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With seemingly endless sunny beaches, charming towns, glamorous yachts and celebrities galore, the French Riviera keeps the Belle Époque alive. Most towns are best explored on foot, while a cheap and reliable rail network connects the cities and towns. Fabled destinations such as St-Tropez, Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Villefranche-sur-Mer and St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat lure visitors to follow in the wake of Picasso, Matisse and Bizet. Over a hundred museums and more than 150 galleries keep the artistic ambiance alive.
From bustling restaurant- and hotel-lined promenades to the near-silent sand dunes of S’Alfubera Natural Park, Playa de Muro offers something for everyone. Named after Muro, its inland counterpart, the coastal stretch is now a resort in its own right, though it retains an easy-going ambience.
The town that gave the country (and port wine) its very name, Porto is Portugal’s second-largest metropolis after Lisbon. Sometimes called Oporto, it's an age-old city that has one foot firmly in the industrial present. The old town, centered at Ribeira, was built on the hills overlooking the Douro River, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 14th-century São Francisco church is a main attraction, as are the local port wine cellars, mostly located across the river at Vila Nova de Gaia.
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.