The internet has brought us all closer together – we can trade online and chat using Skype. But what if we want to live somewhere that’s physically connected to the rest of the world, whether to start a new business or to travel to see clients?
The benefits of living in a connected city are still prolific despite the prevalence of the internet. You may be looking to live somewhere with great roads or frequent flights. Perhaps you’re after a train line to transport goods along, or simply so family members can come and visit you easily. So what are the world’s most connected cities? And are the results really that surprising?
With five international airports within an hours drive, London ranks as one of the most connected cities in the world. With Gatwick, Heathrow, and City serviced by the world’s major carriers, London also has a train line to the world’s second most connected city: Paris. Heathrow Terminal 5 is home to British Airways, the UK’s flagship airline and Stansted is home to Ryanair, the world’s fifth busiest airline.
Most country’s carriers fly to London, and if London isn’t your final destination, then it’s also the epicentre of the UK’s motorways, with the M1 and M4 (the routes North and West) terminating in London. If being on a waterway is what you’re after then you’ve got the Thames, and the world’s busiest shipping route (the English Channel) just two hours drive away.
Paris Charles de Gaulle airport is one of Europe’s busiest airports, and the world’s 6th busiest – home to KLM-Air France. Paris Orly is also close by, the city’s budget hub, which sees over 40 million passengers pass through annually. It’s a great jumping point for flights south (Sao Paulo is just 12 hours away) and east (you can reach Hong Kong in 11 hours 40 minutes).
New York is reachable in just 8 hours, and London is a quick 45 minute flight. Paris’ stations promise escape to the rest of Europe. From Paris you can reach Moscow, Istanbul, London, and Rome by rail – perfect either for holidays or for a comfortable commute. As well as being physically connected, Paris has one of the largest free public WiFi systems in the world, with over 200 free public hotspots.
Described as the “gateway to the east”, Singapore is the bridge between Australia, the near East, and Europe. There are direct flights from Singapore to London (13 hours) and Frankfurt (12hrs 50): with one stop you can be in LA in 16 hours.
It’s also one of Air Asia’s hub airports, and, thanks to the fact it’s an island nation, has some of the best shipping links throughout the Straits of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia. There’s also a causeway to the Malaysian Peninsula, which means you can be in Kuala Lumpur in just a three hours and 45 minute drive.
This island nation to the south of China is now part of the world’s largest economies: China. It’s a great city with amazing restaurants, hiking, and beaches, but if you ever feel the need to leave, it’s not hard to do so.
Like Singapore, Hong Kong is connected to the mainland with numerous ferries, roads, and bridges. It takes just under two hours to travel by public transport from Hong Kong to Shenzen (China proper) – home to some of the world’s biggest malls. Plus, the international airport is one of the world’s busiest, with many travellers stopping here between Australasia and Western Europe.
If you fancy a dusty, desert road trip, then you can comfortably drive from Dubai to Muscat, Doha, Al Ain, or Abu Dhabi in under 10 hours. But you move to Dubai to be connected by plane, as it’s one of the world’s busiest airline hubs. Home to Emirates (and a one hour drive to Abu Dhabi – home to Etihad), Dubai straddles east and west.
There are 15 flights a day to London on leading carriers like Qantas and Emirates in under eight hours, or you can be in Hong Kong or Beijing in just seven hours. No trains, but sitting quite literally in the centre of the world’s largest landmass should more than make up for that.
This feature is written by Eleanor Ross and originally appeared in Virgin.com.