Pictured: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hello and warmest welcomes to our list of the friendliest cities in the world. Let’s be honest, sometimes travel can be a little uncomfortable and stressful, especially in a new location. A helpful culture, friendly people and beautiful sights all help make you feel at home in a new city and may even help contribute to making it your new favorite vacation spot! Follow us around the world as we bring you to some of our friendliest spots due to their authenticity and unashamed personality.
10. Thimphu, Bhutan
Welcome to the tiny, magical kingdom of Bhutan, located in-between India and China. Tradition and independence reign supreme in Bhutan and you will see that instantly in the people who live here. The capital city of Thimphu gives you the perfect taste of what Bhutan is all about. This city is located in the Himalayas and is extremely isolated from outside cultures, meaning it has largely kept its authenticity. Thimphu is the most modern in the entire country and boosts a great amount of sights to see. A great thing to do here is to surround yourself with temples and courtyards that will make you feel just like a local. Top attractions here include the Dochula, a mountain pass through the Himalayas and Simtokha Dzong, an important historic building and former Buddhist monastery, Do not forget to be on the lookout for the rare national animal; the Tazin.
9. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Travel along the beautiful Sea-to-Sky Highway to get to alluring Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, Canada. This town is a true homage to Victorian charm, through the architecture and genuine nature of the locals. It is also the oldest city in the Pacific Northwest, which means its has a lot of history stretching back thousands of years. British and Asian traditions are also prominent here thanks to the cities past involvements with trading and British rule. While in Victoria, you will want to visit Beacon Hill Park, Butchart Gardens and the Royal BC Museum. Perhaps stop in Canada’s oldest Chinatown and indulge in a delicious snack! Perhaps you’ll enjoy a stroll or have a meal along the Victoria Harbor and take in the view of the Parliament Building along the water. Victoria, British Columbia welcomes you and you will be greeted with a warm embrace!
8. Hoi An, Vietnam
The ancient town of Hoi An, Vietnam will give you a feel for the culture as soon as you get here. Many of the people in this city still wear the “ao dais” or cultural dress of the Vietnamese. Hoi An is bursting with tradition, given its past as an important Asian training port. This city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has an impressive collection of canals, pagodas, temples, bridges and shops in the Old Quarter. While in Hoi An, be sure to visit the Organic Village where you can enjoy vegetables and herbs grown in the area to support the local community. This town has no airport or train station so you will oftentimes land in the airport of Da Nang and drive to Hoi An, but it is worth it! Warm weather, happy people and a city with much to do will make Hoi An a new favorite of yours.
7. Savannah, Georgia, United States
Welcome to the “Belle of the South” Savannah, Georgia, and what a beauty this city is. A storied past and numerous landmarks give this city a heart all its own. Historic landmarks you must see in Savannah include Forsyth Park, River Street, the Waving Girl statue and the Cotton Exchange. While here, be sure to keep an eye out for the manicured gardens, historic district, antebellum architecture and horse-drawn carriages, that will transport you to another era. Take a walk down the cobblestone streets at night and get a real feel for the city; breathe in the warm weather and magnificent sights of the South in Savannah.
6. Galway, Ireland
You’ve arrived in the Emerald Isle and we have an excellent spot for you to visit! Galway is a seafaring town in this country that deeply honors tradition. The Gaelic language is alive here and can be observed in the people of this area. When in this city, be on the lookout for folk music, traditional pubs and fun shops. These are all a must to truly understand the character of this city and those who live here. Must see sights in this city include the Eyre Square, River Corrib, Latin Quarter and Galway Cathedral. If you love a city that marches to the beat of its own drum and has a truly unique nature, Galway is a must for you.
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is located in the mountainous Himalayas in the region of Northern Thailand. Northern Thailand is said to have a persona and food scene all its own and cannot be compared with the cities in the south. This is due to its close border to Myanmar and Laos and the Lanna inspiration that exists here. This area is rich in character and is very fond of festivals and celebrations! Chiang Mai is a perfect example of the culture of the north and has temples and wats that you will not believe. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Wat Suan Dok and Wat Phra Singh are just a few of the must see attractions. Some things to try and do here that are authentic include sampling local dishes, perhaps Larb, a spicy salad, or Khao Soim, coconut curry soup, enjoying a Thai massage, venturing through Sankampang Street for handicrafts and exploring the temples. Experience for yourself, the spirit and beliefs of Northern Thailand, with a visit to the genuine Chiang Mai.
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand was named for Queen Victoria and is located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the South Island of this Pacific nation. Queenstown has a rich Maori culture and history of gold-mining that helped shape what this area is today. This city is considered the adventure sports capital of the country and is a perfect place to live like the locals. Bungy-jumping, skydiving, paragliding and zip-lining are all available here. For more natural scenes, Milford Sound, Elington Valley, Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls are some of the few in Queenstown. See excellent views of the city below at Bob’s Peak and view some of the Lord of the Rings filming locations. Be sure to also get acquainted with the downtown of this resort area and perhaps visit a relaxing spa, find a good restaurant or do some exploring! Getting yourself into some adventures in Queenstown is sure to make you feel like a kiwi and meet kiwi friends as well.
3. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is your gateway to the Angkor temples and a unique city all it’s own. It is very probable that the Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat masterpieces brought you here, and that’s an excellent reason. These amazing temples were built by Khmer Kings and were once home to over a million people! These temples are truly a must see for your travel bucket list and are unlike anything you have seen. This city is very popular and safe and has adapted to accommodate travelers. Hotels, restaurants and shopping are all prevalent and excellent in this city. Many of the people of Cambodia are grateful and happy to meet travelers and people from all over the world so do not be afraid to interact! The Cambodians have had a fascinating and sometimes horrific history but they are more than happy to share their country, as well as ancient sights, with the world.
2. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland is one of those cities that is always a good idea and will always provide travelers with a good time. Whether you are walking around, exploring sights or having a drink in the pub at night, this city is full of excitement, singing and people enjoying themselves. Some of the must see sights in Dublin include Trinity College, Guinness Storehouse, O’Connell Street and St. Stephen’s Green. If you are looking for a place to enjoy a drink, eat Irish fare or do a little shopping, head down to the Temple Bar area. This area can get a bit touristy and crowded, so do not be afraid to spend a little time here and move on to another area. If you are looking for an authentic Irish experience, this is one of the best places in the country to find it! Have a bowl of Irish Stew with a local or listen to an Irish folk band at the pub and you are sure to feel more green.
1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Hola! Welcome to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. This location tops the list thanks to its impressive history, friendly people, tasty restaurants and easy exploration of the city by foot. San Miguel de Allende also has a large ex-pat community that can make you feel more at home. The city itself is best known for it’s Colonial-era and Spanish architecture and intertwining history with Mexico’s Independence. Cobblestone streets, majestic churches and plentiful parks and gardens help add to the perfection of this story-book city. Here, you will feel safe, enjoy a friendly and exciting place and have a stress-free time exploring the sights. While in this city, be sure to visit Parroquia de San Migual Arcangel, Juarez Park and the Artisan Market to get a feel for this area. Do not be afraid to walk in this city, it is very safe and effortless to explore on foot.
Bonus: Charleston, South Carolina, United States
We couldn’t end a friendliest cities list without mentioned the warm and charming city of Charleston, South Carolina in the United States! Cobblestone streets, antebellum mansions and multi-colored homes are all the norm for this city in the South. This city has so much to offer with its historic charm, excellent food scene and shopping. If you are a big shopper or want a bite to eat, head down to King Street or the Historic Charleston City Market. Both of these areas have great shopping and have restaurants and stands for wonderful food. If history is more your style, visit Fort Sumter, a Civil War fort, or the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, a historic house with tours and a lush garden to explore. Feel the Southern hospitality of South Carolina while in this gem of the South.