We’ve been lucky enough to travel to some incredible cities over the past two decades. This is why it’s high time to give a breakdown of our best city breaks and top cities to visit after 20 years of travels together.
Whilst we absolutely love a beach holiday somewhere exotic, nothing beats a visit to some of the most popular cities in the world. If you’ve used our Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro or Hong Kong travel guide apps, then you’ll have seen how much fun we have in a new city!
Where are the Best City Breaks in the World?
Our list spans 5 continents, so buckle up and get ready to read our round-up of favourite cities to visit around the globe.
Table of Contents
1. Tokyo, Japan
With us being from the UK, Tokyo is worlds away from what we’re used to. That’s why we love every minute of being in Japan’s capital city. Whilst there, we were lucky enough to enjoy a new experience every day. From ascending Tokyo SkyTree (Japan’s tallest tower) and having fun at Tokyo Disneyland, to watching Judo matches and drinking Matcha green tea… our experiences in Tokyo were endless.
Tokyo is brilliantly modern, with bright lights, multicoloured food (!!), fashion, and art everywhere you lay your eyes. However, travel a few streets from the main thoroughfares and you’ll be surrounded by its history. Temples, shrines, and magnificent parks can all be found in Tokyo. Senso-ji temple in Asakusa became a favourite of ours and we spent a lot of time there.
In the spring season, Ueno Park is awash in cherry blossoms. Summer nights are ideal for walking through Shinjuku’s famous electronics and fashion stores, as well as local eateries. As the weather cools, the city’s nightlife picks up, meaning time for quirky, themed cafes and delicious sushi restaurants. Tokyo’s hot springs are especially enjoyable in the winter, and Mount Fuji is breathtaking if you’re looking for a day trip to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Check out our Instagram stories video below to see how much fun we had in Tokyo!
2. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is easily one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. We spent an action-packed week on the V&A Waterfront and enjoyed all it had to offer, from carnivorous eats and shopping to street dancers’ performances and a giant Ferris wheel.
On one of Cape Town’s many perfect-weather days, you can hike or take the cable car to the summit of Table Mountain. Here, you can gaze out over the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the Indian Ocean to the East.
This is a South African city where you can choose between a variety of beach activities, from relaxing on Camps Bay (like we did on Mase’s birthday) to meeting penguins on Boulders Beach.
On your city break to Cape Town, adults can indulge in a spot of wine tasting in the beautiful Cape Winelands. Kids on the other hand, like to explore the vividly painted Bo-Kaap Muslim neighbourhood or the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. Cape Town really does have something for everyone which is why it’s made our hand-picked list of the best city breaks.
3. Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu may be part of the US, but it’s located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Its distinct tropical style is what tempted us to its shores, and we definitely weren’t disappointed with our experience there! Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head crater were stand-out attractions for us when we visited.
It might not be the obvious choice for a city break, but there’s so much to do in Honolulu, that you’ll constantly be on the go! The easygoing and chilled-out attitude is palpable in this island paradise.
You can spend your time here taking on board the island culture and embracing everything Honolulu throws at you. From local seafood and designer shopping to some of the more adventurous activities such as kayak fishing, stand-up paddle-boarding, and surfing… you won’t get bored. While you’re there, don’t forget to say ‘Hipa Hipa’ (cheers) with a Blue Hawaiian cocktail!
Must-haves for every city break! Don't forget to pack these travel essentials for your City trip
4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
We found Rio de Janeiro lively, busting, hot and eye-opening! There are many famous landmarks associated with this Brazilian city. The most outstanding of which is the Christ The Redeemer statue looming above the city. Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach were also personal favourites of ours.
Did we mention? One day it took us literally FIVE HOURS to reach the famous Christ The Redeemer statue! See for yourself…
Rio’s annual Carnival is a notable, world-famous event and one not to be missed. The world’s largest carnival takes place every February and is definitely a ‘get-it-all-out-of-your-system’ party.
Rio’s natural beauty is breathtaking, with various peaks such as Sugarloaf Mountain encircling its distinctive port, Guanabara Bay (pictured above). This beauty has earned Rio a spot on the list of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. Although there are dozens of historic and modern attractions across the city, what brings Rio to life is the buzzing vibe, greenery, and the sheer number of fun things to do here.
More of our articles about Rio de Janeiro
- Is Rio de Janeiro safe for tourists in 2023?
- 5 Touristy Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro for First-Timers
- Travel Essentials that you NEED to Bring to Rio
- 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Rio de Janeiro
5. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is overflowing with a variety of lively and exciting activities that can’t be missed out on. Personally, we’re drawn to the city by its tasty Thai food, rich Buddhist culture, and unique customs that are dotted on every street.
Did we mention that we love riding around in tuk-tuks? Oh, and Mase once broke his tooth on a Scorpion while getting a foot massage on Khao San Road!?
The city gives an exquisite experience of true Thai living, with a perfect blend of East Asian and Western cultures. This is a city of enduring cultural monuments, temples, and traditional waterside markets. It’s truly a shopping and culture lovers’ delight. While strolling the buzzing streets you’ll discover why so many people have fallen in love with Bangkok, and why it’s one of the most popular cities in the world for tourists to enjoy, us included.
6. Paris, France
While locally known as the “city of light”, Paris is recognised around the world as the “capital of love”. So much so, that couples often take trips there just to make a famous Paris marriage proposal. Even if you don’t know much about the city’s history, you’ve most definitely heard of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum (pictured above), and the Arc de Triomphe to name a few.
We love taking strolls along the banks of the River Seine and visiting all the well-known tourist attractions dotted throughout the city. Paris offers the opportunity to visit art museums, wander along the ‘left bank’ of art and literature, and search for street art in Montmartre. You can also visit the homes of a plethora of historical figures who have chosen to call Paris their home.
Of course, you can’t visit Paris without sampling some true French cuisine! Aside from the Michelin-star restaurants, the streets and lanes of Paris are brimming with a range of eateries, just perfect for stopping in for a pain au chocolat (or two).
Visiting Paris as a family with children? Check out our 12 best things to see and do at Disneyland Paris with kids.
7. London, United Kingdom
Before we start, we might be just a little biased here! Disclaimer: we were born, raised, educated, work and live in London. Either way, our city still tops most peoples’ lists of European cities they want to visit.
The English capital is super-busy, but it’s a great destination no matter what you’re looking for in a city break. If it’s your first time in London, then seeing sights such as Big Ben (that’s the name of the bell by the way, not the “Great Clock” itself), Buckingham Palace, The London Eye and the world-famous Hamleys toy store are a must.
If you’re hoping for great food, you won’t be disappointed. London is home to an unimaginable amount of food options ranging from Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and Lebanese restaurants to British gastro pubs and European-style, Michelin-star dining experiences. We literally have all food here!
If you’re coming to London as a family, why not make the most of it? Check out our article on the 10 most fun things to do in London with kids.
8. New York City, USA
How can you not love The Big Apple? After getting engaged here (cliché horse and carriage marriage proposal in Central Park), NYC is somewhere we come back to time and time again.
When it comes to famous attractions, The Statue of Liberty is without a doubt the city’s most iconic monument. The Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge, appearing in so many films and television shows, are also unmissable city sights alongside many other recognisable spots you’ve seen on TV.
With its bright lights beaming day and night, Times Square never sleeps and is a hub for tourists like us who want to take in everything New York has to offer as one of the most popular cities in the world to visit. If you want to window shop next season’s hottest trends or shop until you drop, both Fifth Avenue and Macy’s are the places to go. People come from all over the world to experience this buzzing metropolis and we’re no different. We ❤️ NYC
More of our articles about New York City
- 10 top tips for walking across Brooklyn Bridge with kids
- The 10 best things to do in NYC with kids in the winter
9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
After spontaneously spending 5 days in Kuala Lumpur, we were pleasantly surprised by Malaysia’s capital city, known locally as “KL”. Its tropical environment ensures that it feels like summer all year. We visited in October, which is winter in Europe and North America – and we were sweating!
While on the city’s outskirts, there is lush vegetation everywhere you look. Natural landscapes (and wild monkeys) can be found at the Batu Caves or the Genting Highlands, while cultural landscapes can be found at Dataran Merdeka or the National Mosque.
For us, a big part of our time in Kuala Lumpur was spent enjoying local cuisine, especially Beef Rendang curry and chicken satay! As foodies, we’ll always recommend a visit to Petaling Street Market and Jalan Alor to try out some of the more ‘interesting’ street food on offer.
Must-haves for every city break! Don't forget to pack these travel essentials for your City trip
10. Chicago, USA
The city of Chicago is a popular tourist destination in the central Midwest of the United States. “Chi-Town” (as we personally call it) is known as “The Windy City” because of its location beside the calm waters of Lake Michigan.
Similar to Manhattan, Chicago’s skyscrapers tower like a forest and are one of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive. Many of them are one-of-a-kind architectural gems that serve as beautiful representations of the region. Another of the city’s gems is The Bean (pictured above), whose official name is “Cloud Gate” and you can see it in Millennium Park. During our time in Chi-Town, you can probably imagine that we really enjoyed posing for photos in the bean’s reflection. We’re just big kids at heart!
People from various walks of life live in Chicago, meaning they bring their culture, food, and music with them, weaving it all together into a vibrant tapestry that is a joy to experience.
Check out an all-American baseball game while you’re here to really get a feel for the city’s sporting heritage. After all, Chicago is home to two Major League Baseball teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. Also, don’t forget to snap a selfie eating a famous Chicago deep-dish pizza.
Wherever you’re heading on your travels, be sure to check out our ever-growing list of city guide apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Amazon Fire TV. Our apps will help you out with instant suggestions for the best places to visit, eat, sleep and party around the globe. Whether you’re looking for the best city break on your doorstep or further afield, there’s somewhere on our list for everyone to enjoy.