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What could be more romantic and inspiring than a place that looks like a backdrop for a fairy tale? The medieval overtones of Bruges’ cobblestone streets lead to countless historical, architectural and artistic wonders. Marvel at ornate houses lining intricate canals, and understand why this is a favorite destination for all types of travelers. The whole city emanates an appreciation of the past, a love of the present, and enthusiasm for the future. Don’t miss Hof Bladelin, Groeninge Museum, Church of Our Lady, and Belfry and Market Halls.
Unassuming Brussels is the capital of Belgium, Flanders and Europe. Medieval Grand-Place, is indeed grand, with many 17th-century buildings and daily flower markets. Reopened in 2006, the Atomium, Brussels' Eiffel Tower, provides great views, inside and out. Architecture fans should visit Musee Horta, home of Belgian master architect Victor Horta. St. Gery's clubs and bars are packed year-round. Seafood eateries abound in Ste. Catherine. Walk, rather than get snarled up in traffic, in the narrow streets.
Lively Antwerp is a hidden gem. Its medieval streets, Renaissance monuments and vibrant nightlife tend to be overshadowed by its reputation as center of the diamond trade and as the world's fifth-largest port. Biking is a popular choice for getting around this stylish Flemish city. See thousands of Old Masters at the Royal Museum and Rubens House. Experience the bustle of life at the Grote Markt. Marvel at the art and architecture of the still unfinished Cathedral of Our Lady, started in 1351.
Lille is an architectural feast with strong Flemish influences from the Grand Place to the basilica of Notre Dame de la Treille to the quiet streets of row houses and gardens. For art buffs, Lille is home to the Musee d'Art Moderne and the Palais des Beaux Arts. Children will enjoy the Parc de Zoologique. Savvy travelers know that Lille has a fine public transit system, making this historical hotspot a pleasure to visit.
The old Burgundian university town of Leuven offers a range of adventures for overnight visitors or day-trippers from Bruges and Brussels. Tourists will find everything from gastronomic tours to architectural gems like the Gothic Town Hall. Nature lovers won’t be disappointed. The Kruidtuin Botanical Garden’s herbal gardens are the oldest in Belgium, and Heverleebos, a “city wood,” offers a respite for urban dwellers. The exploring is easy in Leuven, on foot or on one of the ubiquitous bikes.
Take the train from Brussels and in less than an hour you'll arrive in Namur, the capital of Wallonia overflowing with charm and intimate little streets made for walking, shopping and people watching. Around every corner are quaint tea rooms, antique storefronts, jewelry stores, and boutique shop, but don’t let the size fool you, Namur is also a fashion city with classic and trendy deals. Namur must-sees include Namur Citadel, Felicien Rops Museum, Museum of Ancient Namur Arts, Chateau d'Annevoie, and the Museum of Groesbeeck de Croix.
Holland's most modern city began as a fishing village in the 13th century. It was developing into an industrial and trading power when German bombers destroyed the city center and harbor in 1940. However, Rotterdam's unique architecture now brings many visitors to bike around this urbane, cosmopolitan city. Old Dutch-style houses can still be found in historic Delfshaven, from where the pilgrims set sail in 1620. Cultural offerings from summer's carnival to classical music give Amsterdam competition.
Vermeer’s birthplace and a true gem, Delft sits between The Hague and Rotterdam in the country’s southwest. The city’s name comes from the Dutch word for digging, fitting since canals are a highlight here. Others include the 13th-century Old Church, the 15th-century New Church and the Prinsenhof, once home to William of Orange and now a museum. Delft has long been a center for fine ceramics, and traditional hand painting methods can still be witnessed at Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles.
The Hague is a study in contrasts — a captivating blend of new styles and old masters in a historic city synonymous with peace and justice. With easy access to both city and beach, The Hague offers everything from royal palaces and timeless Dutch fishing harbors to endless opportunities to stroll the streets alongside the 'Hagenaars' and 'Hagenezen' as you explore exotic cuisine and unforgettable shopping experiences.
Lingering over pain au chocolat in a sidewalk café, relaxing after a day of strolling along the Seine and marveling at icons like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe… the perfect Paris experience combines leisure and liveliness with enough time to savor both an exquisite meal and exhibits at the Louvre. Awaken your spirit at Notre Dame, bargain hunt at the Marché aux Puces de Montreuil or for goodies at the Marché Biologique Raspail, then cap it all off with a risqué show at the Moulin Rouge.
From Shoreditch’s swaggering style to Camden’s punky vibe and chic Portobello Road, London is many worlds in one. The city’s energy means that no two days are the same. Explore royal or historic sites, tick off landmarks from your bucket list, eat and drink in exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants, enjoy a pint in a traditional pub, or get lost down winding cobbled streets and see what you stumble across – when it comes to London, the possibilities are endless.
Barcelona feels a bit surreal – appropriate, since Salvador Dali spent time here and Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí designed several of the city’s buildings. Stepping into Gaudí’s Church of the Sacred Family is a bit like falling through the looking glass - a journey that you can continue with a visit to Park Güell. Sip sangria at a sidewalk café in Las Ramblas while watching flamboyant street performers, then create your own moveable feast by floating from tapas bar to tapas bar.
Rome wasn't built in a day--and you'll need much more than a day to take in this timeless city. The city is a real-life collage of piazzas, open-air markets, and astonishing historic sites. Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, contemplate the Colosseum and the Pantheon, and sample a perfect espresso or gelato before spending an afternoon shopping at the Campo de’Fiori or Via Veneto. Enjoy some of the most memorable meals of your life here, too, from fresh pasta to succulent fried artichokes or a tender oxtail stew.
Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment. Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah.
Walk the Freedom Trail the first time you visit Boston and you'll quickly get a sense of this coastal city's revolutionary spirit and history. But make sure you also explore some of Boston's fine museums (try the Isabella Stewart Gardner, featuring masterpieces displayed in their collector's mansion) and old neighborhoods (like the North End, Boston's Little Italy). You can't claim to have experienced real Boston culture, though, until you've watched a Red Sox game from the bleachers.
Conquering New York in one visit is impossible. Instead, hit the must-sees – the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art – and then explore off the beaten path with visits to The Cloisters or one of the city’s libraries. Indulge in the bohemian shops of the West Village or the fine dining of the Upper West Side. The bustling marketplace inside of Grand Central Station gives you a literal taste of the best the city has to offer.
Packed with historic landmarks, bustling eateries, and manicured parks, the vibrant city of Lahore exudes culture at every corner. From soaring minarets and colorful facades to street-level stalls selling flavorful Punjabi favorites, the increasingly cosmopolitan city radiates with energy.
Known as the safari capital of Africa, Nairobi is an energetic, modern city that serves as a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife. Music clubs pulse with life, shops and markets bustle, and a mélange of restaurants will tempt your palate in this former Maasai watering hole. Top sights include the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and the black rhinos of Nairobi National Park. The compact city center is safe to walk in and taxis make other areas accessible.