The Best Cities in the World According to Bunny
Bunny adores beautiful natural landscapes, quiet beaches, lofty mountains, dense forests and tranquil countryside scenery… What does that have to do with big cities, you may ask. Not much.
But Bunny has a soft spot for big cities too. She likes to keep her visits brief, experiencing the big city life in short, exhilarating bursts, taking in everything the city has to offer in big gulps before pulling back to her quiet retreat, exhausted, but happy for the adventures.
What Makes a City Great?
What are the makings of a great city? Jaw-dropping architecture, Bunny says. It can be ancient, colonial or ultra-modern, but it must be somehow remarkable.
Good food is another necessity. What is the point of suffering the crowds, the congestion and poor air quality if you don’t, at the very least, get a galore of exciting dining opportunities in return?
You cannot claim to be a truly great city if you don’t have unique, neighborhoods full of character to explore. Interesting shopping possibilities, diverse cultural offerings, pulsating street life and weird local traditions are also a big draw for Bunny.
A good transportation system certainly helps. If it takes three hours to travel from A to Z within the city, Bunny is not interested. Bunny gives bonus points for low crime rates, friendly people, clean toilets and affordability. None of these features are essential but they certainly help. A beautiful natural setting is another big asset.
Bunny has some favourite cities around the world, places she is happy to return to time after time, braving the crowds she so detests to get her fix of the big city life. See below Bunny’s Top 10 list - in alphabetical order as she finds it a bit arbitrary and difficult to rate them by order of preference.
Colourful. Aristocratic. Confusing. Cool. Sprawling. Vibrant. Seductive. Precarious.
Bunny was slow to appreciate Buenos Aires’ charm but by her third visit she understood what all the fuss was about. For her, the best thing about Buenos Aires is the diversity. Depending on where you choose to stay and when you visit, you can have totally different experiences.
The distinct barrios all have their own charms. Funky Palermo Soho with its bustling nightlife, the haunting beauty of Recoleta Cemetery, the sprawling antique markets of San Telmo, the colour explosion of El Caminito in La Boca, the sleek and modern Puerto Madera waterfront, the historic Plaza de Mayo, the bustle of Hollywood, the passionate tango that can break out on any number of streets at any time … Bunny felt like there was a neighbourhood in the Argentinian capital to fit each of her moods.
And then there was the ever-flowing Malbec...
Bunny's Book Tip
If you want to immerse yourself in Buenos Aires, pick up a copy of The Tango Singer by Tomás Eloy Martínez. It is a beautifully written and labyrinthian account of Buenos Aires, tango, history and passion.
Stunning. Risky. Breathtaking. Cosmopolitan. Exciting. Laid-back. Photogenic.
Cape Town is simply stunning. Its dramatic natural setting in the shadow of Table Mountain is unparalleled in the world. Bunny was in awe during her first visit to Cape Town. The city seemed to have everything at its doorstep: beautiful mountains, gorgeous beaches, a picturesque harbour, vineyards and exquisite wineries, colourful suburbs, amazing food, excellent hotels, wildlife galore and an interesting, if somewhat depressing, history…
It is no wonder that Cape Town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa. When you combine more beauty than some small countries possess and at the same time offer all the great benefits of a big, exciting city, your popularity is well-deserved.
Bunny could easily spend months in Cape Town, taking in everything from adventure sports to vineyard tours to some of the best dining in the world. In fact, if only it was a bit safer to live in Cape Town, Bunny would seriously consider making it her home.
Bunny's Book Tip
Absurd. Ancient. Divided. Biblical. Timeless. Fascinating. Unique. Magnetic.
Bunny despises all religions with (almost) equal zeal but she does have a soft spot for the most religious city in the world. She loves Jerusalem!
Hopping around the cobblestoned streets of the old city, Bunny always feels transported back in time. The iconic sights, the sounds, the smells, it almost feels like a movie set.
Then there are the excessive security measures and the reminders of the ever-present tension, violence and bloodshed of today and the past. Jerusalem is no ordinary city.
For Bunny, the sheer number of religious people in Jerusalem is fascinating and overwhelming at the same time. She cannot get enough of the church bells and calls for prayer, the exotic head gear and weird garments, the fervour, the history, the passion, the madness of it all. It is like the whole city is pulsating with some sort of divine energy. Jerusalem makes Bunny feel alive.
Where to Stay
Buzzing. Posh. Diverse. Traditional. Fun. Tolerant. Rainy. Polite.
Bunny got her first taste of London in her early twenties. There was no better place to be back then. London was everything. Now in middle-age, Bunny likes her eight hours of sleep at night, so London is a little less happening for her. Today, she rather enjoys the quiet pleasures in town: the impeccable afternoon tea service, the world’s best bookshops and the orderly queueing that the British are so famous for.
Bunny appreciates the fact that London is a fantastic city for vegetarians. She always makes sure to try a new restaurant when in town. And there’s always something exciting going on, whether it is a concert, play, exhibition or some weird street performance. Then there’s the Royal family. Bunny is not exactly a Royal watcher but she follows them with the same mild amusement she enjoys observing the edgy street fashion in London. You cannot deny the entertainment value. London is never boring.
Where to Stay
Mysterious. Mighty. Expensive. Patriotic. Intimidating. Intriguing. Flashy. Formidable.
Bunny used to have a love-hate relationship with Moscow. She hated the inequalities and smog but felt strangely at home there. In the snow, in the sleet, in the rain, Moscow fit her mood. Sometimes even in the sunshine, sitting on a park bench with a bottle of cold Baltika beer in hand.
Grand history greets you at every corner in Moscow. It is mostly depressing history of oppression, tyranny, chaos and conquest, but it creates an atmosphere of intrigue and awe in equal measure. Moscow is not an easy city. Some sights, like the famous Red Square or the gorgeous metro stations are immediately accessible, but getting to know the dark secrets of this sprawling megapolis requires time and patience. But it’s totally worth the exploration, Bunny says.
Bunny's Book Tip
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is a masterpiece of a love story set in the 1930s Moscow. An array of impressive supporting characters, including sleek Satan and an obnoxious talking cat, spur on the unconventional romance while Jesus and Pontius Pilate deal with their own headaches in the second dimension.
Exhilarating. Fast-paced. Addictive. Awesome. Iconic. Assertive. Frantic. Impressive.
New York could not not be on this list. In her youth, Bunny dreamt about living in New York. Like many young people, she saw the city as the centre of the world. Nowadays, she is just as happy to visit only as a tourist.
It’s the 24/7 culture she loves most about New York. It’s the realm of possibilities. If you have the cash, everything and anything is available at any time. If you don’t, well, tough luck. New York is not a very forgiving city if you can’t keep up.
But there are the things that anyone can appreciate: the amazing skyline, iconic buildings, Central Park, free museums, Times Square, the incredible street life, the feeling of being where the action is… You never suffer from FOMA when you are in New York, Bunny says.
And what’s best: People tend to walk fast - that’s a city to Bunny’s liking!
Where to Stay
Hotel 50 Bowery does not have the most imaginative name but it is a cool Lower East Side establishment with hipster design, iconic views of the New York skyline, an amazing rooftop and fresh, stylish rooms that Bunny adores.
Beautiful. Elegant. Magical. Timeless. Classic. Romantic. Monumental. Noble.
Bunny’s little heart is forever pounding for the Eternal City of Rome. Rome has beauty, character, food, wine, history, style, art, elegance, food, grace and did Bunny mention the food already?
Rome boasts some of the most iconic sites in the world, such as the ancient Colosseum, a lovely Mediterranean climate, the prettiest piazzas and fountains, the best pizza (sorry, Naples), 3000 years of history and slightly chaotic but endearing present. Even things that would annoy Bunny anywhere else in the world are delightful in Rome - just because it is Rome.
Rome is a place to aimlessly wander the streets and find something charming around every corner. It’s a city to fall in love in and with, a city to make a poet out of every visitor. Bunny is not known as a great romantic but even she feels there is something special in the air in Rome.
Where to Stay
Clean. Futuristic. Safe. High-Tech. Entertaining. Photogenic. Compact. Contemporary.
Bunny had high expectation of Singapore before she first visited. Her advance impressions were that of a clean and courteous high-tech city and that’s exactly what she experienced. She was immediately blown away by the stunning, almost futuristic, architecture, rooftop bars with amazing views of the city, unparalleled shopping opportunities and the polite orderliness of it all. Somewhat surprisingly, Singapore proved to be also quite verdant and easy to explore, a compact little city adventure.
Bunny’s visits to Singapore have been brief, luxurious stopovers on her longer sojourns into Asia. This is another thing Singapore is ideally suited for: it has an excellent airport and easy access to a number of nearby tropical paradises. Add year-round hot temperatures and ever clean public facilities, and you have a place for an ideal big city break.
Bunny firmly believes that the future is Asian. And there is no better place to greet it than in Singapore.
Where to Stay
The Fullerton Bay Hotel is a fabulous hotel with stunning bayside views, impeccable service, an amazing rooftop pool and terrace, and sleek rooms. Bunny was treated like a Royal during her recent stay.
Polite. Punctual. Exotic. Hard-working. Materialistic. Modern. Eccentric. Crowded.
Bunny was a bit intimated by Tokyo at first sight. The mere size of the city, the sheer number of people - everything seemed foreign somehow. She felt like she had landed on another planet. Then she realised the positives: there was no chaos. Everything was orderly, the trains were always on time, the people were polite, everywhere was clean. And it was totally safe to explore anytime day or night, even for lil’ Bunnies like herself.
Bunny was slowly seduced by the weird, cool stuff and the visual overload; unique street fashion, robots, manga, anime, pop culture, non-stop video games, neon lights galore. Everything might be driven by consumerism, but you can always find a quiet temple or a traditional neighborhood amidst all the glitz. And then there’s the food. It’s weird and wonderful at the same time, just like Tokyo itself.
Bunny's Book Tip
After Dark by Haruki Murakami. Recounting a number of weird episodes in psychedelic nighttime Tokyo, this might not be Murakami’s best-known work, but it is a great literary companion for those jet lagged nights in Tokyo.
Imperial. Safe. Clean. Orderly. Affordable. Old-fashioned. Classy. Traditional.
Vienna might not be the most exciting city in the world but it certainly is one of the most liveable, as demonstrated by a number of international surveys year after year. It is a beautiful city, with great traditions and an imperial history. At the same time, it is an easy, modern, clean and safe city where everything works like clockwork.
The Viennese might have a reputation of being a bit stuffy but they have mastered the good life. And Bunny thinks there’s nothing wrong with being a little boring. Particularly if it comes with the gemütlichkeit that the Viennese are famous for, what with their short working hours, famous cafe culture and steady flow of delicious local wines. Then there’s the opera, great museums, spa culture perfected, a thriving vegan food scene and an excellent public transportation system. What’s not to like?
Where to Stay
If you’re not lucky enough to be invited to stay at Bunny’s tiny flat, you should stay in the best hotel in town. Park Hyatt Vienna has an excellent location, amazing spa, great breakfast and one of the coolest bars in Vienna.
Bunny might prefer solitude and peace and quiet at heart but she does enjoy an injection of big city excitement every now and then. From the madness of Jerusalem to the frenzy of New York, it is the thrill of visiting big cities such as these that makes living in seclusion so attractive to her.
What world cities do you have in your top 10? Comment below.