Auckland may top Lonely Planet’s list of best cities to visit in 2022, but readers of the global entertainment bible Time Out are far less impressed with City of Sails.
Auckland came in at number 47 on Time Out’s list of “the world’s 53 best cities in 2022”, with Edinburgh, Chicago and Medellin ranking first, second and third respectively.
The list was based on a survey of some 20,000 city dwellers around the world, who were asked how things had changed in their cities as Covid-related restrictions eased, and to rate their food, nightlife and their cultural scenes as well as how easy (or not) it is to date and make friends.
The publication also tapped into its network of editors and contributors, asking for “a scoop on what’s buzzing in every city right now, what’s new and what’s generally happening.”
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Edinburgh scored highly across the board, with 96% of residents surveyed describing it as beautiful and 93% as walkable.
“We all know what Edinburgh is best known for,” wrote Arusa Qureshi, editor of Time Out Edinburgh. “But all year round, Scotland’s capital is hard to beat, with monuments, architecture and scenic hotspots that make it one of the most beautiful cities to explore on foot, as well as a food scene that offers a ever-changing selection of cutting-edge bars and restaurants, from the new Leith Restaurant and Eleanore Wine Bar to Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace in the St James area.”
Auckland scored high on ease of relaxation, with 86% of residents surveyed saying it did.
“Auckland may be New Zealand’s biggest city, but it’s still bursting with natural beauty,” wrote Time Out contributor Petrina Darrah. “It’s just as easy to climb the volcanoes or take a ferry to the islands as it is to order local wines in the bustling bars downtown.”
Tāmaki Makaurau has also done well on the diversity front, which Darrah says reflects the many cultural influences that have helped shape the city and is best explored through its “exceptional food scene.”
Last year, no New Zealand cities made the list, so Auckland seems to have gained favor with readers. But they’re not as enthusiastic about it as Lonely Planet contributors, who said you might find a better city to visit in 2022.
Lonely Planet senior marketing director Chris Zeiher said it became clear during the judging process that Auckland had been underrated.
“It came out pretty strongly that Auckland was an underrated gem that people really need to revisit carefully. And that those who go beyond CBD are truly rewarded when they do…
“It has that mix of urban, outdoors, food, wine and adventure that the modern traveler really wants, and also appeals to a diversity of travelers…It ticks a lot of boxes.”
Auckland’s favored positioning on the Lonely Planet list may have a lot to do with New Zealand being relatively free of Covid-related restrictions when it was compiled.
In the months before the Delta outbreak, the guide said Auckland had become “perhaps the most vibrant city in the world, with restaurants, galleries, theatres, concerts and major sporting events beating their full”.
Now that cities with traditionally more vibrant culinary and cultural scenes – like Edinburgh, New York and London – have found their stride, Auckland’s star turn on that scene is likely over. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be betting on either list next year. Which isn’t to say that Auckland isn’t a great city to visit or call home. It depends on what you like. If you want to live in a truly global city, open 24 hours a day, with a high concentration of restaurants and cultural and entertainment venues that push the boundaries in thrilling ways – and an efficient public transport network – then this is the place. probably not your place.
But if you’re happy to live in a city with a smaller selection of such places – but perhaps more natural attractions – the City of Sails isn’t so bad.
Like New Zealand in general, Auckland is best suited to those who like a balance between the urban and the great outdoors. And, in the case of Tāmaki Makaurau, to those with a high tolerance for sitting in traffic jams or waiting for buses and trains.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.