Five capital cities to explore and enjoy

Your first port of call in a new country is often the capital city. It’s the national hub, showpiece and population centre. It’s easy to pick world class cities such as London, Paris and Berlin. But I’m sharing five less obvious choices to add to your travel goals. As always, please share your favourite capitals!


An exciting yet languid capital city showcasing decades of Fidel Castro’s communism in a tropical Caribbean climate. Havana is less about stately edifices but the shabby chic pastels of its elegantly crumbling buildings. A photographer’s wet dream. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE OF CUBA

You must: Stroll around the back streets and take it all in.

Elegant crumbling Havana street corner, Cuba

Havana’s battered look is its greatest asset


The world’s most northerly capital city is a place of compact size and immense cool, with some unexpectedly dazzling architecture. It’s also a city where the magnificent Icelandic landscape is never far away. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE

You must: Take a trip up to the Perla Dome for some wonderful views.

View of Reykyavik from Perlan Dome

Reykyavik: Small but beautifully formed


This Arabian Gulf capital seems to sit in the shadow of its more famous, glitzy neighbour Dubai. But it feels more like a real, working city with all the benefits – a very pleasant seaside corniche, some modern high rises – and warm winter sunshine. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE

You must: See the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Go at sunset and after dark.

Skyline of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The UAE capital has an ultra-modern skyline


This undulating Caucasian capital sits in a spectacular spot and has an array of architecture and attractions. What I liked about it most was its energetic vibe and nighttime liveliness. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE OF GEORGIA

You must: Ride the Soviet era metro and take the cable car for sunset views

Mother Georgia statue in Tbilisi

Mother Georgia has a great view of Tbilisi


This five of the best is the largest capital city. Tokyo prefecture is home to a staggering 38 million people. If you’re visiting Japan for the first time, it’s a baptism of fire with its complex transport system, unfamiliar cultural norms and frenetic vibe. Just go with the flow and you’ll come to love it. Even I managed not to get lost. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE OF URBAN JAPAN

You must: Visit bewildering Shibuya and walk in the other direction – you’ll hear birds sing.

View of Tokyo's Shibuya district

Shibuya is an intensely urbanised area of Tokyo

Link to more posts about travel on mikeosbornphoto

6 thoughts on “Five capital cities to explore and enjoy

  1. Hi. Great read here! Very insightful article.
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  2. I loved Havana with a passion. It’s a beautiful city, but the people made it all the more warm and welcoming. You’ve chosen some lovely cities, Mike. Of the places you have visited, though, which city would you NOT go back to?

    Liked by 1 person

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