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06 August 2013

The World's Least Friendly Cities (Photo Essay)


A Condé Nast poll has uncovered what it claims to be the world's least friendly cities, and five US destinations have made the top ten.

The world's least friendly cities

10. Tangier, Morocco
At number 10 was Tangier. Described by Samuel Pepys as "no better than a brothel" and known as a den of excess until relatively recently, it has now improved. "It is an enjoyable antidote to chilly northern winters, the sights are worth seeing, the food is excellent and the shopping possibilities are endless," said Anthony Jeffries in 2008.

The world's least friendly cities

9. Atlantic City, US
The Las Vegas of the East Coast received a better write-up from Sonia Juttla, writing for The Telegraph's Stella magazine, than it did from Condé Nast readers. She recommended securing digs at The Chelsea ("where young, hip New Yorkers stay"), dinner at Wolfgang's Puck's restaurant at the Borgata casino, and drinks in the "chintzy but fabulous" Irish Pub.

The world's least friendly cities

8. Detroit, US
Crime is a problem here - in 2012 the city was named the second most dangerous in the US, in terms of law breaking, ahead of Oakland, California, and behind only Flint, Michigan. Its airport was named America's most depressing back in 2007.

The world's least friendly cities

7. New Haven, US

"It was 1978, the start of the cheaper-flight boom, and my first wife and I decided to do an exchange trip with a teacher in Newhaven, Connecticut, as we couldn’t afford a hotel. I’d been married for about six years and the fatal mistake I made was to take my mother. It soon became apparent that my wife and my mother couldn’t stand the sight of each other and it turned into three weeks from hell.

Also on that trip, I got out of my depth in a muddy stream. I sank under the water and couldn’t pull myself up to the surface. I must have been submerged for about a minute, and just as my lungs were about to burst I managed to break the surface. I was absolutely terrified and remember thinking, 'What an idiot. I’m going to die in a stream.' It put me off swimming for a while."

The world's least friendly cities

6. Lome, Togo

"I went to the fetish market and bought a voodoo charm," he wrote. "The transaction was completed in a small dark shed, accompanied by a convoluted, bell-ringing, cash-extracting ritual performed by a 'doctor' with a coconut shell. At the end of it I was the owner of a primitive little clay head with a fetching lock of blonde cow hair sprouting from its scalp. It represents the spirit Legba, and is supposed to protect a house against 'the thiefman', but only if it is supplied with one cigarette a year or a drop or two of alcohol.

"The fetish market is not there for souvenir collectors. It is a gruesome pharmacy for traditional medicine. The whole open-air compound is a scrapyard of animal parts, permeated by the faint smell of dead wildlife."

Destinations where you can't drink

5. Kuwait City, Kuwait
Kuwait City was named the fifth least friendly city. The lack of booze may have something to do with it. Alcohol is only available at certain foreign embassies, and is not for general purchase.

The world's least friendly cities

4. Luanda, Angola
The Angolan capital is often named the most expensive city in the world. A 27-year civil war destroyed much of its basic infrastructure, meaning that up to 90 per cent of its food is imported, along with cars and other manufactured goods. That means visitors must pay up to £12 for a fast food meal, £2.46 for a litre of milk, £7.99 for a trip to the cinema and £4.99 for 100g of spaghetti.  The most basic of hotels can cost around £250 a night and a 20-minute taxi journey can come in at £30. 

The Foreign Office adds: "There is a high level of crime in Luanda. Don’t walk around the city after dark."

The world's least friendly cities

3. Oakland, US

The Californian city of Oakland was judged by readers to be dirty and unfriendly, while some suggested parts of it were unsafe.

The world's least friendly cities

2. Islamabad, Pakistan
The Pakistani city of Islamabad was deemed even more unwelcoming. The purpose built capital is one of the most urbanised places in the country, lending it modernity, but, it would seem, very little charm.

 The world's least friendly cities

1. Newark, US

The least welcoming city on earth, apparently. Readers suggested they would only go there to use the airport, even though - in 2007 - that was voted among the five most depressing in the US. A quick search of our archives would suggest that Telegraph Travel has not once written about the city as a tourist destination, but has written frequently about delays and cancellations at said airport.

Cory!  Cory!  Cory!

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