How to Capture the World's Most Exciting Cities

Tien-Yuan temple with cherry blossom in Taipei | © Richie Chan/Culture Trip
Tien-Yuan temple with cherry blossom in Taipei | © Richie Chan/Culture Trip
This guide will help you capture some of the world’s most exciting cities on camera. Whether it’s snapping sushi in Tokyo on a brand new Nikon D3400, or catching the sunset from Copacabana Beach with the Nikon KeyMission 360, there’s something for every budding photographer to enjoy in this quick-fire trip around the world.

With 360 degree video lighting up your social media feeds, you can now capture and fully immerse your friends in your adventure with the Nikon KeyMission 360. It is freeze, water and shockproof without a fiddly and flimsy covering, it shoots in 4K UHD and it is ready for any condition straight out of the box.

Nikon’s new and improved addition to the entry-level DSLR range comes with a few nice upgrades. The D3400 is now lighter than its predecessor, comes with a longer battery life and features 1080p HD slow-motion video recording. It’s also compatible with the Nikon Snapbridge app (free on Google Play and App Store) to instantly share pictures via Bluetooth with your smart devices. This is a mighty fine proposition for novice photographers.

New York City

The Big Apple is every photographer’s dream with its breathtaking skyline, vibrant neighbourhoods and rambunctious locals.

Where to go: There are so many photogenic spots to choose from, including Grand Central Station, the Flatiron Building and Times Square by night. Once you’ve finished capturing the city’s most iconic landmarks head to lesser-known gems like the New York Public Library and the Met Cloisters for a different perspective.
When to go: The Thanksgiving Day Parade in November is a great time to see New Yorkers celebrate, as is St. Patrick’s Day in March and the Caribbean Carnival in September. Although there is not really a bad time to visit ‘the city that never sleeps’, attractions like the famous High Line are best enjoyed during spring and summer, when the gardens are in full bloom.

The infamous skyline of NYC © turtix/Shutterstock


The world’s second most-visited city attracts millions of photographers each year, drawn in by its pub culture, quirky streets and avant-garde fashion.

Where to go: Head to one of London’s famous markets in Spitalfields, Borough or on Portobello Road to catch all the action. Take in one of its breathtaking inner-city parks, such Kensington Park or Hyde Park, for an intriguing mix of outdoor and urban scenery.
When to go: Like most cities, London has a different feel and aesthetic depending on the season. Spring and autumn are great times to visit as the weather is still pleasant but the crowds have dissipated. London Pride and Notting Hill Carnival are just two of London’s many annual events worth visiting for.

London skyline © Adrian Snood/Flickr


Every turn in Tokyo reveals a visual feast just waiting to be captured. Spend your days exploring the skyscrapers, subculture and sushi.

Where to go: You can’t visit Tokyo without capturing the iconic Shibuya crossing, especially from one of the bars or restaurants overlooking the pedestrian-filled streets below. Takeshita street and Akihabara are both awash with neon lights and cool shops, while Todoroki Ravine Park – southwest of central Tokyo – is a rare pocket of unspoiled nature.
When to go: The cherry trees blossom from mid April to early May each year, turning parts of the city into a sea of pink (it’s always best to check the blossom forecast before you book). There are festivals throughout the year, including the Sumida River Fireworks Display in July and the hand clapping ceremonies at Tori-no-Ichi in November.

Tokyo, Japan © Culture Trip


The residents of Taipei are known for their love of food and while strolling through one of the many night markets you’ll find plenty of culinary delights and lively characters to shoot. The Tonghua or Shilin night markets are our favourites.

Where to go: Elephant Mountain, behind Taipei 101, is great for both night and day shots of the city, while Maokong is great for sunset shots, as is Danshui. For nature shots head to Yangmingshan National Park where there are scores of hiking trails and scenic areas to capture on camera.
When to go: As well as the night markets, head to the morning ones also (which can be found in almost every neighbourhood). Go just after dawn to catch the street sellers and the crowds lit beautifully by the sunrise.

Tien-Yuan temple with cherry blossom in Taipei © Richie Chan/Culture Trip


La Candelaria, Bogotá’s cobble-stoned city centre, is full of colonial-era landmarks that look great on camera, including the neoclassical Teatro Colón and the 400-year-old Iglesia de San Francisco.

Where to go: Monserrat mountain is the most popular vantage point from which you can see the city. It’s also a popular place of pilgrimage, so expect to find lots of people making their way to the top. Take one of the many free walking street art tours through several neighbours and build an impressive collection of landscape shots in a matter of hours.
When to go: This religious city comes alive during Easter, and other events worth visiting are the Alimentarte Food Festival and the renowned Bogotá Carnival, both of which are in August.

The view of Bogota from Monserrate © Juan Carlos Pachón/Flickr


South Africa’s vibrant, chaotic, sprawling spiritual capital is full of music, good food and surprises around every corner.

Where to go: The up-and-coming Maboneng district (meaning ‘place of light’) has some of the city’s best street art, shop fronts and skyline views to capture on camera. Head to Soweto (the district where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu have both lived) for an authentic taste of life in this politically and socially complicated city.
When to go: June through to August are good times to visit, as it’s neither too hot nor too cold. Soweto Fashion Week in October and the Jozi Book Fair in September are just two big events that show off the city’s incredible arts and culture scene.

Kitcheners, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa © South African Tourism/Flickr

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil’s most famous city is a photographer’s paradise. From the colourful hillside shanty towns to the verdant mountains and azure ocean below – there’s something for every taste.

Where to go: Take a ride up Sugarloaf mountain in a cable car for stunning views over the city or head to surfer hotspot Pedra do Arpoador for some great shots of the famous Copacabana beach from a different angle. Head up the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) mountains for more stunning views of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.
When to go: There’s no more exciting time to be in Rio than during Carnival, which takes place for one week each year during February. Expect beautiful hand-crafted costumes and floats aplenty, not to mention the huge crowds that come to dance the night away.

Mirante Dona Marta, Brazil © Rodrigo Soldon 2 / Flickr


Sri Lanka’s capital is one destination to watch out for in 2018. Its mix of urban sprawl with breathtaking natural wonders is proving increasingly popular among tourists.

Where to go: The mix of architecture from different colonial periods and religious buildings means you’ll spend a lot of time looking up. The Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil temple is just one example of the wonderful religious sculptures on display. You can also take a coastal train ride to Mount Lavinia, an idyllic palm-lined beach, or visit the Talangama Wetland, an oasis of calm away from the bustle.
When to go: One of the biggest festivals in Colombo is the celebration of Buddha’s Birth. Every May, hordes of Sri Lankans flock here for the lively festivals that go on all week, complete with lantern competitions, delicious treats, and all kinds of entertainment.

Colombo/ ©PixabayPixabay


Ontario’s capital is one of the – if not the – world’s most multicultural cities. The city centre is very condensed, which makes it easy for tourists to get from one landmark to the next.

Where to go: Head up the iconic CN Tower (once the world’s tallest building) for panoramic views over the city. You should also visit Toronto Island Park for the iconic skyline shot and don’t forget to catch a game at the Blue Jays stadium (Canada’s team in Major League Baseball).
When to go: Pride Week in June is the world’s second largest LGBQT festival. The usually laid-back city also comes to life in July for Toronto Fringe, a massive celebration of the arts.

The beautiful Toronto’s skyline over Lake Ontario, Ontario, Canada © Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock


The ‘capital of the world’ is truly a unique city in which you’ll find centuries-old architecture, statues and relics on every street. Catch the crowds at the iconic Trevi Fountain and then head to the hills for uninterrupted views of the cathedral domes.
Where to go: The Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden) on Aventine Hill is particularly stunning at sunset and sunrise. Monti is a charming neighbourhood where the streets are draped with ivy, while Via Appia Antica is one of Rome’s oldest and most important roads.
When to go: Rome Republic Day in early June is a magnificent spectacle, with the colours of the Italian flag’s being flown over the Altare della Patria. In addition, every summer the Tiber river around Trastevere is lined with pop-up market stalls and restaurants which look beautiful under the night sky.

Rome © Aleksandr Zykov/Flickr


This refined city, steeped in history, is a dream for anyone who likes photographing cityscapes. The waterways and cloud-reaching spires make a beautiful backdrop.
Where to go: Head down Spittelberggasse street for baroque architecture and cobbled streets, and to one of Vienna’s many coffeehouses (Café Central is our favourite) to capture the elegant locals enjoying a drink. The Staatsoper Vienna State Opera is a beautiful building and, if you’re lucky, you might even catch the crowds spilling out from a performance into the night.
When to go: While Vienna is great during the warm summer months, especially for river swimming, you’ll want to visit during winter when the city really sparkles. Winter is also the best time for catching sunsets at the Stephansdom Towers, which close in the early evening.

Vienna at night © WienTourismus


The world’s most northernmost capital is a popular tourist destination but still manages to make you feel as though you’re one of the first to discover it.
Where to go: Visit the famous Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran church, which is shaped like giant organ pipes, and then to a hole-in-the-wall lunch. Reykjavik’s restaurants often use fresh, local ingredients that really liven up the plate with bold colours of pink, yellow and green. Also be sure to capture the Harpa concert hall, which really stands out on the skyline.
When to go: For visitors to the city, Reykjavik’s midnight sun (a phenomenon which occurs each summer) can be very charming. Summer weather also makes hiking easier, so you can explore the surrounding waterfalls, geysers and national parks with ease. Head out for a shoot in the early hours for some eerie images of an empty city.

Midnight in Reykjavík ©Stig Nygaard/Flickr


Europe’s westernmost city is also one of its oldest. Each of its bairros (neighbourhoods) has a distinct feel and offers something different for every traveller.
Where to go: Take a climb up the Cristo Rei statue for spectacular views across the entire city. Alternatively, you could climb to the Castelo de São Jorge, which also has great views but isn’t on such a steep hill! Journey through the city on one of Lisbon’s famous trams and capture the locals as they go about their business and the colourful tuk-tuks as they whizz by.
When to go: There are loads of festivals throughout the year, especially during the summer months and the all-round good weather means you visit any time. We would recommend extending your trip and heading out to nearby Baixa or Alfama!

Lisbon’s tuk tuks are as iconic as its trams b1-foto / Pixabay


Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal city is a foodie’s paradise, so get down there if snapping coffee and croissants is your thing.
Where to go: For the perfect beach shot head to Henley Beach, Second Valley or Port Willunga. There’s a good mix of old and new in town including St. Pauls Cathedral in North Adelaide, Victoria Square and Central Markets.
When to go: The canola fields in Clare Valley, not far from Adelaide, only blossom in spring but are incredible when they do. If street art is your thing then head to Port Adelaide which hosts the annual Wonderwalls Festival each November.

Noarlungha Pier Adelaide, Australia Les Haines/Flickr


At first glimpse retail and restaurants appear to be the only things to do in Seoul, but dig a little deeper and you’ll discover a rich history waiting to be explored.
Where to go: There are temples galore including Jogyesa Buddhist Temple and Gyeongbukgung Palace, not to mention Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional hillside district with a great views over the city below. When you do give in to the call of the high street head to Myeongdong and snap the busy crowds.
When to go: There are several unmissable festivals that take place each year including the International Fireworks Festival in September, the Seoul Kimchi Making & Sharing Festival where participants get their hands dirty and the Lotus Lantern Festival, which commemorates Buddha.

Once a congested highway, Seoullo 7017 is now a popular pedestrian walkway with gardens and cafes © Boon Dangseon / Wikipedia