The pristine coral paradise of Lakshadeep with a tinge of bluish-green waters is an exotic archipelago in the Arabian Sea. It possesses everything required for a perfect holiday. Lakshadweep Islands lives up to the expectation as the best romantic destination in India.
Holidaying in Lakshadweep will turn your fantasy into real-life experience. This sparsely inhabited land has extraordinary beautiful ambience setting stage for an incredible romantic vacation. You can relax on the beaches of this wonder world amidst the sound of the roaring waves, the rustling sound of the swaying palm tree, and the amazing marine life.
The adventurous sports along with a wonderful combination of scenic splendor adds a special dimension to the island Lakshadweep. The matchless beauty of these emerald islands will certainly overwhelm each honeymoon couple.
If you are dearly looking to find a pleasurable start to your life then Andaman & Nicobar Islands would be the best choice.
Exploring this island is a mesmerizing experience by itself and the coconut palms surrounding the coastline add zest for rejoicing and merriment. You can spend an excellent time by visiting the stunning places of these islands.
The bravura of the Andaman and Nicobar islands will provide you with more than just a week of fun, togetherness and relaxation. Romantic getaways to these islands of Andaman and Nicobar will grant you with memories of special moments, memories that will carry on for a lifetime. A blend of natural beauty, stunning marine life and adventure sports will make your stay peaceful and pleasurable one.
Srinigar is a modern waterworld, dominated by Dal Lake and its twisting waterways, tree-lined Nagin Lake, and the Jhelum River. Engulf yourself in local culture by embracing your sea legs and renting one of the wooden boats called shikaras for a daytime or twilight cruise. On land, stroll through the terraced hillsides of the 400-year-old Mughal Gardens, created by Emperor Jehangir for his wife, and shop for indigenous crafts like hand-woven silks and embroidered shawls.
Located on the Nilgiri hills and surrounded by blue mist. Plethora of beautiful flowers on the hilly slopes, splendid tea and cardamom plantation and mist covered mountains indeed make Ooty a very romantic place.
You can pick a start to your day among a walk along the dense forest or a gorgeous mountain trails. Complement it with a visit to beautiful spots of Doddabetta Peak and Ketty Valley. You could also gallop on ponies wandering through the Blue Mountains. Waterfalls arising out of the blue and sight of variety of bird species add to the excitement.
In your spare time, you can visit the botanical garden and glance at the incredible collection of shrubs, trees and beautiful collection of roses. A ride in the mini blue train which will take you through the eucalyptus forest and tea plantations is a must.
Jodhpur offers a unique holidaying experience sans the run-of-the-mill mountains and beaches. If you are a person who is fascinated by the rustic villages, heritage structures and palaces, Jodhpur is where you want to go.
You can explore this ancient land of loyalty, dedication and love through unique village safaris. These village safaris will take you to the interiors of the village and give you ample opportunities to mingle with the locals. The newly weds will be spellbound by the architectural splendor of the majestic forts and palaces. Jodhpur is filled with romantic legends and sagas.
Don’t forget to pick traditional handicrafts, jewelry and textile items of this region while you are on a shopping spree. Choose Jodhpur as your destination and this land will bear testimony to your travel story, as it has been doing since age-old times.
In the refreshing hilly air of Darjeeling, acres of tea plantation will offer you a majestical and cherishable travel like no other destination. The narrow hilly path of Darjeeling leading to beautiful quaint spots has a magical effect. The red and golden hues of the sunrays early in the morning give a spectacular effect to this hilly region. Catch the spectacular view of the Kanchenjunga from the Tiger hills early in the morning. Visit the elegant monasteries of Darjeeling. Take a leisurely walk amid the tea bushes observing tea pickers at work and watching fresh tea leaves converted into tea..
The exotic fir forest, the emerald green tea plantations, undulating hillsides and the white magnolias add magnificence to this rightly called ‘Queen of all Hill Stations’. Whether you prefer to relax, adventure or savor the flora and fauna of this region, Darjeeling is really a traveler’s delight. River rafting and canoeing are also widespread in Darjeeling apart from mountaineering and trekking. Invigorating environment with splendid view of the beautiful valleys and the breathtaking view of the sunrise and sunset makes Darjeeling qualify as a perfect destination.
Daman is a tiny little area sandwiched between the State of Maharashtra, Gujarat and the Arabian Sea. It is blessed with the very best natural resources and beauty that God can possess. Daman prides itself on its rich and varied historical heritage covering more than 2 millenniums. The history of Daman dating back to over 2000 years is replete with various rulers, conquests and surrenders. Starting from the First Century AD as a part of the country known as Lata until the Portuguese noticed this port in the 16th century and acquired it from the Shahs.
Blessed with an affable climate and people, Daman is an ideal place for tourists without any climatic restrictions. Replete with Casuarinas windbreaks, tranquil seashores, heavenly beaches and easy availability of liquor thrown in as a bonus makes Daman a tourist haven. The territory also attracts many history students and enthusiast due to its palpable Portuguese influence.
Daman, in true sense presents a posy of attractions and a wide choice for shopping. The leather products, bamboo mats and baskets (not to forget some of the exotic brands of Indian and foreign liquors available freely) are sure to make a shopaholic drop with joy. The handmade (intricate works) articles are also a must buy.
Mussoorie, a picturesque hill station in the Northern part of India, was discovered in the 18th century by Captain Young. The British officials added to the popularity of this hill station, as they mostly visited it as a getaway from the heat during summer.
Mussoorie is located at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level, on a horseshoe shaped ridge. This altitude gives the destination cool and pleasant climate conditions.
Mussoorie is a lovely hill resort in the state of Uttaranchal. It is like a picture right out of your dreams! A paradise spread over a vast carpet of greenery coupled with a rich variety of flora and fauna, breathtaking views of the snow capped mountains and a town buzzing with activity marks a perfect destination for a memorable holiday. The rays of the sun reflecting on the snowcapped peaks, the valleys adorned with colorful flowers, and the gushing streams are a treat to sore eyes. No prizes for guessing that this hill station is known as the Queen of Hill Stations!
Mussoorie opens the path to Gangotri and Yamunotri, two sacred destinations known to be the origin of rivers Ganga and Yamuna respectively, flowing through the mountains into the plains.
A one-stop destination for the old and the young alike, Mussoorie unfolds a variety of activities for all tourists, be it trekking, mountain climbing, long walks down the nature’s path, exploring glimpses of British occupancy in the town, or shopping to your heart’s content. Definitely, Mussoorie is the best place to relax and rejuvenate in the lap of nature.
The twin hill stations of Kullu and Manali illustrates nature at its best. The lofty hills draped in the first glistening snow of winter, the rolling green valleys dotted with colorful blooms and laced by sparkling rivers depict nature's munificence. An ever popular tourist destination, the legendary Kullu Manali Tour is a rage with tourists worldwide.
Kullu, popularly known as the Valley of the Gods is a picturesque valley sited in the western Himalayas. The hill station, perched at an altitude of 1,219 m above sea level basks prettily along the banks of the Beas River. The green carpeted meadows where the sheep graze are the perfect place for tourists, intoxicated by nature's bounty to picnic and relax indolently.
Trekkers and mountaineers also stop by for a quick rest and are instantly rejuvenated by the enchanting sight of the panoramic vistas. Be it the revered Bijli Mahadev Shrine and the temples at Naggar, the magnificent locales at Raison where people camp out in the open or the apple orchards at Katrain, the hill stations abound in sightseeing destinations.
Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka. The city is situated at the base of Chamundi Hills and is famous for the Dussehra celebrations during which a large number of tourists visit the city.
Hindu mythology says that Mysore was ruled by Mahishasura a demon who was later on killed by Goddess Chamundeshwari. Till the 15th century, the area where Mysore stands today, was known as Puragere. The fort was constructed in the year 1524 by Chamaraja Wodeyar III.
Mysore city is the cultural capital of Karnataka. Dussehra is the most important festival of the city and this festival is celebrated for a period of 10 days. Started by King Raja Wodeyar I in the year 1610, the ninth day of the celebration is known as Mahanavami and the imperial sword is worshiped on this day. Processions constituting ornamented elephants, camels and horses are taken out.
The style of painting prevalent is an outgrowth of the Vijayanagar school of painting. The typical characteristic of these paintings is the plaster of Paris work in which gold hydrofoils are pasted.
Mysore is also known as City of Palaces. There are a large number of palaces around the city to be visited. The most famous attraction of Mysore is the Mysore Palace, which is best visited during the evening, when the whole palace is lit up with sparkling lights. The famous Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion is now being converted into a museum and is dedicated to folk culture.
The capital of the state of Sikkim, Gangtok is an attractive tourist destination, reflecting a unique ambience which derives from its happy blend of tradition and modernity. Alongside the deeply felt presence of stupas and monasteries, Gangtok also bustles like any other thriving town. Some of the key places to visit include Rumtek Monastery, Do-Drul Chorten, Enchey Monastery, Tashi View Point and the local bazaar, Lal Bazaar.
If you take one look at the glorious stucco buildings that line Jaipur's wide streets, you'll understand why this is nicknamed "The Pink City." Spend your days exploring City Palace, Hawa Mahal, and Amber and Jaigarh forts. And if you're looking for a unique souvenir, head to one of the bazaars, where you can pick up a pair of camel-leather slippers.
East meets West in this sun-soaked state, where Indian culture intertwines with Portuguese influences left over from a 500-year occupation. The beaches have long served as a magnet for serene hedonists. To the north, the tourist-centric scene is prevalent, with an international flair that is now skewing more hip than hippie. Travel south for stretches of unspoiled sand and an escape from large resorts. Temples, mosques and wildlife sanctuaries provide diversions from the beach.
Look for spicy dishes flavoured with tamarind and coconut in Kochi, and don’t be surprised if your dinner is served up on a banana leaf. The region is a major banana-growing area, and traditional Kochi cuisine employs the fruit in many dishes, both sweet and savoury. Coconut water provides a refreshing and sweet contrast to the piquant food.
The dramatic and romantic desert fortress of Jaisalmer is an exotic city in Rajasthan’s great Thar Desert. "The Golden City" rose to prominence as a result of its position on camel trade routes. It's now most famous for the 12th-century fort and ornate "Havelis," fine merchant-built houses and pavilions in the city’s mediaeval lanes. The surrounding Desert National Park offers opportunities to observe blackbucks, desert foxes and chinkaras amid the rolling dunes, rugged crags and waterholes.
Want a taste of being royal? Eat in Hyderabad, where culinary traditions have been passed down from the Nizam monarchy. Arabic, Turkish and Mughlai influences are easily recognisable. The city is famous for its rich, aromatic biryani made with lamb, chicken or vegetables and served with fragrant basmati rice. Satisfy your sweet tooth with double-ka-meetha, a bread pudding.
Snow-capped Himalayan peaks and green pastures surround Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Enjoy a heritage walk through Shimla’s Victorian-era architecture, labyrinthine bazaars and lengthy pedestrian shopping mall. Don’t cause too much trouble taking in the town from Scandal Point, a large, open square; keep in mind that Shimla was a retreat destination for Mahatma Gandhi, who frequented a Georgian mansion in Shimla’s suburbs from the mid-1930s to '40s.
Pattadakkal is a town that is located in the Bagalkot District in the State of Karnataka. Pattadakkal is located around 10 km from the town of Aihole and around 22 km from the town of Badami. The town is home to many world heritage sites and they are known for their ancient architecture.
Pattadakkal is home to a few temples that were built during the 8th century. The temples are an example of the fusion architecture of those times. The temples were built in a style that compasses both the Dravidian style of architecture as well as the Nagara style which was preferred in the Northern States. The temples have been a UESCO heritage site since 1987.
The main attractions in the town of Pattadakkal are the ten temples. They were built during the Chalukya Dynasty in the 8th century. There is a Jain temple that is located near the others and this was also built during this time. 4 of 10 temples were built in the Nagara style and 4 were built using the Dravidian style. The remaining 2 temples were built using a mixture of both the styles. Pattadakkal is a perfect place to see different styles of architecture being combined.
Nainital, the Lake District of India, located in the Himalayan belt amongst the Kumaon hills, is a paradise for nature lovers. A splendid holiday spot with a rich treasure of lakes and hills, Nainital is a destination for the young and the old alike.
Nainital is referred to as the lake of three sages, or the Tri Rishi Sarovar as mentioned in the Manas Khand chapter of the Skanda Purana. As recorded in history, the three sages, Atri, Pulastya, and Pulaha stopped over at Nainital on their pilgrimage, to quench their thirst. Finding no water, they dug a hole and transferred some water into it to from the sacred lake of Tibet, Mansarovar. Thus the famous lake of Nainital came into existence. Another legend has it that the left eye or Nain of Lord Shiva’s wife Sati fell in this center and formed an emerald eye shaped lake, and thus emerged the city of Nainital.
Recent history records reveal that Nainital was brought into limelight by P. Barron, a British sugar merchant, in 1839. The beauty of Nainital with the central lake cushioned among the forests attracted this person to build a house named Pilgrim’s Cottage and settle in Nainital. Barron gave way to the trend of settling down in Nainital and soon the city became an important administrative town. Nainital is known for its famous landslide of 1880 which leveled out the entire city.
The best getaway from the crowded and busy cities, Nainital is a peaceful zone nestled in the lap of Mother Nature. If you want to get close to Mother Nature and enjoy the lavish picturesque surroundings, Nainital is the place to be.
The Ladakh capital city of Leh lies near the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir, on the crossroads of the historic "Silk Route" from Sinkiang to West Asia and to the plains of India. The humbling monasteries of Shey, Hemis, Alchi, Thikse and Lamayuru will nurture your spiritual needs, and the landscape of Leh provides for a number of adventure activities including mountaineering, white-water rafting and trekking along the Markha Valley.
Bali may be small in size – you can drive around the entire coast in one long day – but its prominence as a destination is huge, and rightfully so. Ask travellers what Bali means to them and you’ll get as many answers as there are flowers on a frangipani tree. Virescent rice terraces, pulse-pounding surf, enchanting temple ceremonies, mesmerising dance performances and ribbons of beaches are just some of the images people cherish. As you stumble upon the exquisite little offerings left all over the island that materialize as if by magic, you’ll see that the tiny tapestry of colours and textures is a metaphor for Bali itself. And those are just some of the more obvious qualities. A visit to Bali means that you are in the most visitor-friendly island of Indonesia. There are pleasures of the body, whether a massage on the beach or a hedonistic interlude in a sybaritic spa. Shopping that will put ‘extra bag’ at the top of your list. Food and drink ranging from the freshest local cuisine bursting with the flavours of the markets to food from around the globe, often prepared by chefs and served in restaurants that are world class. From a cold Bintang at sunset to an epic night clubbing in Kuta, your social whirl is limited only by your own fortitude.
Being one of the favorite and best tourist destinations of the world, this is a desert country known for its high profile building structures. The best time to visit Dubai is between November and April when the climate turns cooler. Some of the attractions of Dubai that make it one of the best tourist spots are Burj Khalifa, Dubai desert safari, Jumeirah Beach, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Sports City, Dubai Festival City, etc. Direct flights are available from India and you can find the best travel packages to Dubai.
England is the one that features among the best tourist destinations. The weather of the country is unpredictable but the possible tourist season is between July and August. The main attractions are the Buckingham Palace, Hatfield house, Seaton Tramway, Pettit’s Animal Adventure Park, Windsor Castle and much more. You will hardly find time to visit every place in the country. You can reach London, the capital city, by air and then move to the other towns and cities through local transport.
Another one of the best tourist destinations from the European continent is Germany which is popular for Renaissance paintings and beautiful picture postcard towns. It is best to visit Germany during the months of August and September as the weather during the time is tolerable. The cities you must visit in Germany are Weimar, Berlin, Cologne and Munich. These make the country one of the best tourist spots of the world. You can get to see the world’s most attractive sights. Flights are the best means of transport to Germany.
Hong Kong (香港 Heūng góng in Cantonese, meaning fragrant harbour) is a place with multiple personalities, as a result of being both Cantonese Chinese and under a more recent contemporary ex-British influence. Today, the former British colony is a major tourism destination for China's increasingly affluent mainland population. It is also an important hub in East Asia with global connections to many of the world's cities. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia's World City
Kuala Lumpur (called simply KL by locals) is the federal capital and the largest city in Malaysia. Literally meaning "muddy river confluence" in Malay, Kuala Lumpur has grown from a small sleepy Chinese tin-mining village to a bustling metropolis of around 6.5 million (city-proper population of 1.8 million) in just 150 years. A cultural melting pot with some of the world's cheapest 5-star hotels, cheap, great shopping, even better food and some of nature's wonders in just an hour away, this dynamic city has much to offer for every visitor Kuala Lumpur is a sprawling city and its residential suburbs seem to go on forever. The city proper, is a Federal Territory has an area of 243 km2 (94 sq mi) which consists of the city center and its surrounding urban areas, managed by the KL City Hall. It also merges with the adjacent satellite cities of Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Klang, Port Klang, Ampang, Selayang/Rawang, Kajang, Puchong, and Sepang, all in the state of Selangor, which enclaves KL, and all with their separate local authorities, creating a huge metropolis called Greater Kuala Lumpur, or more commonly, Klang Valley. The city can be divided into the following areas, each of which offers a particular attraction or activity.
This island country features among the top holiday destinations due to its spectacular sceneries and landscapes. The island contains plains, mountains and forests which are worth watching. Adventure sports like scuba diving, bungee jumping and snorkeling are hugely popular in this type of island holiday destinations. You can experience the magnificence of New Zealand any time of the year but the best idea is to visit it during the summer months of December to February. The major tourist attractions of North Island are Auckland, Wellington and Taupo. The South Island attractions are Christchurch, Queenstown, Mount Cook, etc. There are many other attractions to explore in New Zealand.
Paris, the cosmopolitan capital of France, is - with 2.2 million people living in the dense (105 km²) central city and almost 12 million people living in the whole metropolitan area - one of the largest agglomerations in Europe. Located in the north of the country on the river Seine, Paris has the reputation of being the most beautiful and romantic of all cities, brimming with historic associations and remaining vastly influential in the realms of culture, art, fashion, food and design. Dubbed the City of Light (la Ville Lumière) and Capital of Fashion, it is home to the world's finest and most luxurious fashion designers and cosmetics, such as Chanel No.5, Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Guerlain, Lancôme, L'Oréal, Clarins, etc. A large part of the city, including the River Seine, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has the second highest number of Michelin-restaurants in the world (afterTokyo) and contains numerous iconic landmarks, such as the world's most visited tourist site the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, Moulin Rouge,Lido etc, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world with 45 million tourists annually.
For all those adventure-hungry travelers, Singapore can provide the right fodder. There are different seasons of visiting Singapore. The shopping season is between the months of May and July. To witness the Christmas and Chinese New Year celebrations you can visit between November and February. Some best tourist spots of Singapore are Universal Studios, Singapore Zoo, Sultan Mosque, Sentosa Island, etc. Availing the best travel packages, you can book flights or cruises to reach Singapore.
Spain is one of the best tourist spots for those who look out for an adventurous vacation and those interested in ancient customs. The country is full of ancient structures that you will find attractive. July and August is the right time to make your trip to the football crazy country. Barcelona is the main attraction along with Madrid, Cordoba and Malaga among the must-visits. There are cruises to Spain which you can enjoy. Flights are another means of reaching this holiday destination
The European country known for its pleasant climate can serve as one of the best tourist spots for the Indians who suffer at the hands of summer for almost a year. The right time to travel to Switzerland is during July and August as it is the time where you can get to see more of the annual music festivals. The best tourist spots in Switzerland are Matterhorn mountain peak, Bernese Oberland, City of Zurich and mountain valleys of Graubunden. You can book direct air tickets to Switzerland and obtain discounted travel packages from different travel agents.
Thailand’s beaches are mythical: tall palms angle over pearlescent sand, coral gardens flourish in the shallow seas and beach parties are liberally lubricated with alcohol and fun. With a long coastline (well, actually, two coastlines) and jungle-topped islands anchored in azure waters, Thailand is a tropical getaway for the hedonist and the hermit, the prince and the pauper. And in between the kissing cousins of sea and sky are dramatic limestone mountains standing sentinel. This paradise offers a varied menu of playing in the gentle surf of Bang Saphan Yai, diving with whale sharks in Ko Tao, scaling the sea cliff s of Krabi, learning to kiteboard in Hua Hin, recuperating at a health resort in Ko Samui and feasting on the beach wherever sand meets sea. The celestial world is a close confidant in this Buddhist nation, where religious devotion is a colourful and ubiquitous spectacle. Gleaming temples and golden Buddhas frame both the rural and modern landscape with exuberance. Ancient banyan trees are ceremoniously wrapped in sacred cloth to honour the resident spirits, fortune-bringing shrines decorate humble noodle houses as well as monumental malls, while garland-festooned dashboards ward off traffic accidents. The Thai’s ongoing dialogue with the divine anchors the day-to-day chaos to a solid base of tranquility. Visitors can join in on the conversation through meditation retreats in Chiang Mai, noisy religious festivals in northeastern Thailand, peaceful underground cave shrines in Kanchanaburi and Phetchaburi or scenic hilltop temples in northern Thailand.
Mauritius, a sparkling crystal in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, will fascinate you. The contrast of colours, cultures and tastes makes the island so charming that the scene is set for an unforgettable holiday. Here, you have the opportunity to experience unparalleled luxury: a level of refinement that is head and shoulders above that on offer in other tropical holiday destinations. Here, you will discover the true meaning of ‘beauty’ – a realisation that will compel you to return to Mauritius’ shores time and again. Mauritius was named after Dutch Prince Maurice Van Nassau.
Barcelona contains both the authentically historic and the wildly bizarre. From the tree-lined Las Ramblas to the narrow alleys of Barri Gòtic; from the beachside nightclubs to the city's dozens of sacred churches and cathedrals, this city by the sea seems to attract all types: the family, the adventurer, the couple, the backpacker, the culture lover — and more — with an almost overwhelming variety of things to do. You could stay for a few days, but chances are you'll need a whole week to explore. In Barcelona, even the beach is bustling, but it's really the cosmopolitan city that gets all the attention. Much of the activity revolves around Las Ramblas, a series of narrow streets and alleys packed with restaurants, nightclubs and a vibrant pedestrian market. But you should also take a tour of Antoni Gaudí's masterpieces; Gaudí is responsible for sites like Parc Güell, Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia. And it would also be absurd to miss out on the eclectic shopping scene and the region's exquisite food and wine
Maui is an attraction-filled destination that seems like a compilation of Hawaii's best qualities.The legions of vacationers that come back home teary-eyed and hypnotized can't be wrong -- this is where you learn Hawaii is more than a series of islands, it's also a spiritual experience. Step off the plane, take one whiff of the plumeria blooms and you'll be hooked. You should note that every Hawaiian island offers something different. With Maui, you can expect one of the most tourist-friendly experiences. The island is easily covered by car, and the diverse terrain keeps photos interesting. If you're looking for adventure, you're better off on the Big Island. Should you want luxurious isolation, head to exclusive Lanai. For most visitors, Maui excels at providing the envisioned Hawaiian vacation and is the perfect introduction to the archipelago.
Determining Puerto Rico's charm is a no-brainer. Less than a three-hour flight from Miami, this island is a U.S. territory (in case you didn't recall from high school history). So when you're shopping in San Juan, you can pay for your souvenirs with American bills. But don't be mistaken: This isn't quite a home away from home. Puerto Rico has both 20-foot waves for surfers and calm, clear waters for families. It's a stroll back through time (El Morro) and an up-close look at the contemporary (Calle del Cristo). It's an exhilarating mix of landscapes, from the serpentine jungle of El Yunque to the corkscrew caves of Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy. And if you want to get away from civilization entirely, you can ferry over to the secluded -- not to mention jaw-droppingly gorgeous -- islands of Vieques and Culebra. Convinced? When other Caribbean isles put a premium on wintertime at the beach, Puerto Rico offers year-round affordable packages to relax along its blanched sands. And while other regional spots like to advertise exciting nightlife, the capital city of San Juan actually delivers. Follow a pulsating beat to the dance clubs in the Santurce neighborhood, catch some live music in a Ponce lounge, or grab a casual drink at a San Sebastián bar.
Even by North American standards, Vancouver is a young city. But what it lacks in history it compensates for in scenery. Surrounded by mountains and beaches, Vancouver is both an urban and a natural playground: Its chic atmosphere, high-fashion boutiques and fondness for health-conscious eating have earned it the nickname "North Hollywood." Sitting about 1,300 miles north of its nickname namesake, Vancouver's breathtaking backdrop has been the setting for several popular television shows and major motion pictures, such as Battlestar Galactica and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, so don't be surprised if recognize landmarks from your favorite scenes. But this mitten-shaped city on Canada's western edge draws in more than pop culture junkies. Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, white-water rafting and skiing will beckon to your adventurous side. Try lounging along the 11 miles of beaches or in one of the numerous parks. During the cold weather, you can duck inside one of top-notch museums, or swing your young kids by one of the family-friendly attractions. When you add excellent shopping, dining and nightlife scenes to the mix, you see why many praise Vancouver as a go-to getaway for the multi-faceted traveler
Burrowed beside long-dormant volcanoes and reigning over green moorlands, Edinburgh (orEd-n-bruh in Scots speech) is known for more than its staggering landscape. The Athens of the North or Auld Reekie, as Edinburgh is sometimes nicknamed, also claims a cast of near mythic characters: Rebel leader Sir William Wallace (aka Braveheart); the tragic Mary, Queen of Scots; the Enlightenment thinkers David Hume and Adam Smith; James Bond actor Sean Connery; and prolific wordsmiths Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and J.K. Rowling -- are all woven into this very old yet very relevant city. But if your impression is confined to bagpipes, tartans, crests and kilts, you'd be wrong. The second most-visited city in the United Kingdom (after London), Edinburgh offers an abundance of things to do. History types will enjoy Edinburgh Castle, Holyroodhouse Palaceand other attractions found along the Royal Mile. Those in search of an authentic live-as-the-locals experience will find it in the outer-lying neighborhood pubs, shops and parks. Shoppers will find retail bliss in New Town; art aficionados will enjoy the free National Gallery of Scotland; and theater hounds will meet their match at August's Edinburgh Festival.
A fairytale city, Zürich is set on the banks of both a river and a lake, with the snow-topped Swiss Alps rising in the background. Clean cobblestone streets hug a hilly terrain and medieval church spires reach heavenward. Despite its reputation for being the center of old-school international banking and a capital for frou frou chocolate confections, Zürich is also a very modern city that chooses to meander coolly through life at an unhurried pace. Travelers desiring an authentic experience should strive to do the same.
Ulrich Zwingli came to proselytize. James Joyce came to write Ulysses. Bankers came to make money. Dadaists met at Zürich's Cabaret Voltaire to change/ruin art, depending on your position. But youshould come for the chocolate, grilled sausages, locally grown wines, amazing museums, medieval architecture, extravagant shopping, breathtaking vistas and the clean, clear water of Lake Zürich. You can spend anywhere from one to three days in Zürich before hitting the surrounding ski slopes or traveling on to Geneva.
If there was one word to describe the Greek island of Crete, it would be "diverse." Sandy beaches hide amongst soaring mountains, palm-tree forests grow in the middle of sprawling plains, bustling modern cities share coastline with ancient ruins. And speaking of cities -- in Crete they reflect the people that came before; the streets are lined with architecture mirroring the styles of the Minoans, the Venetians, the Ottomans as well as contemporary Greeks. Despite the visible contrasts, this island maintains a sense of unity felt whenever you step onto the street, dine at a local taverna or enjoy a glass of raki at a sidewalk café. Crete's experiences are as assorted as its history, so take some time to decide what type of vacation you're looking to have before you set anything in stone. For a more urban setting and a variety of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, consider staying along the northern coast in Chania or Heraklion. Those who prefer the great outdoors should head to the southern areas of Chania and Rethymnon for the hiking opportunities and many beautiful beaches
Picture an easygoing seaside town: There are surfers riding the waves and beach bums lazing on the sands. Add to this landscape a horizon jagged with skyscrapers and iconic landmarks like an out-of-this-world opera house and a famously stunning bridge. Then, you must paint in the cosmopolitans—they're sun-kissed and fashion-forward, making their way to photo shoots, architecture firms and cafés. And of course you must hear their conversation: Even their English is laidback, unlike the posh clip of the Brits or the sometimes-brash American intonation. This is Sydney. The most populous city in Oz, Sydney is a natural choice for a first-time Aussie visit. With its lovely beaches, world-class restaurants, and cache of interesting things to do, Sydney's personality is a mix of carefree Australia and sophisticated metropolis. So, whether you want a laid-back vacation surfing the giant waves of the Tasman Sea or a high-octane trip of dining, shopping, and partying, Sydney's got you covered.
Welcome to Budapest. To put it simply, if you haven't been here, it's time you make plans to do so. This city appeals to many; you can step out of a thermal baths and right into a nightclubs (and then back into the bath). You should also save time to savor Budapest's culture, history, and natural beauty. It's more than just the political capital of Hungary—it's also the commercial and cultural nexus. Split by the Danube River and comprised of three main regions (Pest, Buda, and Óbuda), Budapest meshes modern conveniences with old architecture and tops it off with grassy parks. You'll find almost every cuisine imaginable here, and the prices are fair enough that you can sample most of them. Endless variations of shopping await you, while the museums will enliven your afternoons if you give them some of your time. In fact, you will find that time is precisely the main issue, as there's never enough of it to enjoy all the sights.
Will Smith once rapped, "Ain't no city in the world like this," and thousands continue to travel to Miami Beach to confirm his words. Why else would MTV have relocated its tumultuous party crew, the cast of Jersey Shore, away from their northern abode? But don't let Snooki and her friends fool you: A wide variety of people -- including waifish models, amateur architecture critics, distinguished seniors, and sun-seeking families -- enjoy the renowned shores of "America's Riviera." North Miami Beach is where you'll find the kid-friendliest beaches, the most interesting Art Deco architecture, and the most affordable restaurants and hotels. Less than 10 miles away are the galleries, museums and theaters of Greater Miami. And then there's "SoBe," or South Beach. This popular southernmost neighborhood proves that Miami Beach is more like two cities -- a family-friendly vacation when the sun is shining and a super-chic hotspot once the evening arrives. If want to keep up with the Joneses (or Snooki, for that matter), you'll have to flash your AmEx black card at the high-end stores, schmooze at the cutting-edge fusion restaurants, dance at the energetic nightclubs and relax poolside at the Art Deco hotels. For a little less pretense, window shop at the Lincoln Road Mall, chow-down at a low-key Floribbean joint and toss back a (decidedly cheaper) cocktail at a lower key watering hole.
The Bahamian islands have blossomed into a tropical Eden, alluring throngs of visitors to their white-washed shores, duty-free shops, fishing and scuba diving excursions and luxurious resort lifestyle. The families that flock here tend to indulge in the extensive diversions of the lavish mega resorts, but this diverse island chain also offer a range of activities away from the hotel zone: Nature enthusiasts explore the offshore reefs and wildlife preserves; golf lovers tee up on the numerous par-72 courses; even bargain hunters patrol the marketplaces for the best duty-free deals. No wonder the Bahamas islands have become popular destinations in the Caribbean.
Though the area consists of more than 700 islands and cays, most visitors' first stop is New Providence Island's Nassau, the largest city of the Bahamas. Here, the twinkling casinos and upscale resorts make strange bedfellows with American Civil War history and pirate lore. The second most popular island is also the most northwest: Grand Bahama, home to bustling Freeport and a center of ecotourism with its underwater limestone caves and botanical gardens. When you need a break from all the crowds, head east from Nassau to the Outer Islands, where you can easily drop off the grid and enjoy a simpler way of life.
Tel Aviv is not Jerusalem. Although they're only 44 miles apart, Tel Aviv lacks the historic significance of the Holy City. In place of religious sites and ancient ruins, Tel Aviv ("TA" for those in-the-know) features world-class beaches and a rip-roaring nightlife. Forget tradition: Here, Friday nights are devoted to reveling rather than reflecting, and kosher cuisine is overshadowed by a wealth of international culinary delights. If you've come to see the sights, you won't need more than a couple of days here; Tel Aviv's love of the arts shines through it's fantastic (albeit few) museums. But the purpose behind your visit shouldn't be to see Tel Aviv, it should be to experience it. Once you've had your fill of museum hopping, let yourself fall into the rhythm of this modern Mediterranean metropolis. Devote your days to lounging on Gordon-Frishman Beachor meandering through the streets of Jaffa. And when night falls, allow yourself to be swept up by the luring hum of club music and the nonstop flow of cocktails.
Vegas, Sin City, the Entertainment Capital of the World: All worthy names for this desert oasis of neon lights, casinos and luxury hotels. Vegas has maintained its glitzy, risqué, anything-goes attitude for decades, and the party is still going strong. This is a city where inhibitions are not welcome: While you may not want to go as far as to reenact The Hangover, you certainly don't want to leave without experiencing a bit of Viva Las Vegas. Whether you're here for a bachelor party, a wedding or just one wild weekend, make sure to live it up. Just remember: What happens here, stays here.
Think of Sin City as a theme park rather than a metropolis, where most of the attractions are packed along the legendary Strip. It can awe as much as it can overwhelm, and that's part of the appeal. But more refined travelers should rest assured: There are plenty of ways to avoid Las Vegas's kitschy glamour. When the razzle-dazzle becomes too much, try some of the renowned cuisine procured by some of the world's greatest chefs, or head out of town to manmade and natural marvels like the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.