The prettiest, the cheapest and the booziest are the three qualities that get the most attention among travellers picking which cities to visit. For expats, though, another factor is even more important: just how friendly is a city?
Enter Travel + Leisure magazine, which conducts an annual readers’ poll to single out the best destinations around the world. One of their categories puts aside the landmarks, the culture and the pictures to highlight the people.
Friendliness is a vital quality for a city to possess, not just to welcome holidaymakers spending a few days wandering its streets, but to embrace a full-time resident who’s just moved into the neighbourhood. Where can you find a place where people will share their favourite cafe r point you in the right direction?
For most, the answer is Ireland, which is home to three of the friendliest cities in the world. Galway is ranked number one, thanks to the “hospitality and humour” of the locals, who have a festive, lively nature and a strong musicality.
Dublin and Cork are ranked third and fourth, just behind Charleston, North Carolina, where “no one is quicker to stand up for the city than those who live there”.
The top 10 is completed by Siem Reap, Cambodia, Auckland, New Zealand, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, Edinburgh, Scotland, and Savannah, Georgia.
The least friendly city was Russia’s Moscow, where notoriously bad traffic and “aloofness” of the locals meant that many felt unwelcome on the city’s streets. “Book a private guide to help you navigate the capital city’s historical sites,” advises the magazine. St. Petersburg in Russia was also ranked in the top five un-friendliest cities.
Other unwelcoming places include, Atlantic City, Marseilles, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Cannes.