WORDS Rebecca Evans
A couple of decades ago, holiday snaps consisted of 24 dubious quality shots taken on a disposable camera picked up at the airport. With the results unknown until the film was developed, closed eyes and chopped off heads were part of the fun, and the idea of showing your photos to friends, let alone strangers, was bizarre.

 

Fast forward 20 years and almost everyone has a high powered camera in their back pocket, plus the explosion of Facebook & Instagram have made it the norm to share your carefully posed and edited trip, as it happens, with the world. After all if you’re not instilling #FOMO with hourly updates, are you even on holiday?

There are 40 million photos per DAY uploaded to Instagram, a great many of which are travel related. Each year the app issues a list of their top 10 most geo-tagged cities, and for the Develop issue I’ve taken a look at what makes them so photogenic and why they deserve a visit.

 

NEW YORK CITY

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the Big Apple tops the list of most ‘grammable Cities on earth. With over 60 million visitors each year, and a recognisable landmark on almost every corner, the photo opportunities are literally endless. Bustling and vibrant Times Square is the most popular place to grab a selfie, with the peaceful and green expanse of Central Park coming a close second. Whilst the metro system offers speedy transit, the best way to appreciate the many faces of New York is on foot. From the leafy streets & small businesses of bohemian Greenwich Village, to the towering skyscrapers of Midtown, chaotic & colourful China town, or vibrant street art of Brooklyn, it’s said that in a city of 200 nationalities, one can cross continents in just a few blocks. With some of the world’s best museums, galleries and restaurants scattered across this metropolis, New York should be high on everyone’s bucket list, and Insta feed.

Getting There: British Airways fly direct to New York from London Gatwick

 

 

MOSCOW The second most tagged City on Instagram is Moscow, which may be partly explained by it being the most populated of the top 5, with over 12 million people calling the city дом (that’s Home, if your Russian is rusty). Whilst the locals are obviously proud of their majestic domain, there is plenty to keep a snap-happy visitor busy too. Tourists flock to Red Square, where the whimsical fairytale spires of St Basil’s Cathedral and imposing walls of the Kremlin dominate the skyline. A popular way to admire the architecture of this fascinating city is by cruising along the Moskva river, whilst art lovers should make a beeline for one of the numerous excellent galleries. No trip to Russia would be complete without a visit to the ballet, and an evening at the Bolshoi Theatre evokes all the glamour and of over 200 years of top-tier dance performances.

Getting There: British Airways fly direct to Moscow from London Heathrow

 

LONDON 

Our own familiar old London snags 3rd place, with Tower Bridge being the most popular landmark to be snapped; followed by Big Ben. It’s hardly surprising that these iconic sites rank top, although there’s plenty to add to your Insta story off the Capital’s beaten tracks too. Seek out the life-sized dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park, stalk dark streets on a Jack The Ripper Ghost Walk, get your literary fix at the Dickens museum, or shield your eyes from the neon lights of God’s Own Junkyard. A sure fire way to inspire envy in your friends is to check-in on Facebook and, irony aside, announce your presence at a hidden restaurant or secret speak-easy, and the City is peppered with plenty of them, if you know where to look. If screen grabs of grub are your thing, head to one of the many street food markets to get snap (and snack) happy.

Getting There: British Airways & Easyjet fly to London Gatwick from Jersey, whilst Blue Islands serves London City

 

SAO PAULO 

Securing 4th place, again possibly due to the enormous population of over 10 million Paulistanos, is Sao Paulo in Brazil. This urban colossus might seem at odds with it’s more predictable peers, but look beyond the traffic and run-down suburbs and there’s plenty to delight a visiting shutterbug. Sampa, to it’s friends, has a thriving cultural scene, with art house cinemas and innovative theatres scattered throughout the city, and plenty of galleries and museums to entice. Party animals can sample any of the astounding selection of 15,000 bars and nightspots within the metropolis, and the largest Pride parade on earth takes place in the city each June. If the carousing gets too much, retreat to one of the many picturesque green spaces where fountains, lakes, and sculpture parks offer a peaceful retreat. 

Getting There:British Airways fly direct to Sao Paulo from London Heathrow.

 

PARIS 

Snapping up 5th place, the city of romance (probably) boasts the most loved up couple selfies worldwide. No prizes for guessing that the Eiffel Tower is the premier position to take a bragging shot, in fact it’s the second most Instagrammed landmark on the planet (beaten to the top spot by Disneyland California). One of the finest ways to admire Paris is by meandering the wide boulevards and pretty cobbled lanes, or enjoying a chilled Chablis at a street cafe, and watching the world go by. Peruse chic boutiques in the fashion capital, and soak in the culture of the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay. By night stroll hand in hand along the banks of the Seine, dine in cosy candlelight brasseries, or step into Parisian history with an evening at the Moulin Rouge.

Getting There: Fly through London Gatwick with Easyjet, or take the Condor Rapide and continue via road or rail.