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Europe and Asia meet in Istanbul, where breathtaking ancient architecture... more
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Istanbul
Europe and Asia meet in Istanbul, where breathtaking ancient architecture coexists with modern restaurants and nightlife. The city's mosques, bazaars, and hammams (Turkish baths) could keep you happily occupied for your entire trip. Start with the awe-inspiring Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque), visible from many points of the city. Stroll the Galata Bridge and stop by the Miniaturk Park to see its tiny artifacts. The Grand Bazaar has thousands of shops to browse, while the Egyptian Bazaar is a fragrant trove of spices and fruits.
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It’s nicknamed the Eternal City for a reason. In Rome, you can drink from a... more
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Rome
It’s nicknamed the Eternal City for a reason. In Rome, you can drink from a street fountain fed by an ancient aqueduct. Or see the same profile on a statue in the Capitoline Museum and the guy making your cappuccino. (Which, of course, you know never to order after 11 am.) Rome is also a city of contrasts—what other place on earth could be home to both the Vatican and La Dolce Vita?
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There's so much to see and do in London, it's easy to be overwhelmed. Major... more
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London
There's so much to see and do in London, it's easy to be overwhelmed. Major sights like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace are on most visitors' itineraries, but no matter what your interests, you'll probably find something here. Art lovers should make a beeline for the National Gallery and the Tate Modern. If military history's your thing, don't miss the Cabinet War Rooms. Finally, forget everything you've heard about bland, mushy British food—the restaurant scene here is fabulous.
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It is Beijing's fascinating past that makes it such a captivating place to... more
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Beijing
It is Beijing's fascinating past that makes it such a captivating place to visit. Explore by metro, by taxi or, in areas such as the twisting Back Lakes, on foot. Sites such as the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, nearby chunks of the Great Wall at Badaling and Mutianyu, and the inspiringly named Hall of Preserving Harmony or Temple of Heaven provide glimpses into this great civilisation's staggering historical wealth. For more recent history, don't miss Chairman Mao Memorial Hall or Tiananmen Square.
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We hear the question, "What’s the next Prague?" a lot. But while we’re all for... more
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Prague
We hear the question, "What’s the next Prague?" a lot. But while we’re all for discovering great new destinations, we hardly think Prague is over. Sure, everyone’s heard of it, but it’s still a grand city with extraordinary historic and cultural sights, and it’s definitely worth a visit. The often-rebuilt Prague Castle has overlooked the city since the 9th century, and the synagogues and cemetery of the Jewish Quarter are must-sees. Nightlife here is diverse and plentiful, from trendy clubs to sophisticated wine bars to late-night cellar bars.
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Snake charmers sit outside refined palaces, riotous marketplaces sell all kinds... more
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Marrakech
Snake charmers sit outside refined palaces, riotous marketplaces sell all kinds of wares, and the mysterious Medina (old town) contains nearly two miles of secret passages. Mopeds, mules and Mercedes dart around, yet time seems to have slowed. The Atlas Mountains make a thrilling day trip, while city sights include tombs, souks, palaces, mosques and baths. Marrakech has a sunny, Mediterranean climate. Spring and autumn are the ideal times to visit, with pleasant temperatures and little rain.
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Everyone who visits Paris for the first time probably has the same punchlist of... more
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Paris
Everyone who visits Paris for the first time probably has the same punchlist of major attractions to hit: The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, etc. Just make sure you leave some time to wander the city’s grand boulevards and eat in as many cafes, bistros and brasseries as possible. And don’t forget the shopping—whether your tastes run to Louis Vuitton or Les Puces (the flea market), you can find it here.
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The charming Vietnamese capital has aged well, preserving the Old Quarter,... more
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Hanoi
The charming Vietnamese capital has aged well, preserving the Old Quarter, monuments and colonial architecture, while making room for modern developments alongside. Hanoi may have shrugged off several former names, including Thang Long, or "ascending dragon", but it hasn't forgotten its past, as sites such as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison attest. Lakes, parks, shady boulevards and more than 600 temples and pagodas add to the appeal of this city, which is easily explored by taxi.
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Siem Reap is a fast-growing city with plenty of new hotels, restaurants and... more
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Siem Reap
Siem Reap is a fast-growing city with plenty of new hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. But chances are, you’re here not because of the city itself, but for what’s nearby: amazingly well-preserved ancient temples. Even if you have the worst jet lag ever, drag yourself out of bed to be at Angkor archaeological Park when it opens—sunrise over Angkor Wat is worth losing sleep over.
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Shanghai is the cool, confident face of modern China, and its energy is... more
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Shanghai
Shanghai is the cool, confident face of modern China, and its energy is infectious. Go to the Bund to watch ships on the river and marvel at the huge variety of architectural styles on display, or watch the crowds go by in People’s Square. Shoppers should make a beeline for the Fabric Market, where you can have a suit or dress tailor-made for you at bargain prices. At night, explore all manner of fashionable restaurants, bars and nightclubs or just stroll through the city enjoying the spectacular neon lights.
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In progressive Berlin, the old buildings of Mitte gracefully coexist with the... more
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Berlin
In progressive Berlin, the old buildings of Mitte gracefully coexist with the modern Reichstag. Don't miss top historic sights like the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz. The city's great zoo makes for a fun break from touring the staider attractions.
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You know New York City from film, TV and song. But visit it in person—for a... more
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New York City
You know New York City from film, TV and song. But visit it in person—for a weekend or a month—and you'll find a restless, energetic city with culture, sports, history, restaurants and shopping in abundance. Once you've visited well-loved landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you can step off the beaten path in thousands of directions: the medieval Cloisters museum in upper Manhattan, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, a tour of pizzerias in Brooklyn... just to name a few.
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Everyone’s heard the Doors of Paradise, the Duomo, and Michelangelo’s David are... more
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Florence
Everyone’s heard the Doors of Paradise, the Duomo, and Michelangelo’s David are captivating, but in Florence, beauty can sneak up on a traveller unexpectedly. You’ll duck into a random church to escape the heat only to spend two hours staring at an impossibly pure blue in a fresco. Or you’ll consider writing a sonnet about pear gelato. It’s just that kind of place. Don't miss the sunset over the Arno and the famous wines of the Chianti region just south of town.
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The birthplace of the tango is, like the dance itself, captivating, seductive... more
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Buenos Aires
The birthplace of the tango is, like the dance itself, captivating, seductive and bustling with excited energy. Atmospheric old neighbourhoods are rife with romantic restaurants and thumping nightlife, and Buenos Aires' European heritage is evident in its architecture, boulevards and parks. Cafe Tortoni, the city's oldest bar, will transport you back to 1858, and the spectacular Teatro Colon impresses just as it did in 1908. Latin America's shopping capital offers the promise of premium retail therapy along its grand, wide boulevards.
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Stroll Las Ramblas and enjoy Barcelona's unique blend of Catalan culture,... more
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Barcelona
Stroll Las Ramblas and enjoy Barcelona's unique blend of Catalan culture, distinctive architecture, lively nightlife and trendy, stylish hotels. You'll find Europe's best-preserved Gothic Quarter here, as well as amazing architectural works by Gaudi. La Sagrada Familia, considered Gaudi's masterpiece, is still under construction (your entrance fee helps to fund the project). Feel like a picnic? Look no further than the rambunctious La Boqueria market, where you can stock up on local delicacies.
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Home to cultural figures like Gogol, Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky, St Petersburg... more
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St. Petersburg
Home to cultural figures like Gogol, Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky, St Petersburg has seen historic events including the end of the monarchy, the Bolshevik uprising and 1917 Revolution. With hundreds of museums and theatres, St Petersburg is Russia's cultural heart and features such architectural gems as the Winter Palace, the Kazan Cathedral and the Peter and Paul Fortress. For entertainment, head to Nevskiy Prospect, the city's main avenue. This bridge- filled city spills across 44 islands on the Neva River.
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There is often a perception that Dubai is a playground only of the rich and...

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Dubai

There is often a perception that Dubai is a playground only of the rich and famous. This can mean that holidaymakers telling friends of a pending visit to Dubai can be suspected of a secret lottery win. The reality is, however, that the Dubai government are doing all within their power to encourage international tourism and the emirate is opening up to people of all social status.

One of the main reasons why international visitors come to Dubai is for its shopping facilities. There are more than seventy shopping malls in Dubai, as well as countless numbers of more traditional retail outlets. A lot of traders still negotiate on prices for items, so it is not always a good idea to pay the first price suggested. Shoppers and sightseers alike should not miss visiting the Ibn Battuta Mall. Named after a legendary traveller, the mall is separated in to geographically themed wings. As well as retail outlets, it also contains a wide variety of entertainment facilities and food and drink establishments.

History and culture in Dubai

Although much of Dubai is of ultra-modern construction and design, the emirate still retains a wealth of sites with Old World appeal. There is no better place to start your historic exploration of Dubai than at the Dubai Museum, a former fort, constructed in the eighteenth century. The museum contains artefacts relating to traditional Arabian life down through the centuries, from weapons to musical instruments. Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum House was the palace of a former ruler of the area and is now a museum, affording full insight in to the privileged lifestyle of the period. Jumeirah Mosque is Dubai’s largest and although tours are available on certain days, the magnificent architecture of the mosque is best appreciated when the floodlights come on after dark.

Relaxing in Dubai

It is imperative to remember at all times that only certain restaurants and bars in Dubai are allowed to sell alcohol but this should not detract from the entertainment value on offer. The Moroccan themed Kasbar is one bar to make a point of visiting due to its highly unusual terraced construction, while Carter’s in Wafi City in the heart of Dubai is one of the better combined bars and restaurants, very popular with the nightlife crowd later in the evening. The climate of Dubai is very much suited to sun worshippers, though dress code is required to be observed on many public beaches. This is another benefit of private holiday rental in Dubai, permitting discretion and full enjoyment of the climate. If you have children in your party, the Wild Wadi Waterpark is something which should not be missed, where the wonderful variety of rides and activities for all ages are based on the adventures of the legendary Sinbad.

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With attractions and activities galore, Chicago is everyone's kind of town. See... more
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Chicago
With attractions and activities galore, Chicago is everyone's kind of town. See all the famous sights, then go to a show in the theatre district or a Cubs game at historic Wrigley Field, followed by a late-night visit to a blues club or jazz bar. Culture hounds will delight in the multitude of museums, including the prestigious Art Institute and the Chicago Historical Society. Families will find plenty to do at Navy Pier and plenty to explore at the Field Museum and the Lincoln Park Zoo. You could spend all day strolling through Hyde Park or shopping along the Magnificent Mile. Discover vibrant ethnic neighbourhoods, architectural landmarks, delicious food and world-class hotels. From the top of the Sears Tower to the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago offers so much to do, visitors keep coming back for more.
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Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Amazing sites,... more
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Cape Town Central
Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Amazing sites, from Robben Island, Nelson Mandela's former prison, to tourist-brochure views at Blaauwberg Beach and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, are within easy driving distance of "The Mother City". Sun worshippers, surfers and divers flock to nearby white sand beaches and azure waters under Table Mountain. The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve provides sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and wildlife encounters.
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Bangkok is full of exquisitely decorated Buddhist temples—as you go from one to... more
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Bangkok
Bangkok is full of exquisitely decorated Buddhist temples—as you go from one to the next you’ll be continually blown away by the craftsmanship and elabourate details. But if you’d rather seek enlightenment in a gourmet meal, or dance the night away, you’ll also enjoy Bangkok—the restaurant and nightclub scenes here are among the best in the world.
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Over 15 million gallons of water bubble daily into Budapest's 118 springs and... more
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Budapest
Over 15 million gallons of water bubble daily into Budapest's 118 springs and boreholes. The city of spas offers an astounding array of baths, from the sparkling Gellert Baths to the vast 1913 neo-baroque Szechenyi Spa to Rudas Spa, a dramatic 16th-century Turkish pool with original Ottoman architecture. The "Queen of the Danube" is also steeped in history, culture and natural beauty. Get your camera ready for the Roman ruins of the Aquincum Museum, Heroes' Square and Statue Park, and the 300-foot dome of St. Stephen's Basilica.
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City slickers, culture vultures and beach bums alike fall in love with Sydney.... more
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Sydney
City slickers, culture vultures and beach bums alike fall in love with Sydney. Hang ten at famed Bondi Beach or stroll the calmer sands of Coogee.  Cash burning a hole in your pocket? You’ll find great shopping in the Rocks district and along George and Pitt Streets. Climb to the top of the Harbour Bridge or take a skywalk on Sydney Tower for a 360-degree view of the city. But whatever you do, don’t leave town without cuddling the koalas in the Taronga Park Zoo—they’re ridiculously adorable.
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Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has become an increasingly popular place...

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Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has become an increasingly popular place to visit in recent years, with a warm Mediterranean climate in spite of its place facing the Atlantic Ocean. Full of bleached white limestone buildings and intimate alleyways, Lisbon's mix of traditional architecture and contemporary culture makes it the perfect place for a family holiday.

Things to do in Lisbon

As Portugal's capital, there is a lot to see and do in Lisbon. Even exploring the city centre will take a few days out of a family holiday as there is no real central district, although Praça do Comércio is a good central place to start, in Baxia, or Rossio, the city's main square which has a sort of Trafalgar Square feel to it. Or you might try climbing up the Cristo Rei, a huge statue of Christ with spectacular views across the whole city. The Castelo de São Jorge also offers great views and isn't quite such a steep climb. A short tram ride to the west of Lisbon will also bring you to Belem, where you can explore attractions like the Belem Tower and the Belem Cultural Centre, which features a fantastic art collection including works by Dali, Picasso, Warhol and Magritte. In downtown Lisbon, you'll also want to visit the Gulbenkian, which has to be Portugal's answer to the British Museum full of fascinating cultural artifacts and with some superb gardens in the grounds. It's possible to have a fascinating educational family holiday in Lisbon, and there are also plenty of great beaches to work on your tan.

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Chiang Mai is a study in vibrant contrasts—here, ancient temples (over 300) are... more
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Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a study in vibrant contrasts—here, ancient temples (over 300) are as much of a draw as trendy bars, hotels and restaurants. You’ll also find adventure activities (like white-water rafting tours) and a wide range of spas.
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A few years ago San Francisco was riding high on the wealth of the dot com... more
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San Francisco
A few years ago San Francisco was riding high on the wealth of the dot com explosion. And it showed in outrageously high-priced hotels, restaurants and real estate. When the bubble burst, the city was forced to adjust. In fact, now is a great time to visit the somewhat humbler, but just as fabulous, cultural mecca of the Left Coast. Hotels and restaurants have lowered their prices, making it easier to enjoy a weekend here. One of the best things about San Francisco is that you can be in a museum in the morning and on a mountain in the afternoon. Mind-expanding cultural attractions exist alongside invigorating outdoor activities. Gaze at the work of Jackson Pollock at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the morning and then head to Muir Woods to peer up at gigantic redwoods in the afternoon. From the hippie haunts of Haight-Ashbury to the colourful Victorian architecture of the predominantly gay Castro District, and from Japantown to Chinatown, San Francisco is all about neighbourhoods. Each has a distinct look and vibe; you could easily spend a day in each or hop on a streetcar to sample a few.
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