Ever wondered what it’s actually like to see the Earth from outer space? Anousheh Ansari, one of the world’s first space tourists says: “The actual experience exceeds all expectations and is something that’s hard to put to words … It sort of reduces things to a size that you think everything is manageable … All these things that may seem big and impossible … We can do this. Peace on Earth — No problem. It gives people that type of energy … that type of power, and I have experienced that.” Space tourists like her, and of course astronauts, who spend months on the International Space Station, have the best seats in the house when it comes to Earth-watching. Every city is laid bare to their eye – and camera. While this world view is accessible only to a privileged few, even the pictures they – and orbiting ISRO/NASA/ESA satellites beam back – are enough to inspire awe. Here are some of the most iconic cities in the world when viewed from space.

Mumbai, India

05 cities from space mumbai

Mumbai’s urban sprawl, and artificially curved bay, make it immediately recognisable from space.

Dubai, UAE

10 cities from space dubai The artificial islands to the bottom-right of the image are one of the few man-made structures that are so easy to spot from space.

Tokyo, Japan

03 cities from space tokyo

The green hue is typical of the mercury vapor lighting used in the night lights of most Japanese cities.

Jaipur, India

12 cities from space jaipur

The stunning contrast between the red hills around Jaipur and the calming blue of the city itself catch the eye immediately.

Paris, France

09 cities from space paris

The urban planning is evident in this city – it’s most dense at the centre and then sprawls outwards into suburbs.

Chicago, USA

01 cities from space chicago

You want grids? We got grids. The windy city showcases the ‘blocks’ system of urban planning that’s so typical to the US.

Srinagar, India

13 cities from space srinagar

Dal Lake dominates the topography of the capital city of India’s ‘Heaven on Earth’

Rome, Italy

07 cities from space rome

Rome’s massive, sprawling size is indicative that it was once the capital of a massive Roman Empire.

Istanbul, Turkey

06 cities from space Istanbul

Istanbul is a very interesting city – the Bosphorus Strait divides the city into two parts, one side lies in Europe, while the other is technically in Asia.

Goa, India

14 cities from space goa

Can you trace your favourite beaches on this stunning aerial view of Goa? Bonus points if you can point out the airport.

Kuwait City, UAE

11 cities from space kuwait

Being a relatively newly-developed city, Kuwait City is a result the best parts of cities around the world.

Barcelona, Spain

08 cities from space barcelona

The unique housing structures and orderly layout define this beautiful port city in the Basque region of Spain. Can the football fans spot Camp Nou, the football stadium of FC Barcelona?

Like this article? Also read: Why You Should Visit India’s Biosphere Reserves On Your Next Holiday Images Courtesy: NASA, ISRO, ESA