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Munich was almost completely destroyed in two world wars, yet it's managed to recreate much of its folkloric, Bavarian past. Oktoberfest is legendary, but you can visit the Hofbrauhaus any time of year for an immense beer. Olympiapark, the site of the 1972 games, is not to be missed (you can skate on the Olympic ice rink and swim in the pool). On a somber note, take time to visit the concentration camp at Dachau—it's an intense, yet unforgettable, glimpse into the not-too-distant horrors of the Holocaust.
The largest city in Switzerland is a major contemporary art and shopping destination. Important artworks are displayed in the Kunsthaus and the Rietberg Museum. Those who consider shopping an art can hone their skills along Bahnhofstrasse and Niederdorf. Chagall's stained-glass windows in the Fraumünster amaze. Zurich's 500 clubs and bars, including several in swimming pools, pulse with life till the early hours. This city on Lake Zurich has excellent public transport and a free bike-hire system.
Over the centuries, many cultures have added their mark to this prized piece of land. Today, you can experience those influences firsthand by exploring Istanbul’s mahalles (neighbourhoods). From the holy sites of Sultanahmet and the 19th-century European elegance of Beyoğlu to the high fashion of Nişantaşı, the vibrant café society of Kadıköy and the football-loving streets of Beşiktaş, it’s easy to see why travellers say that Istanbul isn’t just one city, but many cities within one.
<p>Madrid is the financial and cultural hub for Spain, and much of Southern Europe. There is a huge amount to see and do there, as well as excellent nightlife in terms of bars, restaurants, clubs and entertainment. As the area has been inhabited since Roman times, there are also plenty of historical sites to explore and enjoy. At the other extreme, you can also visit the Bernabéu stadium, home of Spanish football giant Real Madrid. This is usually popular with the younger members of the family, and many of the older ones! For art lovers you are torn between the Prado Museum, with works from the 12th to 19th Centuries including Goya, Velasquez and Rubens, or you can go to the Reina Sofia Museum for art from the 20th Century and beyond. The Reina Sofia houses Picasso's most famous painting Guernica, as well as key works by artists such as Salvador Dali - it gets incredibly busy but is a crucial place to visit! </p><p>While Madrid is a huge city, and it is easily possible to spend a whole holiday exploring, there is also a lot to see outside the city itself. Suggested excursions include Toledo, former capital of the country and a medieval city full of charm, and Segovia with its extraordinary castle which was used as inspiration for Walt Disney's iconic castle logo. </p>
From Shoreditch’s swaggering style to Camden’s punky vibe and chic Portobello Road, London is many worlds in one. The city’s energy means that no two days are the same. Explore royal or historic sites, tick off landmarks from your bucket list, eat and drink in exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants, enjoy a pint in a traditional pub, or get lost down winding cobbled streets and see what you stumble across – when it comes to London, the possibilities are endless.
The 1000-year-old Norwegian capital sits at the head of Oslo Fjord. This stunning setting gives hints of the wild wonders that lie just beyond the city. From taking in visual delights at Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Viking Ship Museum, the Munch Museum and Holmenkollen, to the challenging content within the new Nobel Peace Centre and the Holocaust Centre, Oslo offers plenty of food for thought. The Oslo Pass allows free travel on public transport, free parking and many museum and sight admissions.
Known as the safari capital of Africa, Nairobi is an energetic, modern city that serves as a fascinating introduction to both wildlife and nightlife. Music clubs pulse with life, shops and markets bustle, and a mélange of restaurants will tempt your palate in this former Maasai watering hole. Top sights include the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Centre and the black rhinos of Nairobi National Park. The compact city centre is safe to walk in and taxis make other areas accessible.
Popularly referred to as Ooty, this gem among southern hill resorts is covered in eucalyptus and pine trees and coffee and tea plantations. On a clear day, it's possible to see as far as the Mysore plateau from Dodabetta Peak, the district's most prominent viewpoint. The Stone House, a landmark 1822 bungalow, and St. Stephen's Church are remnants of the area's first British settlement. Also noteworthy: formal botanical gardens, a children's mini-garden and a contemporary art collection.
Darjeeling, nestled among rolling mountains, is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Popular places to visit include Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and the War Memorial, and the Himalayan Zoological Park and Snow Leopard Breeding Center. What should you bring home? Tea, tea, and more tea—and beautiful local handicrafts.