Dave and I have seen a lot of amazing city skylines. City Skylines are one of Dave’s favourite things to photograph. While writing about Hong Kong last week, we realized that we’ve seen pretty much every city that appears on the best city skyline posts all around the Internet. We don’t have to use Getty images like the other posts we’ve seen around the web, and we won’t make you scroll through a slide show filled with ads to keep you on our page longer. We just want to share the beauty of the world with you.
We’ve actually been to all these places and can attest that they are indeed the most eye catching, unique, and interesting city skylines we’ve seen during our travels to more than 100 countries over the past 16 years. Enjoy!
17 of The World’s Best City Skylines in Photos
These city skylines are in no particular order (except for #1, we love Hong Kong) because we can’t choose the best. They are all unique and beautiful in their own rights. Do you have a favourite?
Hong Kong, China
Get your City Guides of the World’s Best City Skylines
Hong Kong is definitely our favourite skyline on earth. It’s just so massive. There are skyscrapers everywhere. No matter which way you look at it, Hong Kong as beautiful. And they know it! Each night Hong Kong puts on a light display to show off it’s stunning skyline, letting everyone celebrate the beauty of Asia’s World City.
Read more about Hong Kong at: 19 of the Best Things to do in Hong Kong
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
We had heard amazing things about Rio, but it wasn’t until we saw the city for ourselves that we realized how special it is. Host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, soon the world will see the beauty of Rio. What makes Rio’s skyline so magnificent is the surrounding mountains framing the sky rises and endless beaches. Christ the Redeemer looks over and can be seen from every vantage point of the city.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for Travel Videos Twice Weekly!
Check out our Travel Hacker Guide for more hot summer Destinations
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is filled with skyscrapers. Soon, no city will be able to keep up to Dubai with the sheer amount of tall buildings. The thing about Duba is that its skyline is very spread out. There are several different pockets, and yet each is just as impressive.
We couldn’t just show one portion of Dubai’s skyline, we had to show three. There’s downtown in the business district, there’s the Dubai Marina and the Beach. Each part of Dubai’s skyline is different from the next and equally as eye catching. It’s hard to choose a favourite spot!
Learn more about Dubai at 10 Fun and Fabulous Things to do in Dubai
Shanghai is an out of the world skyline. The city was built to simply look impressive! We couldn’t believe our eyes when we heard that Shangai was just a simple village in the 1990s. Since that time they have built the city up to have one of the most eye catching skylines on earth. Sometimes I don’t know which one I like better. Hong Kong or Shanghai. Shanghai is just so unique and beautifully designed.
How can our home town not make the list? We were proud to see that Toronto has been a part of so many “world’s best skyline” lists. It is a great city. I must admit, we haven’t taken enough photos of our own town. We’re going to have to fix that this summer to really show it off properly.
Check out this really old video of our scenic flight over Toronto. It shows off the city skyline nicely!
Don’t forget to Subscribe to our channel for weekly videos!
For more Toronto fun enjoy our CN Tower EdgeWalk
We love Paris. It is the city of Love and there is no better city for romance than Paris. Looking at it from above lets you really see just how big this city is. What I love about Paris is how there are no skyscrapers in sight. It’s an historically beautiful city centred around the Eiffel Tower, and that’s just the way we like it. Read: How to Visit Paris on a Budget
Who would have thought Istanbul would be so beautiful. Not us. We knew it would be historic. We had seen photos of the Blue Mosque and assumed it would be an amazing cultural experience. But we were surprised with how modern and progressive the city is. With the Istanbul Bridge spanning the Bosphorus linking Europe and Asia together. Istanbul is a mix of old and new and seeing the skyline from the Galata Tower is a must.
You may not expect Florence, Italy to make the list since it doesn’t have any skyscrapers. But it is the Duomo and historic buildings that make it stand out among some of the best city skylines on earth. Viewing Florence from the Piazzale Michaelangelo is the best way to truly take in the city.
New York City, USA
Oh how we love New York City. It is the most energized city on the planet and yes, it has one of the best skylines in the world. Many people would say, it’s the best! We can’t get enough of New York and there are so many great vantage points to take in the New York Skyline. From DUMBO under the Brooklyn Bridge, from the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building. Or even from this vantage point below in Queens. New York is a hell of a town no matter where you look at it.
Budapest is one of our favourite cities in Europe. Walking on the river really lets you see the beauty of the Budapest Skyline. The Budapest Chain Bridge connects the cities of Buda and Pest connecting them across the Danube River. Each city is as different as its skyline but it works together creating a beautiful destinations for travellers to explore.
We finally had the chance to explore more of Australia this year. We’d been to the Land Down Under a couple of times, but we really didn’t explore the cities of Oz. Australia has done a beautiful job designing their main city skylines. We loved photographing Brisbane which has it’s own bridge similar to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But Brisbane’s came first!
Enjoy this opening Time Lapse of Brisbane complete with everything there is to do in the city
Want to explore more of Brisbane, check out Everything you need to Know about What to do in Brisbane
Sydney has probably one of the most recognizable skylines. With the Sydney Opera house standing proud over Sydney Harbour, they have truly set the standard of creating a beautiful skyline.
Cape Town, South Africa
During our first visit to South Africa, Dave and I spent four days in Cape Town before the sun came out. We had heard that Cape Town was beautiful, but we didn’t believe it. Until one day we were taking a stroll at the V&A waterfront and the skies opened up. Seeing Table Mountain for the first time took our breath away. What makes Cape Town so extraordinary is the backdrop of Table Mountain. The city is picturesque located on the waterfront with colonial architecture mixed with modern designs. But really, nowhere else on earth can compete with the beauty of Mother Nature.
Love Cape Town? You need to read: 12 Awesome Things to do in South Africa
Where the heck is Astana you ask? While driving through Kazakhstan during the Mongol Rally, we took a detour to the country’s capital city. It is quite the contrast between the desert landscape and massive spans of land with nothing but dirt and mountains. When we drove up to the city, we were mesmerized by the massive, modern urban centre plopped in the middle of nowhere. This will be a world city in a few years. You can tell that the government is designing it with the goal of making it one of the best city skylines on earth. It already won us over.
With indoor malls complete with amusement park and skating rink, Astana has luxury and beauty making it a world city.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The last time we were in Kuala Lumpur was 2003. We didn’t even own a digital camera so you will have to forgive me for taking this scan of an early print. Kuala Lumpur had an impressive skyline when we visited and it has only been getting better and better. The Petronas Towers are definitely the centre piece of the Kuala Lumpur skyline, but the KL Tower is actually taller! It’s a perfect spot to go to get a view of the Petronas Towers. Whichever tower you choose to look at the KL Skyline, just make sure you get yourself high in the sky.
We bought our first digital camera on the same trip we took in 2003 when we visited Kuala Lumpur. Our next stop after KL was Singapore and we bought a Canon 5D camera. This was one of Dave’s first photos he ever took with a digital camera and he did a great job capturing the Singapore skyline. Singapore is a beautiful city and it’s only growing and becoming more modern.
While going through images on our website, we saw this fantastic shot of Chicago by Lisa Luban of LLWorld Tour. She shared a great post about the top eats in Chicago, so to leave you, we thought we’d share this city skyline shot of Chicago. A city we’ve merely driven through and didn’t stop to really take a look. We must fix that soon!
So what have we missed? While Deb has been to Tokyo, it was in 1994 and I don’t have one photograph of the city Skyline. We’ve heard Seoul is beautiful, but we have never been there. And Moscow is supposed to be fantastic, but we’ve only been to Siberia and the south of Russia. Ah, so many places to see and still so many city skylines to photograph. We’re going to be in Panama later this year and are excited to add that skyline to our list. We saw it on many lists, so I look forward to seeing it for myself.