Why Now Is the Time to Visit Cities Again

Many of the world’s biggest—and littlest—urban centers are once again ready to welcome travelers. That’s a good thing.

As the world reopens, travelers should be patient and flexible. A bit more advance planning could be necessary.

As the world reopens, travelers should be patient and flexible. A bit more advance planning could be necessary.

Photo by Hackerbrücke: Thanos Pal/Unsplash

I recently spent an energizing few days in Munich. I took a walking tour focused on the city’s Jewish history and culture, went to the National Theater to see the ballet Coppélia, and strolled through the English Garden, a sprawling green space in the middle of town frequented by toddlers, seniors, joggers, surfers (yes, really), and at least one nudist. I traversed the city on foot and by train and didn’t use a taxi or car once.

After two years of being in places I already know well, it was invigorating to be in a city previously unknown to me. Dining at the stylish, packed restaurant Brenner, I people-watched as I ate spargel (the white asparagus lionized in Bavaria). In the Schlachthofviertel district, I sipped pilsners and ales with brewer Tilman Ludwig. There is nothing that refuels me like the energy of a bustling city.

In the current summer issue of AFAR we ask questions big and small about cities around the world. What’s next for our urban spaces? How will they retain what makes them distinctive in an era of increased homogenization? What are the travel experiences that can only happen in densely populated places? We look at how forward-thinking municipalities are investing in public spaces, hyperlocal neighborhoods, and more expansive cycling infrastructure. Writer Bonnie Tsui examines Chinatowns through a personal lens. And we unveil the 2022 AFAR Stay List, our compendium of the world’s best new sustainable hotels. Prost!

Julia Cosgrove is vice president and editor in chief of AFAR, the critically acclaimed travel media brand that makes a positive impact on the world through high-quality storytelling that inspires, enriches, and empowers travelers who care. Julia lives in Berkeley, California.
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