Edinburgh is the world’s best city to visit right now, according to the fifth annual Time Out Index released today. The city ranked highly across the board, topping the global chart as the most beautiful and the most walkable city in the world. Edinburgh is also much loved as a great place for a stroll through nature and has heaps of new exciting things to do.
Every year, through the Time Out Index, Time Out – the global media and hospitality business that helps people explore and experience the best of the city – surveys thousands of city-dwellers around the world about life in their hometown right now. Using their responses, Time Out compiles its annual ranking of the world’s best cities, in order to point people in the direction of the places which locals are raving about. Last year, the list focused on how cities have pulled together through the pandemic, in particular when it comes to community spirit and resilience. This year, after a prolonged period of limited travel, people are itching to get back out there. So for the 2022 ranking, Time Out has added extra weight to the things that make cities great places to visit as well as to live.
The top cities this year are places that excel at going out, including eating and drinking; art, culture and museums; and nightlife. They are places that locals rate highly for fun and for beauty and aren’t boring, overly expensive or overrated – according to the people who know them best. To make for an even more enjoyable break, the top picks also score well for practical stuff like walkability, good public transport and safety, as well as sustainability.
Dave Calhoun, Chief Content Officer North America & UK at Time Out, said: “The Time Out Index 2022 combines the experiences and opinions of more than 20,000 people in hundreds of cities around the world and – for the inside scoop – we’ve also tapped into the expertise of Time Out’s global network of local editors and city experts to capture and celebrate what makes a city great right now.
“This year, we are showcasing the cities that locals, and our editors, not only love living in, but that we think everyone should be visiting. Many people will be planning their first city break in a long time, and our list of the Best Cities in the World provides the ultimate travel bucket list.”
Here’s the top 20 – the full list of the 53 World’s Best Cities to Visit right now is here: timeout.com/bestcities
Edinburgh is this year’s number one city and it’s not hard to see why: the city ranks highly across the board and comes out top as the most beautiful city in the world (according to 95% of residents) and also the most walkable city (said 93%) – a perfect combination for visitors looking to explore historic landmarks, architecture and scenic hotspots on foot. Its dining and drinking scene is ever-evolving, with heaps of new things to do including the Port of Leith Distillery – Scotland’s first ‘vertical distillery’ – about to open. It’s also a great place for a relaxing stroll through nature. And self-expression is encouraged, with 88% of locals saying it is easy to express who you are in the city (ranking second for this after Amsterdam), something that’s celebrated every summer with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which this year will be marking its 75th anniversary.
Two-time best city winner Chicago takes second place this year: It gets the second-highest food and drink scene rating in the world (96% said there is great choice), with 95% saying there is always something to do in the art and culture scene too. Whether you want to try world-class dining from high-end restaurants to outstanding family-run eateries, party until 4am at historic clubs, spend a day soaking up the sun along Lake Michigan, see iconic artworks or just wander among different neighbourhoods – all this is putting the city on the map for visitors.
3 Medellín - new entry
For those looking for a good time, Medellín in Colombia is the place to visit this year. It tops the charts for its food and drink (97%) and nightlife and partying (90%) scenes, as well as ranking first for community spirit (94%). And there are several design-forward boutique hotels popping up all over the city, showcasing impressive Colombian craftsmanship.
Glasgow is the friendliest city in the world this year (78% of locals agree). It’s also the second most affordable city (with 87% saying it wasn’t expensive) so 2022 is the perfect time to visit and explore the place and meet the locals in this city that excels at being outgoing and at going out. At SWG3, the world’s first body-heated club, dancing literally helps keep the lights on; and there are now two Michelin-star restaurants after a long drought, yet a burgeoning dining scene is best characterised by friendly informality and good value for money.
For those looking for a city where they can be themselves, look no further than Amsterdam, the easiest city in the world to express who you are (according to 89% of residents) and the second most progressive in the world. It also comes as no surprise that 100% of residents say it is easy to cycle around the city. Amsterdam is large enough to reward exploration (with some great festivals happening this year) yet is still eminently walkable, or cyclable.
Head to Prague and hop on a tram to explore one of the most beautiful cities in the world (globally, it ranks third for this). 90% of locals view their city as beautiful, and 96% say it is easy to get around on public transport – two factors that make for an attractive way of life, and the perfect city break. Revamped public spaces have much to offer for locals and visitors: The recently completed riverbank at Náplavka has been nominated for a prestigious architecture award and downstream, leafy Střelecký Island offers timeless views.
7 Marrakech - new entry
Looking for a holiday romance? Marrakech tops the charts as the easiest city in the world to hook up with people (according to 69% of residents). For those just looking to make friends or meet interesting people it’s still a top spot – it comes second for making new friends, and number one for getting to know your neighbours. With that sense of community, it’s no wonder it’s the least stressful city in the world (just 7% of residents say they find it stressful). When it comes to culture, visitors will enjoy the MACAAL and MCC Gallery hosting brilliant modern African art exhibitions.
Affordable, easy to get around, and always something to do? Berlin makes for the perfect break this year according to locals. It ranks second for ‘variety of things to do’ and is the city described the least by locals as expensive. Berliners are also in love with their public transport system; 97% praised it, which was the highest of any of the cities surveyed. There is truly something for every kind of visitor: The city’s infamous weekend-long parties are in full force, and when it comes to fine dining, the German capital has never been more minted. From revolutionary walking tours to cutting-edge contemporary art shows, smaller budgets are very well catered for.
Montreal is a real all-rounder with a top-notch food and drink scene (93% said it’s easy to find a great meal), alongside great art and museums (82% think there’s always something good on) topped off by a chance to relax and enjoy green spaces and nature (80% think it’s easy to take a walk). The reason to visit now: It’s prime festival season, with the whole city coming together to celebrate art and culture on every corner; think free concerts, waterfront festivals and a nightlife scene on steroids.
Travellers should head to Copenhagen if they’re looking to enjoy one of the world’s greenest cities, as it ranks second in the world for sustainability (75% praised it), walkability (86% of locals singled this out) and ease of getting around by bike (97%). The city has also seriously embraced its waterways, with hydrofoil bikes, floating saunas, jacuzzis and even kayak bars galore. However, locals don’t recommend the city as a place to make new friends (out of all the cities surveyed, only locals in Stockholm recommend their city even less for this).
11 Cape Town
And relax… as Cape Town has been ranked the best city in the world to do this, thanks to 87% of residents’ votes. It’s also the second most beautiful (according to 97% of residents), third best for its ‘variety of things to do’ (93% singled this out) and ranks highly for its food and drink scene. Capetonians chose the word ‘overrated’ the least of any of those surveyed, suggesting that they think it’s a great place to check out. It’s a city that nurtures theatre-making, and it shows: it is known for its dance and experimental works like the Baxter Theatre or Artscape.
Madrileños recommend their city for all of the quintessential things which make up a great break; 94% praise the Spanish capital’s food and drink, 95% rate its art and culture highly thanks to the high-calibre museums, 86 percent of locals say the nightlife is excellent, while it is the third-least city regarded as boring globally (only 1% chose this word to describe it).
Mancs have voted their city the second friendliest (gaining 74% of locals’ votes), losing out only to Glaswegians. The city also came second for its resilience (67% of residents) and third best for progressiveness (65%). However, out of all of the global cities surveyed, it has received the least votes for its beauty (only 11% of residents surveyed rate its looks). Also, after topping the list for nightlife last year, it doesn’t feature in the top three this time around. There are great things to do on the horizon though: Factory will be one of Europe’s biggest and most exciting new arts venues, and the Victorian Castlefield Viaduct will be turned into the city’s very own highline-style park.
Mumbai is a city which loves to come together to celebrate life and each other; locals voted it the third best global city both for nightlife (with 89% saying there is always something to do, behind just Medellín and Miami) and for community spirit. It also scored highly for its food and drink scene.
A wave of new post-pandemic bar and restaurant openings has seen the city retain its top 15 position this year, with 92% of residents lauding its food and drink scene. Known for its friendliness and hospitality, it’s no wonder that only 11% of locals view it as a stressful place to live. There is also lots of culture to enjoy with live music, outdoor installations and stunning semi-permanent exhibitions.
16 Taipei - new entry
Taipei has secured its new entry in the best cities list due to an impressive 86% of locals surveyed seeing it as safe and 92% praising its public transport. Its newly-opened Performing Arts Center, the night markets, a brand new rooftop club with great vistas and the centuries-old temples are just some of the attractions putting the city on the international must-see map.
Londoners regard the city’s variety of things to do as its strongest selling point (94% of locals praise this), securing it the top spot for this globally. The capital also secured second spots for art, culture and museums (96% of Londoners surveyed have singled this out), and for diversity (94% said this but Toronto’s locals score their city even higher). It is the third-best city globally to express yourself (85% of locals) as well as to have fun. This might be thanks to the nightlife which has seen a resurgence with new club nights appearing, often jumping from venue to venue like glitter-and-baggie-strewn pop-ups. So it’s no surprise that locals chose the word ‘boring’ to describe their city the second least. Time Out readers also voted London the second most lusted-after city in the world to move to. However, its overall score was brought down by the fact that only 8% said London is ‘not expensive’ (the fewest votes for any city) and the low scores for friendliness (19%).
Porto’s explosion of exciting new restaurants and bars in the last few years has earnt its position as the third best city in the world for food and drink (96% of locals think so). Restaurants serve everything from trad tripe dishes and sarrabulho porridge to avant-garde Michelin-star cuisine. But if visitors are looking for romance, they may be sorely disappointed. Locals regard the city as the worst place of any of the global cities surveyed to meet someone, with only 13% seeing it as good for this.
19 Lyon - new entry
Lyonnais believe the city’s food and drink scene (95% of those locals surveyed praise it) and beauty (88% of those locals who responded chose this word to describe their city) are its USPs – these are the key factors which have secured its top 20 ranking and make it a new entry in the best cities list this year. Highlights are the riverbanks lined with floating bars and a whopping 540km of cycle lanes.
20 New York
NYC tops three categories in this year’s judging criteria; it’s the city most Time Out readers want to visit in 2022, the place they dream the most of moving to and is also the world’s most resilient city. It has been voted third best for art, culture and museums (96% of locals recommend it for this) with award-winning shows on Broadway and highly anticipated exhibition openings happening this year from a Basquiat retrospective to a show on the Tudors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But New Yorkers aren’t as supportive of the city’s cleanliness; choosing the word ‘dirty’ to describe their city (69%) more than residents of any other city surveyed other than Rome (76%).
Notes to Editors
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About Time Out Group
Time Out Group is a global media and hospitality business that curates and creates the best of the world’s greatest cities through its two divisions - Time Out Media and Time Out Market. Time Out launched in London in 1968 with a magazine to help people discover the exciting new urban cultures that had started up all over the city. Today, across the Group’s digital and physical platforms, Time Out’s professional journalists curate the best things to do, see and eat in 333 cities in 59 countries. Time Out Market is the world’s first editorially curated food and cultural market, bringing a city’s best chefs, restaurateurs and unique cultural experiences together under one roof. The first Time Out Market opened in Lisbon in 2014, followed in 2019 by Miami, New York, Boston, Montreal and Chicago, and Dubai in 2021. A further pipeline of openings includes Porto, Abu Dhabi, Prague, Osaka, London and more. Time Out Group PLC, listed on AIM, is headquartered in the United Kingdom.