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A popular budget holiday destination on the Costa Brava, the former fishing village of Lloret de Mar offers an appealing climate, great scenery and wealth of competitive accommodations. Visit the narrow streets of the Old Town and sites such as Can Xardo and Can Comadran, or take to the waves in Water World or sailing, parasailing or kayaking on the Mediterranean. A handful of excellent beaches round out the offerings of this Catalonian family resort, easily reached by car from Barcelona.
<p>Whether you're looking for sandy beaches, rocky coves, tranquil villages or mountain scenery, Spain's Costa Brava has something to offer you. Situated in the north-east of the country overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the Costa Brava region enjoys hot summers and mild winters, making it an all-year-round holiday destination. </p><p>There are plenty of opportunities in the Costa Brava to play golf, tennis or football, as well as to take part in water sports. The Sant Daniel Valley on the western side of the Gavarres hills has mountain biking and trekking paths with stunning views. If you are looking for a cultural activity, the Archaeological Museum in Banyoles is housed in a Gothic palace and has displays of paleontology and pottery as well as archaeology. Modern art lovers must not miss the Theatre Museum in Figueres which has a collection of Salvador Dali's paintings. At the end of the day, if you still have some energy, there is no shortage of nightlife in towns such as Lloret de Mar. </p>
Salou, on the Costa Dorada, nestles between quaint Cambrils and calm La Pineda. Just seven miles south of elegant Tarragona, the compact resort town is a family favourite, due in no small part to the existence of Port Aventura and Aquopolis theme parks. Gentle beaches and a slew of exciting fiestas in August add to Salou's appeal for families. A good variety of clubs and bars round out the picture. To see more of the area, or for daytrips to Tarragona or Barcelona, it's easiest to rent a car.
Cambrils has a well-deserved reputation as the culinary capital of the Costa Dorada. There is a veritable cornucopia of fresh local ingredients, ranging from fish and other seafood to the internationally acclaimed DO Siurana olive oil. Between the historic population center and the ports, life in Cambrils unfurls peacefully around beaches and promenades. Looking on as fishing boats glide into the harbor and discovering the Old Quarter are two of the many pleasures that await in this Catalan town.
Attracting visitors from all parts of the world, Majorca is a dreamy island destination in the Mediterranean Sea, just off the southeast coast of Spain. There's something for every taste—beaches and coves, a spectacular mountain range, romantic fishing villages and a rustic countryside dotted with almond and olive groves.
The Algarve's sunny shores offer perfect escapes for all types, from those seeking the hot nightlife of flashy, energetic Lagos to those desiring secluded stays in rambling Sagres. Portugal's most southerly region offers historical attractions in former Moorish capital Silves and fascinating Tavira, great golf, fabulous beaches from Praia da Luz to Armacao de Pera, thermal springs at Caldas de Monchique, and miles of limestone caves and grottoes, cliffs and bays along its rugged coastline.
The Vilamoura area offers a fabulous diversity of experiences, from quiet pine forest ambles and Atlantic beaches, to a casino, shooting club, riding school and a choice of nightclubs. The main attractions are the environmentally-conscious planned development's four golf courses and Polvo Watersports Algarve water park. The area's past is brought to the forefront with a preserved Roman site and the Museum of Cerro da Vila. Rent a car to make the most of Vilamoura and the surrounding Algarve region.
With its prime vantage point atop multi-hued cliffs in Portugal's southern Algarve region, it's easy to imagine Albufeira's eighth- century Arab occupants calling the city "Castle of the Sea." Brightly painted fishing boats, stunningly white houses with Moorish flair and remnants of its old fortress provide echoes of earlier days, while lively nightlife accentuates its modern resort charms. Spend time sunbathing on the more than 20 diverse beaches that hug the coast or venture inland, where almond trees blossom and local handicrafts are abundant.
Plan to cross many bridges when in Cork. Ireland's third-largest city began life as an island and now spans both banks of the River Lee, with watery channels running beneath some of its main thoroughfares. The best way to experience this hilly southern seaport is on foot, following the signposted walking tour past St. Finn Barre's Cathedral and the riverside quadrangle of University College up the hill to red and white Shandon Church. Along the way, you'll meet plenty of the city's talkative residents.
You've probably heard that Guinness tastes better in Dublin (fresh from the factory), but what you may not know is that Dublin is a perfect destination for the whole family. No, we're not suggesting you let the kiddies drink a pint. Instead, take them to the Dublin Zoo, to feed the ducks in Stephen's Green or on a picnic in Phoenix Park. Scholars enjoy walking in the literary footsteps of such writers as Yeats and Joyce, while discerning shoppers have their pick of designer boutiques.
If your kids are sick of the same old beach holiday you take every year, consider taking them to Lanzarote. There are great beaches, to be sure, but this UNESCO World Biosphere reserve has unique attractions and activities. We're talking camel rides on volcanoes (at Timanfaya National Park), or eating at a restaurant in a volcanic cave (at Jameos del Agua). Even the most jaded teens will be impressed.
Lanzarote’s largest resort area has much to offer visitors—in addition to the fine beaches, you’ll find casinos, great shopping, and tons of restaurant options. Puerto Del Carmen’s nightclubs and large hotels are a big draw for a youthful European crowd.
Strongly influenced by the tribal culture of the Guanches (the original inhabitants), Tenerife was conquered by the Spanish 500 years ago. It's home to Mount Teide, Spain's tallest peak, and to the popular beach resort of Los Gigantes. Today visitors flock to Loro Park to see tropical birds, to Tenerife Zoo Monkey Park and to Parque Nacional Las Canadas del Teide's volcanic rock formations. Explore by car or with a "bono bus" ticket, which offers reductions on regular prices.
Whether it's your first visit or your 50th, New York City is a great destination for a weekend trip. See the landmark sights, catch a Broadway show or explore small, off-the-beaten-path museums like the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Just as it has activities to suit every interest, New York City has hotel options to suit every pocket. Whether you're looking for a hip new hotel, an old standard or a budget inn, you'll have plenty of options.