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The small city of Sitges parties big. The nightlife is thumping, the people are gorgeous and the annual Carnival festival is utterly epic. A countercultural touchstone, Sitges is lively and very LGBT friendly. Native food and beverage is sublime—you simply must sample the Malvasia wine, made from grapes descending from Ancient Greece. Don’t miss the Museu Romàntic "Can Llopis" or, if you’re in Sitges in October, the world-renowned Sitges Film Festival, a cinematic extravaganza of horror, sci-fi and fantasy.
One of the most historic sites in Spain, Girona lies in northeast Catalonia, just 99 km (62 mi) from Barcelona. Founded by Romans, the city later was taken over by Moors and Franks before finally falling under the rule of Barcelona. Influenced by different cultures and religions, the city beckons visitors with beautiful architecture. The Old and New Town offer many opportunities to pleasurably get lost and observe local life and culture.
The soft sea breeze, the crystalline waters and the tranquility are a few of the most important traits of La Pineda Beach. Almost four kilometers of beach lines the seafront promenade of this coastal resort. La Pineda has some of the cleanest, safest and environmentally best-managed beaches, as the Blue Flags regularly awarded by the European Foundation for Environmental Education attest. A wide range of activities can be organized right on the beach.
<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.
Amsterdam is truly a biker’s city, although pedaling along the labyrinthine streets can get a little chaotic. Stick to walking and you won’t be disappointed. The gentle canals make a perfect backdrop for exploring the Jordaan and Rembrandtplein square. Pop into the Red Light District if you must—if only so you can say you’ve been there. The Anne Frank House is one of the most moving experiences a traveller can have, and the Van Gogh Museum boasts a sensational collection of works.
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.
Glamourous Santorini is deliciously different. Geographical newness is in part to thank. The island’s popular black volcanic Perissa and Kamari beaches are big draws, as is its arguably most famous Red Beach near Akrotiri (which is the place to go for archaeology buffs). Santorini curves round a giant lagoon in the Cyclades islands, offering stunning views from sky-high towns, eclectic cuisine, lovely galleries, thriving nightlife and excellent wines.
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.