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Don your most comfortable shoes for Killarney, where town trails offer history lessons and country walks traverse Ireland's first national park: 26,000 acres of woodlands, sandstone mountains and low-lying lakes. In the town centre, Killarney House and Gardens provide a break for urban explorers. Renowned Muckross House, with its 15th-century abbey ruins and massive yew tree, is just outside the town. If your feet wear out, take in Killarney National Park's legendary scenery from a boat trip from Ross Castle.
Perched on the hem of the Atlantic in Ireland's southwest, charming Dingle looks out over Dingle Bay to the Blasket Islands. Chock full of friendly pubs where live traditional music plays, the Irish-speaking area fills to the brim with tourists on weekends and through summer. Another regular visitor to Dingle's Gulf Stream-warmed waters is Fungi, the dolphin, the town's unofficial mascot. Popular tourist attractions include the beaches, Mount Brandon and Ballydavid and Ballyferriter villages.
There once was an Irish city… You might think "naughty poem" when you hear the word Limerick, but in truth the city inspires so much more than just knowing giggles. Medieval castles and churches give the city a grand feel, while the pubs crawl with lively locals and students who are all craving just one more pint of Guinness. The Hunt Museum boasts a collection of pieces from history's most important and influential artists, while the Foynes Flying Boat Museum will marvel visitors of all ages with its whimsical flying machines.
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.
"The City of Tribes" provides a fun blast of the Ireland many first-time visitors expect. The compact city centre, with its winding streets, packed pubs and air of celebration, is easily walked - or pubcrawled. The west-coast city of almost 70,000 is home to merry bands of students, artists, writers and craftspeople, and is merriest during summer's Galway's Arts Festival. Don't miss shopping for Claddagh rings, the Druid Theatre or having a pint o' the black stuff at the atmospheric Tigh Neachtain pub.
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.
<p>Sardinia has been an overlooked Mediterranean island, as it lies between Italian Sicily and French Corsica. But it is an amazing holiday destination, great for kids, which is packed full of amazing sights and activities, with a great climate. Whether you've chosen to visit Sardinia to check out Phoenician or Roman ruins, or just to soak up some sun and enjoy some excellent Sardinian wines, you're sure to have a great time.</p><p>As a relatively large autonomous island, Sardinia presents a huge range of activities for a family holiday. From the sunbathing perfection of its Mediterranean beaches to the exploration of sites such as Su Nuraxi di Barumini - a building structure dating from the Megalithic period - there is something to interest everybody. About a quarter of the island is designated as either a National Park or other protected reserve territory, so much of the environment is unspoiled and the naturalists in your family can have a great time spotting incredibly rare creatures such as the Sardinian Fox or the Mediterranean Monk Seal. It's definitely a destination for fans of the great outdoors, but with such a diverse amount of wildlife on display, no one can fail to be captivated by the Sardinian landscape. </p>
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?
Land of Mermaids. Land of Orange and Lemon Groves. Land of Colors. This small city in Campania has earned a plethora of alluring names. Famed for its sea cliffs, the town's steep slopes look out over azure waters to Ischia, Capri and the Bay of Naples. The birthplace of Limoncello liqueur offers some good diving, great sea fishing, boat cruises and appetizing restaurants. Excellent hiking trails cross the peninsula. Rent a car or take a taxi if the steep streets look too intimidating.
Stretching along the southern side of Italy's Sorrentine Peninsula, the Amalfi coast dazzles with its mysterious grottos, craggy cliffs and shimmering bays. Grab a seat on the sea side of a regional bus to soak up views on the fabled route from artsy Positano to Amalfi. Ravello offers some respite from the crowds, plus the stunning Villa Cimbrone, which overlooks the Bay of Salerno. The winding streets of Sorrento's historic district are filled with craftspeople. Capri is only a hydrofoil or ferry ride away.
Dubrovnik, in the extreme south of Croatia, is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. A rich and powerful city state until 1806, the proud city once known as Ragusa has a population of over 120,000. Structural damage suffered during the siege of 1991 and 1992, at the hands of the Yugoslav People's Army, has been repaired and visitors once again flock to this tranquil city, nestled between the Adriatic and Dinaric Alps. A wealth of sites lies within the walls of the pedestrian-only Old Town.
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.
One of the three principal islands of the Maltese archipelago, the island of Malta is the largest of the chain. Its capital Valletta, a lively, bustling city with many buildings dating back to the 16th century, teems with cathedrals, palaces and forts. The impressive Grand Harbour offers a dramatic arrival. The top archaeological attraction is the UNESCO-designated Hypogeum temple ruins, a macabre, 5400-square-foot underground necropolis and the world's only underground prehistoric temple.
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.
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.