At an altitude of 11,975 feet (3,650 meters), Lhasa is higher than any other city on our list. The 17th-century Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama, hovers above the city like a giant Buddhist scroll. (See 21 gorgeous photos of China's World Heritage sites.)

Lhasa, Tibet, China

At an altitude of 11,975 feet (3,650 meters), Lhasa is higher than any other city on our list. The 17th-century Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama, hovers above the city like a giant Buddhist scroll. (See 21 gorgeous photos of China's World Heritage sites.)
Photograph by Michael Yamashita, National Geographic

9 high-altitude cities worth a visit

Elevate your travel experiences.

From Cusco’s vibrant rooftops to Bhutan’s fortified monasteries, these high-altitude cities will whisk you through steep mountain passes, medieval palaces, and colonial towns. Here are nine high-altitude cities that will elevate your travel experience. (Explore 25 of the world most iconic mountains.)

This list originally appeared in the book The World's Best Cities. This story was published in 2014 and updated in 2019.
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