and sun enthusiasts: Brazilian Beaches: Copacabana, Botafogo and more

Best for a family trip: Blissful Brazil

9. Kyoto, Japan

You voted Kyoto the 9th most beautiful city in the world. As the centre of Japanese culture for hundreds of years, and surrounded by magnificent and easily accessible mountains, there's much to be impressed by here. Walk around the east side of the city see the best of the traditional temples. Find out more about Kyoto

Where to stay

Best hostel near local attractions: Piece Hostel Kyoto

Best for wonderful views of the city: Hotel Granvia Kyoto

What to do

Best for cultural immersion: Traditional Tea Ceremony & make your own Matcha Tea

Best for foodies: Japanese Bento Cooking Class

8. Brisbane, Australia

In 8th place is Brisbane – Queensland Australia's largest city. You chose Brissy for its winning combination of high-rise modern architecture, lush green spaces and the enormous Brisbane River that snakes its way through the centre before emptying itself into the azure Moreton Bay. Find out more about Brisbane

Where to stay

Best for South Brisbane and Brisbane River: Mantra South Bank

Best for downtown location on a budget: Great Southern Hotel Brisbane

What to do

continued below

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

Best for the adventurous: Story Bridge Adventure Climb

Best for day trips outside of Brisbane: Moreton Island Shipwreck, Sand Dune and Kayak Adventure

7. Venice, Italy

You voted the floating island of Venice the 7th most beautiful city in the world, despite the millions of tourists that pack its streets each year. Mass tourism aside, Venice will always have charm, with its undeniably romantic setting, classic architecture and wonderful sea views. Find out more about Venice

Where to stay

Best for impeccable cool: Charming House DD724

Best for super luxurious: The Gritti Palace

What to do

Best for cultural immersion: Priority Admission ticket to the Doge's Palace

Best for exploring the islands: Murano, Torcello and Burano Boat Trip with Guide

Tailor-made trips

Best for a weekend getaway: Romantic Venice

Best for a longer tour exploring Northern Italy: From Venice to Florence

6. Prague, Czech Republic

Next up in our poll of the most beautiful cities in the world is Prague, a city of two sides: by night it's a buzzing metropolis with a hedonistic party scene, but by day you can lose yourself in a warren of quaint cobbled streets, or spend an afternoon admiring the view from the Charles Bridge, that stretches across the Vltava river. Find out more about Prague

Where to stay

Best for most desired room in town: Dancing House Hotel

Best for location to the Old Town: Ventana Hotel Prague

What to do

Best for entertainment: Medieval Dinner with unlimited drinks

Best for sightseeing: Small group tour to Prague Castle

Prague, Charles Bridge in the morning

© QQ7/Shutterstock

5. London, England

With sprawling green spaces, its huge gothic parliament buildings and perhaps the most famous residence in the world, Buckingham Palace, London can lay claim to being one of the most beautiful cities ever built. Even in the grittier east you can find allure at Columbia Road flower market, or atop the hill in Greenwich Park overlooking the Canary Wharf towers across the Thames. With plenty of attractions to choose from, make sure you're not spending your time in line but instead book some skip-the-line tickets ahead of time, for example for the Tower of London, including early access and the opening ceremony. Find out more about London

Where to stay

Best for romance in the heart of London: Hazlitt's

Best for hip hotel and location: The Hoxton Holborn

What to do

Best for families: Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Best for the curious minds: Jack the Ripper Interactive Guided Walking Tour

Tailor-made trips

Best for driving enthusiasts: The Great British Roadtrip

Best for history & culture: Historical Highlights of England

4. Edinburgh, Scotland

It's famed for its excellent annual festival, but there is more to Edinburgh than great comedy and arts – and according to you, it’s beauty. Head east of the city and make the short walk up Arthur’s Seat, an 823ft-high dormant volcano, to take in views of Scotland’s capital and you won’t need to question why it’s been voted the 4th most beautiful city in the world. Find out more about Edinburgh

Where to stay

Best for location to New Town: Apex Waterloo Place Hotel

Best for location to Old Town: Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh

What to do

Best for foodies: The Scotch Whisky experience

Best for curious minds: Camara Obscura and World of Illusion

Tailor-made trips

Best for outdoor fans: Scotland's wildest natural scenery

Best for families: A family adventure - from Harry Potter to Loch Ness

3. Paris, France

Finishing in 3rd place, France's capital has been long considered the paragon of style and the most glamorous city in Europe – and we can't disagree with your choice to put Paris near the top of this poll. We love its elegant streets and boulevards, the lofty Eiffel Tower and the huge range of incredible art and architecture found throughout the city. Find out more about Paris

Where to stay

Best for location to the middle of the city: Hotel de Crillon

Best for views of the Eiffel Tower: Eiffel Trocadero

What to do

Best for families: Disneyland Paris 1-Day Ticket

Best for art fans: Skip the line Louvre ticket

Tailor-made trips

Best for families: Paris - Best of both worlds including Disneyland

Best for a weekend getaway: Romantic Paris

2. Florence, Italy

The cathedral dome that dominates the city's skyline is just one of the many attractions that make Florence one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The river Arno that cuts through the heart of the city, the Piazza della Signoria and the gorgeous church of San Miniato al Monte are all among Florence's highlights. Find out more about Florence

Where to stay

Best for central location and attractions: Hotel Pendini

Best for unique views of Florence Cathedral: Grand Hotel Minerva

What to do

Best for foodies: Day tour to Tuscany

Best for art & culture fans: Skip-the-line Uffizi tour

Tailor-made trips

Best for a weekend getaway: Florence - a trip back in time

Best for art & culture fans: Italian cities of the Renaissance

1. Rome, Italy

At number one you voted Rome as the most beautiful city in the world. With its thousand-year-old buildings, beautiful piazzas and world-class art – not to mention Vatican City – we're certainly not surprised. Rome, after all, is the capital of the so-called bel paese, or "beautiful country". Find out more about Rome

Where to stay

Best for romance on a budget: Navona Loft

Best for location to attractions: Hotel Quirinale

What to do

Best for foodies: Rome street food tour

Best for exploring: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-line tickets

Tailor-made trips

Best for a weekend getaway: Eternal Rome

Best for exploring the South: Rome, Naples, Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast

Planning on your own? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Find even more inspiration here

Ready to travel and discover Spain?
Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels