10 Most Exciting Cities in the World

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8. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is a rare and ambitious city leading the charge in the Middle East. With a massive expat community intermingling with Emirates nationals, the landscape is filled with interesting faces and innovative places. Charming, distinct, and definitely exuding its very own character, Dubai is often compared to Paris for the allure and love of everything luxurious. Surrounded by majestic desserts that beckon with exciting activities and contrasted with state-of-the-art buildings, Dubai offers an interesting mix of backgrounds, making it a unique and compelling destination to explore. Despite Dubai’s urbane nature, Arabic culture, and a rich heritage is prominent. It also seems to be the antithesis of growing Western lifestyles, though the two distinctly different cultures seem to coexist harmoniously. Beautiful mosques and traditional souks blend in with contemporary skyscrapers and massive luxury shopping malls, creating a diverse background unlike any other big city in the world.

7. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is explicitly cool with an entirely layered scene. Gaudi’s masterpieces are magnificent, but the art scene goes far beyond them—artisans throughout the lively El Born district, Consell de Cent’s uptown galleries, and exhibitions throughout Eixample. Bohemian, carefree, and trendsetting, Barcelona’s diverse restaurants run the gamut from fashionable tapas bars to hole-in-the-wall food stalls and the bar scene is just as eclectic. Start on Las Ramblas, but move with the flow if you’re planning on seeing the sun come up—it’s the only way to keep up to locals. Wander the Gothic Quarter for hip and almost-hidden hotspots, get a taste sophistication in El Born, take in the edgier scene in Raval, or imbibe in the trendy barrio Poble Sec. And you’ve never witnessed a mob so pumped as when the city’s team has a match at home: total and utter exhilaration!

Top Cities 2013 - Barcelona
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