12 Cities With Stunning Natural Settings To Take Completely In
Finding the right city to live in can be a life-changing affair, and many factors are at play in choosing the city that works for you. For some, this means having resplendent nature on their doorstep—a recent online post shares people’s picks for the most beautiful nature-adjacent cities in the world.
1. Vancouver, Canada
Nestling on the western edge of British Columbia, with the North Shore Mountains to the north, the Canadian Cascades to the east, and Vancouver Island to the West, there is no shortage of natural spaces in Canada’s westernmost city.
Moreover, access to beaches, waterways, and rivers is simple. “Had some family in from out of town last week,” adds a proud Canadian. “First time they’ve been here, and showing them around reminded me just how stunning Vancouver is.”
2. Edinburgh, Scotland
The ancient city sits on a series of hills, giving it a pleasing postcard quality from most angles. Furthermore, Scotland’s capital city also has activities for any nature lover.
With the brilliantly named Firth of Forth Bay to the north, there are beaches for summertime, Portland Hills Regional Park for year-round hiking and biking, and for the winter, Midlothian Snowsports Centre. “It’s a fantastic city to live in,” reveals a former resident. “Would love to move back someday.”
3. Salzburg, Austria
“Salzburg is unreal,” writes an enthusiast for Austria’s medieval city. “So many viewpoints that blow me away every time — and I live here!” With breathtaking views of the Eastern Alps, Mozart’s cultural heritage, and some of the most dazzling baroque architecture in Europe, Salzburg makes the cut.
4. Almaty, Kazakhstan
Not many people would choose this Central Asian nation for their vacations; it sits far from most major air hubs, and its Soviet satellite-state heritage also turns less-adventurous travelers away. However, the city is flanked by gorgeous natural spaces. “Almaty, Kazakhstan is a great city, and the Tien Shan Mountains in the background are stunning!” claims a previous visitor.
5. San Sebastian, Spain
I live in Spain, and while tourists will rave about Barcelona and Seville, one must sample its best-kept secret in the north, San Sebastian. Named Donostia in the host Basque language, the city is flanked by the Western Pyrenees Mountains and the Cantabrian Mountains on all sides, with the Bay of Biscay to its north. One day, a visitor can go hiking and visit stunning city museums and galleries before heading to the beach.
This city-state is an anomaly in Southeast Asia. Most capital cities in the region have endless traffic congestion, air pollution, and litter problems. Singapore is a high-tech, environmentally-friendly metropolis that values nature much as its commerce.
One Singaporean lists their hometown charms: “On the coast, very modern, but also such a green city, a mix of historic, old world, and modern, super clean and safe, ocean views.”
7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
“Rio is the most naturally stunning city I’ve ever been to,” declares a former visitor who is itching to return. “I went once for the World Cup in 2014 and have been dying to go back since.” While some people fear the negative press driven by economic inequality in Brazil, one can only marvel at Rio’s impressive tropical mountains tumbling into the stunning beaches below.
8. Bath, England
In England’s West Country, you find the Roman city of Bath. Bath was a Roman stronghold favored for its warm springs — one of which is still in excellent condition, though bathing there is now forbidden.
Bath sits in the Avon River Valley and is flanked by English mountains (most of which don’t surpass 1,000 feet). Within 15 minutes drive, visitors to Bath will find plentiful natural escapes: river walks, aqueducts, and acres of hilly forests to enjoy.
9. Santa Fe, USA
America could have several contenders here, but New Mexico’s capital city is hard to beat for ambient beauty. If a visitor hikes to any of Santa Fe’s surrounding Sangre De Cristo Mountain peaks, it is almost impossible to see the city below, so hidden is its Adobe skyline. With Ski Santa Fe only 20 minutes by car and the Rio Grande Valley home to several awe-inspiring national monuments, nature in Santa Fe hits five stars.
10. Dublin, Ireland
“I’d argue Dublin, Ireland, could be a good fit,” suggests someone. “While it’s a city, it’s coastal, and yet in less than an hour, you can reach mountains and farmland.” Ireland is a relatively small country, so finding green spaces is always easy. Moreover, Dublin’s beaches are clean and easily accessible all season.
11. Lisbon, Portugal
I am a huge Portugal fan; I always refer to the country as the ‘European California’ as both regions are similar in climate and topography. Lisbon has a distinct San Fransisco feeling; its rolling hills, white architecture, and bay bridge give the Portuguese capital a vibrant, sophisticated ambiance. The difference is that you are only a short distance from a beautiful Atlantic beach.
12. Monterrey, Mexico
While most tourists journey to Baja California, the Yucatan Peninsula, or Mexico City, some observers feel they are missing out by ignoring Monterrey in Northeastern Mexico. Monterrey may be Mexico’s best unknown adventure capital with Cerro de Silla National Park, Cola de Caballo Waterfall, and the protected La Huasteca Canyon Park nearby.
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Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.