World’s Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities


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Every year, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on their favorite cities around the globe in our annual World’s Best Awards survey. We asked readers to rank 266 cities on everything from their value to the friendliness of their people: some places’ charm won over readers, and other cities failed to warm tourists’ hearts.

Read on to learn more about the cities that ranked as the friendliest and unfriendliest cities on Earth, and what exactly it is that makes them so.

Friendliest Cities

10. Savannah, Ga.

World’s Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities

Photo: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Savannah has long charmed locals and travelers with its antebellum architecture, romantic boughs of Spanish moss, and good-natured residents.

Score: 89.167

9. Edinburgh, Scotland


Photo: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Readers referred to this city of medieval lanes and intimate squares, of fairytale stone castles and Georgian storefronts, as “enchanting” and “magical:” an “unexpected jewel” worth revisiting time and time again.

Score: 89.422

8. Sydney, Australia


Photo: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

The positive vibe of this down-under destination is enhanced by the natural beauty of the harbor and the diverse cultural offerings. Catch a performance at the Sydney Opera House, look out for the new Good Lines (an urban space reclaiming abandoned railroad tracks) and the recently expanded MCA Australia.

Score: 89.910

7. Melbourne, Australia


Photo: David Hannah / Getty

“Melbourne natives haven’t met a stranger,” said one reader. Part of what makes this Australian city so pleasant is the approachable public transportation system, such as the free City Circle tram. Walkability and outdoor shopping centers make it easy to initiate conversation and enjoy the spectacular weather.

Score: 90.229

6. Auckland, New Zealand


Photo: Getty Images

New Zealand’s largest city has all the comfort of a small town with the attractions of a major metropolis. Travels consistently remark on the city’s clean, safe streets and cheerful residents. Check out the Victorian-style houses in Ponsonby, and the white-sand beaches of Takapuna. Take the ferry 40 minutes northeast to Waiheke Island for an evening in one of three intimate rooms at The Oyster Inn.

Score: 90.517

5. Siem Reap, Cambodia


Photo: Getty Images/Moment RM

Adventurous travelers may flock here for Khmer ruins and mountainous jungle terrain, but they stay for the inherent peace and tranquility, found in the Buddhist temples such asAngkor Wat and practiced by the Cambodian citizens. “Kind, calm, and helpful,” said one reader about their encounter with the locals. Don’t bypass Ta Prohm, a ruin brought to life by the strangler figs and silk roots trees growing throughout.

Score: 90.667

4. Cork, Ireland


Photo: Getty Images/Flickr RM

In the country’s largest county, verdant hills bloom with wildflowers, rivers run through ruins, and courteous locals welcome visitors with open arms. If, despite being surrounded by some of the friendliest people in the world, you still need a break from socializing, take to the new Wild Atlantic way: a scenic driving route stretching 1,500 miles along the coast.

Score: 90.840

3. Dublin, Ireland


Photo: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

The people of Dublin’s confident, cosmopolitan, and gregarious nature is best experienced at the din the new Hipster Triangle, where creative locals indulge in “only-in-Ireland” ice cream flavors at Murphy’s (think toasted Irish oats and brown bread made with milk from Kerry cows) and dig in to Jo’Burger. Here, picnic tables fill up during lunch hour with jars of house-made, grown-up lemonade and Charolais burgers.

Score: 91.342

2. Charleston, S.C.


Photo: Getty Images/Universal Images Group

Recent tragedy has cast a dark cloud over Charleston, yet the city’s famous compassion and resilience have helped it recover, while locals seek ways to become ever more welcoming to all. No one is quicker to stand up for the city than those who live there, like “born and bred Charlestonian” Miriam McManus, who wrote that “the Charleston community showed the country, and the world, their spirit as well … coming together with love and support. We all have a deep respect for one another.”

Score: 91.633

1. Galway, Ireland


Photo: Getty Images/Perspectives

“The hospitality and the humor of Ireland’s people makes it a perfect destination,” said one T+L reader. Another voter claimed Galway was home to the “friendliest people [they had] ever met.” So what does it take to come out as the friendliest city in the world? Galway won readers’ hearts with its festive nature, lively population, and musicality. Fiddlers and banjo-players, flautists and whistlers bang out traditional Irish reels on pedestrian streets and in all the pubs. And no wonder! It’s known countrywide (and beyond) as the “most Irish” city.

Score: 92.025

Unfriendliest Cities

10. Cannes, France


Photo: Getty Images/Moment RF

Score: 69.910

Home to one of the world’s most glamorous A-list film festivals, Cannes is well-known for being wealthy, pretty, and, apparently, a bit snobby. “[Cannes’] charm is fading away,” said T+L reader Kathleen Dwyer. “Cannes is like an aging beauty,” another agreed. The fading movie star is most accommodating to visitors with major cash to spend.

9. Las Vegas, Nev.


Photo: Courtesy of Caesars Palace

Score: 69.462

“It isn’t deep,” observed one visitor, “but who cares?” It was it’s vaguely seedy pomp and flamboyant performances that earned the town its fame.

8. Baltimore, Md.


Photo: Philip Scalia / Alamy

Score: 69.380

Charm City didn’t live up to its reputation this year, and the recent protests likely played a large role in travelers’ disillusionment (tourism took a major hit this year).  That doesn’t mean Baltimore has lost its delights; stay for the theatrical performances (catch one at the Hippodrome Theatre), Chesapeake Bay views, and Maryland blue crab. Oh, and head to Faidley’s for Red Crab Soup, Cream of Crab, Jumbo Lump Crabcakes, and Soft Crab Sandwiches.

7. Philadelphia, Penn.


Photo: Mira / Alamy

Score: 69.292

Even in the City of Brotherly Love, showing up on game day wearing a Giants hat is a bad idea. “[I] went to baseball and hockey games in Philly, and was heckled by rude fans because I’m not for the home team.” Avoid game-day quarrels by visiting The Barnes Collection of early modern art or the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden.

6. New York City


Photo: incamerastock / Alamy

Score: 69.129

It’s no surprise that New York landed in this list’s top 10: it snagged the loathed No. 1 spot on our list of 15 Unfriendliest Cities in America, after all. One voter reported that “people are not exactly the kindest to strangers.” “New York has everything—just don’t ask a person in the street to help you find it.” Despite feeling overwhelmed by the crowds, most people agreed that the frustrations were worth the visit, thanks to boiled bagels, Central Park, and the new One World Trade Center’s staggering city views.

5. Los Angeles, Calif.


Photo: via Vimeo

Score: 68.090

Ceaseless sunshine isn’t enough to warm up Los Angeles, according to survey responders. While the city is filled with good-looking people, many of them come off as pretentious or holier than thou. “Rude, unhelpful people trying to scam you for everything” is what one disgruntled visitor encountered. We bet you’d be rushed and unhappy too, if you spent more than an hour on your 11-mile commute.

4. Marseille, France


Photo: Matthieu Salvaing

Score: 66.316

Even the French feel conflicted when it comes to the country’s second-largest city. “Either [they] hate it,” observed Matthieu Gamet, the director of a Marseilles-based company, “or [they] love it.” The city is witnessing a cultural resurgenceof late, but many travelers still found Marseille to be quite unkempt and gritty. Even with a relatively poor “friendliness” score, many thought this port city to be far more laid-back and accommodating than Paris.

3. St. Petersburg, Russia


Photo: Ambroise Tezenas

Score: 65.419

While visitors are typically awed by the beautiful architecture (the new Mariinsky II theater, the frosty blue Winter Palace, the gilded and candy-striped Church of the Savior of the Spilled Blood) they are a bit disappointed by their encounters with residents.

2. Atlantic City, N.J.


Photo: Mauritius Images GmbH / Alamy

Score: 61.361

“It’s fun—if you like to gamble and don’t mind rude, fast-paced people.” Yikes. Some readers wondered if the city, known these days for its less-than-lustrous casinos and boardwalk, was still reeling from the tragic blow struck by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

1. Moscow, Russia


Photo: Arcticphoto / Alamy

Score: 60.250

How did Moscow, which generally performs quite well in terms of landmarks and culture, slip to the bottom of our “friendly” list? T+L readers didn’t find Muscovites to be particularly helpful. Book a private guide to help you navigate the capital city’s historical sites, including the Kremlin and Izmaylovsky Market. We suspect the city’s notoriously bad traffic and general “aloofness” of the people contributed to its low ranking, as well as its culinary scene, which was also ranked dead last in this year’s poll.

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