For discerning travellers, finding cities that offer mind blowing cultural experiences is often what makes their trip worthwhile. Whether it is the range of food on offer, the museums and art galleries that can be toured, or the friendliness of the diverse population, travellers often seek out great destinations that have some, or all, of these features.
We explored the world to bring you this list of the top 10 cultural centres on the planet – look to get these into your holiday planning when scheduling your travels over the next couple of years.
Australia doesn’t get anything like the credit it deserves when it comes to being a cultural centre. While their Aboriginal heritage and history is a rich one, the best place to go for culture in the country is definitely Melbourne. The city has the highest population of Greeks outside of Athens, and immigrants from around the world have settled there to make it a vibrant, exciting place to spend time, with world foods and great restaurants definitely the jewel in Melbourne’s crown.
Taco Bill’s Mexican restaurant is a must visit if you are in the city, and if there is sport taking place at the MCG, you would be a fool to miss it.
Few cities on Earth can truly say they have something for everyone. Whether you want to visit royal residences, the beautiful parks and green spaces, or spend time discovering the ‘real London’ in gritty urban areas, you are certain to have an experience in the city that will live with you forever.
One great day out is to take in the National History, Science, and V&A Museums in the South Kensington area, before heading towards Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and the other boutique stores in the area, which will lead you to Hyde Park.
3. New York City
NYC stands up against any way in which you could rank a great city. Shopping is probably its best-known activity; however, a combination of great tourist sites both in the city and within a short distance mean that there is more to do and see than you could ever dream of.
A boat trip up the Hudson River is one of NYC’s ‘must do’ ideas, while eating overlooking Times Square and a picnic in Central Park are great ideas, too.
Many people might think that football – or soccer – is the only reason to visit Manchester, but they could not be more wrong. A great cathedral is the jewel in the centre of the city, and great restaurants, bars, and shops mean it is more than just the home of two popular sports teams.
If you love the shops, then hit the Trafford Centre, while sports fans should try and see either United or City playing if they are visiting during the soccer season.
Although it is still trying to rid itself of the ‘Capital of Romance’ cliché, there is no doubt that Paris is a superb city for anyone interested in architecture, art, or just the general feeling of seeing culture everywhere you look.
Visit the world-famous Louvre to experience romance, art, architecture, and more, all in one awe-inspiring place.
6. San Francisco
While it might not be the most famous or best-loved city in California, the diversity and culture throughout San Francisco is even more uplifting than it is in Los Angeles, and the more relaxed, laid-back feeling in the city makes it a great place to visit.
Alcatraz Island and the huge Golden Gate Park both offer you a varying, yet inspirational, idea for things to see in this city.
The large number of ex-patriots and business travellers that populate this sprawling ‘city state’ make it a great place for finding a range of top class restaurants, as well as some of the best modern architecture on the planet.
Away from the vast buildings, Singapore’s best features are the Botanic Gardens and ‘Night Safari,’ which, when opened 20 years ago, was the world’s first nocturnal zoo.
While Amsterdam might lose points in the eyes of some given its reputation as ‘bachelor party central,’ if you look past the debauchery you will find some of the best museums and art galleries anywhere in Europe. You cannot visit Amsterdam without visiting Anne Frank’s house, either, so ensure that is first on your ‘to do’ list if you head to the city.
Like Singapore, the diverse population of Dubai is what makes it such a cultural goldmine. Although Asians make up much of the population, influences can be found from around the world, manifesting itself primarily in great restaurants and hotels.
For great views of Dubai, take your pick from any of the great skyscrapers. If you are lucky enough to get a foggy day, ensure you take a trip to an observation deck for a real ‘city in the clouds’ experience.
Despite Greece’s well-publicised financial problems, the history and heritage of Athens makes it one of the best cities on the planet. From great shops to historical Greek ruins, whatever you want to see on a trip, Athens has it in abundance.
If you only visit one place in Athens, make it the Parthenon, which sits ominously overlooking the city.
Forget boring beach breaks and embrace some of the world’s best cultural cities over the coming months for an enriching, unforgettable trip.