What makes a city ‘friendly?’ Obviously, it’s a combination of factors that make visitors fondly remember a destination long after they’ve returned home.
Weather, food, safety, ease of getting around, and perhaps above all, the locals, each play major roles in making a city one that visitors return to time and again.
We’ve gathered some of our favorites around the globe, and we’ll tell you why each made the list for the world’s friendliest places to travel.
This small town near the Slovenia-Austrian border has only about 8,000 full-time residents but they are immensely proud of their well-kept, pristine village. And they are highly committed to sustainability.
Not only does this enchanting resort town sport awe-inspiring views of its medieval castle, the Julian Alps and aqua-hued glacial Lake Bled, but it’s one of the world’s most picturesque alpine resort areas.
Anyone who’s been to the Flemish town of Bruges will clearly understand why this fairy tale village is beloved by visitors. As one of Europe’s most preserved medieval cities, we love its charming cobbled streets, historic churches, postcard-worthy canals, and lovely market squares.
Locals love visitors and go above and beyond to make them feel welcome. Captains love telling tales on canal boat rides and coachmen gladly share Bruges’ fascinating history on horse-drawn carriage tours.
Cape Town, South Africa
There are a lot of ex-pats that have come to this modern cosmopolitan city and for good reason. One of which is the way locals treat visitors and new inhabitants in their warm and welcoming manner.
The Cape Town region is filled with an abundance of beauty and diversity all surrounded by nature. Guests can be on safari one day, and then return to the city to shop in fancy boutiques and dine in top-end restaurants. Reached by cable car or hike, Table Mountain is perhaps Cape Town’s most photographed spot, and is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Charleston, South Carolina
It should come as no surprise that the coastal city of Charleston gets on a lot of ‘top’ lists. This southern belle literally oozes charm with full-on Southern hospitality at very its best.
The plantations here are absolutely fascinating. We love the walkable downtown district with its horse-drawn carriages, the impressive culinary scene, and its historic inns and markets. The stunning beaches of Kiawah Island and Isle of Palms are a short drive away. But the true treasure of Charleston is the way it makes visitors feel so incredibly welcome.
This compact and easily navigable Scandinavian city is an amazing place to visit. It’s very socially tolerant and the locals are both happy and engaging. Biking is understandably the number one to get around the city given the thoughtful and well-planned infrastructure that accommodates bikers. This also contributes to a much healthier environment with less auto emissions.
Let’s talk about the other factors that make Copenhagen such a favorite place to vacation – the picturesque wharf, gorgeous Tivoli Gardens, pristine public parks, and absolutely amazing Danish cuisine.
The mention of Dublin puts a smile on a lot of travelers’ faces, especially those that have visited the Emerald Isle. It’s a friendly, fun, hospitable, and quintessential Irish town filled with, of course, lots and lots of pubs and cafes.
This green, lush and very walkable city projects a real leprechaun charm. You feel lucky just being here. And people here are good-natured, with a pleasant wry sense of humor. Visiting its landmarks and monuments dating back hundreds of years adds to its overall appeal.
The late Anthony Bourdain adored Glasgow. So much so, he would always poke fun at the irrepressible city he called a place to go for a ‘beer and a beating.’
But truth be told, from the moment visitors arrive in Glasgow, they are met with a true-blue, heartfelt welcome from the happy-go-lucky Scots. We also have to give Glasgow a ‘wee pat on the back’ for its good food, drink, culture, social life, and commitment to sustainability.
As a city known as one of the most socially tolerant and welcoming in the world, Lisbon has a whole lot going for it, which is why travelers keep coming back.
The romantic Southern European coastal town has some of the best beaches in Europe attracting surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, older than even Rome itself. So historic sites, like its impressive castle on a hill are plentiful. Add in some of the best seafood on the planet, and it’s no wonder this lovely town tops so many ‘favorite’ lists.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
For those who’ve been to this ‘pueblo magico,’ one of Mexico’s enchanting magic towns, they’ll clearly understand why San Miguel ranks as one of the world’s most beautiful small towns. Quite impressively, it’s also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
San Miguel has much to offer in terms of history, culture, and cuisine. Its colonial Spanish architecture is impressively ornate, and the city boasts a thriving art culture, attracting artists and writers from all over the globe. For a small town, the city sports over 350 restaurants. And you’ll look far and wide to find a more friendly place as families here will even invite visitors to their homes to learn to cook its luscious local cuisine.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
I recall the first time my son traveled to Sao Paulo for a business trip. He was very impressed with the hospitality and authentic friendliness of its people. So, it’s no wonder that many find this vibrant South American city one of their favorites.
“It's so easy to embrace the culture and fit in” here, he said. “They make you feel right at home.” Restaurants and business employees, and even taxi drivers are engaging with visitors. It’s as though these high-energy Brazilians want you to adore their city as much as they do.
As a melting gathering pot of many cultures from Japanese to American, Taipei is well-known for making visitors from all walks of life feel very comfortable. The city that embraces everything unique is a fascinating eclectic mix of ancient cultures and modern lifestyles, but it all works well here. From artsy hubs and Chinese medicine shops to towering skyscrapers and steaming craters, Taipei has quite a myriad of things to see and do.
The city is also known to be one of Asia’s most LGBTQ+ friendly cities, so everyone will be looked after and feel at home.
This coastal city in British Columbia is one of the cleanest and greenest places we’ve ever visited. Vancouver’s amazing multicultural elements band together to make visitors feel welcome and safe at all times. Locals are always willing to offer assistance to tourists and the sense of community vibe makes travelers feel relaxed and at ease.
Its many natural wonders create an outdoor lover’s paradise and like Copenhagen, many locals get around by bike. From whale watching and seaplane trips to incredible markets and fabulous seafood and other culinary treasures, a visit to Vancouver is an unforgettable experience.
Indian musician and teacher Hazrat Khan once said “Some people look for a beautiful place, others make a place beautiful.” When travelers have the chance to visit places made even more beautiful by the friendliest and kindness of its people, that’s truly a wonderful gift.
Copyright 2022 Northstar Travel Media, LLC. All rights reserved. From https://www.travelpulse.com. By Noreen Kompanik.