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The 10 best cities in the world

We get it: you've got the itch and now it's time for a bit of an adventure. Well, if you are going to up sticks and go, take a scroll through this list of what we think are the best cities in the world to live in right now, choose one that sounds like a bit of you, buy a one-way ticket and pack your bags – bon voyage!

Amsterdam ()



Population: 840,000
What’s the big deal?
Cheap tuition fees at Dutch unis are making it a popular destination for students, who can get their shopping done in great flea markets all over the city, which sell everything from delicious Dutch cheeses to clothes or flowers. And if you’re no good with languages, don’t worry, because you can get by without any more Dutch than “nog een pannenkoek” (one more pancake).
Price of a pint: £3.80
Outdoor lifestyle: Take a bike ride to see some cool Dutch windmills. You can even cycle between cities on dedicated bike lanes. Two wheels rule here.
Sports teams: Ajax (football); Amsterdam, Pinoké and Hurley (field hockey); Amstel Tijgers (ice hockey)
Language: Dutch (Spreekt u Engels? = Do you speak English)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £1,020 a month
Cultural highlights: Go to a free concert at the stunning Concertgebouw. Indulge your sweet tooth and pick up a warm delicious syrupy stroopwafel from a street vendor. More of a pancake man? Every day is pancake day in the Netherlands!
Cycling: Mecca, heaven and paradise for cyclists. 60 per cent of city trips are made by bike. The world’s greatest cycling city.
Watch this: Ocean’s Twelve (2004) – the gang pull off a big heist in Amsterdam.


Barcelona ()



Population: 1.6 million
What’s the big deal?
Put on your shorts, grab a cerveza and make the most of life in laid-back Barcelona. Ever since the 1992 Olympics transformed the city, Barcelona has been one of the world’s most popular cities, promising a great climate, tasty tapas and friendly locals. On 3 March, the streets of the Gracia neighbourhood are covered in sweets during the festival of Sant Medir. Primavera Sound takes place in May/June. Radiohead headlined this year’s.
Price of a pint: £3.57
Outdoor lifestyle: It has a LOT of outdoor ping pong tables, and you can go to the beach on your lunch break.
Sports teams: FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol (football); FC Barcelona Bàsquet (basketball); FC Barcelona Handbol (Handball)
Language: Spanish (Hablas Ingles? = Do you speak English?), or Catalan if you really want to make friends.
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £548 a month
Cultural highlights: This city lives and breathes football, which is lucky because they have one of the greatest teams in the world. Elsewhere, the famous architect Antoni Gaudi designed some of Barca’s most recognisable monuments, including the psychedelic Park Guell, located on Carmel Hill.
Cycling: Popular bike sharing scheme, good cycle networks and sunny weather.
Watch this: Biutiful (2010) – Javier Bardem struggles to look after his kids and make a living.


Berlin ()



Population: 3.57 million
What’s the big deal? Everyone is friendly and there’s loads to do. If you want to join the hipsters, hang around in Kreuzberg and eat burgers from a converted toilet.
Price of a pint: £2.40
Outdoor lifestyle: Swim at the Badeschiff, a swimming pool on the river, or catch the S-Bahn to the woods outside the city where you can swim in the lakes.
Sports teams: Hertha BSC (football); ALBA Berlin (basketball); Eisbären Berlin (ice hockey); Füchse Berlin (handball)
Language: German. (Sprechen sie Englisch? = Do you speak English?)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £520 a month
Cultural highlights: Go clubbing at the world famous Berghain, or immerse yourself in history on Museum Island. Find a way into and explore the abandoned theme park Spreepark, then get yourself some tasty currywurst and a fine German beer in one of the city’s numerous beer gardens. Cycling: Great cycling infrastructure and a very flat city, so easy on the legs.
Watch this: Run Lola Run (1998) – Lola sprints around Berlin in a brilliant thriller.


Bristol ()



Population: 443,000
What’s the big deal? Its population is about 1/16th of England’s capital, but you can still ride to an independent cafe on a fixie bike and get a soy flat white from a surly hipster. The smaller size of Bristol lends itself to initiatives like the Bristol Pound, which can only be spent in local, independent shops. The £91m Bristol Arena is due to open in December 2017.
Price of a pint: £3.90
Outdoor lifestyle: Lots of green spaces in the city centre, and the harbour is a good place for bars, cafes and a walk.
Sports teams: Bristol City and Bristol Rovers (football); Bristol Rugby (union); Gloucestershire (cricket)
Language: English (with a twang)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £812 a month
Cultural highlights: There’s street art all over the place (Banksy is from here, so no surprise), and during the summer, there are loads of festivals in the local area.
Cycling: Very bike-friendly by UK standards (lagging behind the likes of the Netherlands), but it is also quite hilly, so be prepared to work your legs.
Watch this: Starter For 10 (2006) – James McEvoy plays a Bristol Uni student.


Havanna ()



Population: 2.1 million
What’s the big deal? Havana is a photographer’s dream, where colourful murals are painted on crumbling walls, all the old people are smoking huge cigars and there are 1950s cars on every street. Cuba’s officially a communist country, but you don’t need to worry about being carted off in the middle of the night for being a decadent capitalist as diplomatic relations with America have improved recently, which means increased trade between the two. If you’re a stickler for things running on time, Cuba isn’t the one for you.
Price of a pint: £1.10
Outdoor lifestyle: Admission to sports events is usually free, and you can try out loads of water sports as well as diving and snorkelling in the warm Caribbean climate.
Sports teams: Industriales (baseball); Provincia La Habana (football)
Language: Spanish (Hablas Ingles? = Do you speak English?)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £321 a month
Cultural Highlights: Get yourself a mojito in a bar with live Afro-Cuban music, which won’t be hard to find because Cubans love live music. Learn to salsa or let the laid-back lifestyle bring out the writer in you – Ernest Hemingway lived just outside Havana during the ’40s and ’50s.
Cycling: Less traffic than most, but some roads aren’t in great nick – mind that pothole!
Watch this: Buena Vista Social Club (1999) – docu about the aging but still incredible musicians of Havana


Melbourne ()



Population: 4.53 million
What’s the big deal? Better weather and more opportunities to get outdoors are two big reasons so many Brits move to Australia. You’ll get a bigger place to live for your money compared to UK as well. Drinking is expensive in Australia though, so if you want to put your boozing ways behind you and take up triathlons, Melbourne could be the city for you.
Price of a pint: £4.80
Outdoor lifestyle: A lot of parks have barbecues so, without wanting to stereotype an entire nation, it couldn’t be easier to “throw another shrimp on the barbie”. Melbourne even has its own little seaside town St Kilda, complete with old-school amusement park and wooden rollercoaster.
Sports teams: Melbourne and St Kilda (AFL); Melbourne Stars, Melbourne Renegades and Victorian Bushrangers (cricket); Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City FC (football)
Language: English (But Australians will shorten any word you can think of and stick a ‘y’ on the end of it)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £844 a month
Cultural highlights: You can go on a Neighbours set tour! In the city, you’ll find hidden bars down alleyways and even a great global music festival called Laneways.
Cycling: Shared bike schemes and raised cycle highways may be on the cards.
Watch this: Kenny (2006) – comedy mockumentary about a plumber.


New York skyline ()



Population: 8.56 million
What’s the big deal? It’s the Big Apple, that’s what. The city that never sleeps. You want Chinese food at 4am? No problem. The grid system of Manhattan makes it really hard to get lost, and half the great bands in the world seem to have formed in New York.
Price of a pint: £4
Outdoor lifestyle: If you need to get away from the skyscrapers and yellow cabs, you could always go upstate to the Catskill Mountains or head to Coney Island, which isn’t really an island at all but does have a beach. In Manhattan, you can get lost for the day in Central Park.
Sports teams: New York Mets and Yankees (baseball); New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets (basketball); New York Giants and the New York Jets (American football); New York FC and New York Red Bulls (football)
Language: English (but with American spellings!)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £2,000 a month
Cultural highlights: See some of the best theatre and musicals in the world on Broadway, or go for something more intimate at one of NYC’s fringe theatres.
Cycling: Two wheels are probably quicker than four in traffic clogged Manhattan, which has been undergoing a slow but steady cycling revolution for the past few years
Watch this: The Godfather Part II (1974) – one of the greatest films ever made, and New York is the setting for Don Corleone’s mafia beginnings. Failing that, any ’70s Woody Allen film will do.


Tokyo ()



Population: 13.51 million
What’s the big deal? The capital of Japan has the 2020 Olympics in the bag, so is going to be making sure its sports facilities are top notch over the next few years. It’s a foodie’s paradise with 294 Michelin stars awarded to its restaurants. While you’re in Japan, it would be foolish not to have a go at Karaoke in its spiritual home. Luckily, Tokyo has more karaoke bars than you could need.
Price of a pint: £4.30
Outdoor lifestyle: Take a day trip out to Mt Fuji. The more distracted climbers can now take mountain selfies all the way up, as the resting posts have been hooked up to Wi-Fi.
Sports Teams: Yomiuri Giants and Tokyo Yakult Swallows (baseball); FC Tokyo and Tokyo Verdy 1969 (football); the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena (sumo wrestling)
Language: Japanese (Eigo o hanasemasu ka? = Do you speak English?)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £845 a month
Cultural highlights: If you love anime or Manga, you’ll hit the jackpot in Tokyo.
Cycling: Sturdy ‘mamachari’ bikes are popular because you can’t buy a car in the city unless you own an off-street parking spot.
Watch this: Tokyo Story (1953) – directed by the Japanese film genius Akira Kurosawa.


Vancouver ()



Population: 604,000
What’s the big deal? Surrounded by beautiful scenery, Vancouver is a short drive from the great Canadian outdoors of forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and bears. “Peace, order and good government” is in the introduction to Canada’s constitution, and the Canadians stick to it.
Price of a pint: £3.20
Outdoor lifestyle: From most spots in Vancouver, you can see the mountains, perfect for hiking in summer or skiing in winter. The Canadians do their outdoor activities well, so head off into the wilderness for some weekend camping. Vancouver also has some excellent beaches.
Sports teams: Vancouver Canucks (ice hockey); Vancouver Whitecaps FC (football); BC Lions (Canadian football)
Language: English (Aboot the same as we speak)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £850 a month
Cultural highlights: It’s the sushi capital of Canada, and if you love science (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), Science World is open all year to expand your mind. If you prefer your music unplugged, the International Jazz Festival and Vancouver Folk Music Festival should be up your street. Oh, and acting greats Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogen hail from the city.
Cycling: Vancouver is aiming to be the greenest city in the world by 2020 so there’s lots of investment in cycling infrastructure.
Watch this: X Men: The Last Stand (2006)  – lots of the X Men series are filmed in and around the area, so they give a good overview.


Vienna ()



Population: 1.84 million
What’s the big deal? Maybe not the first city that springs to mind, but Vienna regularly tops quality of life studies for expats. And while it’s old (inhabited since 500 BC), it’s also incredibly modern, with housing made to be sustainable and affordable.
Price of a pint: £2.73
Outdoor lifestyle: Lots of outdoor cinemas in the warmer months means you can say you did something outdoorsy when all you did was go and watch a film. Like pandas? You can see real live ones at the Tiergarten Schoenbrunn zoo. If you prefer your outdoors perfectly maintained and without animals, go explore the Schonbrunner Gardens. In the winter, everyone puts on skis and heads for the snow (not necessarily in that order).
Sports teams: FK Austria Wien and SK Rapid Wien (football); Raiffeisen Vikings (American Football); Vienna Capitals (ice hockey)
Language: German and Austrian German (Sprechen sie Englisch? = Do you speak English?)
Rent (one bedroom flat in city centre): £594 a month
Cultural highlights: Architecture fans can go for a walk and spend hours gazing at Vienna’s stunning buildings, like St Stephen’s Cathedral. The entire centre of Vienna has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Classical music owes much to Vienna, too, as it’s been home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms among others. And then there’s Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst…
Cycling: Traffic-calming measures in the city centre and a very pro-bike attitude among the Viennese.
Watch this: The Third Man (1949) – one of the greatest films ever, shot all over the city.

 Images: Getty/Alamy



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