Revealed: the world’s most scenic cities to explore at night

A new ranking looks at light pollution, Instagram hashtags and nighttime safety to find out which cities are best for exploring when the sun’s gone down

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Hallgrimskirkja church with green northern lights (Aurora borealis) in Reykjavik, Iceland. Famous scandinavian cathedral at night, northern lights above.
Photograph: Vaclav P3k/Shutterstock

You never really know a city until you experience it at night, do you? Diners and drinkers fill up restaurants and bars, skyscrapers are lit up in all their glory and street life comes into its own. Nothing quite compares to the glow of a city when the sun’s gone down. 

Clearly, we’re not the only ones who share this opinion — long-haul travel specialists Travelbag has compiled a list of cities that are apparently the prettiest to explore after dark, across the world and in Europe. 

Their criteria for ranking the most scenic cities to explore at night include the number of Instagram hashtags shared in each location, the level of light and noise pollution, and how safe each location is to walk around at night. 

With its light shows and iconic skyscrapers, Dubai ranks top as the most picturesque city in the world at night, closely followed by neon-lit Tokyo. For Europe, Reykjavik clinches the top spot, thanks to its low levels of light pollution. Whether it’s for city lights or starry skies, here are the most picturesque cities to explore at night in the world and in Europe, according to Travelbag.

The top 10 most picturesque cities at night

  1. Dubai, UAE
  2. Tokyo, Japan
  3. Singapore
  4. Muscat, Oman
  5. New York City, USA
  6. Hiroshima, Japan
  7. Kyoto, Japan
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Abu Dhabi, UAE
  10. Taipei, Taiwan

The top 10 most picturesque cities in Europe at night

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland
  2. Dubrovnik, Croatia
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. Vienna, Austria
  5. Zagreb, Croatia
  6. San Sebastian, Spain
  7. Munich, Germany
  8. Vilnius, Lithuania
  9. Madrid, Spain
  10. Lisbon, Portugal

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