One of the things I love most about traveling is discovering and falling in love with new neighborhoods. While countries and cities are always great to explore, to focus in even further on a neighborhood makes me feel more closely connected to the place I'm visiting.
Whether it's the restaurants, parks, architecture, ambiance or that certain je ne sais quoi that you can't put your finger on, I love exploring neighborhoods and going from curiosity to discovery to enjoyment.
I started to write down five neighborhoods around the world that are worth seeing in person, but I had a hard time narrowing the list down, so here are 10 neighborhoods around the world you need to visit:
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa
Colorful, vibrant and home to some damn good Cape Malay cuisine, this neighborhood is a must-see for any Cape Town visitors. Better yet, you can take a cooking class while learning about the Cape Malay people and the history behind their presence in South Africa. It's an experience I am very grateful I got to do.
Trastevere, Rome, Italy
I have mentioned this in a past blog post — I don't love Rome. I know, I know... it has stunning sites like the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, but the city has never done it for me. That is, until I stayed in Trastevere. This neighborhood is the epitome of charm and home to da best cacio e pepe from Da Enzo al 29.
Wynwood, Miami, Florida
Did you know Miami has a lot of cool neighborhoods to see that are not South Beach? The colorful, artsy, hipster-ish area of Wynwood happens to be one of them. It's the perfect place to admire mind-blowing street art while getting that Instagram-appropriate photo alongside one of the area's larger than life displays.
West Village, New York City, New York
How could I not choose a neighborhood from my city of New York? While there are many places I love in NYC, if I had to pick one neighborhood to write about, it would be the West Village. I don't visit this area nearly as often as I would like, but every time I'm in the West Village, I fall in love with the neighborhood, its brownstones and its cobblestone streets all over again.
Holland Park, London, United Kingdom
I feel like Holland Park doesn't get as much attention as it should. Then again, if it got more attention, it may lose some of its appeal. This beautiful neighborhood feels like classic London to me — gorgeous homes, lush gardens and cute shops, all covered with that British polish and quiet charm that make it pretty much irresistible.
Latin Quarter, Paris, France
There are some particularly beautiful neighborhoods in Paris, but I have a soft spot for the Latin Quarter, or rather Le Quartier Latin. For starters, I lived here for a summer as a study abroad student, and it was magical. Secondly, it's home to the Sorbonne and the lively, bohemian street Rue Mouffetard (I love this street). Thirdly, it's in Paris, which is reason enough to love it.
Historic District, Charleston, South Carolina
This is a recent addition to the list but still very much a must-see. The historic district in Charleston is the epitome of southern charm. The expansive, colorful houses are unlike anything I've ever seen, and the porches of these places are larger than my apartment in New York City. How could I not be impressed?
Burano, Venice, Italy
I'm not sure if an island off of Venice counts as a neighborhood but, if not, I'm making it one for this blog post. Burano is, in a few sentences, pleasure of the senses. The colors are incredible, the soothing sounds of the surrounding water and fishermen are peaceful and the food is so, so good. Like, so, so, so, so good. I just don't think one can ever go wrong visiting Burano.
Oia, Santorini, Greece
There are some places around the world I refer to as "Postcard Places" — areas that are so painfully pretty, you're convinced that what you're seeing isn't real and it's actually a postcard. Santorini is one of those places. More specifically, Oia is one of those "neighborhoods" (for lack of a better word). Every day feels like you're walking in one of those postcards you buy at the airport.
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
To be honest, I would never describe Causeway Bay as beautiful or picturesque, but this is still a neighborhood I recommend seeing because it shows a few telling things about Hong Kong — its immense shopping options, its unabashed embrace of luxury, its energy, its eclectic tastes, its food and so much more. Causeway Bay was the very first neighborhood I saw in HK and it remains my favorite.
What are some of your favorite neighborhoods around the world?