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View Poll Results: Which city has the most beautiful natural setting?
Auckland 1 4.00%
Cape Town 3 12.00%
Hong Kong 1 4.00%
Nice 3 12.00%
Rio de Janeiro 8 32.00%
Vancouver 9 36.00%
Other 0 0%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-16-2017, 04:05 PM
 
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Great thoughts all!

I think the way we approach this list tends to stem from subjective views on what one enjoys most when it comes to scenery, IMO. I think from looking at pictures of all these, Rio's immediate natural setting certainly comes out on top, with Hong Kong rivaling. However, I don't know how much these two have varied scenery when going away from city center though. What I do know though is that in Vancouver's and Nice's case, while right around there is pretty great, the further out reaches really improves it for them. Nice has a really outstanding mix of variety, with many of the landscapes one would drive around a place like California to find, but within 60 miles. Vancouver may not have quite as much variety as Nice, but the fact that one can get to a place like Whistler with glaciers, turquoise alpine lakes, and just how lush it is around it elevates it to the top for my tastes (those are things you simply can't find in almost any other major city). I'm not completely certain how the further out surroundings of Rio, Cape Town, Hong Kong would compare, as I haven't been to two and I only spent 1.5 days in Rio on my only visit there.

I have to admit: While I was super excited for visiting Rio, it ended up being somewhat of a disappointment, and I feel bad we didn't get more accomplished while there. The first day we were there, we got a ride through the CBD, then over past the Maracanã, and then we walked around a little bit in the Leblon/Ipanema neighborhood and ended by strolling along Copacabana. Perhaps if I visit again, I need to research more on which areas to go, but many surrounding areas felt extremely unsafe, and even parts like Ipanema didn't feel all that visitor friendly for walking around compared to most cities I had been in Latin America or elsewhere. I liked the atmosphere and aesthetic at Copacabana (and sipping on a coconut), but apparently they advise against swimming at that spot due to sanitary concerns. The second day, we went over to Christ the Redeemer for the golden view, but everything was completely shrouded in fog, so no view to be had. On the way back, we drove past the Samba street and over to Lagoa de las Fritas, a nice place for an urban stroll. So, unfortunately, perhaps concern about parts of the man made environment lessened my impression of the city overall.

I DO want to go back and give it another chance at some point though, and perhaps spend more time on further outlying beaches in the island areas, and hiking in the Tijuca Forest to mountaintop views (esp. Pedra da Gavea, almost 3000 ft. mountain directly above tropical ocean and rainforest with a city backgrop is mindblowing when considering all those things together). I'm not surprised Rio is winning as it seems to be the popular vote choice for this type of thing, but unfortunately my experience didn't go that way (I do need to go back though! Anyone else gone to Rio and come away with a significantly different impression? Where should I go and what should I do differently next time?)

Auckland doesn't measure up to a place like say Queenstown on the South Island, but, with around 50 volcanoes, tons of mileage of coastline, greenery abounding, etc. within the metro and as a city of 1M+, it absolutely belongs among the world elites, even if not at the very top.

Stunning pictures of Hong Kong, truly. To me from what I'm seeing in your pictures it may even top Rio (it looks like there's just so many options there when it comes to hiking, water activity, etc., the backdrop may not quite match Rio but at ground level it looks like it has more, plus as you said, the outstanding urban aesthetic of Hong Kong seems to add to it's profile naturally as well.
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Old 08-16-2017, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Cannes
1,965 posts, read 851,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavsfan137 View Post
Great thoughts all!

I think the way we approach this list tends to stem from subjective views on what one enjoys most when it comes to scenery, IMO. I think from looking at pictures of all these, Rio's immediate natural setting certainly comes out on top, with Hong Kong rivaling. However, I don't know how much these two have varied scenery when going away from city center though. What I do know though is that in Vancouver's and Nice's case, while right around there is pretty great, the further out reaches really improves it for them. Nice has a really outstanding mix of variety, with many of the landscapes one would drive around a place like California to find, but within 60 miles. Vancouver may not have quite as much variety as Nice, but the fact that one can get to a place like Whistler with glaciers, turquoise alpine lakes, and just how lush it is around it elevates it to the top for my tastes (those are things you simply can't find in almost any other major city). I'm not completely certain how the further out surroundings of Rio, Cape Town, Hong Kong would compare, as I haven't been to two and I only spent 1.5 days in Rio on my only visit there.

I have to admit: While I was super excited for visiting Rio, it ended up being somewhat of a disappointment, and I feel bad we didn't get more accomplished while there. The first day we were there, we got a ride through the CBD, then over past the Maracanã, and then we walked around a little bit in the Leblon/Ipanema neighborhood and ended by strolling along Copacabana. Perhaps if I visit again, I need to research more on which areas to go, but many surrounding areas felt extremely unsafe, and even parts like Ipanema didn't feel all that visitor friendly for walking around compared to most cities I had been in Latin America or elsewhere. I liked the atmosphere and aesthetic at Copacabana (and sipping on a coconut), but apparently they advise against swimming at that spot due to sanitary concerns. The second day, we went over to Christ the Redeemer for the golden view, but everything was completely shrouded in fog, so no view to be had. On the way back, we drove past the Samba street and over to Lagoa de las Fritas, a nice place for an urban stroll. So, unfortunately, perhaps concern about parts of the man made environment lessened my impression of the city overall.

I DO want to go back and give it another chance at some point though, and perhaps spend more time on further outlying beaches in the island areas, and hiking in the Tijuca Forest to mountaintop views (esp. Pedra da Gavea, almost 3000 ft. mountain directly above tropical ocean and rainforest with a city backgrop is mindblowing when considering all those things together). I'm not surprised Rio is winning as it seems to be the popular vote choice for this type of thing, but unfortunately my experience didn't go that way (I do need to go back though! Anyone else gone to Rio and come away with a significantly different impression? Where should I go and what should I do differently next time?)

Auckland doesn't measure up to a place like say Queenstown on the South Island, but, with around 50 volcanoes, tons of mileage of coastline, greenery abounding, etc. within the metro and as a city of 1M+, it absolutely belongs among the world elites, even if not at the very top.

Stunning pictures of Hong Kong, truly. To me from what I'm seeing in your pictures it may even top Rio (it looks like there's just so many options there when it comes to hiking, water activity, etc., the backdrop may not quite match Rio but at ground level it looks like it has more, plus as you said, the outstanding urban aesthetic of Hong Kong seems to add to it's profile naturally as well.
I share similar opinion. I moved to Brazil a couples of years ago and i was super excited to visit Rio. The thought of mountains, lush forrest and sea seemed too good to be true and it was. The thing with Rio is that it is a looker if you are the right spot. I found cape town more appealing because most of the times i looked around i could see nice scenery. Anyways, look up Urca...That's my favorite spot there. also crossing the bridge from Niteroi into Rio is breathtaking
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survivingearth View Post
I share similar opinion. I moved to Brazil a couples of years ago and i was super excited to visit Rio. The thought of mountains, lush forrest and sea seemed too good to be true and it was. The thing with Rio is that it is a looker if you are the right spot. I found cape town more appealing because most of the times i looked around i could see nice scenery. Anyways, look up Urca...That's my favorite spot there. also crossing the bridge from Niteroi into Rio is breathtaking
Noted on Urca and Niteroi. I'll add those to my list that includes Pedra da Gavea and Prainha Beach (looks more quiet). What urban sections are worthwhile? Santa Teresa looks cool, and it looks like there are some interesting sections of downtown (like the big café and old library down there that I missed). Anywhere else? Any particularly cool day trips? I don't know if it's at the very top of my list, but at some point when I have put myself in a position where more regular travel is a given, or if I'm living in S.A. at any point in time, I would plan to go back, and combine a visit to Rio before and during carnival, along with a trip to Foz do Iguacu.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:47 PM
 
Location: NO
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I prefer Vancouver. The natural setting of Nice is pretty boring, but I like the neighbouring village of Èze.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:37 AM
 
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
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I won't say Rio because I'm brazilian and I'm pretty familiar with the image of Rio.
For other cities, I will say Lucerne, in Switzerland.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:04 PM
 
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Lucerne while somewhat small, certainly has to be considered among the best. By image of Rio, what do you mean? Or do you just mean that you feel like being closer to it gives you sort of an implicit bias towards it? Each of these cities has some pretty great stuff, but I'm trying to think if any have some natural attraction near it that is so unique that it almost can't be found anywhere else. Geothermal activity, volcanoes in background etc. I don't think it worked out that way largely because a city well rounded enough to be considered that world class usually wouldn't be near one of the world natural wonders (Grand Canyon, etc.) places like that have a greater propensity to be one dimensional in regard to their features, as outstanding as they are.
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Old 08-19-2017, 03:17 PM
 
Location: London, United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavsfan137 View Post

Stunning pictures of Hong Kong, truly. To me from what I'm seeing in your pictures it may even top Rio (it looks like there's just so many options there when it comes to hiking, water activity, etc., the backdrop may not quite match Rio but at ground level it looks like it has more, plus as you said, the outstanding urban aesthetic of Hong Kong seems to add to it's profile naturally as well.
I would say that looking at pictures of Hong Kong will never do it any justice. It is the type of place that you need to see in person, especially off a boat in the harbor as it will expand your perceptions on the city's overall ecology and scenery.

I recommend at some point in your life that you pay Hong Kong a visit, it's well worth one IMO, and if possible try to get a window seat on your plane, that will make things even better.

Also, Hong Kong is unique in a lot of ways due to its ecology. For example, a common phenomena in Hong Kong are the Noctiluca Scintillans Algae, which float at the surface of coastal waters and illuminate bright sapphire blue colored light which makes the water transparent and glowing:

http://eyegami.co/wp-content/uploads...-Hong-Kong.jpg

http://www.dajdropsa.pl/image/post/ro9m0oei0yfkewbz.jpg

https://watchers.news/data/uploads/N...illans%20c.jpg

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/...1970527667.jpg

Spectacular, isn't it?

They are otherwise known as 'Sea Sparkle'. You can catch this phenomena at select coastal parts of Hong Kong, if you have a hard time finding it there (as there are no official tours that cover it - you have to find it on your own), then you can also find them throughout Southeast Asia; Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and in Oceania (Australia's Western Coast).

Last edited by Facts Kill Rhetoric; 08-19-2017 at 03:27 PM..
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Old 08-19-2017, 03:58 PM
 
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Thanks! I definitely have it (along with Tokyo and Beijing) at the top of my list. The Far East is sort of the "Last Frontier" for me, travel wise (there are many more places I haven't been, but that's about the only major region of the world I haven't been then (aside from Sub Saharan Africa).

Yes, that is certainly an incredible phenomena. We have it at a certain point in Florida as well upon contact I believe, but there it looks much more active and voluminous if it is literally lighting up the waves. The place just seems like it just about has it all. Plus, it's even a potential starting point for getting to literal Avatar, too (Tianzi Mountains seem to be about a 6 hr. drive from Shenzhen).
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:09 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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Vancouver.
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Old 08-20-2017, 04:14 PM
 
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Here's what I think are superlatives for all of them.

Cape Town is probably the most exotic. The fact that it is on the African continent, and it is at it's very tip (Cape of Good Hope) means that the feel there might be more "end of the earth". Especially considering that the next point down from Cape Town is Antarctica (they even do trips from there I think), and have a penguin colony.

Vancouver probably has the singular most beautiful/awe striking feature within 60 miles of it, compared to the others. The Canadian Rockies covered with snow and a turquoise alpine lake is about the most sublimely beautiful site we have on this earth, I believe there are even glaciers nearby.

Auckland probably has the most relaxed feel to it. It doesn't have predatory creatures, which some would cite as a weakness but for someone like me, that makes me feel more comfortable exploring the wild. It also likely has the most comfortable climate out of this group. I would say it rivals San Diego for best in the world. In addition, it at least seems to have the biggest sailing/boating culture of any city in the world.

Rio de Janeiro, with rainforest, jagged peaks, and multiple bodies of water immediately visible, probably has the most stunning immediate natural setting. I really would like to get back and see a high point hike there with clear skies.

Nice probably has the best collection of diverse natural landscapes around it. The fact that you can go from a tropical beach environment or rugged coastline, through rolling vineyards, into the Alps, or to the deepest canyon in Europe within a close range is completely insane.

Hong Kong seems to have the best amenities for nature lovers participating in outdoor activities immediately around it. All around it, really within walking distance from the core, or a <15 minute drive, are Polynesian-esque beaches, and dozens of forested and dry high peaks. It also probably has the best urban vista in the world, when combining skyline with scenery.
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