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The Best Cities in the World

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is a mix of contradictions, from ultramodern, neon-lit skyscrapers to tranquil temples, historic shrines, and expansive forests. A center for innovation, this Japanese capital has more Michelin stars than any other place on earth, and is—no surprise—one of the world’s best food destinations. For just a taste of what the city can offer, pull up a stool and dig deep into a bowl of inventive ramen at Kikanbo, or sample rare Japanese whiskey at Bar Ben Fiddich.

Kyoto, Japan

Take a step back in time in Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital, where you can visit 10th-century temples and pass young geishas in the street. One of the most well-preserved cities in Japan, Kyoto has approximately 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines, and nearly 100 Michelin-starred restaurants. Because it was once the imperial capital, Kyoto is also well known for kaiseki , the traditional multi-course meal that changes seasonally: For an authentic meal without Michelin prices, try 200-year-old ryokan Kinmata.

Florence, Italy

Though Rome is Italy’s much beloved capital and Milan has serious cosmopolitan clout, Florenceremains unrivaled in history, art, and architecture (its beauty and cuisine don’t hurt, either). In addition to being the birthplace of the Renaissance, the Firenze of recent years has had a modern makeover: Study Tuscan classics with celebrity chef Arturo Dori at Desinare, one of the city’s hottest cooking school/design store hybrids, or take in modern art at La Strozzina, Florence’s center for contemporary culture. Wherever the day takes you, save room for a panino al lampredotto —this stewed tripe sandwich is a Florence must.

Lucerne, Switzerland

With its covered bridges, turreted buildings, and colorful Old Town, Lucerne is storybook Swiss. Settled on the shores of Lake Lucerne, the city is also a popular departure point for the Swiss Alps, which are visible from the town. Walk the city’s famed Kapellbrücke, the oldest covered bridge in Europe, and grab a home-brewed beer nearby at Rathaus Bräuerei when finished. To sample traditional Lucerne dishes like veal with cream sauce and rösti, head to Wirtshaus Galliker, which the Galliker family has run for more than four generations.