When asked about the world’s best cities, many of us would look to the bright lights of New York.
But the cultural and financial capital of the USA has failed to make it into the top ten best cities in the world.
Consumer champion Which? asked more than 1,800 respondents to rate their experiences of world travel outside of Europe over the past three years. Locations were marked on seven separate criteria, including the quality of food and drink, cultural sights and tourist attractions, ease of getting around and value for money. A city score was then calculated based on a combination of overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend the destination.
Sydney scooped first place in the survey and was praised for its ‘spectacular’ scenery and ‘buzzing’ atmosphere. Perhaps surprisingly, Cape Town, which has been marred by incidents of violence and gang-related crime, came in second place, while Las Vegas, a city hugely popular with British tourists, came in last place.
Despite being a world-famous party destination, renowned for entertainment and casinos, Las Vegas scored no higher than two stars in any category. Though visitors enjoyed the ‘crazy fun’ to be found on the Strip, respondents noted it is a ‘love it or hate it’ destination, with ‘something to love – or avoid – around every corner’.
Los Angeles, another popular tourist destination, was also in the bottom three. The city scored low for ease of getting around, with one respondent saying ‘rush hour is manic’ and another added: ‘Be careful about renting a car – roads are crazy’.
Australian cities dominated the top 10, with Melbourne coming in sixth place and Perth seventh, while Japanese cities also scored highly.
Kyoto, the former Japanese imperial capital famous for cherry blossom in spring, came in fourth place and was praised for its Buddhist temples, Zen gardens and authentic food which is often ‘cooked right in front of you’.
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘The top-rated cities in our latest survey may be wildly different, but they all have one important thing in common – they offer visitors a feast for the senses, with a fantastic array of cultural sights, excellent food and stunning scenery combining to create that undeniable “wow” factor.
‘Australia proved particularly popular, with sun-soaked Sydney wooing visitors with its unique mix of cosmopolitan city-life and laid-back beach vibes, while Melbourne and Perth also impressed. Chicago meanwhile offers the best of the US at a better price.’