Best City Skylines in the World – Our Favourites in Photos


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Dave and I have seen a lot of the best skylines in the world when visiting the most beautiful cities on earth.

We’ve actually been to all the skylines of the world listed in this post.

We don’t have to use stock photos like the other city skyline lists we’ve seen around the web because we have an album of our own city pictures from our travels. City skylines are one of Dave’s favourite things to photograph.

The Best City Skylines That Dave and Deb have been to

We can attest that the cities below have the most unique, and interesting skylines in the world. How do we know, we’ve been to 110 countries over the past 20 years of travel.

1. Hong Kong – China

Hong Kong is our favourite city skyline

Hong Kong is definitely our favourite skyline on earth. There are skyscrapers everywhere.

And highrises can be viewed from several different angles.

The top of the Peak Tram is our favourite city view of Hong Kong followed by the skyline view from Kowloon.

best city skylines in the world hong kong
View from the top of the Peak Tram

Each night Hong Kong puts on a light display to show off its stunning skyline.

The best places to watch is from the waterfront of Kowloon.

Read more about Hong Kong at:

2. Dubai – United Arab Emirates

city skylines dubai
Dubai Skyline

Dubai is filled with skyscrapers.

The unique thing about Dubai is that its skyline is very spread out. There are several different pockets, to witness its impressive skyscrapers.

There’s downtown in the business district with the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Marina, and the Beach housing the Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s most iconic 7-star Hotel. .

best skylines dubai

Dubai has several of the tallest buildings in the world including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest hotel, and the tallest residential building in the world.

When we were in Dubai, we stayed at the JW Marriott which was the tallest hotel in the world, but is now in second place to Dubai’s Gevora Hotel.

Read about : All the Things to do in Dubai

3. Shanghai – China

city skylines shanghai

Shanghai has an out of the world skyline.

The skyscrapers of Pudong were designed to look impressive with the most eye-catching sity skylines in thew world!

It is difficult to choose between Hong Kong or Shanghai. Each time we go back to either city, we fall in love all over again.

The best place to photograph Shanghai is from the Bund.

shanghai skyline | pudong

The Bund is the historic district with impressive colonial buildings and a lovely waterfront walkway offering several different views of The Shanghai business district.

4. New York City, USA

city skylines new york city
New York Skyline from Brooklyn

We love The Big Apple.

New York is the most energized city on the planet and yes, it has one of the best skylines in the world.

Many people would say that New York has the best skyline in the world!

new york city skyline from statue of liberty
View of New York from the Statue of Liberty

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 New York’s skyline changes before your eyes.

Our fabourite photograph of the NYC Skyline is from the Statue of Liberty.

5. Tokyo – Japan

Things to do in Tokyo Jikken Bridge

Tokyo is massive. It is in fact the largest city in the world by area. There is no one skyline view of Tokyo since it is so spread out. Instead there are several.

It was difficult to choose the best view of Tokyo’s skyline because everywhere we looked there was somewhere more spectacular.

tokyo tower

From the Tokyo Sky Tree to the Tokyo Tower and the Shibuya Crossing, I don’t think there is a more dynamic city in the world than Tokyo.

Each district of Tokyo has some sort of impressive skyscraper mixed with countless high rises.

Read about Tokyo at our guide to Things. todo in Tokyo and see how to travel Tokyo on a Budget

6. Paris – France

best skyline view paris
Paris skyline view from Arc de Triomphe

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 is a sprawling urban centre featuring the Eiffel Tower peering out from every angle.

Our favourite view of Paris is from the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Couer, or Montparnasse Tower.

7. Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

best city skylines rio
Rio has an amazing skyline view

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.

What makes Rio’s skyline so magnificent is the surrounding mountains framing the sky rises and endless beaches.

skylines in the world rio de janiero
more of Rio’s beautiful city skyline

Christ the Redeemer looks over and can be seen from every vantage point of the city.

Great views of Rio can be found from Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer or by taking a helicopter tour of Rio.

8. Florence – Italy

skyline view of Florence
The skyline view of Florence from Piazzale Michaelangelo

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.

9. Toronto – Canada

view of torornto best skylines in the world
Dave enjoys the view of Toronto from our Apartment

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.

We have since moved, but we think the best view of Toronto was from our balcony on the 63rd floor of Yonge and Bloor.

But the average tourist should go over to Toronto Island for the classic Toronto skyline view.

things to do in Toronto featured image

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and another great view can be seen from the top of the CN Tower, or go to the Manulife Centre at Bay and Bloor (very close to our old apartment) for one of the highest viewpoints in the city.

For more Toronto fun enjoy:

10. Panama City – Panama

panama city skyline

Who knew Panama had such a magnificent skyline. We didn’t expect it to be so modern and filled with skyscrapers.

Panama reminded us of Dubai with many similar tall buildings.

Panama City is the the start of the Panama Costa Rica Cruise

With skyscrapers, a fantastic waterfront walk, luxury hotels and the Panama Canal close by, Panama was one of our favourite cities in South America.

Great skyline views can be taken from the bars at the top of the W Hotel and the Hard Rock Panama Hotel.

11. Istanbul – Turkey

istanbul city skylines
Did you Expect Istanbul to have one of the Best City Skylines

We knew Istanbul would be historic. With the Blue Mosque standing proud over the old city.

But we were surprised with how modern and progressive the city is.

City Skylines Middle East
The Galata Tower offers an amazing city view of Istanbul

With the Istanbul Bridge spanning the Bosphorus linking Europe and Asia together, Istanbul is a city where East meets West.

Istanbul is a mix of old and new.

A beautiful city view can be seen from the skyline of the Galata Tower/

12. Budapest, Hungary

City Skylines Budapest
We love the Budapest skyline view from the river

Budapest is one of our favourite cities in Europe.

Walking along the river offers the best views of the Budapest skyline.

The Budapest Chain Bridge spans the Danube River connecting the cities of Buda and Pest.

City Skylines Budapest
Buda and Pest Skylines

Each city is as different as its skyline but they work together creating a beautiful destination view.

The best views of the skyline can be seen from Gellert Hill, Buddha Castle, and from the waterfront and Chain Bridge looking back at the Parliament building.

Enjoy 16 of the Top Things to do in Budapest

13. Brisbane, Australia

best skylines brisbane
Our favourite city skyline in Australia is Brisbane

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!

Want to explore more of Brisbane, check out Everything you need to Know about What to do in Brisbane

14. Sydney – Australia

best skylines around the world | australia

Sydney has probably one of the most recognizable city skylines in the world with the Sydney Opera House dominating the waterfront.

city skylines | sydney harbour bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is another famous structure in the city and this view from underneath offers a unique perspective.

15. Cape Town – South Africa

best skylines in the world cape town
Table Mountain Contributes to Cape Town’s Beautiful Skyline

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 the skies opened up on day four to reveal a breathtaking view.

What makes Cape Town’s skyline so extraordinary is the backdrop of Table Mountain.

best skylines in the world cape town
another view of Cape Town

With a modern waterfront and colonial architecture mixed framed by Table Mountain, Cape Town truly is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Love Cape Town? You need to read: Awesome Things to do in South Africa

16. Astana – Kazakhstan

kazakhstan photography buildings
Astana is a modern city!

Where is Astana you ask? It is in Kazakhstan. Never heard of it? Well you will.

While driving through Kazakhstan during the Mongol Rally, we took a detour to the country’s capital city.

Astana was quite the contrast between the desert landscape and massive spans of land of dirt and mountains.

best skylines in the world Astana
Another View of Astana’s Skyline

We were mesmerized by the massive, modern urban center plopped in the middle of nowhere.

With indoor malls complete with an amusement park and skating rink, Astana is poised to become a world city.

Read: Mongol Rally Tips and see our Kazakhstan travel Guide

17. Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

best city skyline in the world
An early selfie taken in Kuala Lumpur

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 above.

Kuala Lumpur had an impressive skyline when we visited and it has grown immensely since.

best skylines | kuala lumpure

The Petronas Twin Towers are definitely the centre piece of the Kuala Lumpur skyline.

They are that tallest twin towers in the work, but the nearby KL Tower is actually taller!

The KL Tower is a good place to view the Petronas Towers.

18. Singapore

most beautiful city skyline | singapor

Singapore is certainly one of the most modern cities in South East Asia.

I cannot tell a lie, we had to use this picture form a guest post written for us as when we visited Singapore, we weren’t travel bloggers yet and didn’t take a proper photograph.

We haven’t been back to Singapore since it designed its incredible Marina Bay Sands and the Supertree Groves, but we look forward to seeing it again soon!

With a stunning waterfront and unique modern buildings, the setting for Crazy Rich Asians is definitely a destination of luxury and decadence.

Check out our Singapore guides:

19. Vancouver – Canada

best city skylines | Vancouver

Since our time living in Vancouver, the city has grown immensely.

The waterfront of False Creek has turned into a beautiful residential neighbourhood with walkways and restaurants.

The view of the Vancouver skyline was taken from Stanley Park. If you want to get that great reflection from English Bay, this is the spot.

20. Suzhou – China

surprising beautiful city skyline

There are so many places in China that have amazing skylines.

When I looked around at other skyline articles on the internet, Shenzen is the popular choice since it is close to Hong Kong and has the second tallest building in China – The Ping An Finacnial Tower. But we have neve been there.

best skyliens in china | suzhou

So, to choose another beautiful skyline in China, we chose Suzhou. Like Hong Kong, Suzhou has a neon light waterfront and a lightshow in the evenings.

As we have often said, China really does come alive at night.

22. San Francisco

San Francisco Photography Guide Treasure Island
View from Treasure Island

San Francisco is a fantastic city to visit. There are so many iconic sites to see with The Golden Gate Bridge being the star attrractions.

Thanks to Local Photographer Eric Bravo, we learned where to see all of the great views of San Francisco including this view above.

23. Santorini – Greece

best skylines in the world | santorini

I know Santorini doesn’t really fit with the rest of the city skylines in this article.

It doesn’t have any skyscrapers or high rises but it does have a very distinct skyline.

Everyone knows of the blue domes of Santorini.

beautiful city skylines of the world | Santorini

When getting out of a taxi and walking to the crater’s edge, we gasped at the beauty of seeing Santorini for the first time.

The whitewashed buildings clinging to the side of the sea cliffs are one of the most extraordinaries views we’ve ever seen.

21. London – England

england travel guide

London is definitely an iconic city skyline thanks to the London Eye, the Tower Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament lining the waterfront.

London has held on to its history while embracing the 21st century.

tower bridge | part of the london Skyline

Walking along the water offers the best views of London.

Read Next:

24. Chicago, Illinois

best skylines Chicago
chicago skyline

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.

Chicago is a city we’ve merely driven through and haven’t explored enough. We must fix that soon!

What is the most beautiful skyline in the world?

Shanghai is definitely the most beautiful skyline we’ve seen during our travels to 110 countries.

What is the best skyline in the United States?

We think that New York City is the best and most beautiful of all the skylines we’ve seen in the US.

What city has the most skyscrapers in the world?

Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers of all the cities in the world with 355 buildings standing more than 150 m (492 ft)

So what have we missed? Help us plan our next city escape.

best skylines in the world
Best City Skylines

Read Next: The Most Beautiful Cities in Europe

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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