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En español | There remains no rival for the City of Light. Without overstating it, Paris is easily the world's most beautiful, romantic and potent city, for centuries charming big-city skeptics and provincial tourists alike. The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, Jardin du Luxembourg, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame cathedral are just the beginning of an endless list of rapturous places to see here.
It's called "Asia's World City" for good reason. Hong Kong has long been a global economic force, serving as the Eastern headquarters for some of the world's biggest brands, with sparkling towers and air-conditioned sky bridges. And owing to its British colonial past, it has a large percentage of English-speaking residents as well as touches of European architecture and culture that go a long way toward making it one of Asia's most Western-friendly cities.
As one of the few cities in the world to span two continents, Istanbul has always been a place where myriad cultures mix. What's more, its colorful history stretches back so far that even the ancient Greeks considered it old. Today, it's also one of the most affordable cities to visit, with amazing shopping in bazaars — where bargaining is a must — and reasonably priced, authentic accommodations and mayhanes (traditional restaurants). It's also become known for its cutting-edge fashion, art. and nightlife.
You can justify a visit to Rome in many ways. Maybe you'll say it's for mouth-watering cuisine or the chance to experience a history so rich and architecture so stunning that they changed the face of Western civilization. Or you could just tell everyone you're going to sit in a piazza all day, sipping terrific wine and experiencing la dolce vita. No matter the reason, find a way to get there.
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Its reputation as a booming, bustling capital sets this Asian city apart, as does its delicious, wildly inexpensive and remarkably fresh food. Transportation and glorious Thai massages are consistently cheap — and usually high quality — enabling you to explore Bangkok on a shoestring while still enjoying the high life.
In this corner of the world, some may argue that London is the place to go. But just across the Irish Sea is a world of difference that begins with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Dublin is not only a notably cordial city, but also a manageable, easily walkable one. In addition, it's the hub of a tech boom that has resulted in a youthful, innovative atmosphere. Don't worry, though, it still feels wonderfully quaint. And you'll always be able to find a perfectly pulled pint of creamy dark Guinness.
Mexico is a large country with many wonderful cities and towns worth visiting, but there's something about this small beach community that makes it especially appealing. Mexican culture and laid-back attitudes abound, as does deliciously simple food. It's hard to imagine the rustling palm trees, warm breezes and calming Caribbean waves not leaving visitors enchanted and renewed.
The Mother City of South Africa has gradually been cultivating its cosmopolitan side. It underwent a major makeover in time to host the 2010 World Cup but has since seen a dip in its tourist trade — making it a great destination for travelers keen on bargains and real-deal local experiences. Flanked by two oceans and a mountainous national park, Cape Town offers unforgettable adventure trips, as well as the chance for relaxation on its beautiful beaches.
The energy and passion found in this vibrant seaside city seem to mirror that of the average Brazilian. Perhaps that's why it was selected as the first South American site ever to host a Summer Olympics — happening there in 2016. Brazil is experiencing huge economic growth, and Rio has proudly emerged as a major urban destination in a country that is quickly becoming a favorite global destination. Catch it now, before the whole world arrives.
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Let's face it, there are trips and then there are trips — visits to the places that most capture our imagination and pique our curiosity. Here are the destinations that we consider can't-miss, from the grand capitals of Europe to some unforgettable cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
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If you're nostalgic for more regal homes, consider visiting one of these historic homes.
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Here are foods that, unless you're adventuresome, you might not want to avoid.
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These are our favorite tall buildings.
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