Travel talk often centres on the sights you see abroad, but the soul of a city doesn’t stem from famous landmarks. It’s the sounds, from the squawking gulls of beachside destinations to the bustle of people in technological hubs, that help breathe life into a city.
Exploring the world through this sonic tourism can uncover a treasure trove of new destinations to add to your travel wish list, so close your eyes, open your ears and immerse yourself in the unique sounds of these ten cities.
You might just ﬁnd the perfect place for your next holiday!
New York United States
With a constant cacophony of engines, sirens and bustling locals, New York is truly the city that never sleeps. While you might think the city’s soundscape is already all too familiar, listen here and you’ll discover an unexpected harmony in the roar.
It’s easy to be dazzled by the fascinating juxtaposition of ultramodern living and traditional culture in Tokyo. The buzzing Japanese metropolis combines the two almost seamlessly and you can hear it come to life in the soundscape above.
When in Rome, you might expect to hear Italians chatting passionately outside coffee shops or the hum of a Vespa zipping past, but the Eternal City is perennially popular with travellers and here you’ll hear tourists snapping new memories with the Colosseum’s famous gladiators.
London United Kingdom
The beeping of train doors closing, the chatter of tourists and the flurry of commuters making their way into the city – the Underground underlines much of London’s energetic soundtrack. Listen to the bustling beats of this iconic city above.
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is one of the most historic covered markets in the world and was once the centre of trade for the Ottoman Empire. Years on, it’s still a hive of lively shops, with market traders bartering and bantering with visitors.
It’s known as the City of Lights, but Paris’ romantic soundscape will give its illumination a run for its money. Perhaps the French capital’s vibrant culture is best summarised with the sounds of a Metro busker serenading passers-by.
Hong Kong China
A visit to Victoria Peak is essential for anyone who wants to experience Hong Kong’s natural beauty. Rather than the sounds of people rushing to jobs and traffic jams, listen to the tranquil track of birds on the Peak and the hum of the tram that takes you to the top.
Get lost in the chaos of Bangkok’s lively streets for a true sample of this Southeast Asian gem. Listen to the clip above and you’ll hear the sounds of locals shopping at roadside stalls and busy city dwellers rushing by on motorbikes.
Vibrant Barcelona has a lot going for it. There’s the distinctive architecture, culture galore and an exciting atmosphere that pervades the city. It’s also home to a string of beaches. Hit the button above to hear the sounds of locals heading on over to spend their summer on the sand.
Seoul South Korea
An eclectic mix of tech-savvy spaces, traditional temples and verdant parks are bursting with culture in the South Korean capital. But Seoul isn’t moving to a soundtrack of K-pop beats! Press play to listen to the true soundscape of this enthralling city.