London is such an amazing city; it’s hard to think of anywhere else that comes close to matching its combination of culture, attractions, history, and entertainments. It’s deservedly seen as one of the major tourist destinations in the world and will be on most travellers’ bucket list. However, there are some other cities around the world which could give London a run for its money. If you love the big city and want to explore what’s on offer in other countries, you might want to consider one of these options.
This floating city in North Eastern Italy is best-known for its canals and gondolas and is often associated with romantic getaways. There’s far more to Venice than the waterways though. The origins of the city go back several thousand years, and there’s still extensive historical architecture to admire such as the Palazzo Ducale and Basilica di San Marco situated at the end of the Grand Canal, and the magnificent Piazza San Marco. The back streets are also stacked with charming buildings, including marble lined churches and many examples of Venetian art. Venice is the home of Prosecco, the sparkling wine that’s taken such a hold in the UK over the past few years, and unsurprisingly has some excellent dining experiences including Venetian tapas feasts known as Cicchetti, and fresh seafood is a speciality of the region. There’s also a thriving arts culture amidst all the history, for instance, you can see examples of the most modern forms of art at the Biennale.
One of India’s largest and most densely populated cities, formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is the entertainment capital of India and home to many Bollywood stars. It’s known as the City of Dreams as it attracts people from all walks of life who are looking to find fame and wealth, much like Hollywood does in the United States. Mumbai is an island city filled with architecture that dates from colonial times, like the streets of Colaba and Churchgate where you can see the Flora Fountain and the High Court among other notable buildings. It’s now one of the most fast-paced places to live, and the energy which fills the city is hard to find anywhere else; in fact, it can take your breath away when you first encounter it. The Gateway of India is one of Mumbai’s most notable attractions, situated overlooking the Arabian Sea and leading to five jetties that provide transport to sites of interest outside the city like the Elephanta Caves. The major transport hub is the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, or CST, another colonial structure that now houses the central transport links for the city, and which you may well recognise from the movies.
- New York
One of the cities with the most significant similarities to London in terms of the shopping and entertainments experience, but it has a very different, very American, vibe. Most of the major attractions are well-known across the world, like the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, and these are must-see sights; but there’s far more to New York than its most famous landmarks. You can see equally astonishing views from the One World Observatory and Top of the Rock, and explore the fascinating history of the area and country at the Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Hall of Science. New York has the kind of cultural diversity familiar to Londoners, and there are many ethnic areas with speciality cuisines to sample and goods for sale. And of course, you’re never short of nightlife in the Big Apple; it’s the home of American theatre and has a thriving creative arts community. If you think you know New York from watching TV or films, it’s worth challenging your preconceptions and finding out more about this destination, as it has plenty more to offer.
Although Amsterdam may be the first Dutch city that comes to mind, the second largest, Rotterdam, is in many ways its equal; and being less notorious than its big sister, it attracts fewer party people. Rotterdam is one of the world’s biggest ports and thus has an extensive and fascinating history. As it was almost completely destroyed by bombing raids during the Second World War, Rotterdam has been rebuilt as a modern, forward-looking city quite different to many of its European counterparts. As the port is the central hub of the city, transport links are some of the best in Europe, and Rotterdam is an ideal place to use as a base for exploring further afield. Attractions in the city include the Maritime Museum and the Wereldmuseum Art Gallery. You can also take in the sights from the top of the Euromast, which provides a panoramic view of the city’s architecture. For shoppers, the Alexandrium is the place to go, or if you prefer a more traditional experience you could head for the Blaak Markt. You’ll also find a vibrant nightlife scene in the Stadhuisplein area near the centre of the city. There are plenty of green spaces in which to relax, including the Museum Park, which as the name suggests is surrounded by various museums, and Kralingse Wood and Lake.
- Buenos Aires
One of the most fascinating of all the spectacular South American cities, Buenos Aires is the place that invented the tango, which gives you an idea about the kind of passionate and flamboyant nature of the city. It’s also well-known for its exquisite beef and steaks, as Argentina is one of the premier beef producers in the world. The architecture has a strong European influence, particularly French and Italian, but there’s also a tradition of modern street art that brightens up even the most modest of areas. The clubs and restaurants in Buenos Aires are open all night, so you can party your heart out if you so wish.
The world is full of incredible cities to explore, all of which have their own unique personality. If you enjoy visiting cities, you’ll never run out of new ones to love, even if you never find one to equal London!