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Encompassing two of the Netherlands’ three largest cities (Rotterdam and The Hague), Zuid-Holland (South Holland) is also home to important towns like Leiden, Gouda and Delft. And many lovely smaller towns dot the gorgeous green landscape. Alphen aan den Rijn has several interesting attractions, including Dutch history theme park Archeon. Picturesque Kinderdijk, birthplace of the legend of the Cat and the Cradle, also has many windmills that together are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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.
This ancient and historic city houses many buildings going back to the early Middle Ages. Until it was overtaken by Amsterdam in the Dutch Golden age, Utrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands. It was and still is the See of the Archbishop of Utrecht, the most important Catholic leader in the Netherlands. The University of Utrecht is the largest in the Netherlands. One of the unique features of the city is the wharf system in its inner canals. Before the city was fully canalized, parts of the Rhine River flowed through the city center. Most prominent of the historic buildings is the Gothic Cathedral of Saint Martin, the construction of which lasted for almost 200 year, beginning in 1254.
This city, full of colorful homes, canals and bridges, is one of Europe's most picturesque capitals. Must-sees on any visitor's itinerary include the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the world's only floating flower market. Rent a bike and join thousands of locals navigating Amsterdam's labyrinthine streets, or just take in the sights on foot. For an unusual and memorable alternative to hotels, consider staying in a houseboat.
Eindhoven is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, but you’d never know it from the high-tech industry and cutting-edge design it’s currently known for. If you have kids obsessed by all things wheeled, they will love the trucks at the DAF Museum.
Belgium's fourth-largest - and most beautiful - city is home to a quarter of a million people and a flourishing flower export trade. An important port, Ghent's city center is a pedestrian area that is like a museum to early Flemish architecture and a testament to the city's medieval might. Impressive Gothic sites, such as dramatic St. Bavo's Cathedral and the Castle of the Counts, inspire awe. The works of Flemish masters are housed in the distinguished Museum voor Schone Kunst.
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.
Romance is the lifeblood of Annecy, a town in the Rhone-Alpes region of southeast France that’s replete with castles and cathedrals and softly curving architecture. Stroll hand in hand with your paramour across Pont des Amours (the lover’s bridge) before taking in the Imperial Palace and the baroque Cathedral of Saint-Pierre. A walk down the Rue Royale will be rewarded with prime shopping, dining and people-watching, especially at the fountain of Saint Jean.
Tallinn's atmospheric Old Town is an enthralling hodgepodge of medieval streets and spires. It's a small city, and the tourist areas are safe and easily explored on foot. Buy a Tallinn Card if intending to use buses, trolleys or trams. For a look into Tallinn's past, visit Rocca-al-Mare Open Air Museum's typical rural Estonian taverns, windmills and watermills, see the onion-domed 1900 cathedral or join the bustle in historic Town Hall Square. St. Olav's spire was once the tallest in the world.
Over the centuries, many cultures have added their mark to this prized piece of land. Today, you can experience those influences firsthand by exploring Istanbul’s mahalles (neighborhoods). From the holy sites of Sultanahmet and the 19th-century European elegance of Beyoğlu to the high fashion of Nişantaşı, the vibrant café society of Kadıköy and the football-loving streets of Beşiktaş, it’s easy to see why travelers say that Istanbul isn’t just one city, but many cities within one.
Strung below craggy mountains, the Omani capital of Muscat is one of the Middle East’s oldest and most picturesque cities. Between its corniches and modern quarter are Portuguese-built forts, blue-domed mosques, royal palaces, and souks, all heavy with the sense of a lost Arabia.
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.
From the National Mall’s monuments and memorials to vibrant neighborhoods filled with character and charm, DC is a world-class destination featuring breathtaking views, award-winning hotels and hundreds of free things to do. Experience outstanding performing arts at acclaimed theaters, shop in historic Georgetown, hear great live music at legendary venues, enjoy sporting entertainment from six professional franchises and be dazzled by a flourishing dining scene with Michelin-starred restaurants.
The windy city is a cornucopia of modern art, fine dining, cutting edge comedy, and die-hard sports fans. Snap a photo of your reflection in the silver Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park before heading to Grant Park to get hit with the refreshing spray of Buckingham Fountain. There are dozens of museums and theater companies in Chicago, so a cultural experience is never hard to find. You’re sure to laugh your head off at the Second City Theater, the professional launch pad of many famous comedians.
Charming Savannah is the picture of antebellum hospitality, thanks to period architecture and oak-lined streets. It’s tempting to spend your trip just relaxing on vast verandas and sipping mint juleps, but there are plenty of historical sites and museums to explore. Haunting (and possibly haunted) Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the hallmarks of the city, featuring beautiful obelisks, masses of flowers, and ivy-covered crypts. Dine on fresh seafood and creamy grits for a taste of Savannah home cooking.
With live music to be heard all across town, 24/7, 365 days a year, Music City lives up to its name. From honky-tonk bands jamming at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge to songwriters in the round at the Bluebird Cafe and country music legends rocking the Grand Ole Opry, you never know who you might see. The creative spirit from Nashville's music landscape flows into the area's myriad art galleries, up-and-coming fashion scene, historic landmarks and chef-driven restaurants.
Atlanta has been dubbed everything from the "capital of the new South" and "the next international city" to "the best place to do business." It's also a great place to visit. Fueled by the prosperity of local mega companies like Coca Cola and Holiday Inn, the prestige of hosting the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and the energy of young upwardly mobile types who have migrated to the city in droves - Atlanta is on fire. And this time it's a good thing. From world-class restaurants and a myriad of cultural attractions to a hip nightlife and sporting events galore, the city is cosmopolitan in every sense of the word. But Atlanta has also managed to maintain its historic character. Stop by the Atlanta History Center or visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site, a moving tribute to an American icon. Browse through the former home of famous author Margaret Mitchell or pop into the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum for details on the life and times of the former president and his family. Whether you choose modern urban endeavors or old southern pleasures, Atlanta will not disappoint.