Because I travel a lot I often get asked questions like, “Where should I go?” These questions are usually asked by my recently divorced friends, my gay friends, my single friends, my “in-the-closet-but-I-see-you” friends – and the subtext is always, “… where we can at least fantasize about the guy at the barstool next to us.”
Not that I’m judging as, let’s be honest – nothing makes a trip more fun than being surrounded by eye candy. Whether you’re single or not, whether you act on your insta-crushes or not* it’s always more fun to be surrounded by hotness you can flirt with then say, traveling to an awesome beach that just so happens to be a honeymooning hotspot full of loved up couples bonking their nights away loudly in the over the water, Fijian hut next to yours. Now, I’m not suggesting you pull a full Stella and get your groove back by marrying some buff random stranger (because we all know how that ended. Hint: not well). But if you were in the mood to ogle and possibly make out, these 10 cities won’t let you down.
*I don’t as I’m usually working and I don’t mix business with pleasure – but I ain’t judging those who do. In fact, I’m mildly jealous.
** And yes, yes, YES, I KNOW! I’m being a horrible, shallow human being by even suggesting that anyone travel anywhere just to stare at good looking people. But every now and then, it’s fun to place the shoe on the other foot. Because, hey guys: women do it too.
*** Also note, as I am a heterosexual woman, I am writing about male eye candy. Because that’s what I’m attracted to and this is an experiential piece. So there.
And now, in reverse order, I present the list of cities containing the most eye candy:
Denver, also known as “Menver,” is a well known mecca of burly manly men who will not only fix a flat in under five minutes, but hike, bike and mountain climb their way into your heart. Now, in a moment of full disclosure – I like a hike but I’m much more of an après biker, skier and climber. No matter. These guys are the antithesis of the hipster mecca, Williamsburg and the dreaded metrosexual.
You may have realized I have thing for Vikings by now. And going with that theme: last year, Sweden announced that for the first time ever, its population is now comprised of more men than women. So, basically, there are more Alexander Skaarsgards than Elin Nordegrens. That is a stat I can get behind. Fully.
[Let’s first explain this pic, shall we? It was taken at a party at the Italian Embassy in Baghdad. The men dancing on the makeshift bar are members of the Italian Special Forces. The lady going bats–t – and perfectly expressing all of our feelings – is an American. They all flew in via BIAP].
Okay, fine. So BIAP isn’t technically a city – but it is a city within a city, considering you have to submit to over 11 security checks, which can take up to six hours to get through before you even enter the vast complex. But it’s worth it. Imagine, being surrounded by an international coterie of men in peak physical condition (think armed forces, diplomats, contractors, security guards, etc.) who haven’t seen an unveiled woman or a clavicle in months and therefore have a serious case of time goggles. During a four-hour flight delay, with no make up on, greasy hair and dirty clothes, for the first time in my entire life, I was a Bo Derek ten. [Ed note: I should add, this is only an ogle joint. Please don’t make out at BIAP. It would cause an international incident].
Read more: How to (accidentally) look like a hooker in Iraq
Yes, the rumors are true: The men in Sydney are tall, have large hands and surf. See? Sometimes a stereotype can be fun!
Read more: Swimming with Australia’s monster crocs
Yes, I would like my own Trevor Noah, please – thanks for asking! My pal Baz Dreisinger was so impressed with Cape Town and its inhabitants, she bought a condo there. Last I heard, she’s having a helluva time. No word on when she’ll be back. Can’t say I blame her.
A town that has been the backdrop for “Game of Thrones” and “Star Wars” – the only thing rivaling Dubrovnik’s architectural and historical charm is the abundance of good looking men. They’re big, they’re brawny, they have good teeth and they’re all over the place. Unfortunately, they also have a deep-rooted love for long, hemmed (and sometimes acid washed) jean shorts, also known as jorts. But if you can overlook the bad fashion, it’s worth a trip just for the drool. Despite the jorts.
Where to stay: The Hotel Excelsior. This landmarked hotel overlooking the old town was Elizabeth Taylor’s favorite spot for her trysts. It has it’s own private beach, a grotto dining room and a bar full of hotness.
Where to drink: Cafe Buza. The best damn dive bar in the world, it hangs off the walls of the old city and, if you get too hot, you cant jump straight into the Adriatic for a swim.
Read more: Dubrovnik: The great chic (and cheap) escape
Another Viking hotspot – this man is ACTUALLY ON TINDER! – but this one is full of men who not only have large hands and feet, but also believe in elves and enjoy sassy women who have spark. They also live in a country with an awesome social welfare system so many of them lead happy, healthy lives doing what they actually want to do like trekking, ice climbing or playing music – instead of toiling at a desk for the rest of their lives. A happy, hot, healthy man who is a fully functioning, self supporting adult is sexy. But the hotness doesn’t stop in the city. I was recently in Iceland to catch the Northern Lights at the Hotel Ranga, and everywhere I turned was eye candy. One night the hotel’s owner, Fridrick, took me and some friends out to a dinner at the Saga Center Museum, where 42 large Scandinavian men in sweaters serenaded us. Not kidding. Best. Night. Ever.
Best place to stay: The Canopy Hotel by Hilton. Not only is it just across the street from the Danish Embassy (more hotness alert), this newly opened hotel has happy hour/tastings from 5-7 p.m. every night. Even better, the hotel bar area is comfy yet chic, with good lighting (and we ALL know how important that is), cute bartenders and a cuter crowd. And free drinks? #SignMeUp.
Because who doesn’t want their very own Justin Trudeau? And frankly, from what I’ve seen, there’s a lot more where that came from. Hunky, nice men who will buy you a drink and actually like and respect women? Sign me up!
Every year in August, at the Chilean ski resort of Valle Nevado, a little known event takes place: your own private Olympics. Over six Olympic teams from the Northern and Southern hemisphere (Russia, Ukraine, USA, Brazil, Argentina, etc) come to this ski resort in Chile every year to practice in the “summer.” And, unlike Park City, you can’t leave. To get here you have to drive up a perilous 62 bends in the mountain and nobody leaves once they arrive. There are only three hotels, four restaurants, one nightclub as well as a communal pool sized hot tub, dubbed the manstew – as every evening at around 4 p.m.., it fills with said Olympians and snowbirds from the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Chile … most of which are men. Very, very good looking men. Please see above. And ladies, you haven’t lived until you’ve led a conga line with the Ukrainian Olympic team. Trust.
Who knew that vee-shaped torsos, chiseled cheeks and a six-foot, three-inch, Thor-like stature could ever become redundant … much less within a day? Welcome to Oslo in the summer ladies (and gay men)! I went there last May courtesy of Jarslberg cheese, and it reminded me a bit of the first time I went on an African safari. The initial experience of witnessing a herd of wild zebra in person from the back of an open air Jeep is just magical. It’s exciting. It’s an outer body experience. And by the third day all you can think is, “Yeah, yeah – ZEBRAS! I GET IT! WHERE’S THE DAMN LIONS?” In Oslo, hot men are the zebras. Except I’m not sure I’d ever get sick of looking at them. So maybe they’re the pride of lions you have always been looking for but never saw except from the distance of the internet.
I mean, even the police are hot. I wouldn’t mind getting a pat down from these guys. As long as the cameras were rolling so I could prove it happened.
Best place to ogle: Solsiden Restaurant. Located below the Akershuss Fortress and right on the Oslo Fjord, the seafood is excellent and the customers are gorgeous. Seriously. My friend Helen kept repeating in a dazed monotone, “What. Is. Going. On?!” for at least the first fifteen minutes after we arrived. I had to tape her mouth shut until dinner arrived.
Now, go and have (safe) fun, y’all!
Paula Froelich is a travel writer documenting her experiences and tips at A Broad Abroad.
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