As writers, we all experience those moments where we need a spark to fuel our creative juices. Is there anything which provides travel journal inspiration quite like visiting a city thoroughly steeped in history and culture?
At Paper Republic, we've previously explored how to write a travel diary. In this article, we're going to take a look at the best places to write in the world.
12 Most Cultural Cities
We've compiled our top 12 most cultural cities to visit for travel journal inspiration. We've also included some helpful resources to set you on your way.
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Dublin, Ireland
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Paris, France
- Barcelona, Spain
- Rome, Italy
- Vienna, Austria
- London, England
- Berlin, Germany
- New York City, USA
- Toronto, Canada
- Tokyo, Japan
1. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Whether you're cycling on the well-maintained bike paths or taking a boat tour on the city's famous canal system, there are plenty of reasons to travel around Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is home to dozens of museums containing stunning artwork and historical artefacts dating back to the thirteenth century. One notable museum to keep an eye (or an ear?) out for is the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of original van Gogh paintings in the world. Amsterdam also boasts the world's only floating flower museum - founded in 1862, where visitors can now purchase fresh bouquets and vacuum-packed tulip bulbs.
Useful resources for Amsterdam
2. Dublin, Ireland
The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade takes place in Dublin each March, but that isn't all there is to do in Ireland's capital city. For the rest of the year, you could explore the history of the imposing Dublin Castle. Dublin is also home to the National Gallery and has been designated as one of only four cities in the world to receive the UNESCO City of Literature award. A trip to the Guinness Storehouse - where the drink synonymous with Ireland has been brewed since 1759 - may provide you with an additional sip of inspiration.
Useful resources for Dublin
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has emerged as an increasingly popular destination for cultural breaks in recent years, with almost six million overseas visitors annually. With over two hundred art galleries and an abundance of easily accessible museums and theatres, the Czech capital's popularity shows no sign of stopping. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague also boasts the largest ancient castle in the world, covering 18 acres. A visit to the Franz Kafka museum, which explores the relationship between the playwright and his home city, is a must for any budding writer.
Useful resources for Prague
4. Paris, France
A regular fixture on lists of popular cities to visit, Paris attracts visitors from all over the world. A boat ride along the River Seine can provide picturesque views of a number of the city's major architectural attractions, including the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Art connoisseurs will naturally gravitate towards the treasure trove of work housed at the world-famous Louvre, including the Mona Lisa. With 245 theatres and 147 museums, Paris has no shortage of cultural options.
Useful resources for Paris
5. Barcelona, Spain
Situated in Catalonia, the passion of the people of Barcelona can make for an exciting cultural getaway. The stunning architecture throughout the city is unique and varied, from ancient castles all the way to Antoni Gaudí's modernist works. The Fundació Joan Miró celebrates one of the most revered painters of the twentieth century, continuing his legacy by bringing his work to life. Barcelona also hosts the Picasso Museum, containing an extensive collection of works by the artist.
Useful resources for Barcelona
6. Rome, Italy
Dating back to the Roman Empire, Rome is often regarded as the beating heart of cultural western Europe. The city is teeming with fascinating history and glorious architecture. Whether you opt to take in the spectacular sight of St. Peter's Basillica in Vatican City or visit the ruins of the Colosseum, there will undoubtedly be a memorable experience to record in your travel journal. There are over nine hundred churches in Rome, each with their own story to tell.
Useful resources for Rome
7. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is a truly beautiful city (we're not just saying this because Paper Republic is based here!) - there are so many cultural experiences to discover in the Austrian capital. The music of Johann Strauss lives on with several concerts taking place at venues across the city, and there are various botanical gardens to explore. In addition, Vienna has a number of interesting architectural creations, ranging from classical Baroque designs to the modern, kaleidoscopic, Hundertwasserhaus.
Useful resources for Vienna
8. London, England
Almost twenty million visitors flock to London from around the world each year. If you're interested in history, a visit to one of the large, free museums is a must - the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum, the British Museum or the Natural History Museum are three good starting points. London also comprises a mix of theatres, galleries and green spaces, providing the perfect setting for travel journaling.
Useful resources for London
9. Berlin, Germany
Home to the Brandenburg Gate, this former dividing line between east and west Europe is now a thriving cultural city. Berlin contains several poignant memorials and monuments to the darker periods of twentieth century history, which will make anyone take a contemplative breath. The sprawling Tiergarten spans 520 acres across the city, and Berlin is also home to nine castles, providing the ideal inspiration for a journal entry.
Useful resources for Berlin
10. New York City, USA
New York City is often romanticised as a travel destination you must visit. With the awe-inspiring sights of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, it would be hard not to feel inspired. Although known as a financial hub and popular with shoppers, NYC is also renowned for Broadway shows, with the city as a whole containing over five hundred theatres. A run, walk, or even a relaxing sit down in Central Park is sure to spark writing inspiration.
Useful resources for New York City
11. Toronto, Canada
As Canada's largest city, Toronto has something to offer everyone. It plays host to the Toronto International Film Festival each year, which has been described as second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile stars and activity. The city also has a wealth of literary, history and art museums. For sports fans, Toronto has no less than eight professional franchises playing in the city, with Scotiabank Arena (formerly the Air Canada Centre) hosting ice hockey, basketball and lacrosse.
Useful resources for Toronto
12. Tokyo, Japan
The capital city of Japan, Tokyo receives nearly twelve million visitors each year and is home to a number of fascinating cultural attractions. Among them, visitors can scale Tokyo Tower and appreciate a panoramic view, or visit one of almost three hundred museums dotted around the city. Perhaps surprisingly, Tokyo is home to the largest number of Michelin starred restaurants in the world, with a total of 230 on the 2019 list.
Useful resources for Tokyo
What makes a city cultural?
There are a number of factors that determine whether a city can be defined as cultural. It's the right mixture of art exhibits and museums to explore, fascinating history and stunning architecture to discover, delicious food to savour and enjoy, and beautiful green spaces to unwind and relax.
Each of the cities mentioned in this article has some, or all, of those cultural ingredients in varying ratios. Their differences make them unique in their own way, and any of them would make an ideal spot for adding thoughts and observations to a travel journal.
Start planning a visit to a cultural city today
Hopefully, this article has provided you with the inspiration to plan your next city adventure and record your experiences in your own travel journal (if you need one before you depart, see our range of travel journals). A city break can be an ideal way to gather your thoughts for your next writing project, and recording your trip in your travel journal ensures you'll treasure the memories for years to come.