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Poised on the edge of the Venetian lagoon, Jesolo is one of Italy's most popular beach resorts, with millions visiting each year. A favourite with families, Jesolo offers up theme and water parks, an aquarium, and an 8-mile (13-kilometre) golden beach.
One of Italy’s most visited regions, Veneto in the country’s northeast was independent for centuries until 1797, when Napoleon invaded. It then bounced among French, Austrian and Italian domination. Bordered by some of Europe’s most beautiful elements (the Adriatic Sea to its east, Lake Garda to its west, the Dolomites to its north, and the Po River to its south), Veneto is known for agriculturally rich valleys flowing down from Alps and for important cities like Venice, Verona and Padua.
From the brightly painted buildings and fishing boats that line the seafront, to the hilltop baroque church that stands watch over old town—it’s no wonder Rovinj is one of the most-photographed coastal towns along Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula.
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?
Palma, the economic and cultural hub of Majorca, is a delightful base for exploring the island's many gold and white beaches. A former Moorish casbah, or walled city, Palma's Old Town is an appealing maze of narrow streets that are a delight to explore on foot. Hop on the Soller Railway for a 17-mile scenic trip, visit 14th-century Bellver Castle and the museum of contemporary art, and check out the nightlife.
Travel into Spain's Moorish and Christian history with every step you take in compact, walkable Granada. The famous Alhambra fortress is a required visit, as are the Alcaiceria (marketplace), the Cathedral and too many architectural sites to name. Wander through Granada's fascinating Moorish old quarter, the labyrinthine Albaicin; then plan to head out again by night, because the nightlife here is particularly lively.
Lying in south central Turkey, the moonscaped region of Cappadocia, southeast of Ankara, is most famous for unique geological features called fairy chimneys. The large, cone-like formations were created over time by erosion of the relatively soft volcanic ash around them. Past cultures have dug into them to create dwellings, castles (like Uchisar) and even entire underground cities like Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, used as hiding places by early Christians. Nearby Kayseri is the gateway to the area.
Amman's layered history is reflected in its diverse people and its varied architecture. The city is home to a multidenominational and multicultural population. Even within the midst of the ultra-modern commercial centre, there is evidence of its ancient roots, with colorful souks, Roman ruins, cultural museums and monuments painting a picture of the history of the region.
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.
Montreal, c’est si bon! This French-speaking city is considered the cultural capital of Canada, and is a cosmopolitan celebration of Québécois style. A horse-drawn carriage ride around the cobblestone streets and grand buildings of Vieux-Montréal will give you a taste of European flavour. The Basilique Notre-Dame is a confection of stained glass, and the Plateau Mont-Royal district will delight you with its quaint boutiques and cafés. Dig in to a massive plate of poutine to fuel up for a tour of the epic Olympic Park.