5 of the World's
Best Places to Visit

Are these great destinations on your list?

The world is a fascinating place and people will travel seeking sun, history, culture and everything else in between. Looking for your next destination? Here are 5 of the worlds best places to visit. So fasten your seatbelt, ensure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position and go wanderlust.

Florence, Italy

Florence skyline

Florence's legend comes from its distinction as the birthplace of the Renaissance. It was the beneficiary of the Medici family which sponsored many painters, sculptors, and architects in addition to various philosophers. The result was the creation of an art capitol of considerable note. It is also the capitol of Tuscany, a region famous throughout the world. The Uffizi and the Accademia museums are the most often visited by travelers. However there are several other art museums, and many churches and cathedrals which are home to important works. UNESCO estimates that 30% of the world's most important art is in Florence. A travelers best bet is to plan on a walking tour in the city center, perhaps centered on the Piazza del Duomo. Many of the best art pieces can be found within a 20 minute walking distance from this point. A trip to Florence is best augmented with a trip into the countryside of Tuscany. Tours are available which will take a visitor to medieval villages, through countryside food and wine establishments, and through the farming country. Tuscany is known for beautiful landscapes and they should not be missed. Florentine and Tuscan foods popular with locals are breads, mellow cheeses, beans (particularly white beans), and roasted or wine-braised game such as rabbit, boar, and deer. This is the home of Chianti wine, and it is considered an integral part of a meal. Olive oil is used in abundance as well. Some excellent restaurants to try are Panini Toscani, Aurelio I Re del Lampredotto and Enoteca Pinchiorri. For the budget conscious, Il Teatro del Sale is both reasonable and has live entertainment at night.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town beach huts

Cape Town has risen from the notorious days of Apartheid to a favorite destination for travelers. There is a strong mix of history, nature and city life. The collection of these attributes makes the city a well-rounded experience for visitors. High on the list of draws to Cape Town are its beaches. Liandudno tops the list for surfers and casual visitors. It is also known for great views of the sunset. Lion's Head mountain holds a beautiful view of the city and is a must-do stop. Also check out Kirstenbosch and Company's Gardens and Signal Hill. Seafood, and plenty of it, is a headliner for Cape Town cuisine. The city is home to several cuisines which are influenced by the Middle East, India, Africa, and the Dutch cuisine of the Afrikaans. Mzansi is a popular restaurant for residents of the country. It is considered one of the best representatives of South African eating. Also check out Chef's Warehouse and Stardust. Robben Island is rarely skipped by travelers because of its international notoriety as the prison which Nelson Mandela was kept in for 18 years of his 27 year imprisonment under Apartheid. The Robben Island Museum commemorates his detention and the history of the infamous prison it housed. Also visit the historic waterfront, St. George's Cathedral, and the Bo-Kaap and District Six Museums. Cape Town has secured its place in the list of top international places to visit. It is a beacon for those interested in history, culture and natural beauty.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin building

Dublin is a city which has various facets. It has a strong literary history, academic prominence, religious influence, and most importantly for some, Guinness beer. It is also known for its parks and outdoor recreation. Two of the most common spots for architectural fans to go are St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College. The cathedral has an old Europe exterior but an ornate interior complete with mosaic tiles. The college also has a beautiful exterior, but is best known for “The Long Room” in the Old Library. There are thousands of volumes of work which it has collected since its establishment in 1592. Two other buildings to visit are the house of parliament called the Leinster House, as well as Dublin Castle. Dublin is the home of such literary greats as Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and James Joyce. George Bernard Shaw, Yeats, and Samuel Beckett are also often associated with the city. A fun way to step through the literary history of the city is by joining one of the literary pub crawls which offer a walking tour of notable spots. Also be sure to visit the Kilmainham Gaol and National Gallery of Ireland museums. And for a favorite historical spot, there is always the Guinness Store House. Dublin is home to the largest urban enclosed park in all of Europe. Phoenix Park is a great place to spend a sunny day, when they come. It is also the location of the Dublin Zoo and the residence of Ireland's president. Also visit Dún Laoghaire Farmer's Market and the seaside suburb of Howth. Dublin is to some most famous for Guinness beer, but it is more than that to the educated traveler. It's offerings of beautiful architecture, vast parks, and walks through literary history make it a well-rounded destination for visitors.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona skyline

Barcelona is a popular destination on the Mediterranean sea along Spain's Northeast coast. Though Spanish is spoken, Catalan is more prominently used by locals. Its draw for tourists include its seashore, its architecture, and its food. The city is host to 7.5 million visitors a year. The standout in this category is the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. This ornate cathedral has outstanding architecture and sculptures on the outside, and surreal columns and design on the inside. A climb into the spires gives visitors a view of the city. Other architecture to check out are the Plaza España, Montjuic Castle, and the Casa Batllo among others. A popular park to visit during a visit is Parc del Laberint d'Horta which features a hedge labyrinth. Barcelona residents are well known for their dedication to eating. Tapas is a leading choice, along with Paella, sausage and friend beans, stews, barbecued lamb and a healthy choice of seafood. Cafes are to be found everywhere in the city, as well as bars. Popular restaurants include Leku which features Catalan cuisine, Uma, Enoteca, and Igueldo for Basque selections. Spending time at the sea is a favorite activity for visitors. Barceloneta Beach is the first beach along the stretch, and is the most visited as a consequence. Icaria and Sitges beaches are other options, as well as Mar Bella Beach for nudists. Other activities to consider are a visit to the Museu Picasso, taking one of the bicycle tours (a great way to see the city), and a visit to Excursions Barcelona which features such activities as kayaking and canoeing. Barcelona's proximity to the Mediterranean Sea is a great reason to visit. However its food and stunning architecture should draw a visitor as well.


Morocco desert

Morocco's location in Northwest Africa gives it the distinction of bordering both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Beside the coastline, the country also is home to mountains and deserts. However its culture and cities are equally important draws for visitors.A wide variety of natural attractions are available to visitors. The western end of High Atlas Mountain is in Morocco and has some of the highest peaks in Africa. For desert lovers, the Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga sand seas offer changing colors and remarkable mountainous dunes. For those who prefer the water, there are several beaches available. Marabout's Beach is a top destination on the Atlantic coast. Other attractions are the forests of the Middle Atlas, as well as the Cascades d'Ouzoud. Morocco is well known for its markets scene. The cities of Fes and Marrakech have souk quarters which run like labyrinths. Djemaa El Fna market in Marrakech is one of a few that are famous for having snake charmers, musicians, acrobats, and storytellers. Fes el Bali is also popular because it is in the walled off part of the medieval city of Fes. It is riddled with alleyways and streets which are mostly pedestrian only and range from the hectic with teeming masses of people, mules, and foodstuffs, to more quiet and calm locations. It is often considered Morocco's spiritual heart. There are a variety of dishes which are unique to this section of Africa which must be sampled. A leading example is Tagine which takes its name from the clay pot it is cooked in. There are several types of dishes which take this name, and it can be found from the smallest shops to the top restaurants. Kefta Tangine is a favorite, containing minced lamb in a tomato and onion sauce. Couscous wheat pasta is a staple in this region of Africa as well. For soups, try Harira which also features lamb. A favorite drink to wash this all down with is mint tea. Morocco is teeming with both natural beauty and culture. The markets offer a glimpse into its people.

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