Your gap year is the perfect time to explore the beauty of the world around you. There are countless cities just waiting for you to visit, and it may be a little overwhelming to narrow them down, as they’re all just too interesting! Just to get you started, here’s 10 cities you need to visit in your gap year. Don’t be surprised if you want to stay in these cities after your gap year is up!
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
The ‘epitome of Scandinavian cool’, there’s no surprise that Copenhagen is the first city on this list. Home to gorgeous architecture, gardens full of charm and surrounded by the breathtaking Nyhaven Harbour, Copenhagen is a hub for dining, bars and galleries. With more than 15 Michelin-starred restaurants (more than any other Scandinavian capital, might I add), trust me when I say that the food here is to die for. If you’re into living sustainably, Copenhagen will be heaven for you, as it prides itself on being one of the most green and sustainable cities in the world.
2. Shenzhen, China
Nestled next to the Pearl River, Shenzhen is now one of China’s newest and nicest metropolises. Free spirited and always looking forward, cutting edge technology and innovative living is evident in Shenzhen’s thriving art, culture, nightlife and multicultural dining. If you’re a shopping addict, visit the Luohu Commercial City. Full of every designer brand you can think of, you will not be disappointed.
3. Miami, Florida, USA
Known for its unique culture and endless idyllic beaches, Miami is must-see for all travellers on their gap year. It’s vibrant nightlife and mouth-watering cuisine will spice up every traveller’s visit. Fall in love with the tropical art deco architecture by wandering the local streets, or get your nature fix by hiking the breathtaking trails at the Oleta River State Park.
4. Kathmandu, Nepal
A popular backpacking destination, Kathmandu offers an endless supply of bustling streets full of locals showcasing their own art, goods and street food. You’ll want to stop at every street food vendor, it all just tastes too good! Under the watchful eye of Buddha, you’ll feel at peace while immersing yourself in the lively Nepalese culture.
5. Zadar, Croatia
This breathtaking port city is definitely not short on historical Roman architecture and medieval churches with a modern and urban vibe. Explore the city streets to your hearts content, making sure to visit every café and museum on the way. An absolute must see is Zadar’s two unique art installations – the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation – that react and change with the environment around them. It’s a spectacle that you must see (and hear) to believe.
6. Novi Sad, Serbia
It’s no surprise that Novi Sad is nicknamed the ‘Athens of Serbia’. Full of parks, large city squares full with cafes and hidden laneway bars, every street of Novi Sad is unique. It’s established alternative music scene will keep you entranced from the moment you arrive. And what is a gap year without a music festival? Be sure to visit Novi Sad in July, as it is home to Serbia’s biggest music festival.
7. Melbourne, Australia
Now I might be a little biased, but after living in Melbourne, I’m not surprised that it’s rated the second most creative city in the world. Boasting an iconic live music scene, coffee brewed to perfection and being a multicultural hub; Melbourne, is an absolute must for any city dweller on their gap year.
8. Berlin, Germany
What’s a gap year without immersing yourself in the local nightlife? Be sure to visit Berlin, as it’s nightlife and live music scene is unparalleled. Discover hidden cafes in beautifully designed streets and try every tester at the local fresh food markets. Berlin is one of the most inclusive, affordable and creative cities in the world, what more could you ask for?
9. Paris, France
There’s a reason Paris is called the City of Love. With streets lined with romantic architecture and full of art and culture, you will never experience a dull moment in your gap year while in Paris. Parisians go out most on weeknights and frequent the most bars, so you’ll always have new bars to visit and people to meet. Who knows, you might find your soulmate under the Eiffel Tower.
10. Tokyo, Japan
Visually and culturally breathtaking, Tokyo will never disappoint you on your gap year. Full of rich traditions and modern culture, Tokyo’s dining scene is incredibly vibrant (people eat out more in Tokyo than any other city). You’ll never get bored exploring the never-ending streets, shopping in the awe-inspiring malls and trying every street-food vendor you pass. Tokyo is the only city where you’ll feel both in the future and the past.