Insider’s Guide to the Worlds Happiest Destinations

In celebration of the United Nation’s International Happiness Day, we asked Insiders  from the 10 happiest cities on the planet* to tell us what makes their cities so special. Here’s what they told us.

* According to Anholt’s Nation Brands Index

10. Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is sometimes referred to as the Paris of South America. Buenos Aires has taken created a cosmopolitan center from the best art, culture, food, history and spirit of its immigrants and allowed it to flourished into a city that literally never sleeps. Buenos Aires is a place where exclusivity and luxury clash on poverty, and the differences can be found on every corner.

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9. Paris

Like all great loves, Paris never bores and never ceases to challenge. The city’s reputation to intrigue, fascinate, captivate and bewitch people from all over the globe continues to this day. In 2012 the city received over sixteen million visitors, more than any other city in the world with the exception of London, host of the Olympics. Paris’ culture, gastronomy and glamorous history have always dared people to dream. There are no signs that these ambitions are slowing, as the city strives to make itself more attractive each day. The world is changing, and Paris is reacting beautifully.

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8. Rome

To be sure, the saying “when in Rome, do as Romans do” is referring to the incredible wealth of activities in present-day Rome, not the Rome of the past. So relax and enjoy the historical monuments in the center of the city: the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon or the Vatican with Saint Peter Basilica; or visit museums such as the Galleria Borghese with extraordinary collections. Soak in the sunlight on your face outside a café, and enjoy long lunch or dinner with good food and wine for a good price.

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7. San Francisco 

We inhabitants of the secluded Isle of San Francisco are a peculiar mix of meta-hipsters, thriving geeks, endangered hippies, power bottoms, professional dog walkers, Marina MILFs, cloud sourcers, ass-less chaplains, green startups and green upstarts, car sharers, obsessive burners, bay-to-breakers and even a few quivering republicans, all coexisting in our disparate yet overlapping universes as we manifest our strange destinies in concert.

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6. Madrid

Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain, located on the Manzanares river. It’s found landlocked in the center of the country and has a population of roughly 3.3 million, making it the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Paris.  Residents here are made up of an eclectic mix of Europeans and US expatriates. The streets and cafes are full of French business men, retired German couples, young middle-class British families and US college students studying abroad, as well as a large chunk of locals. Madrid is always brimming with a huge number of tourists visiting from all over the world, rushing between landmarks, snapping hundreds pictures along the way.

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5. Melbourne

Discover hidden secrets and get local tips on this unique bicycle tour of Melbourne. This stunning tour will have you pedaling through some of the hippest and most scenic places in the city, including graffiti-covered alleyways and the legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Cycling the safe, scenic bike paths of Melbourne with your local guide is an experience you’ll be sure to write home about.

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4. Amsterdam

When you think of Amsterdam you think of tulips, windmills, clogs, canals, bikes, Vincent van Gogh, the Red-light district and, of course, our infamous coffee shops. But Amsterdam is so much more.

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3.  Barcelona

Set along the Catalan coast by the deep blue Mediterranean sea is one of Europe’s most stunning cities: Barcelona. Its rich history of trade and commerce continues to thrive today as Barcelona can boast of being Spain’s most cosmopolitan, temperate and eminently visitable city. Its streets are lined with reminders of long-gone times, and the bohemian influence is in evidence in its stunning architecture, most notably in the world-famous works of Antoni Gaudí. The region can also name such creative heavyweights as Picasso, Dalí and Miró amongst is more famous sons.

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2. Sydney 

Sydney’s beginnings and development from it’s early days as a convict colony right up to the major developments that have made Sydney the world city that it is today.

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1. Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most visited cities in the southern hemisphere and is known all over the world for its natural settings, Carnival, Samba, Bossa Nova and beaches.

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