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Friendliest cities in the world

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Travel man // Shutterstock

Friendliest cities in the world

There’s nothing like a vacation to lift one’s spirits, especially during the doldrums of winter. For many, jetting off to new and exciting locales is one of life’s greatest pleasures—but it’s important to complete some research before picking a destination for that next hard-earned vacation. It’s easy to research common factors like popular tourist attractions, weather, or exchange rates, but one much less covered factor is the friendliest of the local people. The friendliness and happiness of locals goes a long way toward turning a fun vacation into the trip of a lifetime.

In 2017, Travelbird addressed this issue by compiling a list of the 100 friendliest cities in the world. The travel site analyzed the top 500 global tourist destinations, paying special attention to factors that make tourists feel welcome. They ranked the top 100 cities by creating a combined score that took into account whether a city had a welcoming port of entry—like an accessible airport or train station—the happiness of its citizens, their openness to hosting tourists in their homes, English language proficiency, and the amount of over-tourism each locale has to contend with during the year. To create the final results, Travelbird then combined their own data with a poll of 15,000 travel journalists who weighed in on how welcoming they found each city from their own experiences.

The result is a well-researched list of the 100 most welcoming destinations for tourists. These locales are waiting for visitors to bask in the sun, take in historic sites, and to shop and dine. Tourists are helping the local economy rather than just contributing to chaotic traffic and endless lines. This list is your first step towards not only vacationing, but vacationing responsibly in cities waiting with open arms.

You may also like: Most popular countries for tourists

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Paul Mannix // Wikimedia Commons

#100. Budapest, Hungary

Total score: 3.74
City scores—Expert opinion: 4.3; Port of entry: 4.6; Safety: 2.3
People scores—Happiness: 3.2; English proficiency: 6.2; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.9

A visit to Budapest is actually a visit to three cities in one. The historical destination was formed when Old Buda, Buda, and Pest joined in 1873. These days, the city is known for having the world’s second-largest synagogue and architectural wonders like Buda Castle, Gellért Hill, Vajdahunyad Castle, and the Baroque Széchenyi Baths. History abounds in this stunning riverside city.

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Wikimedia Commons

#99. Bucharest, Romania

Total score: 3.82
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.0; Port of entry: 2.7; Safety: 6.5
People scores—Happiness: 3.7; English proficiency: 6.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.2

Local legend has it that Bucharest derives its name from a founder whose moniker literally meant “joy.” Whether Bucur the merry shepherd is responsible for creating the vibrant city, there's no denying that Bucharest remains a happy metropolis. In the 1900s, the city was nicknamed “Little Paris” because of the architectural decadence that greets visitors upon their arrival. If you need further proof of Bucharest’s charms, take a stroll down Calea Victoriei, the city’s oldest street and a hub for high fashion.

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Pixabay

#98. Hanoi, Vietnam

Total score: 3.98
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.5; Port of entry: 4.8; Safety: 2.5
People scores—Happiness: 2.1; English proficiency: 4.5; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.4

For many years, the capital city of Vietnam was off-limits to visitors because of wars and a restrictive government. However, this resilient city is making up for lost time. Visitors can experience the joys of haggling with real farmers in the street markets of the Old Quarter, honoring a culture of learning at the Temple of Literature, and engaging with the youth culture that has come to define the West Lake area. Hanoi is the perfect getaway for people looking for a city teeming with history and embracing progress.

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Picryl

#97. Moscow, Russia

Total score: 4.12
City scores—Expert opinion: 4.5; Port of entry: 8.1; Safety: 2.8
People scores—Happiness: 4.1; English proficiency: 4.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.3

Know that before Americans can visit the bustling city of Moscow, they will need a travel visa. Once that’s out of the way, a bustling metropolis that’s home to the Kremlin, the famed multicolored St. Basil's Cathedral, and a metro system lined with intricate works of art awaits. Russian culture can be found in every corner of Moscow, right down to the customs surrounding the city’s most famous beverages—tea and vodka.

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Pixabay

#96. Colombo, Sri Lanka

Total score: 4.24
City scores—Expert opinion: 4.6; Port of entry: 2.9; Safety: 5.4
People scores—Happiness: 1.4; English proficiency: 2.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.4

Colombo is a city on the rise. While it once served as a place tourists passed through as they headed to their beach vacations, Colombo is now a destination unto itself. From the Dutch Period Museum to the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara temple, this growing city is one that should be on every traveler's radar.

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Pixabay

#95. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Total score: 4.27
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.1; Port of entry: 5.7; Safety: 1.7
People scores—Happiness: 1.1; English proficiency: 1.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.3

The rule of the Khmer Rouge left Phnom Penh with a not-so-distant bloody past, and there are still signs of the city’s strife to this day. Despite its dark recent history, Phnom Penh remains one of the least Westernized capitals in all of Asia. As a result, travelers can experience unexpected foods—tarantula kabob, anyone? And temple tours that are a step back in time.

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Pexels

#94. Cairo, Egypt

Total score: 4.28
City scores—Expert opinion: 3.9; Port of entry: 1.9; Safety: 1.9
People scores—Happiness: 1.7; English proficiency: 2.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.9

Egyptians call Cairo "Umm Ad Dunya"—Mother of the World. The city is a crowded center of business where peace and quiet are hard to find. If that sounds like a holiday, then know that there’s seemingly no end to Cairo’s vibrancy. The Pyramids of Giza are about an hour away by car. Within the city, travelers can explore Khan Al Khalili, an ancient marketplace that feels virtually untouched by time.

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Pixabay

#93. Nairobi, Kenya

Total score: 4.31
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.3; Port of entry: 3.4; Safety: 2.1
People scores—Happiness: 1.4; English proficiency: 8.5; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.8

Founded in 1899, Nairobi is unique in the sense that it coexists with the wildness at its borders. As the safari capital of Africa, trips to see the animals that live just beyond the city are plentiful, but once you finish taking in the wildlife, you can visit the home of "Out of Africa" writer Karen Blixen or engage with Nairobi’s culture at the Bomas of Kenya.

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llee_wu // Flickr

#92. Guangzhou, China

Total score: 4.32
City scores—Expert opinion: 4.5; Port of entry: 5.4; Safety: 9.0
People scores—Happiness: 3.1; English proficiency: 3.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.2

Guangzhou is the third-largest city in China, and twice a year it plays host to the China Import and Export Fair. As a port city, Guangzhou is a multicultural hub, and that vibe is present in its hottest tourist destinations. From Chimelong Paradise, an amusement park full of dizzying rides, to cruising down the historic Pearl River, Guangzhou is full of unexpected delights.

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Paolo Guereta // Wikimedia Commons

#91. São Paulo, Brazil

Total score: 4.4
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.9; Port of entry: 1.8; Safety: 1.5
People scores—Happiness: 6.6; English proficiency: 3.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.9

São Paulo is a beast of a city. With more than 12 million people calling the city home, travelers should be prepared to battle traffic and smog. Don’t let that deter you from visiting a locale that boasts 90,000 unique events per year. The diverse population includes the biggest settlement of people of Japanese descent outside of Japan, a thriving Italian community, and the largest gay pride parade in the world.

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Max Pixel

#90. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Total score: 4.46
City scores—Expert opinion: 4.5; Port of entry: 1.0; Safety: 5.2
People scores—Happiness: 4.9; English proficiency: 1.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.8

If you’re planning a trip to Jeddah, you might want to go now because when the 3,280-foot Jeddah Tower is completed in 2020, the city is likely to become Saudi Arabia’s premier tourist destination. Right now, the city is still best known for standing between travelers seeking to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. That means visitors who discover this hidden treasure are treated to sites like the bustling fish market and the Souq Al Alawi, a hub of Arabian history nestled in hundreds of stalls.

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Pixabay

#89. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Total score: 4.48
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.0; Port of entry: 3.1; Safety: 1.3
People scores—Happiness: 6.6; English proficiency: 3.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.1

If you want to understand why Rio de Janeiro is such a welcoming place, look no further than its claim to fame as the host of the world’s largest carnival. Five days out of every year the mythical jester King Momo takes over the city leading to nonstop revelry in the streets until Ash Wednesday.

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Pixabay

#88. Istanbul, Turkey

Total score: 4.49
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.0; Port of entry: 4.7; Safety: 1.6
People scores—Happiness: 3.5; English proficiency: 2.4; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.3

Istanbul sits at the intersection of Asia and Europe, and it’s heavily influenced by both regions. The people of Istanbul are a welcoming bunch who enjoy the little things in life, hence the abundance of tea gardens, Turkish taverns, and kebab restaurants. Enjoy the history with a visit to the Basilica Cistern, but don’t forget to bask in the modern pleasures of this city as well.

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Pexels

#87. Mumbai, India

Total score: 4.53
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.0; Port of entry: 4.9; Safety: 2.4
People scores—Happiness: 1.3; English proficiency: 5.9; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.2

Mumbai is home to Bollywood, a massive flea market devoted to fashion, and Juhu Beach, a locale known for relaxation and all the street food your heart desires. But there’s another Mumbai too, one where the past is ever present. For those seeking that Mumbai, there’s Elephanta Island, Siddhivinayak Temple, and the Taj Mahal Palace. To truly feel the heart of the city, it’s best to experience both sides of this eclectic metropolis.

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Pixabay

#86. Kiev, Ukraine

Total score: 4.61
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.8; Port of entry: 2.6; Safety: 4.2
People scores—Happiness: 1.0; English proficiency: 3.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.6

Art lovers can get lost in Kiev. The capital of Ukraine is over 15 centuries old, and markers of the many transitions the city has been through can be found everywhere. Take in an experimental show at Cherny Kvadrat Theatre or visit one of Kiev’s more than 60 museums to see its past come to life.

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Pexels

#85. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Total score: 4.7
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.4; Port of entry: 7.7; Safety: 1.8
People scores—Happiness: 4.5; English proficiency: 6.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.3
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.0

Kuala Lumpur is a city that was built out of a jungle, and the sense of adventure its history hints at remains in the energy of the residents. Stop by the busy food market of Jalan Alor or take in the modern art that lines the streets of City Market to feel the hum of Kuala Lumpur’s citizens, but don’t miss out on historical treasures like Batu Cave, which is 400 million years old. As much as the city can be an enclave of modernity, it’s also dotted with intricate places of worship that serve the Malay, Indian, and Chinese communities that call this spectacular city home.

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Celso FLORES // Flickr

#84. Mexico City, Mexico

Total score: 4.8
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.1; Port of entry: 3.5; Safety: 1.3
People scores—Happiness: 6.2; English proficiency: 3.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.4

Mexico City is so much more than a spring break destination. Aztec history lingers in the form of Templo Mayor and Mexico’s Little Venice features stunning canals. Mexico’s capital is a thriving center of business and art that’s ripe for exploration.

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DocChewbacca // Flickr

#83. Nantes, France

Total score: 4.83
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.8; Port of entry: 1.1; Safety: 4.9
People scores—Happiness: 6.0; English proficiency: 5.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.6

Formerly the capital of Brittany, Nantes sits on France’s longest river, the Loire. Like many French cities, there’s plenty of architecture and castles to enjoy, but Nantes is a far quirkier locale. In addition to the expected haunts, there are unique places like Les Machines de l’Île, where you can interact with machines straight out of the imagination of Jules Verne, and Jardin des Plantes, home to 10,000 unique species of plants.

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Unsplash

#82. Denpasar, Indonesia

Total score: 4.93
City scores—Expert opinion: 4.8; Port of entry: 2.5; Safety: 2.6
People scores—Happiness: 2.6; English proficiency: 4.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.3
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.4

Denpasar is the hub of the island nation of Bali, but it’s less about the beaches than the rest of the island. When you visit Denpasar, you’re venturing into a place where Balinese culture flourishes. Though the city is large, it’s broken down into villages where communities revolve around Hindu temples. Visit the Bajra Sandhi Monument to get a better understanding of Bali’s fight against colonization, or take in a performance at Taman Werdhi Budaya to see Denpasar’s history in action.

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PxHere

#81. Manila, Philippines

Total score: 5.04
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.9; Port of entry: 3.8; Safety: 1.1
People scores—Happiness: 3.4; English proficiency: 6.7; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.4

Manila more than lives up to its name as the “Pearl of the Orient.” From the outside, the city may not seem like the most attractive tourist destination, but the city is home to a thriving indie music scene and some of the finest coffee in the world. Add in the Pinto Art Museum, a center of contemporary art, and Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world, and you have a city that’s nothing short of cool.

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Rich T. Photo // Shutterstock

#80. Johannesburg, South Africa

Total score: 5.07
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.6; Port of entry: 2.9; Safety: 1.2
People scores—Happiness: 1.8; English proficiency: 1.5; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.7

The beauty of Johannesburg comes just as much from its people as it does from the city’s stunning surroundings. The resilient community is bouncing back after years of struggles, and the progress Johannesburg is making can be seen in its ever-expanding urban development projects. As a tourist destination, one of the city’s unique features is that it’s on the Highveld plateau, which puts it at an elevation of 1,753 meters above sea level—something that can be disorienting since there are no mountains to show just how far up you are.

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Unsplash

#79. Warsaw, Poland

Total score: 5.1
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.0; Port of entry: 7.9; Safety: 8.1
People scores—Happiness: 4.4; English proficiency: 7.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.1

Warsaw was nearly destroyed by World War II, but the city has bounced back from the ravages of war to become a true cultural center. With quirky attractions like the Neon Museum and the gorgeous Łazienki Park, there’s no shortage of activities to keep visitors happy.

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GeoTravellers // Wikimedia Commons

#78. Barcelona, Spain

Total score: 5.11
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.0; Port of entry: 4.9; Safety: 6.8
People scores—Happiness: 5.3; English proficiency: 5.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.1

This seaside town is one where every building tells a story. Barcelona has structures that date back 2,000 years or more, but the city isn’t just about relishing the artistry of the past. Part of the joy of visiting Barcelona comes from immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant food scene driven by Catalan cooking.

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Unsplash

#77. Venice, Italy

Total score: 5.12
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.4; Port of entry: 3.0; Safety: 3.1
People scores—Happiness: 4.3; English proficiency: 5.4; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.2

Dreamy Venice is a city built on a lagoon, and it seems the citizens have embraced their unique lifestyle. Visiting Venice means embracing the philosophy of living “the beautiful life.” Take a trip down the canals and then explore the narrow streets leading to St. Mark's Square or soak up the art in the Gallerie dell'Accademia.

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Pixabay

#76. Sofia, Bulgaria

Total score: 5.15
City scores—Expert opinion: 4.5; Port of entry: 4.2; Safety: 3.6
People scores—Happiness: 1.6; English proficiency: 5.7; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.9

As the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia is usually a place that visitors pass through on their way to somewhere else. However, this vibrant town has plenty to offer tourists, including the Archaeological Museum with its seemingly endless supply of artifacts, and Sveti Georgi Rotunda, an operational church dating from the 4th century.

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Robin Zebrowski // Flickr

#75. Beijing, China

Total score: 5.18
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.0; Port of entry: 8.2; Safety: 6.4
People scores—Happiness: 3.1; English proficiency: 3.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.0

Home to the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square, Beijing is without a doubt a place where history is made. The city is more than the sum of its past though. A popular recreational activity in Beijing is eating out, and you haven’t truly been to the city until you’ve taken part in its foodie culture.

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Pedro Sezekely // Flickr

#74. Bogotá, Colombia

Total score: 5.22
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.5; Port of entry: 6.6; Safety: 1.3
People scores—Happiness: 5.0; English proficiency: 2.5; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.0

La Candelaria is the beating heart of this eclectic city. The center is home to buildings that date back over 300 years and attractions on many people's must-see list. Visit the famed Andrés Carne de Res, a steakhouse, for an unforgettable meal or take in stunning depictions of saints in the Museo Santa Clara.

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Wikimedia Commons

#73. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Total score: 5.29
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.5; Port of entry: 2.9; Safety: 3.2
People scores—Happiness: 6.3; English proficiency: 6.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.8

Buenos Aires’ Latin culture defines the city, but there are other European influences to be found as well. Music is an essential part of the Buenos Aires experience and if you want to understand the locals, check out one of the many nightclubs, jazz bars, or simply venture out to dance the night away.

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PxHere

#72. Reykjavik, Iceland

Total score: 5.31
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.9; Port of entry: 2.5; Safety: 6.9
People scores—Happiness: 9.8; English proficiency: 8.2; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.3

On the coast of Iceland, Reykjavik is the best place to learn about the country’s history. Whether you want to delve deep into the Viking longhouses of the earliest settlers or take in Iceland’s most treasured art pieces, Reykjavik is your gateway to all things Icelandic.

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#71. Rome, Italy

Total score: 5.44
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.3; Port of entry: 1.5; Safety: 3.0
People scores—Happiness: 4.3; English proficiency: 5.4; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.8

Rome is a tourist hotspot for good reason. Where else are you going to see the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Sistine Chapel? While the sheer amount of things to see and do can be overwhelming, visitors should also make time to live the sweet life like the locals—that means slowing down and feeding your body and soul, as well as your mind.

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Gong Chen // Wikimedia Commons

#70. Chengdu, China

Total score: 5.5
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.1; Port of entry: 6.5; Safety: 8.0
People scores—Happiness: 3.1; English proficiency: 2.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.2

Chengdu is home to the Giant Panda Breeding Base, and visiting pandas is one of the city’s biggest draws. Even if you’re not a panda fan, there’s still plenty to experience in this quaint city, including some of the best cuisine in China.

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Velvet // Wikimedia Commons

#69. Lille, France

Total score: 5.53
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.7; Port of entry: 7.6; Safety: 4.8
People scores—Happiness: 6.0; English proficiency: 5.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.0

The people of Lille have a reputation for being kind, and that makes their ever-so-slightly off the beaten track city a pleasant vacation destination. In Lille you’ll find a relaxed atmosphere where browsing through museums like the Palais des Beaux Arts is a joyful experience instead of a competitive sport as it can be in larger cities.

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#68. Melbourne, Australia

Total score: 5.56
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.3; Port of entry: 4.0; Safety: 6.2
People scores—Happiness: 9.0; English proficiency: 9.5; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.6

Sports lovers will feel right at home in Melbourne. The city is designed around places for its citizens to get out and play—cricket, tennis, horse racing—Melbourne is up for anything, and to experience the city you need to pick a park and wade into a game with the locals.

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#67. Frankfurt, Germany

Total score: 5.6
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.7; Port of entry: 6.3; Safety: 5.3
People scores—Happiness: 7.8; English proficiency: 7.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.8

There’s a dash of American flare to Frankfurt that is impossible not to feel when you’re in the business district. However, this German town is all European in places like the Römerberg, the center of the old town and a colorful hub of culture.

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#66. Hong Kong, China

Total score: 5.61
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.9; Port of entry: 9.9; Safety: 6.9
People scores—Happiness: 3.5; English proficiency: 4.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.8

There’s no end to the sites that you can see in Hong Kong. Stroll through the seemingly endless stalls in the Hong Kong Market to get a feel for the city’s eclectic culture, or head out on the Star Ferry to see the vast metropolis from another angle entirely.

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Pixabay

#65. Paris, France

Total score: 5.62
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.9; Port of entry: 3.9; Safety: 6.5
People scores—Happiness: 6.0; English proficiency: 5.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 10.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.9

The Parisian experience is defined by sophistication and elegance. Don’t be afraid to go full tourist in this popular destination—the locals won’t likely begrudge you for oohing and awing over the Eiffel Tower or braving the crowds at the Louvre

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#64. Athens, Greece

Total score: 5.64
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.1; Port of entry: 6.9; Safety: 3.7
People scores—Happiness: 2.3; English proficiency: 3.7; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 3.5

Sitting in the Acropolis' shadow, Athens’ place in history is inescapable, but that doesn’t mean this ancient capital is without modern charms. Whether you want to spend the day looking at stunning artifacts like the Temple of Poseidon or settle in for an afternoon lounging on the beach, Athens is full of activities for everyone.

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Pixabay

#63. Toulouse, France

Total score: 5.71
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.9; Port of entry: 8.1; Safety: 5.5
People scores—Happiness: 6.0; English proficiency: 5.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.0

Nicknamed La Ville Rose (“the pink city”) for its beautiful brick churches, Toulouse is a university town where students are guiding the ever-changing culture. It’s easy to tell that there’s something a bit different about this French city, whether you’re geeking out at Cité de l’Espace, an immersive space museum, or visiting the Fondation Bemberg, a private mansion overflowing with art.

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Peter Rivera // Flickr

#62. New Delhi, India

Total score: 5.73
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.3; Port of entry: 7.1; Safety: 2.1
People scores—Happiness: 1.3; English proficiency: 5.9; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.2

The capital of India is a place where the old and new collide. In one day you can see the majesty of Qutub Minar, the world’s largest brick minaret, and visit the International Museum of Toilets. While it is crowded, this city is well worth a visit if you want to experience Indian culture in all of its forms.

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Jules Grandgagnage // Wikimedia Commons

#61. Antwerp, Belgium

Total score: 5.77
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.3; Port of entry: 9.9; Safety: 5.4
People scores—Happiness: 7.4; English proficiency: 7.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.7

Antwerp is Belgium’s largest port city, and that’s reflected in its indefatigable energy. Fans of old-world charm will love the cobblestone streets, but Antwerp is far more cool than it is quaint. The city is home to one of the best fashion schools in the world, making it the perfect locale for those who love high couture.

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Pixabay

#60. Milan, Italy

Total score: 5.78
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.7; Port of entry: 3.8; Safety: 4.0
People scores—Happiness: 4.3; English proficiency: 5.4; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.7

Don’t come to Milan with your head stuck in the past. This is an innovative city that has embraced change through sustainable housing, high-tech collaborations, and a constantly evolving art scene. Milan is home to a variety of trade fairs, the Design Museum, and a seemingly endless supply of spas and shopping destinations.

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#59. Seoul, South Korea

Total score: 5.95
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.0; Port of entry: 9.1; Safety: 6.7
People scores—Happiness: 3.8; English proficiency: 5.5; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.6

Seoul truly is a city that never sleeps. If you’re a night owl, then this charming metropolis has an endless array of food carts, gaming cafes, and shopping centers that never close. While Seoul is a place rich with history, it’s also a city full of energy that it channels into creating green spaces and art centers that enrich the lives of its many residents.

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#58. Amman, Jordan

Total score: 6.01
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.4; Port of entry: 5.3; Safety: 4.7
People scores—Happiness: 3.3; English proficiency: 1.7; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.5

Amman is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Middle Eastern experience. The city is teeming with mosques and cafes where locals gather to converse, but it’s also home to Roman ruins and the extensive Jordan Museum.

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John Menard // Flickr

#57. St. Petersburg, Russia

Total score: 6.03
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.0; Port of entry: 3.6; Safety: 4.4
People scores—Happiness: 4.1; English proficiency: 4.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.8

The Romanovs’ crafted St. Petersburg as the crown jewel of Russia, and that sense of opulence remains a part of its spirit. Sites like the Grand Palace, Catherine’s Palace, and the State Hermitage Museum are stunning spectacles that highlight the city’s rich past.

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Gunawan Kartapranata // Wikimedia Commons

#56. Jakarta, Indonesia

Total score: 6.06
City scores—Expert opinion: 4.3; Port of entry: 7.6; Safety: 2.6
People scores—Happiness: 2.6; English proficiency: 4.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.5

Jakarta is a melting pot of people, cultures, and cuisines. This city is ever-growing, and while it has hard edges, it’s also a place where community is a top priority, as evidenced by the overflowing marketplaces full of foods from every corner of Indonesia.

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Pixabay

#55. Sydney, Australia

Total score: 6.07
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.9; Port of entry: 5.6; Safety: 5.1
People scores—Happiness: 9.0; English proficiency: 9.5; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.1

If you want the true Sydney experience, then prepare to spend much of your vacation outdoors. This boisterous city is one where days at the beach, trips to the Taronga Zoo, and strolls through parks that are more wilderness than recreation are the norm. Still, if it’s art and culture you crave, Sydney has that, too—most notably in its famed Opera House.

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#54. Taipei, Taiwan

Total score: 6.11
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.5; Port of entry: 6.4; Safety: 8.9
People scores—Happiness: 5.4; English proficiency: 4.2; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.1

Taipei embraces all things unique. This is a city where the cuteness of kawaii is a lifestyle, a visit to the puppet museum is a must, and themed restaurants are for everyone, not just the tourists. Embrace the eclectic spirit of Taipei’s residents and you will have experiences that you couldn’t have anywhere else in the world.

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Subhashish Panigrahi // Wikimedia Commons

#53. Monaco, Monaco

Total score: 6.12
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.0; Port of entry: 3.2; Safety: 7.2
People scores—Happiness: 4.8; English proficiency: 5.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.2

Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world and one where it’s obvious why the residents are so happy. Who wouldn’t want to live somewhere that not only looks like paradise but also doesn’t require residents to pay taxes? From skyscrapers to a little old town that’s an enclave of history, Monaco crams in every manner of experience into its relatively small expanse of land.

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Kevin McGill // Wikimedia Commons

#52. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Total score: 6.12
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.7; Port of entry: 9.4; Safety: 8.3
People scores—Happiness: 9.4; English proficiency: 8.4; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 2.2

With its canals and colorful buildings, Amsterdam looks like a storybook, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover a city that’s full of environmentally conscious residents who thrive on inventiveness. Amsterdam is a place that honors its artists, like Vincent van Gogh, with museums, and encourages residents to pass the time at cozy markets and brown cafes.

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Andrew Bossi//Wikimedia Commons

#51. Graz, Austria

Total score: 6.22
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.7; Port of entry: 9.0; Safety: 9.6
People scores—Happiness: 8.6; English proficiency: 7.7; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.7

Graz is a place where it’s easy to relax. While it’s the second-largest city in Austria, Graz is more interested in taking things slow than most metropolises. Places like the futuristic Kunsthaus Graz and the beloved clock tower known as Uhrturm are indicative of the gentle nature of Graz.

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Pixabay

#50. Muscat, Oman

Total score: 6.29
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.5; Port of entry: 4.5; Safety: 7.6
People scores—Happiness: 6.1; English proficiency: 1.4; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.8

Muscat is situated on the Gulf of Oman where it’s flanked by mountains and deserts, and it takes great pride in preserving its ancient roots. While the buildings reflect the past, the city isn’t afraid of progress. In 2017, Muscat opened a new national museum and in 2011 it welcomed a beautiful opera house to attract visitors and delight locals alike.

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#49. Los Angeles, USA

Total score: 6.3
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.5; Port of entry: 6.0; Safety: 2.8
People scores—Happiness: 8.4; English proficiency: 9.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.1

Los Angeles is without a doubt one of America’s most iconic cities. Whether you’re looking for stars in the Hollywood Hills or enjoying the cool vibes of the Venice Boardwalk, L.A. allows you to embrace a variety of lifestyles iconic to living out West.  

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#48. Prague, Czechia

Total score: 6.31
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.9; Port of entry: 7.6; Safety: 7.2
People scores—Happiness: 6.4; English proficiency: 6.2; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.3
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.2

Prague has all the requisite castles, museums, and architecture that make European cities so stunning, but it has something else, too: some of the best beer in the world. Beer is Prague’s specialty. Whether you sample the famed brands like Urquell and Budvar, or lose yourself in one of the many microbreweries, leaving the city without a taste of its most popular beverage would be a travesty.

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#47. Marrakech, Morocco

Total score: 6.32
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.8; Port of entry: 6.2; Safety: 3.5
People scores—Happiness: 2.4; English proficiency: 2.9; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.3

Religion plays a key role in the lives of the people of Marrakech. Amidst the intricate ancient art and sprawling markets are mosques with a beauty that’s rivaled only by the passion of the people who frequent them. When in Marrakech you should take time to tour these intricate places of worship to gain a better understanding of the vibrant communities that make the city so great.

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#46. Bangkok, Thailand

Total score: 6.41
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.5; Port of entry: 6.7; Safety: 3.9
People scores—Happiness: 5.5; English proficiency: 2.2; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.7

One reason Bangkok is such a welcoming city? Its people subscribe to the philosophy of sà·nùk, a Thai phrase meaning “sense of fun.” This playfulness can be found throughout the city’s restaurants, markets, and the city-wide water fight that takes place during the New Year’s celebration of Songkran.

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#45. Miami, USA

Total score: 6.42
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.5; Port of entry: 1.4; Safety: 2.6
People scores—Happiness: 8.4; English proficiency: 9.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.1

Gorgeous beaches, open-air museums, and rooftop bars are all part of the Miami experience. This Florida city is a melting pot of cultures—expertly illustrated in the variety of cuisines you can sample—but it’s also a place where sultry nights are appreciated by one and all.

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#44. Shanghai, China

Total score: 6.43
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.0; Port of entry: 3.5; Safety: 4.8
People scores—Happiness: 3.1; English proficiency: 3.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.3

Art deco buildings and skyscrapers sit side by side in Shanghai. This business capital is one full of conflicting styles that meld together to form the city’s unique skyline—which makes perfect sense for a place where business deals are always going down, even as people take in Chinese theater shows and sample European cuisine in the French Concession.

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Pixabay

#43. Las Vegas, USA

Total score: 6.47
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.0; Port of entry: 2.5; Safety: 4.1
People scores—Happiness: 8.4; English proficiency: 9.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.0

Visiting Las Vegas is like being in a dozen cities at once. This town of excess is full of opportunities to gamble, watch larger-than-life shows, and tuck in at extravagant buffets. Las Vegas truly has something for everyone, making it a city that can bring just about anyone some level of joy.

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#42. Madrid, Spain

Total score: 6.52
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.9; Port of entry: 6.2; Safety: 7.8
People scores—Happiness: 5.3; English proficiency: 5.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.3
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.8

Madrid values its artists above all else. No visit to the Spanish capital is complete without paying homage to Goya, Picasso, and Dalí. While the city has plenty to offer, its art museums might just be unparalleled.

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Pedro Szekely // Flickr

#41. Vienna, Austria

Total score: 6.6
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.4; Port of entry: 8.7; Safety: 9.3
People scores—Happiness: 8.6; English proficiency: 7.7; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.9

Vienna is the city of music. The city once played home to the likes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johannes Brahms, among others. Their legacies live on in the performances that take place in gorgeous settings like the Musikverein and the Staatsoper.

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Lukas Bischoff Photograph // Shutterstock

#40. Kuwait City, Kuwait

Total score: 6.73
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.5; Port of entry: 1.3; Safety: 6.1
People scores—Happiness: 4.7; English proficiency: 1.4; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.6

A visit to Kuwait City is a visit to one of the purest homes of Arab culture. This desert locale is a bit off the beaten path, but attractions like its Scientific Center, Tareq Rajab Museum, and Kuwait Towers make it a one-of-a-kind experience.

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#39. Tel Aviv, Israel

Total score: 6.76
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.3; Port of entry: 8.9; Safety: 7.7
People scores—Happiness: 8.7; English proficiency: 8.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.1

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a hipper Middle Eastern locale than Tel Aviv. The people of this city thrive on all things new and cutting edge, which has led to a pulsating nightclub scene and a mouth-watering array of restaurant choices. To truly get a sense of the city’s inherent coolness, look no further than the stalls at the Jaffa Flea Market.

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Wikimedia Commons

#38. Beirut, Lebanon

Total score: 6.78
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.9; Port of entry: 4.5; Safety: 3.7
People scores—Happiness: 2.2; English proficiency: 2.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.5

Beirut is a crowded city that’s best explored one corner at a time. Since it’s broken up into districts, each community has its own flare, but there are still a few attractions that define Beirut above all else. No visit is complete without a stop at the Mim Museum to see the gorgeous collection of minerals and ancient fossils on display.

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#37. Liverpool, United Kingdom

Total score: 6.79
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.3; Port of entry: 5.1; Safety: 6.2
People scores—Happiness: 7.1; English proficiency: 9.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.4

Liverpool and The Beatles are inseparable. No trip to this football-loving city is complete without a tour through the musical history of the Fab Four. The highlight of it all may very well be Cavern Quarter, home to the club where The Beatles played some of their earliest gigs.

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Chris Jackson // Getty Images

#36. Manama, Bahrain

Total score: 6.8
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.5; Port of entry: 4.5; Safety: 8.3
People scores—Happiness: 4.6; English proficiency: 1.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 9.4

The discovery of oil in Bahrain in the 1930s completely transformed the economy of Manama. Now the city boasts hallmarks of luxurious shopping experiences and fine dining.

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Nicola // Flickr

#35. Brussels, Belgium

Total score: 6.9
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.9; Port of entry: 5.8; Safety: 4.6
People scores—Happiness: 7.4; English proficiency: 7.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.4

At the heart of Brussels is the Grand Place, a thriving square full of beauty that gives this sprawling destination a center. This is a city that’s perfectly content with itself. It offers top-notch coffee shops and bars, business centers, and bastions of history. And if that’s not enough for you, Brussels won’t be too concerned.

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#34. Lima, Peru

Total score: 6.91
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.9; Port of entry: 4.2; Safety: 2.0
People scores—Happiness: 3.6; English proficiency: 2.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 9.0

Lima is a city built on cliffs and driven by over 400 years of food history. This Peruvian locale is understated, but its history is strewn across the city in nearly every building, restaurant, and attraction you see.

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ian_woodhead1 // Flickr

#33. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Total score: 6.96
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.5; Port of entry: 6.8; Safety: 8.6
People scores—Happiness: 7.1; English proficiency: 9.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.7

A city by the sea, Edinburgh is also known as Auld Reekie. This city has no pretensions. It welcomes you to drink and be merry in its many pubs. However, it also has a great respect for its history—it’s hard not to when it sits in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.

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#32. Macau, China

Total score: 6.99
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.8; Port of entry: 5.5; Safety: 7.1
People scores—Happiness: 3.1; English proficiency: 3.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.2

Macau is China’s answer to Vegas. This glitzy enclave is full of opportunities to gamble, but be aware that people who frequent Macau take the art of gambling seriously. So seriously, in fact, that most of the casinos serve no alcohol.

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#31. Glasgow, United Kingdom

Total score: 7
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.0; Port of entry: 9.7; Safety: 5.7
People scores—Happiness: 7.1; English proficiency: 9.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.8

Glasgow is an industrial city with the soul of an artist. This fascinating place embraces its working-class roots right alongside its thriving music scene. Embrace Glasgow’s eccentricities with a visit to the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre or the Glasgow School of Art.

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#30. Doha, Qatar

Total score: 7.05
City scores—Expert opinion: 5.7; Port of entry: 2.5; Safety: 9.0
People scores—Happiness: 5.1; English proficiency: 1.9; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 9.7

Doha is a city on the rise. Improvements to Doha are constantly being made, especially as it prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. If you want the unique experience of visiting a city that’s redefining itself, then Doha should be your next vacation spot.

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#29. London, United Kingdom

Total score: 7.06
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.8; Port of entry: 8.5; Safety: 7.3
People scores—Happiness: 7.1; English proficiency: 9.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.9

London is the very definition of multicultural. Whether you come to catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, or fancy visiting the more offbeat corners like Borough Market and Notting Hill, this cosmopolitan oasis has an endless array of things to see.

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ChewyPineapple // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Auckland, New Zealand

Total score: 7.13
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.0; Port of entry: 9.7; Safety: 8.7
People scores—Happiness: 9.1; English proficiency: 9.9; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.2

By all accounts, Auckland is a wonderful place to live. This is thanks to its proximity to wildlife, the ocean, and many dreamy landscapes. The natural beauty of Auckland and its happy residents make it one of the most pleasant destinations on the list.

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Sergey Ashmarin // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Bern, Switzerland

Total score: 7.21
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.0; Port of entry: 9.7; Safety: 9.9
People scores—Happiness: 9.7; English proficiency: 6.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 5.5

The capital of Switzerland is another place where residents are overwhelmingly happy. Nicknamed the city of fountains, Bern is home to over 100 fountains—with some dating back to the 16th century. Venture a little further and you’ll find Old Town, a medieval city preserved from time and waiting to delight history lovers.

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PxHere

#26. Munich, Germany

Total score: 7.23
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.0; Port of entry: 8.3; Safety: 9.8
People scores—Happiness: 7.8; English proficiency: 7.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.3
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.0

Munich is most famous for Oktoberfest, the largest beer festival in the world. While there’s no denying that Oktoberfest is a site to behold, there are plenty of reasons to visit Munich during the rest of the year too, including the romantic castles left over from its royal history.

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#25. Gothenburg, Sweden

Total score: 7.3
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.0; Port of entry: 8.6; Safety: 7.5
People scores—Happiness: 9.0; English proficiency: 8.2; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.2

Don’t forget your walking shoes when you head to Gothenburg—this seaside town is best enjoyed on foot. Whether you’re exploring the Haga District or simply watching the boats come in, Gothenburg invites you to be your own transportation.

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PxHere

#24. Stuttgart, Germany

Total score: 7.31
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.5; Port of entry: 8.3; Safety: 8.2
People scores—Happiness: 7.8; English proficiency: 7.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.3
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.2

Stuttgart has a reputation for being all work and no play, but this German city has more going on than most people give it credit for. Take in an overview of the country’s art in the Staatsgalerie, or have a picnic in Max-Eyth-See to experience fun with the locals.

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#23. Kathmandu, Nepal

Total score: 7.32
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.7; Port of entry: 1.3; Safety: 7.0
People scores—Happiness: 1.9; English proficiency: 1.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.9

Kathmandu can exhilarate and exhaust. It’s a city designed for people who aren’t concerned with creature comforts. Backpackers abound and rickshaws are the preferred mode of transportation in this crowded locale.

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#22. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Total score: 7.34
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.9; Port of entry: 2.5; Safety: 10.0
People scores—Happiness: 6.8; English proficiency: 2.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 2.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.4

Abu Dhabi’s motto seems to be go big or don’t bother. The city is home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster, high tea that takes you to the top of the world, and the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

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#21. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Total score: 7.35
City scores—Expert opinion: 6.9; Port of entry: 2.5; Safety: 8.5
People scores—Happiness: 6.8; English proficiency: 2.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.6

There’s plenty to do in Dubai, but above all else this city wants you to shop. Dubai plays host to two shopping festivals, and even during non-festival days, the shopping malls are spectacles all on their own.

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#20. Phuket, Thailand

Total score: 7.36
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.9; Port of entry: 1.4; Safety: 3.8
People scores—Happiness: 5.5; English proficiency: 2.2; Openness to host tourists at home: 1.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.6

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and is overflowing with resort destinations that cater to every type of visitor. Whether you want to party all night or have a relaxed family vacation, this beach haven is here to please.

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#19. Berlin, Germany

Total score: 7.37
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.4; Port of entry: 2.8; Safety: 6.8
People scores—Happiness: 7.8; English proficiency: 7.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.4
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.6

Berlin is a place of living history. You can visit the remnants of the Berlin Wall, stop by Checkpoint Charlie, and explore the many 20th century events that led to Berlin becoming the cosmopolitan metropolis that it is today.

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#18. New York, USA

Total score: 7.38
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.5; Port of entry: 6.5; Safety: 3.1
People scores—Happiness: 8.4; English proficiency: 9.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 9.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.7

There isn’t another place on Earth quite like New York City. Whether you’re in town to take in a Broadway show, behold Lady Liberty, or feast on multicultural cuisine, New York will welcome you into its bustling world.

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Max Pixel

#17. Geneva, Switzerland

Total score: 7.39
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.1; Port of entry: 5.9; Safety: 9.4
People scores—Happiness: 9.7; English proficiency: 6.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.2

Brilliance seems to seep into every part of Geneva. This city is home to CERN—the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the World Trade Organization, the second-largest branch of the United Nations, and a booming counterculture. It’s hard not to stumble upon an intellectual conversation in this pristine city.

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#16. Bruges, Belgium

Total score: 7.41
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.0; Port of entry: 1.6; Safety: 5.0
People scores—Happiness: 7.4; English proficiency: 7.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.9

If the picturesque scenery isn’t enough to lure you to Bruges, then take into account that there are 50 chocolate shops in the town with plenty of deliciousness to sample. One of the best of the bunch is The Chocolate Line, a shop that makes magic out of sugar.

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Marc van der Chijs // Flickr

#15. Nice, France

Total score: 7.45
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.7; Port of entry: 7.4; Safety: 7.9
People scores—Happiness: 6.0; English proficiency: 5.1; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.3
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.7

Nice is the perfect place to experience the Riviera. This seaside city’s pebbled beach and endlessly sunny days make it a tourist hotspot for good reason.  

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Alexandre Moreau // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Toronto, Canada

Total score: 7.52
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.5; Port of entry: 1.7; Safety: 7.8
People scores—Happiness: 9.2; English proficiency: 8.7; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.3
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.2

Multiculturalism is just part of Toronto’s DNA. This friendly city is home to people who speak over 140 languages altogether, and they’ve each brought a bit of their own culture to Toronto to add to its greatness.

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#13. Dublin, Ireland

Total score: 7.58
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.9; Port of entry: 8.8; Safety: 7.4
People scores—Happiness: 7.9; English proficiency: 10.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.0

To find the true Dublin, one must head out for an evening at the pub. The city has over 1,000 drinking establishments, and there’s no better place to rub elbows with the locals.

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#12. Copenhagen, Denmark

Total score: 7.63
City scores—Expert opinion: 9.5; Port of entry: 7.9; Safety: 9.5
People scores—Happiness: 9.9; English proficiency: 8.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.7
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 4.5

There’s more to Copenhagen that its famed colorful buildings. In fact, the city’s most intriguing claim to fame these days is that it’s home to 15 Michelin-starred restaurants, each one set on being more creative than the last.

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Hansueli Krapf // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Hamburg, Germany

Total score: 7.69
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.5; Port of entry: 8.4; Safety: 8.0
People scores—Happiness: 7.8; English proficiency: 7.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 7.9
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.5

Historically, Hamburg is known as the gateway to the world. As the biggest port in Germany, it’s not such a strange claim. This is a city that thousands of people pass through each year, and thanks to its fish markets, Miniature Wonderland, and fascinating history, you might just want to join the crowd.

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Max Pixel

#10. Orlando, USA

Total score: 7.81
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.5; Port of entry: 5.1; Safety: 4.1
People scores—Happiness: 8.4; English proficiency: 9.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.0

Orlando is a city built on tourism, and as a result, it’s here to please. Whether you come to town to visit Disney World or take in the ocean wonders at Sea World, there’s no shortage of things to do in this city.

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Pixabay

#9. Zurich, Switzerland

Total score: 7.84
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.0; Port of entry: 9.4; Safety: 9.7
People scores—Happiness: 9.7; English proficiency: 6.6; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.1

Zurich knows how to preserve the beauty of its historic architecture without pushing pause on progress. When you head to Zurich, you’ll be met with the sites of a quaint European town, but you’ll find joyful, modern events like the annual Street Parade to take in as well.

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Unsplash

#8. Oslo, Norway

Total score: 7.88
City scores—Expert opinion: 9.1; Port of entry: 7.9; Safety: 8.4
People scores—Happiness: 10.0; English proficiency: 8.0; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.1

Oslo’s skyline is like no other. The modern architecture is just the beginning of the spirit of innovation and creativity that flourishes here. If you want to bask in Oslo’s rich cultural scene then head to the city’s contemporary art museum, Astrup Fearnley Museet.

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Max Pixel

#7. Tokyo, Japan

Total score: 7.89
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.9; Port of entry: 9.5; Safety: 9.7
People scores—Happiness: 3.9; English proficiency: 3.9; Openness to host tourists at home: 6.1
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.1

Tokyo is a sea of neon signs all pointing you toward one of a kind experiences. Shop along the streets of Harajuku and Aoyama, spend a night out in Shinjuku, and take in the fairytale wonders of the Ghibli Museum. Tokyo is a true wonderland, and there’s no end to the attractions it has on offer.

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Unsplash

#6. Lisbon, Portugal

Total score: 7.9
City scores—Expert opinion: 9.2; Port of entry: 3.3; Safety: 8.1
People scores—Happiness: 2.1; English proficiency: 6.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.0
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.8

Lisbon’s seven hills create an unforgettable view and a seemingly endless array of ancient places to explore. If it’s history you seek, then put on your walking shoes and brave the steep inclines of Alfama.

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#5. Rotterdam, Netherlands

Total score: 7.98
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.5; Port of entry: 9.2; Safety: 6.3
People scores—Happiness: 9.4; English proficiency: 8.4; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.2
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.9

Rotterdam has rebuilt itself after the unrelenting bombing during World War II. These days the city is a collection of architectural delights in every style you can imagine. Before you leave this hip town head to Toko 51 to interact with the young people who are helping to define this city’s style.

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PxHere

#4. San Francisco, USA

Total score: 8
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.0; Port of entry: 7.4; Safety: 6.8
People scores—Happiness: 8.4; English proficiency: 9.3; Openness to host tourists at home: 3.8
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.5

From the Golden Gate Bridge to the city’s iconic cable cars, San Francisco’s reputation for mixing revolution with relaxation precedes it. This welcoming city remains a place of culture, delicious food, and laid-back style with a hilly terrain that epitomizes the best of coastal California.

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Giuseppe Milo // Flickr

#3. Helsinki, Finland

Total score: 8.01
City scores—Expert opinion: 8.3; Port of entry: 7.7; Safety: 8.8
People scores—Happiness: 9.5; English proficiency: 7.9; Openness to host tourists at home: 4.5
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 7.6

Helsinki is a city where nature is always accessible. Take a boat trip, visit the beach, or spend an afternoon with the locals in a park—this Finnish city is all about appreciating the beauty of the great outdoors.

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Pixabay

#2. Stockholm, Sweden

Total score: 8.02
City scores—Expert opinion: 9.1; Port of entry: 9.1; Safety: 7.9
People scores—Happiness: 9.0; English proficiency: 8.2; Openness to host tourists at home: 5.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 6.6

Stockholm lands at #2 on this list for good reason. The Swedish city combines the beauty of old Europe—a visit to Gamla stan is a must—with the modern food and fashion scenes that attract so many visitors.

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Richie Chan // Shuttestock

#1. Singapore, Singapore

Total score: 8.22
City scores—Expert opinion: 7.9; Port of entry: 10.0; Safety: 9.0
People scores—Happiness: 6.2; English proficiency: 7.8; Openness to host tourists at home: 8.6
Over-tourism—Tourism carrying capacity: 8.7

Why is Singapore the world’s friendliest city? It’s an ever-growing metropolis that’s easy to navigate and full of adventures. Visit the jaw-dropping Gardens by the Bay for a botanical experience that you’ll never forget, feed your body and soul on multicultural cuisines, and take in a night safari in the middle of a concrete jungle. Singapore has it all, and it’s happy to share its wealth of unique activities with visitors from around the world.

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