26 Most Beautiful Capital Cities In The World

Last Updated: April 12th, 2024

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Looking for your next beautiful city break or metropolitan vacation? Well, with the 30 most beautiful capital cities in the world, we’ve got you spoiled for choice.

From historic South American gems to futuristic Asian hotspots to culturally vibrant European favorites, there are bound to be a few places on this list you’re going to love. (in no particular order or ranking!)

Okay, with that covered, let’s dive in and find out more about the 26 most beautiful capital cities in the world.

The 26 Most Beautiful Capital Cities In The World

1. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm-Old-Town-Sweden

The capital of Sweden is the epitome of Scandinavian cool. From the colorful old-world buildings of Gamla Stan to the hipster coffee shops and vintage stores in Sodermalm, there’s some for everyone to enjoy here.

In need of some greenery and culture? Djurgarden is home to Stockholm’s most beloved museums including the ABBA Museum, The Viking Museum, and miles of walking and cycling trails around green gardens and archipelago views.

2. Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington-City-Harbor

Located at the very southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand lies Wellington, the Kiwi capital. Known for its street art scene, amazing bakeries and cafes, as well as the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington is a hive of activity.

With its location on the edge of the North Island, you can wander the expansive harbor, enjoy the waterfront views, or even jump on the ferry across the Cook Strait to the stunning South Island!

3. Vienna, Austria

A-Tram-Outside-Burgtheater-Vienna-Austria

You probably know Vienna for its romantic palaces, operatic tendencies, and a spin-filled waltz. While all that is true, Vienna is a beautiful European capital to visit if you love history, walkable cities, and great qualities cakes and pastries.

Whether you spend the day exploring the fantastic Schonbrunn Palace or enjoy getting lost in the Stadtpark, home to the famous and fun-filled Prater Vienna funfair, this city is beautiful all year round. With so many trees around the city, the Fall months are especially beautiful in Vienna.

4. Rome, Italy

A-Panoramic-View-Of-Rome-Italy

What can we say about the Eternal City that hasn’t already been said? From the Forum to the Colosseum to Piazza Navona, there is so much to see and do, and there is quite literally ancient history around every corner.

You get two-for-one value with this capital, as one of the smallest countries in the world, Vatican City, lies within the city limits, making it easy to cross two new nations off your bucket list! Make sure to check out the Vatican museum while you’re there for its insane collection of art.

5. Tokyo, Japan

Sensoji-Temple-Tokyo-Japan

Looking for a blend of high-powered futurism with nods to a traditional and historic past? Head to the capital of Japan, Tokyo. Known for its hectic central area, the bright lights and nightlife of the Harajuku district, and some of the best food in the world, it’s a bucket list destination for any foodie traveler.

Even though it’s a hectic and busy city, there are traditional buildings and temples mixed in with the skyscrapers. The shadow of Mount Fuji in the distance is always a great reminder that world-class nature is never far away!

6. Paris, France

Eifel-Tower-View-From-A-Tiny-Street-Paris

As the city of love, lights, and gourmet cuisine, there are plenty of amazing reasons to spend a few days in Paris. Enjoy a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, swing by the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, or spend your evening with the can-can girls at the Moulin Rouge.

Of course, if you don’t want to join the crowds around Paris’ most iconic attractions, you can enjoy an amble around the Seine or journey to Le Marais district – the oldest neighborhood in Paris – for more of a local vibe, filled with great wine and pastries.

7. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei-Skyline-Taiwan

If you’re after glorious skyscrapers, innovation, and traditional, colonial-style alleyways and lanes, come to Taipei in Taiwan. Surrounded by verdant greenery, it’s a great place if you want the best of the urban and rural styles.

Love religious architecture? Taipei is home to Xinsheng South Road or the Road to Heaven, which is full of shrines, temples, churches, and mosques. If you’re looking for a decent hike that sees all the sights, check out the Taipei Grand Trail which encompasses 90km of hiking trails on the hilly outskirts of the city.

8. Willemstad, Curacao

Willemstad-Houses-Curacao-Island

Let’s be honest, capital cities don’t come much prettier than Willemstad, the capital of the island nation of Curacao in the Caribbean. As a Dutch colonial spot, the influence of the colorful European architecture is clear on the popular Handelskade street, which definitely makes you think you’re in Caribbean Amsterdam.

However, the soft sandy beaches, bustling cruise terminal, and clear waters feel a million miles from the Dutch waters of the North Sea. Explore the Hato Caves for some adventure before trying the island’s name same drink, blue curacao, at the famous Landhuis Chobolobo distillery.

9. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul-Skyline-South-Korea

Having been named World Design Capital back in 2010 and innovating and growing ever since, it’s no wonder that South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, has landed on this list. With a blend of traditional Buddhist temples and beautiful high-rise skyscrapers, this city has a striking landscape that’s complimented by the nearby Bukhansan National Park and it’s mighty mountains.

Of course, some of the best things to do in Seoul are to eat, to find world-class beauty products and appointments, and to kick back in the club with some K-Pop. It’s a super fun city to explore and it’s really beautiful at the same time.

10. Panama City, Panama

The-Luxury-Yachts-Parked-At-Panama

Known for its position on the world-famous man-made Panama Canal, Panama City is one of the most high-end and important cities in the world when it comes to trade. As such, there’s a lot of money here, shown by skyscrapers, beautifully kept beaches, and amazing restaurants and bars all around the city.

Even though a lot of Panama City is shiny and new, carve out time to visit the older, Colonial part of the city called Casco Viejo. These cobble-stoned streets and alleyways are charming and make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

11. Lima, Peru

Lima-Downtown-Peru

Located on the clifftop overlooking the stunning Pacific coastline, Lima, Peru’s capital city, is a gorgeous places to visit that’s full of history, culture, and exciting things to do. If you love Inca history or just want to brush up before heading to Machu Picchu, make sure you visit the Museo de la Nación, which has exhibits that span the length of Peru’s history.

If you consider yourself a foodie, then you’re going to be in your element here. Aside from the mouthwatering street vendors and cafes all around the city, Lima is also home to Central, officially voted as the best restaurant in the world,

12. Lisbon, Portugal

The-Panoramic-View-Of-Lisbon

Looking for old-world charm with a decidedly laid-back vibe? Well, then Lisbon has your back. Known for its cobblestone streets, expansive hill network, and charming yellow trolleys that save you from having to walk up said hills, Lisbon is a beautiful southern European city to visit.

As one of the most affordable capital cities in Europe, Lisbon has a pretty young population with people from all around the world, making for a lively nightlife scene. If you’re looking for calmer vibes, head 10 minutes out of the city to the famous and beloved Carcavelos surf beach. How many capital cities have an amazing beach break on their doorstep?

13. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

An-Aerial-View-Of-Dar-Es-Salaam-Tanzania

You might not have heard a lot about the beautiful capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, but you should have! This amazing capital city sits on the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean and has grown from a quaint fishing village into a major city, filled with great food, great vibes, and great people.

Sit on the beaches at the nearby Bongoyo Island and Mbudya Island, take the kids to Kunduchi Wet N Wild Water Park, or head to the open-air Village Museum which shows you the history of Dar es Salaam and the culture of the different tribes in the area.

14. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala-Lumpur-Skyline-Malaysia

Beautiful capital cities don’t come much better than Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Affectionately referred to as just KL, this city is dominated by the mighty Petronas Towers which has become a symbol of the city. On the more traditional side, there are hundreds of temples and shrines to check out, and winding colonial streets that take you back in time.

If you need a dose of nature, head to the Batu Caves which are not only amazing caves to explore but is also known for the giant golden Buddha statue outside the cave entrance. It’s a beautiful nature place and a spiritual one.

15. Budapest, Hungary

A-Sunrise-View-Of-Budapest-Parliament

If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world and want to travel on a budget, Budapest is going to tick all of your boxes. Located along the beautiful Danube River with a park-filled island in the middle – Margaret Island – that’s perfect for walks, cycles, or picnics, it’s a great balance of history and relaxation.

Nowhere else is this better shown than in Budapest’s spa culture. These thermal baths are housed in historic buildings with ornate decor. You can enjoy a soak in these indoor and outdoor public spa baths, or go at night when some have drinks, DJs, and a rave vibe.

16. Baku, Azerbaijan

A-Panoramic-View-Of-Baku-City

Located in the shadow of the stunning Caucasus mountain range lies the capital city of Azerbaijan, Baku. Having undergone a ton of modernization over the past decade or so since they hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, Baku is a perfect blend of the old and the new.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take an easy day trip out to the mud volcanoes of Gobustan, which are a sight like no other. Of course, thanks to its location at the confluence of East and West, the food scene in Baku is also incredible!

17. Prague, Czechia

Bridges-Of-Prague-Czechia-Republic

If you’re a fan of beautiful, historic architecture and amazing design features in the heart of Europe, then you need to check out Prague, the capital of Czechia, otherwise known as the Czech Republic.

Home to Prague Castle with history stretching back to the 9th century, the romantic Charles Bridge with its riverfront views, and the meticulously designed Astronomical Clock, there is certainly a lot to love on a vacation to Prague. Make sure you bring your walking shoes or sneakers because this cobblestone city is made for walking tours!

18. Santiago, Chile

Santiago-Skyline-Chile.jpg

Surrounded by the snow-capped Andes mountain range, it’s hard to find a capital city that has more natural beauty than Santiago de Chile. With museums dedicated to the local legendary poet, Pablo Neruda, as well as pre and post-colonial galleries and museums, it’s a city that’s packed full of culture.

If you’re looking for epic views of the city, or you just need some time in nature, head to Santiago’s main park, Cerro San Cristóbal. As one of the biggest cities in South America, Santiago also has a great nightlife scene, so if you want to have a drink and a dance, you’re spoiled for choice here.

19. Hong Kong, Hong Kong

A-Night-View-Of-Hong-Kong

From the sweeping views from the top of Victoria Peak to the bustling nightlife and street food scene of Lan Kwai Fong, there is so much to love about beautiful Hong Kong. This small nation is famous for its delicious cuisine, and a blend of modern skyscrapers with traditional Chinese temples and buildings, alongside colonial streets.

It’s a hectic city, but thanks to the mountains and the stunning Victoria Harbor, there are plenty of pockets of calm tranquility to enjoy as well.

20. Copenhagen, Denmark

Nyhavn-In-Copenhagen-Denmark

Looking for an effortless cool Scandi capital city with a beautiful harbor area and a love of bicycles? Well, look no further than Copenhagen in Denmark. With the gorgeous Nyhavn harbor that’s the iconic symbol of Denmark to the historic Carlsberg Brewery to the striking Round Tower, there’s a lot to see here.

Want to see another side of the city? Head to Freetown Christiania, a place that claims to be its own state with its own laws, especially when it comes to weed and taking photographs! But it’s also full of awesome galleries, local produce, and great vegan cafes.

21. Nairobi, Kenya

Panorama-View-Of-Nairobi-Kenya

When a city is known as the safari capital of Africa, how can it not be included on this list? Nairobi in Kenya is the gateway capital to some of the best safaris in the world, but there’s so much more to the city than just the stunning wildlife.

Nairobi is also a bustling haven for nightlife with plenty of clubs, restaurants, and bars to enjoy. If you want to spot the Big Five in the daytime and kick back and enjoy yourself in the evening, Nairobi is the place for you.

22. Montevideo, Uruguay

Independence-Square-Montevideo-Uruguay

If you love Art Deco design and architecture and want to stay in a capital city on the oceanfront, then you have to check out Montevideo in Uruguay. As one of the most southerly capitals in the world, it’s become a popular expat destination thanks to its culture, nightlife, and fancy harbor area.

Enjoy a walking tour around the Ciudad Vieja, or Old Town, which is full of Spanish colonial buildings and architecture, before kicking back for some people-watching in the famous Plaza Independencia.

23. Dublin, Ireland

A-Famous-Temple-Bar-Of-Dublin-At-Night

As you might expect, the Irish capital is full of charm, music, and typical Gaelic beauty. Whether you’re sipping Guinness and listening to local musicians in the Temple Bar area, or you’re wandering around the studious and historic grounds of Trinity College Dublin, a weekend in Dublin is always a great idea.

Of course, one of the top attractions is the Guinness Storehouse, where you can tour the factory, learn about the history of this national brew, and sample a pint or two after the tour comes to an end. Slainte!

24. Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik-The-Capital-City-Of-Iceland

Fancy a trip north? Well, Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city and it’s a beauty. With a capital that’s super walkable, filled with amazing local restaurants, cozy bars and pubs, and interesting museums, including the beloved Phallus Museum, the Icelandic capital is unlike anywhere else.

At the top of the multicolored Pride Street, you’ll find an iconic symbol of Reykjavik, the Hallgrimskirkja church, known for its incredible and striking architecture. Reykjavik is also the hub of all activity in Iceland, including where all the mighty Golden Circle and Northern Lights tours depart from.

25. Bogota, Colombia

Bogota-And-The-Andes-Mountains

The thriving capital of Colombia is a melting pot of the old and new. You can be surrounded by glittering glass skyscrapers one minute and then find yourself in charming old-world cobblestone streets with colorful facades.

In terms of culture, you have to check out the Museo del Oro which is a museum solely dedicated to pre-Columbian gold in Colombia. For the perfect view of the city, lace up your sneakers and hike up Montserrate for panoramic vistas of one of the highest capital cities in the world!

26. Washington D.C., USA

Washington-Monument-In-Spring

Could we have a list of the most beautiful capital cities in the world without including Washington D.C.? From the striking imagery of the National Mall with the beautiful swaying trees and imposing statue of Abraham Lincoln, to the wonderful streets of Chinatown, the US capital is a vibrant and varied city to be in.

Grab a bike to avoid the traffic and head out on a tour around all the famous National Monuments. Check in at the White House before spending an entire day getting lost in the Smithsonian Museums.

So what’s your take? What do you consider the most beautiful capital in the world?

About The Author

Rebecca Crowe is a freelance content writer who specializes in writing about travel, food, drink, and adventure. She specializes in budget and adventure travel content and can usually be found climbing some rocks, eating some tacos, or waiting around at the nearest airport. Her best budget travel achievement was spending a weekend in Paris with Roland Garros tickets for under £150, although she's always on the lookout for even better adventure and travel deals! If you want to keep up with her next adventure, check out her website at Wandering and Wine.

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Picture of Rebecca Crowe

Rebecca Crowe

Rebecca Crowe is a freelance content writer who specializes in writing about travel, food, drink, and adventure. She specializes in budget and adventure travel content and can usually be found climbing some rocks, eating some tacos, or waiting around at the nearest airport.

Her best budget travel achievement was spending a weekend in Paris with Roland Garros tickets for under £150, although she's always on the lookout for even better adventure and travel deals!

If you want to keep up with her next adventure, check out her website at Wandering and Wine.

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