Top 10 Cities for Travelers to Rent an Apartment

Top 10 Cities for Travelers to Rent an Apartment

Would you prefer to live like a local next time you’re on a city break?

Big anonymous hotels cater to tourist and business travellers, sealing you off from city life. Sometimes that can be a good thing if that’s what you feel like doing, but if you want to really get to know a place and experience the true city lifestyle when you travel then the best thing to do is rent yourself an apartment.

Sure you’ll want to visit the main attractions and see the famous city landmarks but now you can also get to know your local area and live like a local. Best of all, with a whole apartment to yourself, you’ll be able to spread out, prepare your own meals and share with friends if you wish.

1. London

Even though the weather can be dodgy London’s hotter than ever thanks to the resounding success of the 2012 Olympics. Having been raised in England and lived in London several times I only really appreciated it until I left the UK and returned for visits.

London is a true multi-cultural hub, stuffed with everyone from the upper-crust to the ultra-cool, all rubbing shoulders amidst incredible architecture and ancient culture.

Every area of London has a distinct feel to it and a unique vibe. My favourite hang outs in London are Notting Hill for shopping and night life, the King’s Road for art galleries and Greenwich for its park, views and second hand shops.

2. Paris

I love Paris, and not just in the springtime. When I lived in Paris we rented an apartment in the Marais area, home to the Picasso museum and a popular gay hangout. Sandwiched in between Bastille and the Pompidou Center it was an easy walk to Sunday markets, the River Seine and even Notre Dame Cathedral.

If you rent an apartment in Paris you’ll be able to pick up fresh bread, croissants and patisserie from your local bakery and enjoy them on your apartment balcony while you watch the Parisians walking their doggies on the pavement below.

I  love that you can walk everywhere in Paris because the centre is so small. Just watch where you put your feet.

3. Sydney

Sydney’s harbour and gorgeous beaches make it a unique city to travel to. Here you can enjoy the cultural attractions, diverse food and fabulous shopping of a city along with Australia’s beach culture.

Great areas to stay include Manly or Bondi, if you want to be near the beach, Newtown, close to buzzing King street with its many restaurants and cafes, and Surry Hills for arty vibrance.

4. Seoul

I can’t believe how many travel writers have told me South Korea is their favourite travel destinations. Having never been it’s definitely on my bucket list now with Seoul top of my South Korean travel list.

I love the idea of staying in an apartment in Seoul or renting a room from locals who can really give me the  low down on where to go, what to eat and how to get around.

New social travel networks like Wimdu make that a real possibility by connecting travelers with people who want to rent out their spare room, apartment or a house. I’m already looking forward to wandering the streets of Bukchon Hanok Village, enjoying the Secret Garden of Changdeokgung and slurping a big bowl of noodles.

5. Los Angeles

Los Angeles is on everyone’s radar with so much to do including theme parks like Disneyland to keep the kids happy as well as Universal Studios and Hollywood.

Venice Beach or Santa Monica are the perfect place to stay and hang out with the locals. Rent an apartment, rent a car, (make sure it has  a GPS – you’ll need it) and go la la in La La Land.

6. New York

Has Los Angeles surpassed New York as a the USA’s prime travel destination? Maybe but I still prefer New York for its edgy people and iconic buildings. New York is perfect for walking because it’s easy to find your way round and there are endless places to people watch.

Don’t miss Central Park, a boat trip to see the Statue of Liberty and Washington Square which has arguably the best people watching opportunities in the world.

7. Singapore

Singapore is a great introduction to Asia and the best place to break a long journey from Europe to Australasia. The public transport is great as is the food, the culture and the architecture – that’s Singapore’s newest landmark, the Helix Bridge pictured up top.

With everything from Little India and Little China to an amazing zoo and the tropical resort feel of Sentosa Island, Singapore is a great place to rent an apartment and hang out for a little while.

8. Madrid

When you visit Madrid you’ll want to hang out with the locals and adjust the way you eat and sleep. Get used to having a long siesta after lunch, eating well after your usual bed time and to staying up until your normal wake up time.

The great thing about having your own apartment is you can come and go as you please or share it with friends who’ll make your travel experience even more fun.

9. Melbourne

Melbourne gets over-looked in the rush to visit Sydney but it’s the best place to experience city life in Australia. Melbourne has a distinct vibe and a unique gritty feel where you can soak up the cafe culture, ride the trams and enjoy the street art. I’m about to go on my third visit in three years and am looking forward to uncovering more of Melbournes’ secrets.

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

Did you know Melbourne has the world’s third largest tram network?

10. Rio de Janeiro

The capital of Brazil has stunning scenery, gorgeous people and world famous beaches including Copacabana and Ipanema. While the rest of Brazil will beckon you’ll want to stay a while in Rio to get a feel for the culture, meet people and see the sights including the statue of Christ the Redeemer who’ll welcome you with arms flung wide.

Whether you want to hike, surf, sail, dance, drink or just people watch Rio de Janeiro won’t disappoint.

With so many great cities to visit the big questions are where to go first and how soon can you leave on your next city break?

What are your favourite cities to travel to? Have you ever rented an apartment there?

This blog post was published on behalf of Wimdu. Check them out if you’d like to live like a local and rent an apartment next time you’re on a city getaway. There are heaps of apartments to choose from to suit travelers or all budgets in cities all over the world.

Photo credit: Your Singapore

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  1. Tanielle August 10, 2012 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Absolutely Love London ! and so glad it is No. 1 on your list. I have rented apartments for long term and short term from the East to the West of the city (both amazing in their own special ways) and think there is something for everyone, no matter what you are coming to do, what you would like to see, and how much money you have to spend. A world-class city and one you should definitely experience from the comfort of your own city pad.

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2012 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Hi Tanielle,

      I must confess it wasn’t supposed to be in order – my fault for not mentioning that. Anyway, I think London is quite deserving of the top spot. It is pretty cool. But if it was in order I’d definitely have bumped Rio de Janeiro up above Melbourne;)

  2. Bobbi Lee Hitchon August 10, 2012 at 9:25 am - Reply

    You’ve picked some of the most expensive cities to visit, which plays a big part in my renting an apartment while traveling. I think it’s a bit more affordable to rent instead of stay at a hotel in these places. Backpackers can be cheaper, but in some of these places, it’s not by much. Great write up.

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2012 at 9:46 am - Reply

      Hi Bobbi,

      That’s a good point. I didn’t intend to pick expensive places, it just happened but cities do tend to be pricier than elsewhere. I haven’t stayed in a backpackers for decades! Can’t say I miss it and when I have looked into the prices for a private double room it’s almost as much as a hotel.

      Apartment rental is definitely the way to go for value and flexibility.

  3. jenny@atasteoftravel August 10, 2012 at 10:44 am - Reply

    I’m convinced apartment living is the way to go. It also means you can stay longer in a city and really get to know it. We recently stayed in an apartment in Paris, just around the corner from the Rue Montorgueil markets and it was just as you described with daily visits to the markets – this time with a reason to buy. I’d add Barcelona to your list. I’d love a couple of weeks there, after New York!

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2012 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Hi Jenny,

      I love visiting food markets and yes, it’s so much better when you have rented an apartment and can actually buy food to cook!

      Ooooh Barcelona, it’s on my list – thank you:)

  4. Leanne (Getaway Guru) August 10, 2012 at 11:37 am - Reply


    I love living like a local wherever we travel and Paris is my favourite on this list. We’ve been a number of times and now that we travel with our kids, renting our own apartment versus staying in a hotel (where we need 2 rooms) makes so much more sense for us both space and cost wise plus we’re in a neighbourhood, shopping at markets, dropping into cafes – love it!

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      Hi Leanne,

      Loved reading about your experiences. Apartment rentals are perfect for families – space to spread out and the kids have their own room. That makes a big difference.

  5. Kerala August 10, 2012 at 11:58 am - Reply

    My family has been doing this for years! It’s great, and being able to shop for and cook all your own food not only saves money but is a great way to get out into the local community. We got a wonderful house in the heart of downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico right around the corner from the market and steps from the beach. In Roma we rented a flat literally across the street from the Colesium, and on the same trip a cozy apartment in heart of Palermo in Sicily. In Sicily there was a daily market steps from our place and by the end of our week many of the vendors recognized us. A terrific experience all around! We stayed at a great agritourismo b&b in central Sicily that was a great bargain with amazing food as well. My family also camps on vacation if you’re into that. Fun and cheap! You just have to take your gear (so go somewhere warm!)

  6. Kerala August 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    *Colloseum! Oops

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Kerala,

      Lol, it’s so annoying you can’t edit your own comments. Puerto Rico and Sicily are very high on my list of want to gos! Sounds like you found some great places to stay. My kids love camping but I’d prefer to stay in a real bed if that’s an option:)

  7. Alan August 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    You should go to Cebu in the Philippines. Way cheaper

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Alan,

      I’d love to go there too – not sure it fits the city destinations description but looks like a fabulous beach getaway:)

  8. Marianne Wallis August 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your list. My friend also told me that Seoul is a great place. She is studying there and she is currently renting an apartment near the school and other establishments. When she doesn’t have class, she never run out of things to do or places to visit.

    • Annabel Candy August 10, 2012 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Marianne,

      Great to see you here and get another vote for Seoul. I am getting more intrigued by it all the time:)

  9. Pretraveller August 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    I would love to rent an apartment in Paris. When we visited Paris we stayed in a small one star hotel (with a bakery downstairs…yum!!)around the corner from the Louvre which was nice as a couple but now we have three kids I think an apartment would be the way to go.

    I agree with both Melbourne and Sydney – having just spent a good chunk of my life living in both places I would definitely put them on the map.

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