The smelliest cities in the world

These stinky cities smell worse than your college frat house after a ten-keg rager, but if you can get past the odor (or arrive completely congested), there are plenty of rad things to see and do, beyond the off-putting olfactory ambience. Hold your breath, friends!

sulphur lake
Eli Duke

5. Rotorua, New Zealand
This geyser-filled city might just be the only thing that stinks in this beautiful country. Nicknamed “Sulphur City”, Rotorua was built on top of a geothermal hot spot, and there are numerous geysers, vents, and hot pools. If you can get past the rotten egg smell, jump in one of the natural hot pools for a soak.
Make the best of it: While you’re there, try zorbing -- an adrenaline activity that’ll see you launched down a hill in a giant hamster ball.

big stinky fruit
David Sim

4. Bangkok, Thailand
Remember that horrible dirty sock odor that emanated from your full garbage can after a week out of town in August? Yeah, that was nothing compared to the smell of durian -- a stinky fruit much beloved in Bangers. You’ll get a whiff on the trains, buses, and around the markets, and it’s totally overpowering.
Make the best of it: Bangkok is an awesome city, and there’re plenty of places to escape the stank. Don’t miss Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), the Grand Palace, and Wat Pho, home of the Reclining Buddha.

Downtown Los Angeles smog sign

3. Los Angeles, California
Even you admit you stink, bro! Between smog fumes, seaweed, hobos, and wafts from garbage heaps, we suggest you keep your nose firmly pinched in the height of summer.
Make the best of it: Get outside the city itself and enjoy a sniff of nature. Hit the surf at any of LA’s numerous beaches or check out the Arboretum, a 127-acre botanical garden.

garbage boat

2. Venice, Italy
It’s stinking as it’s sinking. Though Venice is undeniably beautiful, the canals are still used largely to route the city’s sewage. That, combined with the diesel of all those motorboats, can lead to a pretty foul smell. Especially during the summer when everything is hot, humid, and um, fragrant.
Make the best of it: Hey, you’re in Venice. Hold your breath for a few minutes, sip that Bellini, and just take it all in.

Stinky rooftops

1. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh’s breweries and distilleries have been causing such a stink, the city finally mandated in 2009 that the North British Distillery install an “odor-control tower” to help mitigate the smell of malt and yeast. Though the measures have helped, you will still detect the city’s smell when the wind blows just right.
Make the best of it: Since you’re near a distillery already, might as well try some local whisky! A few sips, and you’ll forget all about the scent in the air. Not a drinker? Well, then, go climb a volcano.