What exactly is beautiful to you? Our website provides one of a kind platform for different individuals who just love civic beauty around the world. For over 2600 years, and starting with Pythagoras, a large number of theories have been put forward on the nature of beauty and civic beauty specifically. Considering these theories, we have been able to rank the cities around the world using our innovative Cities Beautiful Index (CBI), which is a composite of 15 Beautiful Facets, as listed below on the left. The 15 Beautiful Facets are also used to categorize the beautiful features of each city, and show their locations on our website maps; for example, below on the right is the map of Paris, after a visitor clicked on the Epiphany pin for Notre Dame.
Here are CitiesBeautiful.org's 20 cities ranked according to our Cities Beautiful Index:
1. Paris – From the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame de Paris and the Ile Saint-Louis, Paris is a place loved by tourists. The scenic walks, lively nightlife and the energy all around attractions for the largest number of people around the world. Paris scored a CBI of 64.1 in our analysis, which is the best score.
2. Washington D.C. – Patterned after Versailles, L’Enfant’s master plan for Washington D.C. has provided a magnificent framework for the city’s innumerable awe-inspiring governmental edifices, memorials and monuments, numerous and incredibly diverse museums, all interspersed with lovely parks and nature reserves. Only Paris has a higher score than Washington D.C.’s CBI of 62.6.
3, 4 & 5 (Tie). San Francisco – In simple words, there’s something for everyone in San Francisco. From museums to schools, to colleges and parks, San Francisco is a complete city for tourists! That’s why it, tying with Kyoto and Istanbul, scored a great 62.1 on our CBI index.
3, 4 & 5 (Tie). Kyoto – Serving as Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence until the mid 1800’s, Kyoto is known for its temples and palaces scenically located in hills and mountains. Kyoto boasts over 2000 temples and shrines. People who value civic beauty will surely find their heaven here. Kyoto scored an excellent 62.1 on our CBI.
3, 4 & 5 (Tie). Istanbul – Istanbul, the only city to span two continents, also stands at the crossroads of ancient history with modern lifestyles. Hagia Sofia, the Grand Bazaar, and boat rides on the Bosphorus are barely the beginning of all that contribute to Istanbul’s score of 62.1.
6. Buenos Aires – Amazing food, young and new designers and a thriving culture are some qualities which make "the Paris of South America" one of Latin America’s hottest tourist destinations. It scored a 57.4 on our CBI chart.
7 & 8 (Tie). Rome – Another name for Rome could be ‘the world’s biggest museum’. The Vatican, Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain are some of the sights here you just cannot miss seeing. This city, a complete treat for history-lovers, scored a 55.4 on our CBI chart.
7 & 8 (Tie). Amsterdam – Amsterdam is a labyrinth of picturesque canals lined with storybook houses, embellished by the Dam and other major squares, all providing the backdrop for a culture tolerant of diverse lifestyles. This is a metropolis with world-famous museums celebrating the artistry of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, and the tragedy of Anne Frank. All in all a compelling city, with a CBI score of 55.4.
9. St. Petersburg – Designed as a whole and literally built from scratch by Peter the Great, home to dozens of magnificent palaces, a long-time cultural center for all of Russia, before even beginning to consider the Hermitage and other world-class museums – St. Petersburg is truly deserving of its score of 54.9.
10. Barcelona – This is a city known for its creativity, business opportunities, love for sports, and a diverse and rich culture. Truly unique,skillfully designed churches are among the many urban features that make Barcelona a great place to spend a week or two! It scored a 54.4 on our CBI chart.
11 & 12 (Tie). Budapest – From the Castle District to the Matthias Church, Budapest is a treat for history fans. You can enjoy sightseeing and later have dinner on a hill with the most beautiful views around the world. This city scored a 53.3 on our CBI chart.
11 & 12 (Tie). Cape Town – Beaches, breathtaking views, markets, churches and museums are what make Cape Town an absolutely amazing city to visit! It scored a 53.3 on our CBI chart.
13, 14 & 15 (Tie). Vancouver – Chosen as the world’s liveliest city in 2010, Vancouver holds great opportunities for tourists in terms of adventure and urbane amenities of a world-class city. It is among one of the few places in the world where you can sail in the afternoon and ski in the evening. It scored a 52.8 on our CBI chart.
13, 14 & 15 (Tie). Hong Kong – From Ocean Park to historic temples, Hong Kong offers a lot for young and adult tourists equally. With the right balance between history, education, nightlife and culture, it is a place many people wish to visit. "The Pearl of the Orient" scored a great 52.8 on our Cities Beautiful Index.
13, 14 & 15 (Tie). Athens – The Parthenon may well be the best known structure in the world, but is far from Athens’ only claim to beauty as well as fame. Athens score of 52.8 derives from your options of strolling the ancient winding streets of Plaka; attending a theatrical/musical/operatic performance in the 2,000 year old Odeum of Herodes Atticus; reveling in modern nightlife in Psirri and Gazi, and much more.
16. Rio De Janeiro – Known for its laid back beach culture, visually appealing landscape and one of the centers of world sport events, Rio is a place for everyone to visit! It scored a 51.3 on our CBI analysis.
17. Sydney – There are endless things to do in Sydney with its CBI score of 50.3, from amazing food experiences to awe-inspiring beaches to attending the opera.
18 & 19 (Tie). Jerusalem – Every adult on the planet knows about Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world, held sacred by three of the world’s great religions. Modern Jerusalem is more, however, than the accumulation of its unprecedented past, as evidenced by such diverse modern fascinations as the open air markets in the Old City, the annual Chutzot Hayotzer Festival, and Chagall Windows at Hadassah Medical Center – leading to the Jerusalem’s score of 49.2.
18 & 19 (Tie). Jaipur – Jaipur’s gigantic palaces and fortresses certainly capture every visitor’s attention, but more subtle features are nonetheless intriguing. The Pink City’s score of 49.2 encompasses the Cenotaphs of the Maharanis, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), Galta (Monkey) Temples, and elephant parks -- just a few of the unforgettable experiences not available anywhere else.
20. Fez – Fez is widely regarded as the most exotic city in a truly fascinating country. The many inspirational Medersas, unique features like the Chouwara Tanneries, innumerable and diverse souks, oldest university in the world – all contribute to this thousand year old city’s score of 44.1.
The Cities Beautiful Index is innovative, in-depth evaluation of the cities, based on our 15 Beautiful Facets. The higher the ranking of a city, the greater the likelihood that the city has "something for everyone" because it scores highly on multiple Beautiful Facets. This unique system enables us to rank cities like never before! Visit our Details tab to get a free e-book that completely explains all the CBI calculations, so that you can enhance your own tourism experience!