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Top 20 Cities

Now this is a slightly different style blog but I’ve travelled to a lot of diverse and different cities in this world and thought what better way to give people a little insight to these places than with a TOP 20 countdown of my personal ranking of these places.

20. Shanghai

  • Ambience – 4/10
  • Food – 5/10
  • Accommodation – 9/10
  • Activities – 8/10
  • Weather – 5/10
  • Overall – 7/10

Coming in at number 20 on my list is Shanghai, China. I visited this city on a trip around China and Japan. We stayed at a gorgeous hotel in the heart of the city called “The Courtyard” By Marriot – beautiful modern rooms, with fancy en-suites. The breakfast was fresh, delicious and well varied and even had a beautiful roof terrace to enjoy the view from.

The weather was a bit dull and rainy during our time there but it was march and not high season to visit, it didn’t take away from the beauty of the city and we were lucky that it was not too smoggy during our few days exploring.

It was a busy city and understandably people are rushing around, bustling in and out of the herds of tourist, a few were rude and bumped into you and also during an extremely busy train ride from airport to city a young woman picked her nose and proceeded to wipe her finger on my brand-new coat. I was in shock, it also seemed very common for men to spit in the streets, so between being wiped in bogies and dodging spit showers, I was slightly disappointed with the people of shanghai. Another strange thing, a lot of men took photos of my sister. Now it wasn’t like they were being discreet, they were coming right to her face and snapping her. I think it is the fact that she’s blonde and must stand out there but still, slightly odd. That being said we met a lot of lovey smiley people, who were doing tai-chi and dancing in the parks.

We had some incredible days in shanghai visiting the incredible sights. The promenade or The Bund was just stunning and actually had a remarkable similarity to the Liverpool skyline. Yu Garden was another gorgeous spot to see, also known as the ‘Garden of Happiness’ you can imagine how lovely it was to explore. Now even though we did not go up the tower, The Oriental Pearl Tower was so impressive, from both right at the foot of it and across the Huangpu River.

Overall, I enjoyed shanghai and purely for the incredible skyline and the experience of a whole different culture it deserves a place in my top 20.

19. Los Angeles

  • Ambience – 6/10
  • Food – 6/10
  • Accommodation -6/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 10/10
  • Overall – 7/10

L.A is just such a cool city how can it not be on my list? During our California road trip, we spent 4 days in the city of angels. Now as you can imagine accommodation was very pricey, so we ended up staying at the holiday Inn express, which was lovely, clean of course had free cookies from 4-6pm!  But I suppose basic compared to some of the incredible penthouses and apartments we saw.

I loved L.A there was a hustle and bustle, just like in any city so we didn’t get to speak to any locals like on some trips we have taken, but the hotel staff and tour operators were all so lovely and friendly. Speaking of tours, we did a great one where we hopped on a open top mini bus for a quick tour of the city. We of course did Hollywood and the stars homes, seeing the likes The Playboy mansion, Michael Jackson’s former residence, Justin Biebers apartment and even Simon Cowells place. They took us to famous sights from movies such as the Apartment that Vivienne lives in from ‘Pretty Woman’ and of course down to Rodeo Drive, where we could hop off and have a walk around.

Another day we hopped on the bus down to Santa Monica (end of route 66) and enjoyed the beach and pier. We loved the Hollywood walk of fame, stopping to touch our fave’s. L.A is a celeb spotters haven, just in our 4 days we caught a glimpse of Will Ferrel outside a studio, Justin Bieber driving his sports car and Vince Vaughn next to us in a car.

Food wise we ate in some of our fave American chains such as ‘Buffalo Wild Wings’ and ‘California Pizza Kitchen’ – all delicious but like with most times when I visit the states after a few days, you start to feel a bit heavy.

L.A is a must do and especially if you go in August like me, you will enjoy stunning, hot, sunny weather.

18. Nice

  • Ambience – 8/10
  • Food – 8/10
  • Accommodation – 9/10
  • Activities – 7/10
  • Weather – 9/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Down on the French riviera, sits the pebbly beaches of Nice. Controversially my favourite city in France, as much as I liked Paris, it didn’t make my top 20!

We stayed in a gorgeous two-bedroom apartment called ‘Port View’ which we found on a website called ‘Nice Pebbles’. It was just perfect, spacious and modern. It even had a little terrace with (as the name suggests) a view of the Port. It was stunning waking up every morning to the colourful boats sitting on a turquoise water.

The people were lovely, I was pleasantly surprised after visiting Paris i think I had the wrong impression as everyone we spoke to was friendly and the restaurant staff were nice and polite. The food was delicious we found an incredible Italian restaurant just around the corner from us called “Amour” and the pizza there was one of the best, plus all the women who ordered pizza received theirs in the shape of a heart. I’m not a huge seafood fan but I can tell you from my sister the food in the seafood restaurants was divine, fresh mussels, fish and lobster all available and incredible.

The whole coastline was simply stunning, turquoise blue waters with white pebbles along the shore, we were lucky with the weather and although we needed a little jacket at times it was blue sky and sunny every day. Lucky, as we visited in early April and had expected the weather to be a bit hit and miss. We spent most of our days walking and exploring little towns along the French Riviera, stopping for a bit to eat and a glass of wine, maybe a macaroon or two.

It was a very beautiful city that I completely fell in love with much to my surprise.

17. Vancouver

  • Ambience – 7/10
  • Food – 7/10
  • Accommodation – 10/10
  • Activities – 6/10
  • Weather – 5/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Vancouver was a very cool city. We arrived there by train after a stint in Seattle and the scenery as we approached the Canadian border and all the way into Vancouver was just sensational. I was excited to arrive there, as well as the hope in spotting Ryan Reynolds, it’s a place I’ve always wanted to see.

We stayed at such a chic apartment, right in the center of Gastown. It was a two-bedroom place that we found via Air BnB and was modern yet quirky. It was spacious, the kind of place I could see myself living in if I was a city girl.

Gastown was the best place to stay, a diverse and vibrant neighbourhood, an area full of trendy shops, amazing restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. We had some gorgeous meals there… spagbol at the ‘Steamworks Brewing co’ and Perogies at ‘The Black Frog Eatery’, we even got involved in a pub quiz another night in a bar we popped in for a drink.

There was plenty to do in Vancouver, I loved just being by the waterfront watching the sea planes take off. However, we did get tickets for the Hop on/Hop Off bus tour to make sure we got around and saw everything we wanted. False Creek, Granville Island and Stanley park being the best attractions of them all.

The people in the city were lovely, however, one afternoon my parents went to see if they could find a store, they took a wrong turn and ended up on Carrall street, now we went through there in the following days on the hop on/hop off bus and that was scary enough. But for my parents it was awful, the street looks like it’s been taken straight out of a Zombie apocalypse movie, it is a street full of homeless people, a lot of them drugged up. I cannot even begin to explain the scenes from that one street, other than its like walking into zombie land, my poor mum found out the hard way after a woman ran and barged her off the path almost grabbing her handbag. She was hurt and upset, just a warning to not wander into this street, even in the day and especially not at night.

The weather was on and off during our few days in Vancouver, a few afternoons of blue sky and sun, accompanied by two full days of cold, pouring rain. I had to buy myself a Vancouver hoody as I was so cold on the bus tour.

16. Venice

  • Ambience – 8/10
  • Food – 10/10
  • Accommodation – 6/10
  • Activities – 8/10
  • Weather – 8/10
  • Overall – 8/10

The first of a few Italian cities that have made my list but what is a Top 20 list without Venice. We stayed actually just outside of Venice itself in a place called Mestre. We stayed at the Hotel Centrale and it was a lovely hotel, clean and friendly. Slightly more basic than other places we have stayed but, on a city- break when you’re always out exploring what more do you need. It was in a perfect location to walk to the train station each morning and hop on the train into Venice.

I loved Venice, the winding streets, the hundreds of canals, countless bridges and gondolas. Each time you turned a corner you were faced with a whole new view, it was stunning in every part. We spent the days just wandering and literally getting lost in the city, grabbing pizza by the slice as we passed little counter tops filled with the stuff. We stopped at most Ice-Cream stands to each time try a new flavour… I mean walking in one of the most scenic cities just eating Pizza and Ice-cream – what a dream!

We used the water taxi a lot in Venice mainly to pop over to the other islands such as the beautiful ‘Lido’, ‘Burano’ and ‘Mazzorbo’. The water taxi also took you through the cruise port – thus began our addiction to Cruising, we were just fascinated by the mega ships and wanted to try one.

We visited the ‘bridge of sighs’ and ‘St Marks Square’, ‘The Rialto Bridge’ – There was so much to do and see, we were not bored for a second, our feet ached every night when we got back to bed.

For October, we were very lucky with the weather, we needed our coats but enjoyed that perfect winter sun every day.

15. San Francisco

  • Ambience – 8/10
  • Food – 7/10
  • Accommodation – 8/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 6/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Another Californian city making the list, how could it not?! San Francisco was another stop on our Golden State road-trip. We spent 5 days there staying at the Marriot Union Square hotel. The hotel was lovely, clean, modern and right in the heart of the city, walking distance to all the main attractions.

Being August when we visited, I was quite shocked how chilly it was. I had packed for a Californian summer, not expecting the fog and mist that surrounded San Fran most days we were there. I had to again buy myself a touristy jumper, no weather was stopping the fun of being in this city.

My absolute favourite activity that we did during our stay, was renting bicycles and cycling round the whole city. We took in so much, don’t get me wrong some of the steep streets were a real killer on the legs but it was so much fun. The highlight of the whole trip there was when we cycled over the Golden Gate bridge. Probably one of the most famous bridges in the world along with the Sydney Harbour and we got to cycle over it twice.

We spent a lot of time down at Fisherman’s Wharf, I loved the atmosphere there and just wandering round to see the sea lions all bathing in the harbour. There was never a dull moment and there was so much to do in our few days that we never got time to visit Alcatraz so that’s on the list for next time.

We ate at some nice places, a lovely Italian just next to our hotel, Chilli’s (one of my fave americsn chains) and also tried a typical American diner with an old car in the middle, juke boxes and burgers and milkshakes on the menu – think the diner in Grease when they sing Beauty School Dropout and you’ll get exactly what I mean.

Overall, I loved San Fran and was meant to revisit at the end of my Hawaii trip but due to plane cancellations never made it back to the city, only the airport. I have so much left to explore there.

14. Singapore

  • Ambience – 7/10
  • Food – 7/10
  • Accommodation – NA
  • Activities – 8/10
  • Weather – 9/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Over to Asia for number 14 in the list. Now Singapore I visited while cruising, it was the last stop after being onboard the Celebrity Millennium ship and we were docked in Singapore for 2 nights, so of course being on a ship docked in the harbour, at night the views of the lit up Marina bay sands and gardens was just spectacular.

It was November when we arrived in Singapore and it was hot and humid, slightly over cast but hot hot hot! Our main attraction we wanted to see was the incredible gardens by the bay. Consisting of Flower domes, cloud forests and giant futuristic super trees it was something not to be missed. We also went for a wander around one of the most impressive shopping malls I have ever seen. It was so chic and modern and also housed a gigantic food court where we grabbed lunch. It took so long to decide which vendor to go too, we all ended up at different ones, I ended up trying some Singapore noodles and it did not disappoint.

The streets were so clean in Singapore, not an ounce of rubbish or chewing gum to be seen, we didn’t chat to many people while we were out and about buy everyone was smiley and friendly, it felt like a nice and safe city to be.

Definitely a place to try new things and have a great explore.

13. Monte Carlo/Monaco

  • Ambience – 7/10
  • Food – 8/10
  • Accommodation – NA
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 8/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Unlucky for some but definitely not for me, is the beautiful city of Monte Carlo in the tiny country of Monaco. Now officially I didn’t stay in the city as I visited for the day during my trip to Nice. It wasn’t far to reach, just jumped on a train and rode along the coastal tracks.

Monaco is stunning and you can see why it is a play-ground for the rich and famous. The harbour was filled with super yachts and there was rows and rows of stunning restaurants along the water front. They were just setting up for the Grand Prix when we visited, an event that must be incredible to attend.

We bought a ticket for the Hop on/Hop Off bus tour for the day, that way making sure we didn’t miss a thing. We stopped off at the ‘Place du casino’, famous in a lot of movies and also boasted some of the most amazing views. The ‘Palais du Prince’ was another stop – the Royal Palace, home to the oldest monarchy in the world. We also paid a visit to the ‘Catherdrale de Monaco’ The striking cathedral was stunning and was also the resting place of Princess Grace of Monaco as well as Prince Rainier. We went inside and people were laying flowers and candles on the tomb of Princess Grace, it was beautiful.

I loved this special city and it thoroughly deserves a place in my top 20, even though it was just a day spent there, I crammed in a lot that the city had to offer and will with-out a doubt return in the future.

12. Amsterdam

  • Ambience – 8/10
  • Food – 10/10
  • Accommodation – 8/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 6/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Amsterdam is just one of those cities you have to do isn’t it really? I went on a girl’s trip there with my sister and 3 of our friends in October 2019 and I didn’t expect to love the place as much as I did. I knew we would have fun but the city offered so much that I hadn’t even realised.

Now of course its famous for its weed café’s and the red-light district, which of course we did. The cafés were fun and the brownies hit on another level, the red-light district was honestly a bit disturbing for me and I felt quite uncomfortable. But Amsterdam has so much more to offer.

We went in October and we had the odd rainy day but out of the 5 we spent there the majority of the time was warm and sunny. We stayed at a hotel just a 10-minute train ride out of the city, it was colourful and fun and we had a room for the 5 of us with a double bed, set of bunk beds and a single. Not that we spent much time in the room.

We absolutely packed our days there with the most fun activities. We did the Heineken beer tour – I mean 3 beers and exploring the factory it was fab! We did a river cruise/tour taking in the gorgeous scenery, we of course visited a sex museum which was 5euros for entry and if anything, we just laughed the whole way round.  One evening we went to the Ice Bar where the caramel vodka was just to die for, safe to say I used all my drinks coupons on that but best of all we went up to the ‘A’DAM LOOKOUT’ and enjoyed the most amazing views of the city and took a ride on the swing that swings you out over the edge of the building.

Food wise was just as amazing and packed as our activities.. we chose to try quirky cool places like ‘the Avocado show’, ‘Vegan Junk food’ and of course the amazing ‘foodhallen’. We went to the foodhallen multiple times, for all the choice was too much we couldn’t decided what to get. The first visit the Gin bar and Taco store took my fancy. The second time round I went for curry and to the big dessert counter. There was too much choice and all delicious. I would visit Amsterdam again in a heartbeat, I really want to go back with my boyfriend as it is one of his favourite cities too, yet we’ve never been together.

11. Rome

  • Ambience – 7/10
  • Food – 10/10
  • Accommodation – 8/10
  • Activities – 8/10
  • Weather – 10/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Back to Italy for number 11 in my list. Rome was a major bucket list city for me, after watching the Lizzie McGuire movie a hundred times. My parents booked it as a surprise for my 18th birthday present, so were going back 9 years now, but it is still just as fresh in my memory.

We stayed in a beautiful apartment near to the Vatican called ‘Amor bed and breakfast’, all bright and colourful as well as clean and modern and the hostess brought you a continental breakfast on a tray each morning. Consisting of cereal, fruit, croissants and other pastries as well as jam, honey and juice.

Rome lived up to everything I imagined, it was mid-summer and so beautiful and sunny and reached up to 40 degrees some days. I suppose not the most ideal for busy city sightseeing as it got a bit sweaty but I love the sun, hotter the better if I’m honest.

We did all the usual attractions – went inside the Vatican even though I had to buy a sarong from a lady outside to cover my legs to enter. We went inside the colosseum, which just took my breath away. We made a wish and threw a coin into the Trevi fountain, stopped at numerous shops to try all the different limoncello and again lived on pizza and pasta – my absolute favourite foods.

Every single restaurant we ate at was stunning, always opting for a ham pizza, a penne arrabiata or spaghetti Bolognese I was never ever disappointed. I wasn’t to take my boyfriend back to Rome with me one day soon and visit it in a whole different way. It seemed like such a romantic place, so perfect for us.

10. Sorrento

  • Ambience – 9/10
  • Food – 10/10
  • Accommodation – 7/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 7/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Starting off our top 10 we are again in Italy for my favourite Italian city, with hard competition from Venice and Rome, Sorrento has just come out on top for me.

Nestled on the Amalfi coast, Sorrento is just so stunning. A typical Italian village, perched on clifftops with views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Famous for its sweeping water views and Piazza Tasso, a café lined square. Sorrento was not as busy as its sibling Italian cities but just as beautiful. The perfect location to hop around and visit some incredible places.

We stayed at ‘The Grand’ hotel, up on a cliff top with spectacular views from our balcony. The room itself was slightly more basic but as we were out exploring so much, we didn’t really care.

From Sorrento we hoped on a train to Pompei, a bus to Positano and Amalfi and a ferry over to the island of Capri. All 3 of these absolutely stunning and must do’s if you’re in the area. For April the weather was lovely and sunny, we needed a jacket in the evening but that never bothered me on the walk down form the hotel to the city. You had Mount Vesuvius (an active volcano) on the horizon and the smell of pizza wafting through the air. Truly the perfect place for an Italian escape.

9. Hong Kong

  • Ambience – 7/10
  • Food – 7/10
  • Accommodation – 8/10
  • Activities – 8/10
  • Weather – 10/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Hong Kong was a stop on another adventure, we stayed in the Mong Kok district in the 5* Royal Plaza Hotel. The hotel was stunning, it was modern yet had that quirky Asian style. The pool and sun terrace were stunning, I loved nothing more than coming back there after a long day exploring and having a dip in the outdoor pool or the hot tub.

We visited in November and the weather was gorgeous, hot and sunny all day, every day. HK was another city we decided the Hop on and off bus would be the best way to see the city. It was an incredible city; the best activities being catching the star ferry over to Hong Kong Island and of course going up to Victoria Peak (observation deck). Some of the best city views I’ve ever experienced were from up there.

The people were lovely and the food was a little adventurous even for me, so we stuck to Pizza Express (even there the pizza toppings were unusual).

The Hong Kong skyline itself earns this a place in my top 20, as well as the magic of Victoria harbour. Another thing I loved about this place was the absolutely stunning beaches you could reach on the bus, they were white, soft sand and just something I did not expect to find in Hong Kong.

8. Chester

  • Ambience – 8/10
  • Food – 9/10
  • Accommodation – 9/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 6/10
  • Overall – 9/10

First of the UK cities to hit my top list is the city where I was born. Chester is one of Britain’s most popular cities for a mini break and I’m lucky enough to live a 20-minute drive from the centre. The ancient city is truly breathtaking as Chester has the oldest racecourse and Roman amphitheater, as well as a 1000-year-old cathedral.  Its famous for its Roman walls, made of local red sandstone, that encircles the city.

I love Chester and visit quite often, it’s a place of lovely memories for me. My Grandparents would take me there as a child to rent a row boat and drift along the River Dee with a picnic (which you can still do today). Chester is a place I have taken my American friends when they paid a visit to the UK because it’s such a stunning and diverse place it has to be seen.

There are lots of beautiful hotels, spas and apartments to stay during in a visit. I’ve stayed in many of them over the years and have never been disappointed. My favourite being one just outside of the city – The Doubletree by Hilton.

It’s a perfect place to grab something to eat and enjoy some cocktails – quirky restaurants are dotted all over the place. Oddfellows, The Botanist and Hickory’s smoke house to name a few.

Chester is a city that often gets forgotten about being a smaller one in the North West but whether you’re soaking in the history and walking the Roman walls, having a shopping spree in the quirky streets or simply enjoying a meal and a glass of wine – Chester is perfect spot for the lot and thus has to be included on my list.

7. Ho Chi Minh

  • Ambience – 10/10
  • Food – 8/10
  • Accommodation – NA
  • Activities – 8/10
  • Weather – 10/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Formally and commonly known as ‘Saigon’, Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam and a place I got to explore while on a cruise around the country.

I had one of the best experiences of my life in this city. We booked a rickshaw tour to take us round the city. The people who were cycling us were so lovely, they laughed and smiled the whole way. They were slightly crazy drivers, cycling us into the hustle and bustle of the traffic, alongside all the motorbikes and traffic. I was surprised how fast those things could go with just the power of human legs cycling. I spent the whole ride laughing myself, I absolutely loved it.

It was a hot, humid day, just how I like it and I guess the locals must be used to it to survive that excessive exercise in that heat. During our tour we stopped at the War remnants museum which was so interesting yet also heartbreaking. We visited the independence palace, Benthanh street food market and also were taken to lunch at a hidden little gem that apparently president Obama had eaten at. We were served traditional Vietnamese chicken Pho and a local beer. Although the place didn’t look up too much – it was cramped and basic, the food was stunning I absolutely loved it!

To finish off we went to the rooftop of the ‘Rex hotel’ – famous for being the site of the United States military commands daily press conference, during the Vietnam War. On the rooftop I had a gorgeous kiwi mojito and we sat and enjoyed the view. I loved Ho chi Minh much more than I expected too, it had everything – history, good food, excitement, sun and kind lovely people – it had to be up here in my list.

6. Las Vegas

  • Ambience – 8/10
  • Food – 7/10
  • Accommodation – 9/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 10/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Vegas Baby! I think Vegas is on most people’s bucket list and it certainly didn’t disappoint after I ticked it off mine.

Now controversially we didn’t stay in a hotel on the strip during our 5 days here. We stayed just one row back in stunning hotel called “The platinum”. The main reason being for what we would pay for a bog-standard room in the likes of the Bellagio, Venetian or Caesars palace… we could get a huge suite in this place, with a view of the Paris’ Eiffel tower right infront of our balcony.

Being August in Vegas, it was 40 degrees and sunny, my tan was one of the best and our pool at the hotel was perfect for a top up in the sun. Vegas as most people know there is so much to do there, I didn’t get through it all. The things we did though will be memories forever. Riding the rollercoaster at New York, New York, Climbing to the top of the Eiffel tower at the Paris hotel, taking a walk through the canals at the Venetian and watching the Bellagio fountain’s shoot up into the air with a light show. 

Food wise was the typical American chain restaurants (TGI’s, Dennys, Chilli’s) which are nice but I always find a little heavy after a few days. We had an incredible meal at the cheesecake factory inside the shopping mall at Caesars palace and I had the best salmon of my life at a little restaurant set back near our hotel.

Another top point about Vegas is that from there you can head straight to the Grand Canyon which is exactly what we did.

5. Ghent

  • Ambience – 9/10
  • food – 9/10
  • Accommodation – 10/10
  • Activities – 8/10
  • Weather – 8/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Over to my man’s home country for number 5 in my list! Ghent is a city I only recently discovered on one of my many trips to Belgium, cities like Brussels and Bruges are beautiful and exciting to visit but there was something special about Ghent. Known for its medieval architecture, it really is a treat to walk around and explore this magical city. In parts, I felt like id stepped into a Harry Potter film. Every turn was just something of beauty.

We stayed at the amazing Pillows grand boutique hotel and we had a suite which had a big balcony that overlooked the beautiful courtyard of the hotel. My boyfriend also planned a private spa morning for us during our stay which gave us access to the pool, sauna and relaxation room for 90 minutes, just to ourselves. Our breakfast was lovely here too, afternoon tea style of pastries, jams and honey as well as being able to order either eggs and bacon or Greek yoghurt and granola.

There was so much to do in Ghent, we filled our time with a stunning lunch and bottle of white wine sat along the river front just enjoying the views and each other’s company. We also took an hour-long guided boat ride along the river which again we got to enjoy the incredible buildings and scenery, while feeling the warm sun on our skin and listening to the guide tell us some history. The guide was lovely and was already explaining in Flemish and French and added an English version as he heard I was English as I stepped onboard.

All the people we met were so friendly and chatty, spoke perfect English and were just happy to have a chat or smile as we passed by. We walked along to admire the beautiful fairytale castle (Gravensteen). We also ate out one night at a Indian curry house close to our hotel for a change (plus its my favourite cuisine) and it was so yummy!

I absolutely adored Ghent and will be paying it many more visits when I pop back over to Belgium.

4. San Diego

  • Ambience – 9/10
  • Food – 8/10
  • Accommodation – 10/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 10/10
  • Overall – 10/10

Back to my Californication for next in the countdown. San Diego is so much more than I expected, as you know I love Cali’s other main cities but there was something very special about San Diego. Of course, it helped that we had bright, warm sunshine the whole time we stayed there.

We also checked into the amazing Omni hotel, connected to the baseball stadium PETCO park by a footbridge, this hotel was something else. It was luxurious and stylish and best of all it had a rooftop pool, always a winner in my eyes. I had the most amazing chilled out afternoon up there, tanning and enjoying sliders brought to your sunbed, to eat poolside.

There were so many things to do, our days were well and truly packed. We enjoyed a harbour cruise so we could take in the amazing skyline of the city, enjoyed a day at the Safari Park (part of the San Diego Zoo), hopped onboard the USS Midway to have a look around and play in some of the war aircrafts. We had a trip to La Jolla and saw the seals and just enjoyed walking around and exploring this fantastic city of the world.

Next to LA and San Fran I think San Diego gets underestimated, I loved the place! There were so many different places to eat out, we found a lovely Irish bar serving proper, traditional dishes. There was a lot more choice and not just the usual American chains.

3. Liverpool

  • Ambience – 10/10
  • Food – 10/10
  • Accommodation – 10/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 6/10
  • Overall – 10/10

Home of the Beatles and also the city I like to call home too. Although I don’t live in the city, I live in a town in Cheshire, Liverpool is my closest city and the one I’ve spent the most time in. I know it like the back of my hand and have been there hundreds of times, yet every time I find somewhere new to try and have a whole different experience.

I’m not being biased but Liverpool has everything you could possibly want. Apart from the weather being typically British and rainy one second and sunny the next. There is something to do no matter the weather.

For one thing, scousers and the people of Liverpool are some of the friendliest and kindest you will find in the whole of the UK. There is a warm energy when you come to Liverpool and people never want to leave.

Whether you want to do a magical mystery tour and visit the houses of John and Paul Mccartney, have a drink in the Cavern, walk around the stunning waterfront and hop on a ferry across the Mersey to take in the unique and beautiful skyline – you can do it all in Liverpool. There are so many museums including The world museum, museum of Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime, Tate Liverpool etc… that you could spend days just exploring those.

I have stayed in 100’s of different hotels, apartments and Air BnB’s, whether its been for girls night outs, spa breaks, a romantic few nights away and every time I have never been disappointed. You have the likes of ‘The Shankly Hotel’, ‘Prestige Stay Apartments’, ‘The Titanic’, ‘Malmaison’ and ‘Posh pads’ just to name a few of my favourites.

The nightlife is one of the best in the country, there are hundreds of quirky little cocktail bars and night clubs. The restaurant scene is the best and even now after all these years haven’t been able to try all the ones I wanted (I will be writing a separate blog on Liverpool’s best food and drink places very soon)

I’m a Liverpool girl at heart and I couldn’t not have Liverpool make the top end of my list, and to all my fellow Liverpudlian’s – You’ll never walk alone.

2. Toronto

  • Ambience – 9/10
  • Food – 9/10
  • Accommodation – 10/10
  • Activities – 9/10
  • Weather – 8/10
  • Overall – 10/10

For me, one of my best memorable city breaks was that of my time in Canada’s Toronto. Sitting on Lake Ontario, the dynamic metropolis is a core of skyscrapers, dwarfed by the iconic CN tower.

We stayed at a hotel in the centre of the city called ‘The Grand’ – it was amazing, the rooms were spacious and stylish and had insane views of the city. Best part of all the hotel had hot tubs on the rooftop, now we were visiting in October so as you can imagine it was quite cold and we even had snow one day. But having hot tubs on the roof after a long day of exploring and sore feet was a nice little extra. Just heading up in the lift, slipping you’re dressing gown off for a moment for the icy air to hit your skin before sinking into a bubbling bliss. There was also a gym and steam-room inside the hotel available to use for all guests.

Toronto had so much to offer, just walking around the city was exciting enough, looking up to skyscrapers all around, skipping along the water front, enjoying hot drinks at cute coffee shops, I fell in love with the city instantly.

Of course, we took a trip up the CN tower, at 553 M, it boasted the most stunning views of the city and the glass floor was the most surreal experience. (Although I did the glass floor at the Willis tower in Chicago too and that was even more crazy).

As well as the tower we took a 2-night trip to the wonder that is Niagara Falls, another bucket list item we got to tick off! We spent an afternoon in a Canadian Movie theatre, We rode on a ferry across to the Toronto islands – the view of the city’s skyline was mesmerizing from the lake

We ate in amazing restaurants and thoroughly enjoyed our week in this enticing place. I will 100% be back one day, its already been too long.

1. Scottsdale

  • Ambience – 10/10
  • Food – 9/10
  • Accommodation – 10/10
  • Activities – 10/10
  • Weather – 10/10
  • Overall – 10/10

A little controversial for a number 1 spot as it is not a big city in the world, not even in Arizona, compared to its neighbouring city of Pheonix.

There are just so many reasons to love this desert city. One big reason, being in Arizona, the weather! The sun, the heat, the blue sky – everything I love and it was guaranteed every day.

Famous for its spa-resorts and golf clubs I found there was so much more to this cowboy city. We stayed at the incredible ‘Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia’, a place Barack Obama had stayed just a week earlier. It was lush. A premier location for relaxation and recreation. With views of the amazing Camel Back Mountain from our balcony, I realised this was my type of place! The pool was exquisite and we even squeezed in a few night swims, with it being so warm out, it was heavenly.

I loved Scottsdale so much because it’s not your typical city, not only was it a gateway to gorgeous Sedona but it had so much to offer right on the doorstop.

Red rock canyon being one of them and slide rock state park just being another incredible activity to do while you’re there. And as the name suggests there is a natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of oak creek.

The people we met and the food was gorgeous, a favourite meal being one with a view of the city, a BBQ chicken with hush puppies. There are so many other cities I considered for my list like Sydney, New York, Miami, Melbourne, Phuket but when I came to choose, I chose the places that left a lasting impression and special memories in my heart! I still have so many more cities I want to explore and visit but for now these are my top 20!

19 thoughts on “Blog

    1. I’m planning my Greek getaway for 2022 and couldn’t decide where to go but now my minds set on Rhodes .I have to go see these places you describe..so thank you Natalie..keep on going inspiring people to travel ..

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  1. Wow ! Love the New Zealand blog….I’m looking to go around New Zealand one day and never thought about doing a cruise.. Love the pictures of the Sounds ..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your blog! I love Crete and this introduced me to new places! Excellent writing/narrative👍❤️! Appreciated all the well placed pictures. I’m a retired English teacher so I enjoy seeing young ones use their talent and skills. Bravo!

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  3. Oh my goodness. I lost myself in your Crete blog…I just want to Be reckless and go pack my case and get on the next flight to Crete …..you’ve gave me a bit of escapism in worrying times..Thank you..

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  4. Félicitations pour l’ écriture de ce récit ainsi que pour les belles photos.
    On a l’ impression de participer à votre voyage !!!
    Un grand BRAVO

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Loved all the articles…esp Ibiza . You have a unique style of writing that draws the reader in. Can’t wait to see your other destinations…. I’m planning my holiday for next year to Ibiza and I will be taking up some of your suggestions . Will keep you posted..

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  6. Merci Natalie pour ce beau voyage à Hawaï.
    Reportage et ressenti très différents par rapport à la Crète, sans doute parce que je ne suis jamais allé à Hawaï !!!!
    Votre “travail” est remarquable.
    Profitez bien de votre jeunesse et de votre joie de vivre, mais prenez soin de vous en ces temps difficiles.

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  7. Regarding Rhodes, I don’t know if I should congratulate Natalie the journalist or Natalie the writer.
    One more stone to your edifice, of course I want to talk about your blog.
    I dare not imagine the “work” that this represents, but I am sure that for you it is a pleasure to share your family getaways with us.
    As with Crete, the architecture of your story is remarkable and beautifully illustrated.
    I think, but I could be wrong, that regarding some taverns or restaurants you should comment on Tripadvisor.
    I do not know if you are registered on this website that I consult before each trip.
    All that’s left for me to do is wait for your next “journey” to a world that has regained its health.
    BRAVO Natalie / Readyfortakeoff

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  8. Wow thank you ..I am planning on going to UK in 2022 and going to Glastonbury is a priority…so glad for the info …Namaste

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  9. Thanks for the beautiful 😍presentation of Gennadi village. You were one of my favorite family’s in the restaurant for this summer.love popi and sergio ❤♥

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