Saturday, February 18, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Cities Visited

When you step down from Metropolis to a city, even one over a half million in size, you increase its desirability exponentially for it being a great place to visit. (Cities are preferable for living as well, but that would be a different list.) So many great cities present themselves for consideration, I was tempted to split this list into one for those over 500,000 and a separate one for ones between 1 and 5 hundred thousand, but that would make things too easy. (Once again, places I have lived are not included as they are impossible for me to judge accurately, but I have added a mention of some of the better ones at the bottom.)

10. Düsseldorf, Germany 

A nice spot to be if you want to hit the Rein-Ruhr area. It’s about as central as you can get, but also has a lot to offer in its own right. The city center is typically German and there is also the interesting modern area of town that is one of the more beautiful examples of that style.

9. Osorno, Chile 

Maybe more of a town than a city, Osorno doesn’t have much to offer in town. The surrounding area is amazing, however, and the Cathedral in town may be the most interesting one I have laid eyes on.

8. Basel, Switzerland 

Cosmopolitan is the world that springs to mind when one thinks of Basel. The hilly, central area of town is a maze of narrow alleys and old institutional buildings that make up a memorial of living history. The many bridges and gates around the town are truly works of art.

7. Leipzig, Germany 

The home of Bach and arguably the center of the movement that brought down the Berlin Wall, this is a beautiful, modern town that offers a window into multiple interesting moments of history.

6. Regensburg, Germany

The Danube meets the Regen at a point where a medieval city square shelters under the shadow of the typical Gothic Cathedral. It is a beautiful city in a beautiful part of the world.

5. Puerto Mont, Chile

This port town is the sort of place that usually exists on canvases hanging in frames. The colors of the buildings contrast with the sea and the forests to make up a magical place approaching the edge of the world. My most vivid memories of Puerto Mont all involve amazing meals.

4. Washington D.C., U.S.A

The central, touristy part of the District is an amazing place to visit. The events that take place here, the history that has been made here, and the vast array of art and culture one can see here is astounding. D.C. is a place that demands long or multiple visits.

3. Nuremburg, Germany

Inside the old, city walls, Nuremburg is what a lot of people think of when they think of Germany. Hours of walking are required here to really appreciate the city. Everywhere you look there is something to fascinate, from Albrecht Dürer sites to delicious Nürnberger Bratwurst, to St. Sebaldus to fountains with water shooting out of women’s nipples.

2. Salzburg, Austria

The area around Salzburg is one of the most beautiful on earth, and the city isn’t bad either. The way the city center is built into the side of a cliff is unique, and everything is consistently (even forcibly, uniformly) beautiful.

1. Venice, Italy

I wouldn’t want to live in this town, and the time of year you visit is apparently crucial. However, at the right time and with appropriately low densities of tourists, Venice is one of the most strangely beautiful cities in the world.

Living in a city might bias your view too much (in either direction) to objectively place it on such a list as this. Three cities I have lived in would otherwise have made this list, in the 1st, 3rd, and 6th spots respectively: Dresden, Germany; Punta Arenas, Chile; and Graz, Austria.


  1. I'll be visiting Washington DC soon - for work, so no family unfortunately, any suggested places to visit?

    1. DC is easy. Most of the really good stuff is all concentrated together. If it were me I would concentrate on the Smithsonian. All the various museums are free and I really like the National Art Gallery and the Air and Space Museum. Many of the monuments are within walking distance as well. The Lincoln Memorial and the new WWII memorial are pretty impressive and meaningful.

      Hope you enjoy!


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