The World’s 50 Most Beautiful Cities

A peek at Bruges, Belgium.
A peek at Bruges, Belgium.
Yasonya/iStock via Getty Images

The multitude of blogs, websites, and social media accounts dedicated expressly to travel means that we now have a seemingly infinite number of resources to help us decide where to book our next vacation. Having the world at our fingertips is undoubtedly a great thing, but it can also make the final choice seem pretty far out of reach.

To help you decide what’s worth using that precious PTO for, Canada-based travel agency FlightNetwork asked more than 1000 travel experts—professional writers, recreational bloggers, travel agencies, and more—to share their insights on which cities around the globe are quite simply the best.

Though the resulting list is called the world's 50 "most beautiful" cities, it’s “beauty” in a much broader sense than just visual appeal. If you delve into some of the individual entries in FlightNetwork’s guide, you’ll come to find that history, culture, food, entertainment, and other elements have significantly factored into the experts’ assessments of each city.

And, according to these experts (and probably everyone else in the world), Paris really does have it all, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, and wine so fine it might ruin you for all other beverages.

New York was the runner-up, because apparently not even the grimy subway rats can dull the sparkle of the City That Never Sleeps. While it might not boast the same snow-capped mountain peaks of Vancouver or the radiant beaches of Barcelona, the sheer quantity and variety of activities The Big Apple has to offer make it a must-visit—maybe more than once.

“You could visit hundreds of times and still discover new things on every trip. It has it all,” David Jagger, reporter for Bradford, England's Telegraph & Argus, told FlightNetwork.

The rest of the top 10 was mostly filled up by other cities that you probably expected to see on this list, like London, Venice, and Rome. Having said that, if you’re a “road less traveled” type of person, there are plenty of offbeat options for you, too. Colombia’s Cartagena, number 44, is a beachgoer’s paradise—complete with a breathtaking cathedral and castle—and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more charming waterfront town than Bruges, Belgium, number 26 on the list.

Scroll on to see the full top 50, and read more about each city in FlightNetwork’s guide here.

      1. Paris, France
      2. New York, New York
      3. London, England
      4. Venice, Italy
      5. Vancouver, Canada
      6. Barcelona, Spain
      7. Cape Town, South Africa
      8. San Francisco, California
      9. Sydney, Australia
      10. Rome, Italy
      11. Singapore, Singapore
      12. Lisbon, Portugal
      13. Amsterdam, Netherlands
      14. Prague, Czech Republic
      15. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
      16. Budapest, Hungary
      17. Istanbul, Turkey
      18. Tokyo, Japan
      19. Vienna, Austria
      20. Buenos Aires, Argentina
      21. Toronto, Canada
      22. San Diego, California
      23. Quebec City, Canada
      24. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
      25. Chicago, Illinois
      26. Bruges, Belgium
      27. Madrid, Spain
      28. Havana, Cuba
      29. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
      30. Jerusalem, Israel
      31. Edinburgh, Scotland
      32. Quito, Ecuador
      33. Zurich, Switzerland
      34. Cusco, Peru
      35. St. Petersburg, Russia
      36. Berlin, Germany
      37. Hanoi, Vietnam
      38. Queenstown, New Zealand
      39. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
      40. Seoul, South Korea
      41. Dubrovnik, Croatia
      42. San Sebastian, Spain
      43. Bangkok, Thailand
      44. Cartagena, Colombia
      45. Dublin, Ireland
      46. Marrakesh, Morocco
      47. Bergen, Norway
      48. Jaipur, India
      49. Beijing, China
      50. Athens, Greece

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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The Northern Lights Storms Are Getting Names—and You Can Offer Up Your Suggestions

A nameless northern lights show in Ylläs, Finland.
A nameless northern lights show in Ylläs, Finland.
Heikki Holstila, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

While all northern lights are spectacular, they’re not all spectacular in the same way. Aurora borealis, or “northern dawn,” occurs when electrons in the magnetic field surrounding Earth transfer energy to oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere. The molecules then emit the excess energy as light particles, which create scintillating displays whose colors and shapes depend on many known and unknown factors [PDF]—type of molecule, amount of energy transferred, location in the magnetosphere, etc.

Though the “storms” are extremely distinct from each other, they haven’t been named in the past the way hurricanes and other storms are christened. That’s now changing, courtesy of a tourism organization called Visit Arctic Europe. As Travel + Leisure reports, the organization will now christen the strongest storms with Nordic names to make it easier to keep track of them.

“There are so many northern lights visible in Arctic Europe from autumn to early spring that we started giving them names the same way other storms are named. This way, they get their own identities and it’s easier to communicate about them,” Visit Arctic Europe’s program director Rauno Posio explained in a statement.

Scientists will be able to reference the names in their studies, much like they do with hurricanes. And if you’re a tourist hoping to check out other people’s footage of the specific sky show you just witnessed, searching by name on social media will likely turn up better results than a broad “#auroraborealis.”

Visit Arctic Europe has already given names to recent northern lights storms, including Freya, after the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, and Sampo, after “the miracle machine and magic mill in the Finnish national epic poem, ‘Kalevala.’” A few other monikers pay tribute to some of the organization’s resident “aurora hunters.”

But you don’t have to be a goddess or an aurora hunter in order to get in on the action. Anybody can submit a name (along with an optional explanation for your suggestion) through the “Naming Auroras” page here. It’s probably safe to assume that submissions related to Nordic history or culture have a better chance of being chosen, but there’s technically nothing to stop you from asking Visit Arctic Europe to name a northern lights show after your dog.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]