There are thousands of places in the world you could go on urban photographic adventures. But what are the best travel photography cities? We take a look where the travel mad photographer has to visit.
Urban photographic adventures
We are all travel photographers. It could be with a brand new DSLR, a happy snappy or an smartphone. It’s still photography.
You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organising them. You just have to care about what’s around you (Elliott Erwitt).
So what do we mean by urban photographic adventures? It’s places you can travel through history and architectural styles. Where you can explore on foot and by public transport to get a feel for a city, its people and its past. And capture it all with your camera.
9 best travel photography cities
It does not matter whether you want a great city scape, a beautiful sunset or a bustling market. All corners of the globe can provide a multitude of opportunities to capture creative images.
Here are my 9 best travel photography cities. For each I have picked some top spots to visit to get classic shots.
Please note a I have decided this top 10 is for the Western world only (I got carried away). I will need another article to cover the Orient, Latin America and Africa. As there are amazing urban photographic adventures to be had there too.
New York City, US
It’s a cliché, but this popular city has abundant photo opportunities, there are also many adventures in New York. You can go to the top of the Empire State Building and capture the bustling city life; yellow cabs, skyscraper buildings et al.
Times Square is another world famous landmark, with its bright lights and bold advertising. It is probably imprinted in your minds from various movies, such is the powerful imagery.
But for a really interesting collection of photos, try Coney Island. It offers a different photo opportunity to the New York landmarks.
With a long, beautiful beach, the Riegelmann Boardwalk and the famous Wonder Wheel as featured in the movie classic, The Warriors. Coney Island has a communal atmosphere in contrast to the hustle and bustle of fast paced city life.
San Francisco, US
Alcatraz Island is a popular tourist attraction. It is not only culturally significant, once housing America’s most notorious criminals, but also has a variety of great photo opportunities.
It was saved from deconstruction in 1972 and is now a focal point of the city’s National Parks Service and recreational area. The Island is subject to tours of the premises and a beneficial location for photographers keen on history.
It also offers magnificent panoramic views of the city skyline as well as Alcatraz itself. Really stunning photographs can be taken from the tour boat used to transport tourists from the bay to ‘The Rock”.
The rest of San Fran is very photogenic too. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the cable cars, and steep streets to fisherman’s wharf there is a lot to snap. Without doubt one of the best travel photography cities.
Arthur’s Seat has been described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design.” It is located in the middle of Holyrood Park and rises to a height of 822 feet above the city offering stunning views.
From the top of this hill, you can view the Edinburgh Castle as well as the Old and New Towns of the city. Holyrood Park itself is situated a few minutes from the Old Town. Its rugged appearance of cliffs and rocky pathways encapsulates the natural landscape of Scotland
England’s capital has many fine points of interest for budding photographers. If you did architecture programs at university you will spot many famous building styles while walking across the city.
Camden Town, a district in northwest London, is the spot to find something different. On a typical day, you can explore the bustling, colourful markets which offer a range of products from food and books to alternative clothing.
Many films, books and celebrities have made reference to the district in various forms, asserting its place as a cultural landmark. There are also amazing murals emblazoned above shops on the side streets which have to be seen to be believed.
Urban photographic adventures don’t get better than Rome. Built between 70 and 82 AD, the Colosseum in the heart of Rome is one of the world’s most famous and revered works of architecture.
It can be hard to capture the immensity of this amphitheatre on camera. However, The Oppian Hill on the northeast side is a good for a distant view and it is also the location for the Trajan Baths.
The church of San Pietro, home to Michelangelo’s Moses sculpture, is also accessible from this area. With so much to see in Rome it’s one of the best travel photography cities for history.
The Eiffel Tower is very photogenic, but try catching it with the old fashioned carousel for something a little different. A trip to Rue Crémieux is worth your time for the colourful buildings and Pont des Arts is a great spot for a sunrise along the banks of the Seine.
The Louvre and Arc to Triumphe are obviously worth a visit. The latter is great for sunset photos of the Eiffel Tower. Head there an hour before the sun is due to set.
From the Pantheon to Notre Dam there is a lot to snap on urban photographic adventures in Paris. And while you are there perhaps consider a Paris skydive for a very different view of the city.
Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is in the centre of the old city. This location is home to some of the world’s finest architecture including the Cathedral and Catalonia’s regional Government Palace.
The buildings date back to medieval times and some as far back as ancient Rome. But modernization of the city harmoniously brings together old and new.
At night, the Gothic Quarter is a different place, creating a shadowy, mysterious atmosphere, seemingly bringing the statues to life. This results in one of the best travel photography cities. While visiting check out the kiteboarding in Barcelona.
Sydney is Australia’s largest city. Modern and vibrant with some stunning architecture. Go to Sydney Zoo as photos of Elephants and Giraffe with the Opera House in the background are a lot of fun.
The Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon. Its location next to Harbour Bridge and access to Botanic Gardens makes it a fantastic photography experience.
Also head to New Town, the bohemian locals here create for a vibrant and colourful neighbourhood. A trip to Sydney would not be complete without visiting its beaches, the walk from Bondi to Coogee is one of the greatest urban coastal walks on the planet.
The Liverpool Waterfront has developed into a modern tourist attraction. With its great scenic views, it still retains the charm of its bygone days. The bombed out church (St Lukes) is worth a visit, as is Chinatown and the Philharmonic.
The Liver building and the famous Liver birds are a popular photographic stop. Keen photographers can get an even better view by taking a ferry across the River Mersey and viewing the city’s buildings in all their glory.
Part of the fun of urban photographic adventures in Liverpool is to capture the city at night. The nightlife is one of the best in the country with many pubs, bars and clubs. You can even visit the Cavern, the club where the Beatles popularity began.
We hope you enjoyed this guide to the best travel photography cities. Check out our adventure holiday discounts as you could save a fortune on your next trip.