10 Amazing Cities to Visit on a Gap Year
The chances are when you take a gap year you will visit lots of different cities, this is a great way to experience new cultures, see new places, meet new people, try exotic food and see famous landmarks you might have only ever seen on films or in guidebooks.
With so many to choose from we have put together a guide to the best cities you could visit on a gap year.
1. Sydney, Australia
Australia has long been one of the most popular destinations in the world for gap years and no trip is complete without visiting Sydney.
You can see famous landmarks like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, go swimming on Bondi beach which is a popular destination for Brits and backpackers or relax in the Manly area which has great cafes.
Sydney is also a great city to start an adventure or gap year in Australia, you could go South along the Great Ocean Road or head North up the East Coast for some of the most stunning locations in the world like the Great Barrier Reef.
If you would like to start planning a dream trip Down Under today, you can view more information on our guide to working holidays in Australia.
2. Bangkok, Thailand
If you are planning to do the classic South-East Asia gap year backpacking trail the chances are you will fly into Thailand’s capital - Bangkok.
Here you can experience so many different things from history, culture, food, temples to some of the largest shopping centres in the world! A visit to the legendary Koh San Road will either shock or excite you - this is a street with a hive of activity bars, shops, nightclubs and noise - be prepared!
From Bangkok there are also great transport links for the rest of the country / region although a lot of people choose to stay a little longer and complete programs like teaching English in Thailand. If you would like to experience this city / country check our Thailand volunteer directory for a full list of meaningful trips.
3. New York, USA
Ask most people what their favourite city is in the world and a lot will answer the Empire State. This city is more like a country than a city with so much to see and do.
Top places to visit include The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Centre, Central Park, China Town, Natural History Museum, Brooklyn, Yankee Stadium, the Statue of Liberty, ride the Staten Island ferry... the list could go on and on.
This is definitely not the cheapest destination to visit with hostel prices probably double or treble what you would usually pay in the States but this city is worth spending a little more.
You could apply to work in the USA or at a summer camp in the USA and this is where most flights arrive into. New York really is a city you have to visit at least once in your life. View USA gap year ideas today.
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
If you are looking for adventure look no further than Queenstown based in the South Island of spectacular New Zealand.
This city has one of the most stunning setting in the world located on the shore with mountains all around, there are also some of the best hostels and parties in the whole country here.
In Queenstown there are also lots of great day trips and short excursions available from here including going skiing, visiting Wanaka or seeing glaciers or if you are feeling brave try one of the local sky dives or bunji jumps.
5. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is beautiful with Table Mountain looming high and surrounded by beaches on both sides. Long Street is a popular place to base yourself where there are hotels, hostels, restaurants, shops, cafes and lively nightlife.
We highly recommend an open top bus tour of the city where you will get to visit the main attractions. If going on safari or overland, combine this but joining one of our volunteer programs in South Africa.
6. London, UK
London... really? Yes!
London is the capital of England with a fascinating history, lots of old pubs and historical places to check out. This is a popular city to live and work in for Aussies and New Zealanders and its easy to see why.
From weekend markets, visiting comedy shows, going to the theatre to walking in one of the many parks - this city will keep you interested.
London is also connected to most cities and countries in the world so it makes travelling on a gap year in Europe a little easier. If you would like to gain work experience view our internships in London.
7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
One of the most beautiful cities in the world and somewhere you must visit on a gap year in South America is Rio de Janeiro. Expect beautiful white sandy beaches, lively hostels and lots of iconic places to visit like the Christ Redeemer Statue - you will not be bored here.
There are lots of ways to get off the beaten track too, you could visit Ilha Grande which is a complete paradise island off the coast. Or sample the local food and drink and watch the sun go down on over Ipanema beach - paradise!
8. Paris, France
Paris is easily one of the most iconic and romantic cities on the planet - you have to visit at least once in your life!
From sightseeing activities like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triompe to sampling the local food - this city is amazing! Why not stay a little longer, view our paid working holidays and summer jobs in France.
You might also want to discover more of the country on a tour of France, a lot of France/European trips start or finish in Paris..
9. Beijing, China
A fascinating mix of old and new which might be a culture shock at first!
This is a bustling city with famous sights like the Great Wall and Forbidden city - the language barrier can be tricky so you might like to view our adventure tours in China to see the highlights hassle free.
If you are seeking work experience you might like to search internships in China.
10. Barcelona, Spain
A beautiful city on the East coast of Spain with a world famous football team.
This city has long been a popular city break but there is a lot more to see and do in just two days. If you would like total integration why not view our Spanish language courses in Spain and practise your lingo with the locals.
You might also like to apply to work in Spain if the idea of being more than just a tourist appeals to you.
Do you think we missed any cities off out list? Drop us an e-mail or tweet us with your recommendations or even write a similar article for our website. On our website you can find gap year, adventure tours and volunteer programs in destinations all around the world, if visiting any of these cities appeals to you check out our country guides or visit our homepage to get started.