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50 Most Glamorous Cities in the World

In this article, we will present the 50 most glamorous cities in the world using a macroeconomics approach. To skip our detailed analysis of the global luxury and leisure travel industries in 2024, go directly and see 10 Most Glamorous Cities in the World.

The Highs and Lows of Luxury Travel: A Closer Look

As tourism demand continues to reclaim its pre-pandemic position in many of the most glamorous cities in the world, leisure travel has made a much faster recovery than business traffic. The clear divergence between the two categories has a substantial influence on the nature of monthly passenger demand. This is primarily owing to the fact that leisure travel is much more closely dependent on seasonal fluctuation in many of the most beautiful cities in the world- with peaks and dips corresponding in perfect lockstep with the Northern Hemisphere's summer and winter cycles, respectively. As a result, major players in the luxury travel industry like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (

NYSE:HLT),

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Marriott International Inc. (

NASDAQ:MAR), and

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (

NYSE:H) have had to manage the challenges posed by seasonal profitability oscillations, as well as additional pressure on operationality and staff during demand peaks. Despite these fluctuations, the luxury segment is projected to grow at 6% per year through to 2025 - much rapidly than any other chain-scale hotel segment. According to a report by Bloomberg, a network of more than 20,000 luxury travel enthusiasts are paying more than $1700 per night on average. This figure is up 69% when compared to the demand peak in 2019, when consumers were spending a mere $979 per night.

According to a press release by Embark Beyond, which caters to the travel requirements of high net-worth individuals from some of the most beautiful cities in the world, hotel prices have continued to skyrocket in a post-pandemic environment owing to pent up demand. According to the travel consultancy's founder Jack Ezon, the company's consumer base paid an average of more than $3682 per night for accommodations, up 56% when compared to 2021. These travelers have spent more than $32,000 per trip. In 2024, this trend has so far persisted. It is pertinent to note that luxury travelers are no overpaying by any standard; rather, the travel consultancies they use are securing them the best available rates. The surge in luxury consumer spending in some of the most glamorous cities in the world is owing to an unprecedented rise in hotel prices across sectors. Major companies like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (

NYSE:HLT), Marriott International Inc. (

NASDAQ:MAR) and

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (

NYSE:H) are subject to inflationary pressures, with costs of restaurant meals, flights, home rentals, and gas skyrocketing in recent years.

ETF performance can provide an accurate gauge on favorability of the luxury travel industry. Take for instance AdvisorShares Hotel ETF (NYSE:BEDZ), which is one of the only actively managed funds tracking the investment performance of equities exclusively in the global hotel and travel-related industries. With $3.36 million in assets under management as of May 8, the ETF tracks major luxury holdings like Marriott International Inc. (

NASDAQ:MAR) and Booking Holdings Inc. (

NASDAQ:BKNG). In the last one year, the ETF is up 13.68% as of May 8, signaling a favorable outlook for the luxury travel segment in fiscal 2023-24. Another ETF to consider is Defiance Hotel Airline and Cruise ETF (NYSE:CRUZ), which aims to mirror performance before fees and expenses of the BlueStar Global Hotels, Airlines, and Cruises Index, a rules-based weighted index of companies primarily engaged in the luxury hospitality industry like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (

NYSE:HLT) and

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (

NYSE:IHG). In the last one year, the ETF is up by 17.43% as of May 8.

However, according to projections, prices across most categories have already peaked and are now declining, even in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. For instance, in the summer of 2023, gas recorded highs of $5 per gallon before averaging $3.82 a gallon in 2024. Airline companies like American Airlines Group Inc. (

NASDAQ:AAL) have noticed a dip in demand, according to the company's Q4 2023 earnings call transcript. Additionally, with a rampant rise in luxury hotels and cutthroat competition with alternative options like Airbnb Inc. (

NASDAQ:ABNB) in many of the most glamorous cities in the world, competition for customers is exacerbating for major names in the luxury segment.

Moreover, non-luxury players have also closed the gap on some of the physical attributes that are characteristic of luxury like glamorous mattress tops and rainfall showerheads, etc. A major trend influencing the luxury segment is that the meaning of what constitutes 'luxury' is undergoing a massive shift across the larger service industry. Tourists are placing higher value on unique experiences and vibrant environments in the most glamorous cities in the world relative to tangible product portfolios and opulent formalities. Overall, tourists are gravitating towards recreational experiences while interest in nonessential products and services is declining according to consumer spending data.

Therefore, apprehensions about the luxury services industry plateauing are rising as consumers are giving companies like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (

NYSE:HLT), Marriott International Inc. (

NASDAQ:MAR) and

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (

NYSE:H) a strong pushback and postponing their travel plans to the most beautiful cities in the world to more affordable seasons. Greece is a prime example. It was one of the first countries to reopen post the COVID-19 pandemic and hence, was one of the first to reach a post-COVID 'normal'. However, the boom days seem to be dissipating as hotel rates have fallen more than 12% year-to-date in many of the most beautiful cities in the world. According to Ezon, this shift is not owing to any particular ceiling on what tourists are willing to spend. The consumer's calculations and preferences are undergoing a shift not because their budgets are particularly constrained but owing to better weather and rates in the autumn season. Furthermore, in a post-pandemic environment, more options are available to the average consumer, with cheaper markets offering better services, and since hotel prices are a simple measure of supply and demand, travel to some of the most glamorous cities in the world is taking a backseat. You can read more on the luxury hospitality segment in our article 30 Most Luxurious Hotels in the World.

The Future of Luxury: An Analysis

In order to offset many of the headwinds perpetrated by inflationary pressures and changing consumer sentiment regarding travel to the most beautiful cities in the world, major luxury travel stocks like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (

NYSE:HLT), Marriott International Inc. (

NASDAQ:MAR) and

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (

NYSE:H) are divesting greater investments in getting rid of all singular pain points in the hotels' operationality. For instance, hotels are using AI technology and integrating more flexible options to do away with check-in queues. According to Forbes, one of the most enduring tourist trends which have persisted long after the pandemic is the shift in demand towards self-service. Online reservations and contactless check-ins/out were lifelines for the larger industry in 2020, and such demand has persisted.

Furthermore, major luxury hospitality players are also realizing that the average consumer is more informed and the demand for properties which are respectful of the environment is on the rise, with Booking.com's Sustainable Travel Report 2022 claiming that more than 81% of global travelers have maintained that sustainability is a primary determinant when picking a location from the most glamorous cities in the world. Half of this percentage cited climate change as their primary source of influence for making better choices for the environment. The global demand for sustainability comprises property construction methods and food processing, among others, with sustainability acting as one of the most prominent segmentation factors for winners and losers. According to a report by Forbes, hospitality corporations are realizing the importance of implementing more environmentally-conscious processes into their operations. In a bid to capitalize upon this substantial chunk of the luxury travel market, hotel companies like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (

NYSE:HLT), Marriott International Inc. (

NASDAQ:MAR) and

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (

NYSE:H) are swapping out obsolete strategies with more positively impactful initiatives in many of the most beautiful cities in the world. One major way they are doing this is by shifting to greener products and energy-efficient appliances. Moreover, corporations are also investing in water conservation, sustainable packaging, and renewable energy sources. For instance, in 2023, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (

NYSE:HLT) has pledged to reduce its waste by more than 50% by 2030, becoming one of the first major hotel companies to integrate science-based carbon targets in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement into their day-to-day operations.

Lastly, according to a report by McKinsey, the COVID-19 pandemic forced hotel staff to stay at home, with more than 70% of staff laid off in the United States in 2022. During this time, hospitality workers reevaluated their career paths and work-life balance and shifted to employment opportunities which offer greater flexibility or higher renumeration, like retail or warehousing. A survey conducted by McKinsey discovered that 87% of luxury hotels in the many of the most beautiful cities in the United States do not have enough staff, with more than 36% citing severe staff shortages. To offset these headwinds, major luxury players like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (

NYSE:HLT), Marriott International Inc. (

NASDAQ:MAR) and

Hyatt Hotels Corporation (

NYSE:H) are turning to standardized, activity-based metrics to predict frontline coverage requirements. They are also offering distinct roles with clear divisions between managers and frontline employees, with each vertical offering different promotion pathways. Lastly, where management extends across multiple locations across many of the most glamorous cities in the world, companies are staffing roles to cover a network of properties rather than individual hotels.

Most Glamorous Cities in the World
Most Glamorous Cities in the World

A woman traveling in a luxury station wagon, showcasing the company's exclusive luggage and travel items.

Our Methodology

To compile our list of the 50 most glamorous cities in the world, we decided to use the index from our article Top 50 Richest Cities In The World to compile a primary list of the top 100 cities in the world with high GDP per capita and significant financial sectors. We operated under the hypothesis that favorable economic indicators tend to attract luxury brands, upscale restaurants, and high-end entertainment, indicators most commonly associated with poshness and glamour.

Since glamour is an incredibly multifaceted and complex phenomenon, we decided to consult a study by the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands which uses focus groups to determine how residents and tourists perceive city brands, using Rotterdam's 'Make-it-happen' brand as a sample. The study concluded that most residents and tourists tended to reject the city brand of Rotterdam as 'glamourized' whilst highlighting certain metrics tourists used to perceive glamour. We used the perceptions of residents and tourists with respect to the city of Rotterdam and extrapolated its findings across our primary list of 100 cities to establish a three-pronged criteria to measure the glamour of each city; the criteria is premised on the quality of each city's fashion industry using the index from our article 15 Best Cities for Modeling in the World (35 points), entertainment and culture using the index from our article 30 Most Interesting Cities in America (30 points), and nightlife using the index from our article 25 Cities With the Best Nightlife in the World (25 points). We then proceeded to award each city a cumulative score according to the aforementioned criteria and selected 50 cities which scored the highest points. Subsequently, we ranked each entry based on the total points scored, from lowest to highest. Where there was a tie, we broke it based on the quality of each city's fashion industry and its entertainment and culture.

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.

50 Most Glamorous Cities in the World

50. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Insider Monkey's Score: 32

In addition to being the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is known to be one of the most glamorous cities in the world, owing to its bustling nightlife and diverse entertainment options.

49. Istanbul, Turkey

Insider Monkey's Score: 32

Istanbul’s rich cultural and historical legacy, coupled with its vibrant nightlife and diverse variety of luxury lifestyles makes it a favorite option for luxury travel amongst tourists.

48. Frankfurt, Germany

Insider Monkey's Score: 34

As the economic and financial hub of Germany, Frankfurt is also one of the most expensive cities in the country and houses much of the country’s elite. This has led the city to have a bustling fashion scene, a vibrant nightlife, and diverse entertainment options.

47. Barcelona, Spain

Insider Monkey's Score: 35

Barcelona is renowned for its high-end restaurants, exclusive clubs, and luxury hotels, especially in affluent neighborhoods like Eixample and Sarria-Sant Gervasi.

46. The Hague, Netherlands

Insider Monkey's Score: 37

One of the most posh cities in Europe, the Hague is often brimming with bureaucrats, celebrities, and world leaders. For this reason, the city has a diverse variety of luxury hotels, exclusive clubs, and world-class resorts.

45. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Insider Monkey's Score: 38

Buenos Aires has a world-famous nightlife and street fashion scene, making it one of the most glamorous cities in the world.

44. Vancouver, Canada

Insider Monkey's Score: 38

Vancouver remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada. With attractions like the famous Queen Elizabeth Park and the Jericho Beach, Vancouver is home to numerous high-end hotels, a bustling club scene, and cultural richness.

43. Cape Town, South Africa

Insider Monkey's Score: 40

Consistently making our list of the 35 Most Beautiful Places in the World, Cape Town is the most expensive city in South Africa. The city offers some of the most beautiful forests, oceans, vineyards, and nature reserves, making it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 

42. Sydney, Australia

Insider Monkey's Score: 41

With high-end attractions like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, Sydney is one of the most refined destinations in the world, attracting celebrities and world leaders from across the globe.

41. Brussels, Belgium

Insider Monkey's Score: 43

Home to quintessential Art Deco taverns, unique Flemish artwork, Gothic cathedrals, and ornate guild houses, Brussels is regarded as one of the most glamorous cities in the world.

40. Mumbai, India

Insider Monkey's Score: 44

Home to India’s star-studded film industry, Mumbai houses some of the world’s biggest celebrities and sports personalities. The city is also known for its high-end luxury hotels, its cross-cultural food scene, and its vibrant nightlife.

39. Bergen, Norway

Insider Monkey's Score: 46

Known across the world for its artistic strength and architectural brilliance, Bergen houses an incredibly vibrant fashion and musical scene.

Most Beautiful Cities in the World
Most Beautiful Cities in the World

Pixabay/ Public Domain

38. Nassau, Bahamas

Insider Monkey's Score: 47

Known for its ornate beaches, rich cultural history, and bustling nightlife, Nassau consistently attracts the global elite and is fast emerging as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Bahamas.

37. Shenzhen, China

Insider Monkey's Score: 49

Shenzhen is home to more than 113 billionaires, which is more billion-dollar residents than any single city in the US. As a result, the city has developed a vibrant fashion scene, being home to more than 2500 apparel companies and making up 42% of global watch production.

36. Berlin, Germany

Insider Monkey's Score: 51

Berlin is one of the most diverse cities in Germany and houses an enormous student population. As a melting pot of different cultures, the city has developed a bustling nightlife, diverse entertainment options, and an incredibly vibrant fashion scene.

35. Saint Petersburg, Russia

Insider Monkey's Score: 51

Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Russia, St. Petersburg is home to a rich historical and cultural legacy, and is one of the few cities in the world which is entirely on the UNESCO world heritage list. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 

34. Tel Aviv, Israel

Insider Monkey's Score: 53

Considered one of the most glamorous cities in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is home to high-end restaurants, luxury hotels, an ornate coastline, and a rich cultural heritage.

12 Best Places to Retire in Israel
12 Best Places to Retire in Israel

Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock.com

33. Helsinki, Finland

Insider Monkey's Score: 53

Known across the world for its innovative art, culture and architecture, Helsinki has given rise to a unique subculture which has consistently attracted the world’s elite.

32. Prague, Czech Republic

Insider Monkey's Score: 54

Prague is considered to be one the most glamorous cities in the world because extremely rich people live in the city. The city’s old architecture, its bustling nightlife, and shopping culture adds to the city’s appeal.

31. Seattle, United States

Insider Monkey's Score: 54

Known as the ‘Glamour City of Washington’, Seattle is home to some of the most famous high-end restaurants, bars, and hotels in the United States. The city also has a renowned fashion scene and consistently ranks in our list of the  50 most beautiful cities in the US.

30. Lisbon, Portugal

Insider Monkey's Score: 55

Lisbon owes its rich historical and cultural prominence to its natural harbor, which is one of the most beautiful in the world. The city’s vibrant fashion scene is known for its bold wine labels and stylish leather goods.

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Most Affordable Countries To Live In Europe in 2015

29. Edinburgh, Scotland

Insider Monkey's Score: 56

Edinburgh’s rich history, stunning architecture, vibrant food scene, and breathtaking natural landscapes makes it one of the most glamorous cities in the world.

28. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Insider Monkey's Score: 58

Amsterdam is believed to be one of the most expensive cities mainly because of its tourism tax, which continues to increase almost every year. Due to high costs of travel, the city attracts some of the wealthiest people in the world and is largely known as a high-end vacation destination.

27. Geneva, Switzerland

Insider Monkey's Score: 61

Known as the ‘Capital of Peace and Freedom’, Geneva regularly attracts bureaucrats and leaders from across the world. Hence, the city is home to a variety of high-end hotels, resorts, and restaurants.

26. Budapest, Hungary

Insider Monkey's Score: 61

One of the most exclusive cities in Europe, Budapest is home to numerous high-end hotels, a vibrant fine-dining scene, and a bustling nightlife, making it one of the most glamorous cities in the world.

25. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Insider Monkey's Score: 62

Since Dubai is a global hub for business and tourism, it is one of the most posh cities in the world. Residents of Dubai are known to have a lavish lifestyle, which is one of the reasons why the city has a posh tourist experience as well.

24. Chicago, United States

Insider Monkey's Score: 63

Chicago offers a wide range of entertainment options to its visitors, including visiting parks, beaches, and ice rinks. The city's skyline is amongst the most notable in the US, making it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is one of the most luxurious and posh cities in the American Midwest.

23. Venice, Italy

Insider Monkey's Score: 63

Known as the ‘City of Canals’ or ‘The Floating City’, Venice is popular for its historical architecture and bridges that add to the beauty and glamour of the city, making it one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

22. Miami, United States

Insider Monkey's Score: 64

The city’s historical architecture and vibrant nightlife makes Miami one of the most glamorous tourist destinations in the world. The city is known for its pristine beaches and tall skyscrapers.

21. Boston, United States

Insider Monkey's Score: 66

In addition to being a metropolitan city, Boston is known to be one of the most posh cities in the United States primarily because of its vibrant nightlife. The city also has one of the most underrated fashion scenes in the country, with the city's younger demographic leading the way in innovative street trends.

20. Munich, Germany

Insider Monkey's Score: 67

Known for its large breweries and beer culture, historic buildings, and ornate Bavarian architecture, Munich is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The city is also known for its historical English Garden, the Nymphenburg Palace, and its iconic Marienplatz.

19. Bern, Switzerland

Insider Monkey's Score: 68

Packed with medieval architecture, cobbled streets, and historic landmarks, Bern has a lot to offer to its tourists who are looking to travel in luxury.

18. Vienna, Austria

Insider Monkey's Score: 70

Since Vienna is the capital of Austria, the cost of living in the city is generally higher than other cities in the country. It is considered one of the most expensive cities in Europe.

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5 Easiest Countries for Second Passport for US Citizens

17. Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Insider Monkey's Score: 72

Hong Kong is one of the most glamorous cities in the world primarily because of its advancement in technology, trade, and investment. It is known to have great influence over business, attracting millions of tourists every year.

16. Seoul, South Korea

Insider Monkey's Score: 72 

The strong cultural heritage present in Seoul adds to the glamour of the city. The city is home to historic yet luxurious temples, palaces, and landmarks.

15. Milan, Italy

Insider Monkey's Score: 72

Being the fashion and business hub of Italy, the cost of living in Milan is exceedingly high. The city is known to not only produce superior fabrics but also for its historic art and architecture, making it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 

14. San Francisco, United States

Insider Monkey's Score: 73

San Francisco is known to have one of the most vibrant yet diverse nightlives in the United States. One can experience a variety of bars, parties, and clubs in the city.

13. Beijing, China

Insider Monkey's Score: 73

Beijing is one of the most popular tourist spots in the world, primarily because of its historical architecture as it is one of the oldest cities in the world.

12. Shanghai, China

Insider Monkey's Score: 74

Being the largest international port in China, Shanghai is known to be one of the most posh cities in the country. It is also widely known to be one of the biggest economic hubs in the world.

11. Singapore, Singapore

Insider Monkey's Score: 76

Singaporeans are known to be extremely fashionable, since the city is one of the leading fashion hubs in Asia. Its integrated transport system and modern infrastructure adds to the city’s glamour.

Click here to continue reading and see 10 Most Glamorous Cities in the World.   Suggested Articles:

Disclosure: None. 50 Most Glamorous Cities in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.