What are the 10 greatest cities in the world? Everyone's idea of the perfect city is different, but we reckon we've got it covered with these must-visit global destinations.
1. New York
You've seen it in a thousand movies (in various states of glory and destruction): now it's time to witness what is arguably the greatest city on the planet, and one that easily makes the top ten greatest cities in the world. New York is one of those rare destinations that invariably exceeds visitors expectations, and the first time you roll into Lower Manhattan - surrounded by skyscrapers as high as the eye can see - is a moment you'll remember for the rest of your life. If you're a returning visitor to the Big Apple you'll already have a good idea of what to expect, but the city will still surprise you with its constantly-changing appeal.
2. Rio de Janeiro
Current home of world football and a mysterious and beautiful old city in its own right, Rio de Janeiro is a particularly hot destination right now. Key attractions include Ipanema Beach, with its gorgeous mountain backdrop, the Maracana Stadium, Sugarloaf Mountain and of course the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, which overlooks the city. Visit in Carnival season (February and March) for a truly unrivalled experience.
Perhaps due to its very proximity to the UK, Paris is one of the great destinations we sometimes overlook when planning our holidays. You'll most likely have passed through the city a few times, maybe stayed a couple of nights en route to sunny southern climes - but it's only by spending time getting to know the French capital that you'll really get to look beneath the gloss and unearth its real treasures. Check out its Flea Markets and hidden hangouts to discover where Parisians really go to party.
With its unique East-meets-West appeal, balmy Mediterranean climate, coastal location and fascinating heritage as one of the most significant cities in history, Istanbul has a great deal to offer travellers. While it may not be a capital city today (in modern Turkey, that's Ankara), Istanbul has previously been capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire - all of which has afforded it a tremendously diverse and rich culture that carries through to the present day.
Key attractions include the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. Head to Maiden's Tower, on a tiny island just off the shore of the Salacak district, for spectacular views of the city.
Ask any keen traveller which city they'd most like to visit in their lifetime, and Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is a destination that comes up time and time again. It's easy to see why - in a city where even the public transport is exciting and futuristic, you are guaranteed an eye-opening experience. From the natural beauty of the cherry blossom or sakura in spring to the ultra-modern architecture, highly inventive food and eye-popping fashion at any time of year, there is always something fun to do in Tokyo.
6. Cape Town
Cape Town has almost everything you could want in an urban destination: good weather, glorious views, a friendly vibe and beaches of pristine white sand for those times when you want to escape the hubbub of the city. Popular haunts include the Two Oceans Aquarium, which showcases the city's impressive marine wildlife, the Castle of Good Hope, which is thought to be South Africa's oldest building, and of course Table Mountain, which is a constant majestic presence in the city. Take a cable car up into its cloudy peaks if you've feeling brave - the views are well worth it. We hear the Great White shark diving is pretty spectacular too.
It's also worth noting that you won't suffer any significant jet lag when travelling to Cape Town from the UK and back, as despite the distance, the city's time zone is only an hour ahead of our own.
With its canals, bikes, higgledy-piggledy townhouses and leisurely pace of life, There is nowhere else quite like Amsterdam. A short flight or train ride from the UK, the Dutch capital is a great place to spend a relaxed city break or longer holiday whether you're looking to immerse yourself in culture or just have fun. Check out the Van Gogh Museum or Rembrandt's House by day, then go check out the city's infamous nightlife.
If what you want from a city break is wall-to-wall culture, outstanding architecture and a thriving night scene, Barcelona is your go-to destination. The Catalan capital's legendary 24-hour culture makes it the ideal spot to enjoy the long, warm night of summer, while its wealth of art galleries, museums and beautiful parks will ensure you're occupied from dusk 'til dawn.
When you want to relax, Barcelona's bars and restaurants are fantastic places to hang out, enjoy authentic tapas and a glass of wine. bucket listLas Ramblas is a must-visit for drinking, dining and leisurely walks, while Barceloneta beachfront is where you'll find more boisterous bars and clubs.
Sydney is a city that has it all: sun, iconic architecture, brilliant beaches, and a thriving sport and arts scene. The city plays host to several exciting events each year, including Australia Day in January, when the harbour comes alive with music, fireworks and a parade of colourfully decked out boats. Popular attractions include Sydney Opera House, the Botanic Gardens which serve as an attractive walking route to the harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Its best-known beach if Bondi Beach; a surfer's paradise that attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year.
10. San Francisco
The second US city on our list is a cultural hub that's as friendly and Bohemian as it is sophisticated and stylish. Steeped in history and flowing with wonderful wine, the Californian city is packed with iconic attractions from the splendour of the Golden Gate Bridge to the austere appeal of Alcatraz. Home to the original hippie movement of the 1960s, it can feel like there's a pop culture reference on every corner in SF. A great public transport system makes it easy for visitors to get around, either by tram or on foot - if the steep hills and winding streets don't put you off!Top